Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano came out swinging in Sunday’s governorship debate which was organised by Channels Television and its partners.
From dismissing the chances of other candidates to accusing them of lacking the ‘executive capacity’ to govern the state, and criticising his predecessor, the governor didn’t hold back.
Here are some of Mr Obiano’s key quotes during the debate:
My vision is to make Anambra (the) first choice investment destination for and a hub for economic activities. My mission is to create a socially stable business environment where indigenes and non-indigenes alike will have the opportunity for wealth creation.
I am not campaigning against Peter (Obi). He is not a candidate. So, I’d rather focus on the things that I want to do for ndi Anambra and what I’ve done.
If you look at when I came here, there was no security. People were not coming home. 69 people were kidnapped in the eight years of the previous administration, but I came, I saw, I conquered. And today, people are coming home in deluge – people from all kinds of places for marriages, weddings, church programmes, Ofala Festivals, yam festivals… and this has provided a dividend on security.
In 2009, the GDP of Anambra was N2.8 trillion. I grew this GDP in 2016 to N3.98 trillion. So, in two years, I grew the Anambra economy by N1 trillion. If you convert this into dollars and put it side-by-side other countries, you will find out that (based on) the GDP of Anambra, we are the 27th in Africa, if we are a country.
Yes, some requests were made (by the former governor) which I declined because we didn’t owe anybody during the election. I’d rather leave it that way and focus on what I am trying to do.
In 2014, Anambra State grew by 13.8 percent, Nigeria as a whole grew by 6.5 (percent). In 2014, Anambra grew by 15 percent, Nigeria grew by 2.5 percent. In 2016, Nigeria went below the line – that is negative 1.5 percent. Anambra was the only state that didn’t see recession in Nigeria. If all states in Nigeria were to be like Anambra, we won’t be in a recession.
The Paris Club money, because I am not owing (workers) salaries or pensions or gratuities, it was effectively utilised to be able to push up the infrastructure projects that we are doing. If you look around, you will see that Anambra, under my watch, has grown on infrastructure.
What Anambra requires is someone who can drive the process and I am the only one here that can do so. Tony (Nwoye) doesn’t have the executive capacity; he hasn’t even worked in his entire life. My good friend, Oseloka Obaze worked in the UN but the best place for him to work now is in Syria – to be distributing relief materials. My other fellow with executive capacity is (Osita) Chidoka. He has a good executive experience but his executive experience is in number plates and controlling traffic.
My predecessor left N9 billion in cash and N25.6 billion in script issues – these are sovereign wealth fund and shares in other banks. If you put N9 billion to that, you get N35.5 billion (sic), but he issued checks worth over N15 billion before he left.
You don’t keep funds and you are looking for money to pay (workers and contractors). Where do you get it? And your money is sitting there. You said you kept it for future generations, what does that mean?
Today, we are self-sufficient in Agriculture – in rice for example, we have exceeded the amount we consume; today, we are exporting vegetables and, recently, yam to the UK and that’s a very good point.
I am the only fellow paying salaries and doing road work, check around. (I’m) paying salaries and pensions and gratuities and also working on roads and infrastructure in an economy that is shrinking.
There has been a wave of agitations across Nigeria – in the South West, South South, South East, North West and what have you. What that simply tells you is that it’s time to sit down and restructure.
The Anambra Governorship election will take place on Saturday, November 18, 2016.