By Tony Okafor
In 2019, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, admitted the presence of evil spirits in the Government House;
that was two years in his second term in office.
The governor stated this at the Province of the Niger, Anglican Prayer Rally of Anambra State (APRAS) 2019, with the theme “The Righteous shall Flourish like Palm Tree”, held at the Dr. Alex Ekwueme square, Awka Anambra state.
Obiano spoke through the secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwubelu.
The governor, who was reacting to the ministration of Bishop of Ogbaru, Rt. Rev. Prosper Amah, who said there were evil spirits in society, said there were also evil spirits in the government house
Obiano urged the church to pray for the evil spirits to leave the government house permanently, so that government could provide quality services to the people.
He said “In the government House, the evil spirits come and go. We urged the church to pray hard to let them leave the government for good.”
Replying, the Archbishop, Province of Niger and Bishop, Dioceses of Awka, the Most Rev. Alexander Ibezim, said the evil spirits in the government house were human beings and urged the governor to deal decisively with them to leave the state house.
Ibezim said“The government should fight evil spirits themselves in the state house, while the church will fight those outside the government house”.
Another governor of the state had previously somewhat admitted to similar fact. The governor had invited a certain man of God to exorcise the Governor’s Lodge at Amawbia. While the prayers were going on( about an hour into the prayer session), the man of God paused, and there was a pin-drop silence.
When the man of God broke the silence, he said,” Your Excellency, there is something fetish here. The governor admitted that and said, “Man of God, it’s a recent development”. The governor went inside and brought some juju that was prepared for him against his perceived enemies. The charm was thereafter burnt by the man of God.
Such evil spirits no doubt had caused some governors of the state to abandon Government House and Governor’s Lodge to run the affairs of the state from their various residential houses in their villages.
Some unpopular decisions/policies of government have been attributed to these “evil spirits” in government house.
On March 17, ProfCharles Chukwuma Soludo, a man of letters, and a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, with a PhD in economics, will be sworn in as the governor of the state to succeed Governor Willie Obiano. Soludo was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance on November 6, thus making him the third governor sworn in on the APGA platform since 2006. The first was Mr Peter Obi, while the second was Chief Willie Obiano. Both Obi and Obiano ruled for eight years each.
With Soludo’s tall credentials, all eyes are on him to surmount whatever obstacles that could be on the way and Survive in the murky world of partisan politics.
Most Professors I know are not fatalists, they are empiricists. Therefore, Souludo should focus, for now, on things that would be needed to take the state higher than where he met it.
To start with, he should reenact Government House,Awka, as the state’s seat of power, and the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia as the Governor’s abode. He should not fall into the temptation of running government affairs from his village in Isuofia, like some of his predecessors did from their villages.
The state should be spared the kind of spat we saw and are still seeing between Obiano and his predecessor, Peter Obi. That spat is one of the most unfortunate things to have happened to the state.
Soludo, we all know, is a name that rings a bell across Nigeria and beyond, but without the structure built by APGA and Obiano, he would not have made it so easily. Thus this is the time for him to build his own structure and he can only do that by not being aloof to people.
This is important because of the perception (right or wrong) of him by many people who fear that he will not look the way of people when he assumes office.
Above all, those whose briefs have to do with things that happen in the state must reside in the state. One cannot be in Sokoto doing his business and getting alert for a job he knows nothing about here in Anambra in the name of special assistant to the governor, or howsoever it might be designated.
Anything short of these will amount to a waste of public funds and has nothing to do with kindness. It will actually amount to a promotion of laziness.
We don’t want a situation where hundreds will get paid every month for doing nothing visible and this is where the outgoing government had problems. In trying to be kind, Obiano became a trifle over kind and his government ended up being a kind of ‘Father Christmas’ as many people got paid for doing nothing.
Soludo must avoid this temptation. It is a temptation because many will applaud him for ”being a good man” in so far as they benefit from his government. They will be quick, however, to berate him for being wicked if he decides to ”block leakages”. He should therefore devise a way of delicately balancing this little problem.
Soludo should work hand in gloves with his deputy, Onyekachi Ibezim. Two of them should always brainstorm together on how to make Anambra great. Soludo should know from the outset that the mandate/ticket was given to him and the deputy governor jointly by the people of the state as social contract. The wife of the governor should not come in between them in state policies.
Soludo should avoid lifestyles that will make him appear like an emperor or lord of manor in the eyes of donor agencies who would see him as an island onto himself, who does not need any external assistance. Humility is a virtue that pays anywhere, any day..
It is not going to be such an easy task, but then, governing a state as complex as Anambra is never going to be a piece of cake, but the ” evil spirits” in the government house can be surmounted if the right things are done.