Grading Igbo Governors - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Saturday, February 6, 2021

Grading Igbo Governors

By Vitus Ozoke

A very good friend, a Nigerian politician, had requested me to do a comparative evaluation of the five southeastern Igbo state governors. I had hesitated because I did not want to subject myself to the depression which such exercise was sure to impose. But, my friend would not have any excuses. So, here is it:


Ikpeazụ's worst flaw is his hubris. I don't know when, where, and how he obtained his PhD, and he might have obtained a great education, but Ikpeazu's habit of appending PhD to his official name has not served him well, for the following reasons:

1. It is totally unnecessary. He already has the prefix of Gov. accompanying his name, a PhD at the end of it is an unnecessary overkill.

2. If you are going to attach a PhD to your name, then you must be ready and able to defend it, both intellectually and functionally. I doubt strongly that Gov. Ikpeazụ has met any of those challenges. He does not command intellectual power, neither is he performing as governor. Aba, which should be the Japan of Africa, is worse than the worst Indian slum. It is an eye sore. Aba is a dump.

3. By appending PhD to his name, Gov. Ikpeazụ raised public expectations of him. The good people of Abia state expected more than average performance from Gov. Okezie Ikpeazụ, PhD, but Aba is nowhere near above average. Aba is way below average. Gov. Okezie Ikpeazụ, PhD is a bit of a disappointment to both the intellectual community as well as his general Abia state constituency.



His slogan is "Willie is Working", but it is not clear whether Willie Obiano is as interested in being the governor of Anambra state as he is in being the Igwe of his Aguleri community. His dressing is always off. Obiano has never dressed for the occasion. He may be dealing with identity crisis. His dressing zips from one polar end of the fashion continuum to the other end without any stops along the way. He is either dressed like a disgruntled Yankee, bent on punishing his community neighbors by violating dress code, or like a wealthy but mean-spirited onowu, determined to outclass his less-advantaged fellow ichies.

Gov. Obiano stepped into a pair of large shoes left behind by Peter Obi, but his feet, rather than grow into them, have shrunken. In terms of infrastructure, Anambra state has not added much to Chris Ngige's and Peter Obi's achievements. Roads are crumbling; erosion is getting worse; sanitation is back to the pre-Obi era. The one area where Gov. Obiano has performed creditably well is security. Anambra State is relatively safe. But it could be way safer if Obiano stopped drinking openly.



By far, the best and most performing governor in south east Igbo land. Ụmahi has transformed Ebonyi state into a model modern state. Abakiliki, the state capital, can compete with any modern city in the world in terms of infrastructural development. And he did all that by prudent management of the limited resources at his disposal. By turning Ebonyi into the fastest developing state, not just in Igbo land, but in the whole of Nigeria, Gov. Dave Ụmahi is, by far, the best and most performing Igbo governor.



If I evaluate Gburugburu (as he is popularly called) harsher than his peers, it will be because he is the governor of my state, and I expected more from him.

Gburugburu orchestrated the worst political blackmail against God that I have ever known. His mantra, "Enugu State is in the Hands of God" is sheer blackmail. It is escapist. It is complete abdication of responsibility. But it is also blasphemous. Enugu state, like every other society, has always been in the hands of God. To make it a state slogan borders on blasphemy, especially when the state is paradise lost.

The city of Enugu under Gov. Ugwuanyi has made a complete 180-degree turn from what it used to be under Gburugburu's predecessor, Sullivan Chime. The roads have fallen apart, electricity is erratic, sanitation is horrible, and security is lax. That is hardly a state to be touted as being in the hands of God. Yes, and like I said, Enugu state, like other human societies, is in the providential hands of God. But, a politician who is elected to make life better for the people, but who fails that mandate, instead pawning off that sacred and statutory duty to God, is simply as much a blackmailer as he is a blasphemer.

Under Gburugburu, Enugu State has continued to live off its past glory. It has continued to be the capital of Igbo states, and Gov. Ugwuanyi has contented himself with playing host to Ọhaneze and other pan-Igbo meetings that don't add any value to the lives of the average Enugu denizen. Gburugburu is a nice guy, he attends weddings and burials, and all. So, I assume he has many friends. But he has not performed. He is weak. What people perceive as him being peaceful is Gburugburu being weak. Otherwise, he should have put a stop to the constant herdsmen insecurity in the state. To watch Abakiliki grow into a more modern city than Enugu is, perhaps, Gburugburu's worst charge and failure.



He is new on the seat. However, given the manner of his emergence as governor, there is not much hope in Hope.


Vitus Ozoke is a professor at Salisbury University, USA. 

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