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Anambra’s uncommon man of principles



CALL him an ideologue, an existentialist, or you can actually call him a pragmatist. The bottom line is that at the core of the revolution silently rediscovering Anambra State since Saturday, March 17, 2014 are values, values harnessed by ethos, ethos hatched on principles. Here is the nucleus of Obianomics in modern political economy. And it has not only delivered but indeed transformed Anambra State to a cynosure of other states in Nigeria – and beyond.

  Fortunately or unfortunately, Gov. Obiano assumed Anambra reins at a time only a few would like to do so. There was apathy everywhere. There was an egregious gap in communication. Not a few saw government as lies. Public morale was plummeting to its lowest ebb in the state’s annals with total lack of trust ensuing on all fronts. All these were corralling from series of disappointment and betrayal of confidence invested on successive administrations by the public since May 29, 1999.

  But right from the moment he stepped forward to take the oath of office, the governor took the bull by its horn. He spoke into the void he inherited in good governance that was buffeting Anambra ship of state at sea. He promised to launch Anambra on higher leadership parametres from where it may take another round of vicious governments well over 50 years to shoot the state down. He reached out to core values which he whetted on sound principles that rebranded them before bringing his treasure trove of a skilled salesman to bear and – in a matter of finger snapping – this redirection caught up with popular zeitgeist. And he kept faith to his promises, driven by global best practices incubated on yet on principles. Who will then blame sophisticated ndi Anambra for consistently keeping faith with Gov. Obiano, who has consistently kept faith with principles, at every turn of the journey to enduring legacies in its sixth-year anniversary?

  Where in their inaugural speeches his processors mounted rhetorical high horses at best or polemical war dogs at worst, Gov. Obiano spoke a terse language that instantly connected generally. He brought down governance blueprint to the level of ordinary folks, as Plato brought philosophy down to his men in ancient Greece, by simply identifying four critical areas – in (i) aggressive mechanised agriculture (ii) oil and gas (iii) trade and commerce and (iv) industrialisation – where the state has comparative cost advantage which he termed the Four Pillars of Development. They will be monitored or collocated by Eight Enablers.  And he has religiously kept faith with these templates, never losing focus of the goals by himself or allowing detractors to distract him.

  For instance, both measure and mode of paying public workers’ salaries and emolument had been a constant flash point in Anambra State in which civil organised labour and consecutive administrations were perennially at daggers drawn. But recognising commensurate remuneration as incentive to productivity, Gov. Obiano promised to invest in workers’ welfare to boost confidence and make public sector corruption unattractive. Keeping faith to this promise, he stepped up minimum wage to N18,000 (at first then N30,0000) and followed it up with prompt payment of salaries as early as 26th day of every month – to earn himself a fond sobriquet of “alert” governor among Anambra workers. These thread besides other feel-good policies – like distribution of free Xmas rice to everyone that has anything to do with government.

  Ndi Anambra have every good reason for gravitating towards Obianomics in its sixth year. This because another critical issue, in job creation and empowerment, particularly among youths, to which Gov. Obiano’s processors paid lip service, he kept his word to transform the subsector into a strategic co-pilot of the economy by test-running cutting edge policies from time to time until the governor tracked down youth unemployment to barest minimum under flagship initiatives such as “one-youth-one-skill” programme.

Today, Anambra youths rank among the most brilliant and enterprising in digipreneur planning and development cueing from Gov. Obaino’s window on new smart business sense and artificial intelligence. Anambra youths are no longer remembered only when there is need by government to “hit” its opponents or vice versa.  Only a man of principle keeps his word.

Now, to another index by which Gov. Obiano will be judged long after he had taken his bow: security.  At his inauguration he promised what none really thought was possible to achieve.

  “In the area of security, Anambra will be different under my watch. Not only shall we redraft operational manuals of her security apparatchik to ensure quick response in lightning speed. We shall also re-orient our people to see that every citizen has a role to play in security of lives and properties in our communities,” he said.

  The governor has not only delivered the unthinkable, immediately rolling up his sleeves to live up to his promise of ridding Anambra State of criminals who were hitherto having a field day, from Onitsha to Awka, Ekwulobia to Nnewi, in banking halls, markets, highways, neighbourhoods, name them. Only a man of principle keeps faith with his promises.

  Again, the governor promised to put Anambra on the map of agricultural revolution through strategic investments that would make the state first port of call for both local and international investors. Today, Anambra rice does not only go round many homes but it combines with ugu and bitterleaf vegetables to earn foreign exchange for the state.  Cosharis Farms at Anaku, Amichi Rice Mill and Lindal Poultry Farms at Igbariam and several other go-getter businesses sprang up and remained in operation. Only a man of principles lives up to his word.

  Similarly, not a few saw Awka as “glorified local government headquarter” warbling in an ill-fitting guise of state capital. Gov. Obiano promised to turn Awka into mega city befitting Anambra capital.

  “Fellow Anambrarians, your clamour for a Capital City that fully reflects the essence of our people will be addressed by my administration. We shall re-design and remodel Awka to meet the structural and aesthetic requirements of a 21st Century city that we can all be proud of,” he pledged.

  Six years down the line, a drive around Awka whether in daytime or a night, shows once-upon-a-time dilapidated roads reconstructed amid gleaming world class bridges designed to track traffic gridlocks. Operation light up Anambra has also set Awka aglow at nights, returning night life and creating round-the-clock business opportunities in the hospitality industry. This bears eloquent testimony to how fast an economy can get its acts right when square pegs are put in square holes. Only a man of principles remembers his promises. And, there are still so much more of promises kept than space will allow. Only a man of principles performs as much. Little wonder, Anambra keeps faith with Obianomics all the way.

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