Anambra State governor, Willy Obiano, in this interview with State House correspondents explained reasons why he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa within the week, among other issues. JONATHAN NDA-ISAIAH was there for LEADERSHIP Friday.
Why did you come to see the President?
As usual, I come once in while to brief Mr. President on the developments we are having in Anambra state and we do have a lot of beautiful developments. We also have some that bothered me to come right now, which is the flood.
Four of my local government areas, that is four out of 21 are under water now as we speak because of this flood and it affected a lot of things, properties which include farm produce and what have you. So, I called on Mr. President to assist us at this very crucial time being a COVID-19 time and now, the flood we are experiencing this time around is like 2012, which is terrible.
So, he promised to do something immediately. I did also apprised him on the progress so far made on the 2nd Niger Bridge. If you watch from their side, you will see that almost half of that bridge has been done. But because the water level is very high, the contractor working on that bridge requires some equipment which they’ve already purchased long ago sitting in Germany and requires some support from Central Bank to be able to bring in those equipment. I did mention that to him and the President noted that and said he will do something about that.
The other point was on the Federal University of Education in Aguleri. Anambra North senatorial district does not have any federal institution at all. Other two senatorial districts have two or three federal institutions. The place is part of the place I just told you that is flooded. Anambra West, Anambra East, the whole of Anambra West is under water now, half of Anambra East is under water, Ogbaru area is under water. All these are majorly Anambra North. So, the Senate graciously approved and wrote to Mr. President to assent to the Bill that they passed. This letter was written on September 19, 2019. So, Mr. President has agreed to quickly assent to that so that this institution can move on.
On my own, I’ve paid compensation to the land owners and I’ve started the fencing of the massive property. And I am doing the gatehouse of the institution.
What else did you discuss with Mr. President?
I touched on so many things, I don’t have to tell you everything. You know he’s a father. So, we discussed some family issues. But beyond that, it was a pleasant outing with him this evening.
We did discuss some other roads, federal roads that are in very bad shape, about six of them and I requested Mr. President to see if they can go into their budget as they are preparing for the budget of next year, to see whether those roads can go into their budget.
I did also talk to him that work has slowed down almost to zero on the Onitsha-Enugu expressway. I understand there are little issues, I don’t know what it is but he also promised to look into that.
Mr. President is doing well in Anambra. You know he built the Zik Masoleum that took 23 years to build, the road he’s working on, the Onitsha-Enugu expressway, he finished that road as PTF chairman and he came back as president to come and fix that road again. So, that’s an important thing to remember that he did it before and he is the fellow doing it again. And of course, we parleyed.
May we know the extent of damage in those four local government areas?
We have over 5,000 people displaced and we already prepared some receptacles which can receive the displaced people. But they will need help now and also need help when the water is receding because they lost their property which majorly included their produce which was harvested before this flood crpted in.
I believe Mr. President will be able to assist us to be able to support these families that have been displaced in this manner.
How much damage are we looking at and how will you get it?
Well, Mr. President will give me the money and how much is it? I can’t tell you but if they give N300billion, I will like it. You know normally, when you make this kind of presentation, the President will now send NEMA to come and see for themselves what has happened. So, NEMA will work with your team and they will be able to ascertain what the volume is and from there, Mr. President will see whether they can take in all of them or part of it as the case may be. So, I believe that process will go that way.
The impression is that this president does not care about Anambra. Is this the case?
That’s not true. In Anambra, we love the president very much. The president has been doing well, he’s building 2nd Niger Bridge. You think it’s very easy to build 2nd Niger Bridge? And I just told you that he was the fellow that did Enugu-Onitsha expressway when he was chairman of PTF and now, he’s the president fixing the road. The, he built Zik Masoleum. You know you can’t talk about Nigeria without mentioning Zik. He built a befitting resting place for him. So, we love him in Anambra state.