THESE are really good times for the people and government of Anambra State. Let us take a cursory look at three major developments which took place in just the past week.
On Saturday, October 5, Anambra State alone won four of the 24 National Awards available at the 2019 Teachers Day in a competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in conjunction with The Presidency and the Nigeria Union of Teachers for schools and individuals which excel in primary and post primary education.
Many states didn’t receive any, and none of the few which received got more than a prize.
Of the five cars that President Muhammadu Buhari donated for the competition, Anambra took two. Anambra State has been dominating in this competition in the last three years.
While the latest educational exploits were making headlines news, it was revealed that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, has approved the creation of a division of the appellate court in Awka, the Anambra State capital.
Unlike in other states where the federal authorities built such courts, Anambra State has provided the structures, including the court rooms, administrative quarters and five residences for the judges.
“We cannot continue to wait for the federal authorities,” explained Gov. Willie Obiano for the action, “because 70 per cent of the cases at the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal originate from our state.
“We wear the shoes, and so know where they pinch. We can save our people the time, financial resources and drudgery as well as security risks involved in driving regularly in large numbers on the bad Enugu-Onitsha Road.
“Our providing the buildings is comparable to our reconstruction and rehabilitation of federal roads in our state for the benefit of our people.”
Perhaps the most dramatic of the major events in Anambra State in the last one week was the launch of the second phase of Operation Kpochapu (or Operation Wipe Out Crime), which saw the deployment of super smart surveillance cameras from Industrial Video and Control in Boston, Massachusetts.
This is the first time the sophisticated gadgets, used to detect and capture the two radicalised brothers who detonated deadly bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, have been deployed in Africa.
Gov. Obiano calls the systematic use of the state-of-the-art communication gadgets as the corner stone of the second phase of Operation Kpochapu the Smart Security City Project.
What took place in Awka last Friday was no ordinary launch of advanced security electronics but an unveiling of security armada.
“I have never seen anything like this in my decades of service in the Nigeria Police Force!,” screamed Deputy Commissioner of Police Frank Mbah, Head of the police relations team at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
There were 101 vehicles, many of them from Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company in Nnewi, the only indigenous auto manufacturing firm in West Africa.
In addition, there were hi-tech 79 motorcycles. Each is fully equipped with the latest security devices.
The hi-tech vehicles are branded accordingly, and have been distributed to the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, State Security Service, National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Correctional (formerly Prison) Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and even the Federal Road Safety Commission.
The surveillance cameras work efficiently at night because they have infra red light. Each covers a space as big as four Olympic-size football fields. There is also an advanced drone to be operated in conjunction with the Nigerian Air Force.
Not to be forgotten is the presence of three big Dura Patcher trucks from the United States to be used for not only security but for fixing potholes and craters.
They will be deployed to the roads and streets of Anambra State once the rains are over, thus enabling Ndi Anambra to drive around smoothly during Christmas when millions of them living outside the state return home to be with their relatives, friends, in laws and others.
Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police who, on behalf of the various services, took delivery of the Anambra State security armada, said that he was expecting a large number of vehicles and sophisticated equipment when he was coming to the state, but certainly not on the scale of what he saw at Ekwueme Square.
Other governments, he added, should learn from the revolutionary steps that Anambra State has taken to protect life and property in the state.
Gov. Obiano has thrown a big challenge to his counterparts across the country and even the federal government because all federal agencies that deal with security, law and order should go full digital in their operations, the way Anambra State has.
Air Vice Marshall Ben Chiobi, an accomplished Nigerian Air Force pilot, made a profound statement when he observed that another governor could have pocketed the money spent on the acquisition of these assets and the training of the officers to run them and label it security expenditure which he would not account for.
This is where Anambra makes the difference,” he said. AVM Chiobi, mni, is Head, Anambra State Integrated Security Surveillance, the platform that coordinates the various service personnel and advanced equipment.
Many of the finest professionals and entrepreneurs from Anambra State, like the rest of Ndi Anambra, identify proudly with the Anambra Smart Security project.
They include Sen. Onyeabo Obi; Allen Onyema, the popular chairman of Air Peace; Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, Chairman, Nestoil; Stella Okoli, founder of Emzor Pharmaceuticals;
Others are Cosmas Ibeto of Ibeto Group; Agunze Chibu Ikokwu, former president of Aka Ikenga; Obiora Chukwuka, chairman of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals; Chika Okafor of Chikason Group; Ben Okoye, chairman of Brass Fertilizer and Ifeanyi Obiora, chairman of Obi King Group.
The rest are Simeon Eyisi, whose firm holds the Samsung franchise in Nigeria; Raymond Obieri, founding chairman of Intercontinental Bank; Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors; Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese and a number of National Assembly members.
“These are just good times for our state,” observes Edwin Enwegbara, an engineer and founder of Eauxwell Group, echoing the popular words of the American band known as Chic, which Bill Clinton made his slogan when he was campaigning for reelection in 1997 as America’s president.
From agriculture to industrialisation to security to education and to many other sectors, Anambra State has become a most competitive state. Both the people and their government are living up to their reputation as the Light of the Nation.
Adinuba is Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment, Anambra State
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