Peter Obi: PDP controlled states have fared better than their APC counterparts

by Peter Obi

Peter ObiIndeed, no Nigerian is a federal indigene, but each of us has State of origin. Nigerians should look closely at concrete records – not the media hype – cast their votes for the party that will deliver sustainable benefits to them at the centre and various state levels.

One of the ironical features of general elections in Nigeria is the tendency to encapsulate the fate of the nation in the post of President. In this election year, a talking point is about the People’s Democratic Party [PDP] being in control of the centre since the return to civil rule in mid-1999 with the attendant realistic and unrealistic expectations.

Perhaps, understandably so; but it will bear repetition to draw attention to the real fact that the administration of the States of the Federation largely determines the lot of the people. No Nigerian is a federal indigene, but each of us has a State of origin. And yet, the unwary voters will quietly cast their ballots for good and poor performers alike – while looking up to the central government to literally solve all their problems. So, what have the State Governors been doing? Interestingly, Nigerian States are run mostly by two political parties – the PDP and APC.

For the purposes of clarity and equity, the critical areas of development in focus fall within the framework of the universally-accepted Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] — Eradicate Extreme Poverty & Hunger; Achieve Universal Primary Education; Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women; Reduce Child Mortality; Improve Maternal Health; Combat HIV-AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases; Ensure Environmental Sustainability; and Develop a Global Partnership for Development.

The varied performances of the State Governments in the fulfilment of the MDGs are revealing. On overall assessment, the PDP-controlled States have been adjudged to be the best performers at the last evaluation, between 2011 and 2013 – with Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Ondo, Gombe, Taraba, Jigawa, and Kogi in the forefront.

With the massive instrumentality of the Micro-Credit scheme, PDP-State Governments have been steadily combating the threats of poverty and extreme hunger – with Delta State under Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan taken the lead for three consecutive years in the Central Bank and other development agencies’ assessment in the country.

The Education component – using basic education at the WASC & NECO levels – puts the following States ahead: Anambra & Abia in the south-east [1st&2nd for three years]; others are: Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Lagos and Delta.  Anambra’s educational turn-around and attainment has been recognised by development agencies – the UNDP, UNICEF as well as the Federal Ministry of Education and UBEC as a model worthy for adoption by other States and developing countries of the world. At a time the World Bank had to commission some experts from Oxford University led by Prof. Paul Collier to study what Anambra did on education.

On Healthcare, the Ondo Ebiye maternal programme has been acknowledged by both the World Health Organisation and UNICEF as conforming to global best practices. Ondo & Cross River States have been joint-overall best in the period under review. This rating is derived from the Bill Gates [Foundation] Governors’ Challenge on Health. Other top performers are Anambra, Jigawa, Delta, Kogi & Gombe.

In the twin goals of Environmental Sustainability & Urban Renewal, Cross River, Ondo,  Anambra, Delta, Jigawa& Gombe are recognised  as best performers. Cross River State was specifically acknowledged by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forest, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emission from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.

Ondo was the first and only State in Nigeria to be admitted into the Hall of Fame by the UN-Habitat for its successful renewal of its capital city – Akure.

Anambra was, of course, the first State in Nigeria to approach the UN Habitat for assistance in her Urban renewal programme. Thus the UN Habitat assisted her with the Structural Plans for her three major cities of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi to make them livable.  The clear evidence of the implementation of the plan is the transformation of Onitsha Bridge-Head to Upper Iweka and Zik’s Round About which is still considered a marvel when placed side by side with what the axis used to be before 2011.

Just recently, the CNN further recognised the Awka Ibom Stadium at Uyo built by Gov. Godswill Akpabio and the new Calabar International Centre built by Gov. Liyel Imoke as among architectural masterpieces in Africa.

Cross-River State is the best on global partnership for development and good governance. Her community and social development Programme (CSDP) has been recognised as the best in Nigeria by the World Bank. Also her State Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), has been recognised by the African Development Bank (ADB) as the best in Nigeria. Other States recognised as having done well are:  Anambra, Ondo, Delta, Jigawa,  Taraba,  Lagos, Gombe, Abia, Akwa-Ibom and Katsina.

