A non-partisan pressure group comprising lecturers in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, Academic Frontiers Initiative (AFI), has expressed satisfaction over the quality of aspirants for the Anambra 2021 gubernatorial elections, even as it bemoaned the woes bedeviling the state as a result of poor leadership.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Dr Chinedu Onyeizugbe; National Secretary, Dr. Tochukwu Oguegbe; and Anambra State Coordinator, Dr. Uche Ngenegbo, AFI said it had, via a zoom meeting, interacted with Chief Chidozie Nwankwo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as Uche Ekwunife and Valentine Ozigbo, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group disclosed that all the aspirants were visibly disappointed with the poor state of Anambra, lamenting the alarming level of degeneration witnessed in the state within the last few years. The governorship aspirants, according to AFI, expressed their resolve to restore the glory of the state and re-ignite the light, the nation was proud of in the past.
“While we hope to meet other Anambra 2021 governorship candidates, from other political parties, soon, we are so far satisfied with the quality of aspirants we have interacted with, who visibly showed disappointment with the poor level of governance currently being delivered in Anambra State. They all expressed their willingness to get Anambra working again and help restore her lost glory, blatantly robbed of her within the last six years.
“The aspirants expressed deep concerns on how Anambra State went from a State with a surplus savings to a state neck-deep in debts,” the statement read in part.
AFI decried the level of nepotism being showed off by the government of the day, a situation which it said is being witnessed across other ministries and agencies. “All the aspirants we have spoken with so far promised to redress the issue of gross nepotism, lopsided appointments and to deliver political and public appointments based on merit,” AFI said.
On the infrastructural decay prevalent in the state capital, coupled with the lack of basic amenities in the territory, the group explained that the aspirants have pledged their willingness to ensure that Awka, the state capital, is given a face-lift and provided with infrastructural development befitting of a state capital. Of grave concern to the group was the fact that Awka is being starved of electricity supply.
It said: “We refuse to be silent when the share of electricity meant for Awka, the state capital, is being transferred to Aguleri, while Awka remains in darkness. A good functional water system befitting of a state capital is non-existent, yet it is being built in preferred locations.”
The group also noted the readiness of the aspirants to redress the issues and develop every part of the state equally. The candidates, the group said, have plans of decongesting Awka, by developing other territories and communities thereby making their living conditions attractive.
On Anambra road network, AFI said: “We are deeply saddened by the sorry state of many roads in Anambra State at the moment. Anambra was known for having the best road network in Nigeria until a few years back. Most roads in Anambra have gone from bad to worse. The road maintenance agency saddled with the responsibility of keeping the roads in good condition are either no longer in existence or have refused to do their work because no one holds them accountable.
“The political aspirants however shared our concerns and unfolded their plans of resuscitating the Anambra Road Maintenance Agency. From our interactions with them, they share the vision of taking Anambra to the position of having the best road network in the country, a position it once enjoyed.”
AFI reaffirmed its stand and willingness to contribute to a free and fair election in Anambra State while expressing hopes that better days are ahead, going by their interactions with some of the governorship aspirants.