Anambra @ 27: Transforming fears to feats, legacies
AS celebration of 27 years of Anambra State’s creation continues, an elder statesman and business executive, Ide C.U Mbaji highlights unique and uncommon achievements of the present governor, chief Willie Obiano, that stands him out and make this year’s anniversary celebration auspicious. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts.
On Anambra’s endowment
Anambra State is richly endowed with abundant human and natural resources, vast arable land good for cultivation of variety of crops, palm, corn, rice, cassava, potatoes, also fish and livestock, etc.
It has rich mineral resources, natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, kaolin, salt, lead, even gypsum, iron ore, lignite and is blessed with rich tourism potentials like the Ogbunike cave, Agulu Lake, Ogba River, Owerre Ezukala Cave and waterfalls, Igboukwu museum, etc.
Also in Anambra State are people with historically rich harvest in education, leadership and entrepreneurship. With a relay of such leaders, statesmen like Zik of Africa, the doyen of Nigeria’s independence and democracy, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Emeka Anyaoku, literary icons like Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, and business moguls such as Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, Arthur Eze, Cletus Ibeto, etc, one can say without any iota of doubt that Anambra State is blessed with men of prominence not only in Nigeria but in Africa.
And with its mission to create a socially business friendly environment that attracts both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities and the vision to become the first choice investment destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities, the state, under the Obiano administration has witnessed tremendous development and uncommon multi-sectoral transformation in all facets of the economy as a result of its giant strides hinged on robust programmes and policies and their effective implementation.
With these noble policies, Governor Obiano was able to utilize the state’s unique physical features, and properly harness its vast natural and human resources and at the same time, ensures that his innovative leadership style favours the people.
On reasons for celebration
The citizens of Anambra State, to my mind, are happy with this government. Look at all strata of the society, the work force, i.e. civil servants that constitute the engine room of any government anywhere in the world, market men and women, business executives and rural masses, as well as the youth.
This administration has put smiles on the faces of workers with their salaries paid regularly with pensions and gratuities paid as and when due. Workers allowances are regularly paid and from what I see, every worker strives to do his best on the job.
You remember they even gave Governor Obiano award as the Most Workers Friendly Governor. He has increased their salaries and has promised them another increase. I have no doubt he’ll do that.
Workers are important segments of any state and play a crucial role in the socio-economic development of any nation be it advanced or underdeveloped. They make things happen. Governor Obiano, right from the inception of his administration, took adequate care of their welfare and they believe in him. It is in this mutual co-existence and co-operation that lays the major secret behind the success of the Obiano administration.
And I make bold to state here that those states that relegate their workforce to the background, that owe them arrears of salaries and allowances and trample upon their rights, will find it very difficult to develop.
The present administration has also given hope to Anambra youths. With unemployment soaring, and white collar job extinct, they see relief in entrepreneurship, in skill acquisition centres set up across the state by the government.
These centres are well equipped with the necessary tools. The first lady, Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano’s pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) comes in and plays supportive role by establishing its own centres, churning out graduates in one skill or the other and empowering them to set up their own businesses, become self-reliant and employers of labour.
Here, Anambra State Business Agency (ASBA) is on hand to dole out money on loan to these youths to start their businesses. Its role in the recent ban on motorcycle operators is clear. A total of 1000 shuttle buses were provided for onward sale to these okada operators to keep them in business and they purchased them with government soft loan.
This set of people has never had it so good. Again, the unprecedented revolution seen in the agric sector has opened the doors of this sector to both local and foreign investors. The sector alone now employs thousands of these youths. You see them working in fully mechanized farms like Coscharis, Ekcel, Lynden, Josan Farms etc.
This sector is now re-focused towards commercialization. There is transition from subsistence to mechanized agriculture. Food security is assured in the state and the government has made adequate arrangement for all season farming.
Even in the area of investment and industrialization, employment opportunities abound to the benefit of the youth. Through another government agency, ANSIPPA, investors are attracted to the state.
Many industries have sprung up. More are coming. This One Stop Service Centre works assiduously in assisting and guiding investors to ensure that the process of doing business is efficiently managed and that it’s made easy for them.
Businessmen and women, at Onitsha, particularly at Upper Iweka and Nnewi, even the Capital city, Awka, have no more fear of hoodlums, robbers, kidnappers, even pick-pockets. The Obiano administration’s unique security blueprint provides airtight security.
In fact, here, I must commend the governor for his vision and mission in the area of security. We know for a long time, Onitsha has been a security nightmare. No one wishes to be in Upper Iweka after 6pm because of the fear of armed robbers. But today, people in Onitsha no longer live in fear because of the government security initiative.
Now, the experience of brutal criminalities and unrestrained chaos that ruled Onitsha and environs is a nightmare. We’ll not forget the rural dwellers, those in the village, in the hard–to-reach areas. They feel the positive impact of this administration in security. Vigilante men are everywhere.
