Mr. John Bray, the Consul General of the United States, yesterday paid a courtesy visit on the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia. He came to rub minds with the governor on the coming Anambra gubernatorial election scheduled for November 18 this year.
Mr. Bray’s visit came barely 24 hours after former governor Peter Obi had allegedly sworn, as was reported in a national newspaper, to shed his own blood to ensure that his successor, Governor Obiano, does not get a second term in office.
Mr. Obi’s incendiary comment had caused a great concern among political observers in Awka, the state capital, with many people wondering why a former governor who had served two peaceful terms of eight years would openly threaten fire and brimstone if his anointed candidate failed to win the coming election.
But the timely arrival of the US Consul General at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia has calmed frayed nerves and restored the confidence of the people in the belief that the coming election would be closely monitored by international observers and respected democratic institutions to ensure that the emanating violent rhetoric is not allowed to transit to physical violence.
Addressing the Government House press corps after the breakfast meeting, Mr. Bray explained that his mission was to begin a reconnaissance ahead of the November 18 gubernatorial election in the state.
“What we are interested in is a free, fair, credible, non-violent democratic process. In support of that, we will be participating here with the international observer community,” Mr Bray explained, pointing out that his visit was part of the routine tour of states that are on the verge of a democratic process.
Speaking further, the Consul General explained that the US officials would be working in collaboration with other democratic institutions to achieve a hitch-free election on November 18 this year in Anambra State.
Said he: “We will be working closely with INEC, the different political parties, the civil societies and the security services to ensure that there is a credible process that both the Nigerian citizens in Anambra State and the international community can attest to.”
The Consul General also used the opportunity to commend the noticeable changes in Anambra State since his last visit, noting that the state was pulling out of recession along with the rest of Nigeria.
He specifically acknowledged the Light up Anambra initiative with the magnificent streetlights across the state and the smooth network of roads that have withstood the onslaught of the rainy season.
According to him: “In terms of what I see here, Anambra like the rest of Nigeria is pulling out of recession and things are looking up.
The markets are full and vibrant; the electricity is on and there is light at night and the roads for the rainy season are very good.”
It would be recalled that Mr. Bray had also lauded Obiano’s achievements in the area of security and infrastructural development during his fact-finding mission in the state in February 2016.
Speaking during the visit, which was his first visit to the entire South East region, Mr. Bray had intoned: “I am very, very impressed with the quality of roads in the state. Believe it or not, they are not like this everywhere in Nigeria. I am also impressed with the improvement in the security environment, which has come into place with the current government.”
Governor Obiano, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has expressed optimism that his stellar performance in his first term which has induced massive reforms in agriculture, health, roads and critical infrastructure and reversed the state’s appalling security record would earn him a nod from the people to continue in office.