Oseloka Obaze, gubernatorial candidate of Peoples Democratic Party in the upcoming elections in Anambra State, has explained why he decided to run against incumbent Governor Willie Obiano.
Mr. Obaze said although they are longtime friends, Anambra under Mr. Obiano had spent N455 billion in three years, without corresponding development to show that the humongous amount was judiciously utilised.
Mr. Obaze, a career diplomat who spent more than 20 years at the United Nations, said he launched his governorship bid in order to ensure “proper accountability and full disclosure” of state funds.
He disclosed this in an Odenigbo FM in Obosi, Anambra State, as part of his campaign activities ahead of the November 18 scheduled date for the exercise.
“I can’t fold my arms because we are friends and watch Anambra regress,” Mr. Obaze added. “We should not settle for less than our capability.”
A spokesperson for Mr. Obiano, who is seeking re-election under the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, dismissed Mr. Obaze as “knowing the truth” about the administration but “playing to the gallery for political gain.”
Chuks Iloegbunam, a senior media adviser to Mr. Obiano, said Anambra had recorded giant strides since 2014, and Mr. Obaze knew this well because he served the administration as Secretary to the State Government for more than a year.
“The governor has changed the skyline of Anambra State and constructed three new flyovers in Awka, the state capital,” he said. “When Mr. Obaze resigned after spending 15 months as SSG, he didn’t say it was because of lack of development or mismanagement.”
“We have paid salaries, pensions and gratuities at a time most states are struggling to pay workers,” Mr. Iloegbunam added.
Political analysts deem the election a contentious four-way race between Mr. Obaze, Mr. Obiano, Osita Chidoka of the UPP, and Tony Nwoye, representing the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Thirty-seven political parties were cleared to participate in the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
If elected, Mr. Obaze said he would pattern his administration after Peter Obi, a PDP chieftain who had been praised in some quarters as having performed above average when he governed the state between 2006 and 2014.
Mr. Obi was also a member of APGA before he decamped to the PDP in the build up to the 2015 elections.