In infrastructure, the Community Choose Your Project Initiative is at work, and the First Lady’s CAFÉ is working in almost all nooks and crannies of the state, touching lives of the aged, the widows, the sick, physically challenged, in fact, the down trodden and she just finished touring every community – reaching the needy and giving them succor. Transport fare is highly subsidized by TRACAS.
In addition, civil servants have buses provided for them, buses that take them to and from their places of work. What I’m explaining here is why you saw jubilant crowd on the anniversary celebration day, why governor’s lodge was filled to capacity.
It’s worthy of note that during such anniversaries in one of the states, workers refused to notice it. One of the states labour union executive said that civil servants would not participate with empty stomach. In this very state, workers are owed nine months arrears of salary. But in Anambra, workers turned out with joy because the Alert Governor is ready for them.
Anambra State is blessed with the Obiano administration. Tell me in this country another First Lady that tours her communities, visiting the needy, poor, helpless, giving them relief as seen in Anambra. I thank God that this man got his second tenure; but we must pray fervently. Four years will soon pass and may God never put our state in the hands of vampires, marauders, who call themselves leaders but’ll waste the land.
To assure that we’re blessed in Anambra, the governor is not seeking votes for a third term. What stops him from just jetting abroad even with his family relaxing there most of the time? This isn’t the case; rather he and his wife are busy working even more seriously, harder as if this is their first tenure. He is hard working.
He’s selfless and the citizenry are feeling the positive impact. Little wonder, he was massively voted for during last governorship election, with 21/21, showing that he defeated his opponents even in their own constituencies.
On next year’s anniversary and future of the state
Look, next year’s anniversary will be equally eventful and auspicious. This administration has set up a committee to fashion out ways, work out modalities to encourage workers the more, to further increase their salaries. I think the administration is waiting for the federal government to come out with its salary review before it takes action.
More projects are being executed vigorously – roads, airport and erosion projects. I strongly believe there’ll be no lull in developmental activities or in the provision for the welfare of the people. Anambra State citizenry have witnessed transformational leadership.
The government has rebuilt the moral fabrics of the state. Everyone now embraces peace, sanity and orderliness, and no more violence. It has opened up a new vista of hope, especially for the youths who can engage themselves in various fields of endeavour and has recorded major milestones in all sectors, particularly in agriculture, industrialization and security.
In the education sector, its strategies are second to none. Governor Obiano has taken the lead in grassroots development and we’ve seen great improvement in the state’s ranking in the ease of doing business.
The breakthroughs seen in his administration are a clear mark of excellence in governance, providing quality infrastructure, opening fresh windows of employment, redirecting the state’s natural resources to priority areas with key players in the private sector to boost agriculture, industry and investment through public private partnership.
We saw the handover of schools to the original church owners to restore sanity, academic excellence and moral values. His legendry step in reviving long forgotten tourist centres is noticed by all. In fact, I extol his enterprising spirit and ingenuity, his four wheels of development anchored on agric, commerce, industrialization and Oil and gas. He has shown that the welfare of the workforce is at the front burner of his government.
These giant strides by the governor have continued to rekindle his administration’s think home philosophy in the citizens of the state in the diaspora. Permit me to state here that these outstanding achievements of the governor are an attestation to his hard work, integrity, diligence and articulate leadership.
So far, the governor has registered bold in-print on the lives of ndi Anambra. He has shown dynamism, sagacity, mission and vision, and commitment in his leadership. You remember in the last guber election on Nov. 18, 2017, he secured more votes than all the other 36 contestants put together by polling 234,071 votes (55.43%) according to INEC figure.
This sends clear message about his ability to lead. Let me say here that a critical evaluation of Governor Obiano’s unique approach to governance, especially from the standpoint of ideology clearly underscores his sense of direction, charisma and passion for the wellbeing of the masses, particularly the lowly and less privileged.
I’ll describe him as an established leader whose closeness to the people and effective delivery of dividends of democracy in spite of the nation’s economy challenges have endeared him to the many.
His exemplary leadership qualities are responsible for the joy shown by the citizenry and the unprecedented endorsements for his pattern of governance from every stratum of the society.
This government’s administration is innovative and the governor’s fingerprints of innovation can be felt in all the nooks and crannies of the state.
In fact, Governor Obiano stands tall in the delivery of democracy dividends but it’s just not the ground-breaking nature of his achievements that stands him out among his contemporaries, rather the tenacity, passion and unquenchable thirst for excellence and above all, his total commitment to the welfare and security of ndi Anambra.
As I congratulate the governor, the government and the good people of the state on this anniversary, I call on all to support the administration to see that the current high tempo of development in Anambra does not slow down.
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