On the promotion of Gender Equality & Women Empowerment, the PDP-run State Governments have adopted the commendable pattern firmly established by the Jonathan administration – with impressive results. Today, globally, one cannot talk about gender mainstreaming, without reckoning with the Jonathan Government.

These are unambiguous assessments and ratings independent of any Nigerian government agency

On the development of other vital infrastructure, the PDP-States are well-ahead. For instance, all the PDP-States have State Universities. All the seven newly constructed airports were also done by PDP Governors in their various States, namely, Gombe, Bauchi, Kebbi, Jigawa, Akwa-Ibom, Delta (Asaba and Warri).

To further elucidate the wide disparities between the PDP and APC States, let us take a dispassionate look at some of the PDP’s leading States.

In the North,  Jigawa and Katsina States, among others are doing very well. For example, anybody who knew Jigawa before Alhaji Sule lamido would marvel at the transformation the State has witnessed under him.  Besides payment of all counterparts funding, under him Jigawa has witnessed a lot of life-improvement schemes such as free maternal and Child Healthcare, social security for the disabled, free girls and disabled education, payment of all outstanding pension and gratuities.

Today, with the efforts of States like Kebbi, our goal of self sufficiency in food production is not far from being realised. Kebbi’s dry season’s farming has progressed so well that today the youth of the State have admiringly embraced agriculture thus reducing unemployment in the State. The Government of Alhaji Saidu Dakingari has distributed over 10,000 irrigation pumps to farmers in the State. He is a leading example that agriculture could actually rival oil as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

In the South, a cursory look at Akwa-Ibom State will reveal salient revolution going on in the State under Gov. Godswill Akpabio, even when his State is not the first nor the second in terms of monthly revenue profile. The attainments of the Godswill Akpabio administration in Akwa Ibom State are in the public view, verifiable and cover a wide spectrum of mass appeal. The following examples clearly demonstrate that the expression “Uncommon Transformation” is no phantom.

Free & compulsory education – primary and secondary, which has completely erased the erstwhile “House-Boy/Girl” stigma for the State. Free healthcare services for pregnant women, children and senior citizens.

Construction of over 400 roads covering some 2,000 kilometres – complete with fly-overs and bridges.  Completion of two major phases of Ibom International Airport; the facilities are in use.  Completion and formal commissioning of a 30,000-seat Ibom International Stadium in two years. Some neighbouring states that started similar projects as far back as 2008 are still enmeshed in controversies as to the quality of their work even when completion is not at sight.

This facility and its associated structures are recognized by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and it is already in use. The UN acknowledges it as one of the world’s architectural marvels. Ultra-modern Ibom Entertainment& Cultural centre, with wet & dry parks; Convention Centre and Shopping Mall. Ibom e-Library and ICT Centre – the first in West Africa. The library has a collection of 30 million books in hard-copy and 70 electronic, downloadable publications. Others are:  Africa’s pioneer pipe-jacking underground drainage system, new Government House complex, Digital Governor’s Office and Deputy Governor’s Lodge.

In terms of human resources management, the State is doing very well. It has continued to, unfailingly pay N21, 000 (higher than the national figure of N18,000). Several women and youth empowerment programmes in the urban and rural areas alike. Over 70% completion of Ibom Power Plant and electricity coverage of over 95% of the State.

Federal Prison/Correction Centre of world standard. He has also engaged in extensive urban renewal projects and construction of some 3,000 housing units.

These few examples show that the PDP Governors have served their people faithfully. Notwithstanding mindless propaganda hinged on unbridled fault-finding by some of the opposition, the PDP-controlled States have done better than those they control. Through their consistent propagation of falsehood, they hope to divert attention from their lack of accountability in the States they run.

Indeed, no Nigerian is a federal indigene, but each of us has State of origin. Nigerians should look closely at concrete records – not the media hype – cast their votes for the party that will deliver sustainable benefits to them at the centre and various state levels.

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Peter Obi is the former Governor of Anambra State

 
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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