“Good Governance” which is one of the expectations of the Medium Development Goals(MDGs) and the extant Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), which measure the extent government meets the basic needs and aspirations of the governed which is the pith and marrow of governance, the world over.
In a speech which Governor Obiano delivered on his two and half years into his second tenure in office at an interactive session with Ndi Anambra at Abuja, he reinvented his government’s policy thrust in areas that would make the people to realise the essence of good governance. He said: “My team and I have been very busy with the challenge of moving our beloved state from the old to a whole new Anambra State.
“We are very resolute in our desire to build a prosperous state and leave a legacy of good governance for our people”.
Critical assessment and honest evaluation of his developmental trajectory laid bare his faithful adherence to his well-crafted vision and mission to leave tremendous impact on the weal and welfare of the people that yearn for accelerated socio-cultural and economic growth and development.
From the time the country secured political sovereignty in 1960, Ndi Igbo in general and Anambra State in particular have cultivated the values of self-help community development by founding primary and secondary schools having been enamoured by the educational and refined character of prominent Igbos like The Right Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Obiano could be said to be wary of being seen as a failure in a society which had been ahead of other states in the federation. Consequently, he took his time to articulate pragmatic governance philosophy and template and picked credible professionals and technocrats to help him drive his mission to actualise his vision to place Anambra State on the dizzy height in terms of meeting the developmental yearnings and aspirations of the people with high taste, as it were.
Pragmatically speaking, one cannot talk about socio-economic growth and development in real terms in Anambra State without a refined, intellectually articulated and well cut-out policies and programmes for creating wealth through the massive generation of employment opportunities to absorb the teeming unemployed vibrant youths roaming the streets in urban and semi-urban towns in the state.
He came up with the pragmatic vision of Anambra State being “First Choice Investment Destination and hub for industrialisation and commercial activities”. Consequently, he embarked on and crafted the annual budgets to make substantial appropriations for massive rural and urban road infrastructure. This remains the attraction of both local and foreign direct investments.
The strategy has paid great dividends because good roads will make investors to spend less on the purchase of fix capital like land for massive industrialisation. Agriculture ventures will key into value chain so that the price of will raise the standard living of the toiling and trudging farmers to lift them out of dungeon of poverty and penury.
Governor Willie Obiano was sounding pragmatic having gotten a clearer perception of the sophisticated entrepreneurial competitive mindset of Ndi Anambra who are on the qui vive to maximise government activated business opportunities to jumpstart the state’s economic activities of the state with a vision to reinventing their exalted business acumen that was superior to other ethnic groups in Nigeria before the Nigeria-Biafra war when he described Anambra State as “a socially stable, business-friendly environment that would attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth-creating opportunities”.
Obiano’s ‘fortuitous administration’ as it were [going by the fact that he really never conceptualised being at the helm of affairs of a somewhat ‘complex’ people] went down to brass tacks and creatively reconfigured the trajectory of the state’s economy to be the strongest economy in the country after Lagos State. He enthused: ‘ I want to build a strong and prosperous state, not from the riches that lie underneath the soil but essentially from the infinite possibilities that lie between our ears. It is clear that we want to challenge our people’s famous enterprising spirit by creating conducive environments that would enable their diverse talents find expression on home soil”.
Consequently in giving life to his well conceived and articulated “Vision and Mission Statements” he came up with “A concise Economic Blueprint, made up of The Four Pillars of Development; including Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade and Commerce and Oil and Gas. The four pillars are supported by twelve enablers, made up of; Security, Education, Health, Roads and Social Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, the Environment, Transport, Finance, Electricity, Women ans Children Welfare, Tourism, and Youth development and Entrepreneurship”.
“The Vision and Mission Statements coalesced into the four pillars of development and their twelve enablers. Ndi Anambra, these two components make up my social contract with my good people of Anambra State”.
Realistically speaking and of course going by the history of government the world over, political scientists had identified security as the ‘summon bonum’ of “social contract” whereby the society surrenders their corporate affairs to a constituted authority for protection of their lives and property. On this score the ebullient Governor being pointblank said: “I knew that my administration would not make its mark if we did find a way to tackle security. So, when I took the oath of office, I assured Ndi Anambra that under my watch, we would draft the operational manual of the entire security apparatchik of Anambra State to ensure a lightning-quick response. And that was exactly what we did. We launched Operation Kpochapu and organised an International Security Summit that attracted a top Israeli security expert, Moshe Keinan as the key facilitator.
“Then, we launched an all-out war against crime and criminality in the state, pulling down the warehouses where kidnappers kept their human cargoes and running them out of town. We were so clinical that we did not only detect and cut off their weapons supply lines but we also tracked a notorious kidnapper to Lagos and picked him up inside a South African bound aircraft. That sounded a loud warning to the underworld.
“We turned our efforts into a Regional Campaign when in August, last year; we successfully hosted a Regional Security Summit for the five South Eastern states and the Delta. We figured that Anambra would be safer if other surrounding states were safe enough. In December last year, we raised the game in our security campaign when we donated 25 Smart Cars to the Nigerian Police. These cars are Command & Control Centres with ultra-modern crime-bursting gadgets. We donated a Gunboat to the Nigerian Navy to ensure a regular patrol across the water channels and seal off all the routes used by criminals. In December last year, we launched an aerial surveillance with a Police Helicopter throughout the Yuletide Season. With this last effort, we made sure that Anambra was effectively covered on the ground, in the waters and in the skies”.
With the reconfiguration of the state’s security architecture, one can safely say that Anambra is one of the safest states in as much as there are pockets of hoodlums taking advantage of areas where security agents rarely cover adequately. It is safe to say that the import of Obiano’s modest achievement in security is that the state government has somehow won the ‘psychological’ war of rampant insecurity which the state was noted for.
Governor Obiano could be pragmatically perceived as a trailblazing administrator in terms of maximum security which remains the primary statutory and fundamental responsibility of government all over the world. The importance of devoting substantial budgetary allocations in the annual budgets to security has made Obiano to be ahead of his counterparts in other states of the federation. Hammering the essence of security for the people so as to maximize their entrepreneurial potentials, the governor who has installed lights in many flash-points of criminality in both the urban and semi-urban communities beat his chest saying “…our people now feel safe to move around the state at whatever time of day or night”.
As argued above, this writer want to reiterate the fact that good governance has to bend over backwards to creatively find ways to minimise the scourge of unemployment and under-employment. This is because full employment can bring down the incidence of anti-social problems namely violent robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, child stealing, raping and sundry social menace.
One of the great initiatives that have enriched the new narrative in Anambra so far is the formation of the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA). This is the ultimate one-stop investment boutique of Anambra State. On the Board of ANSIPPA are renowned investment bankers, business analysts, the Attorney General and the Commissioner for Lands. ANSIPPA has the mandate of attracting investments and fast-tracking the process of investing in Anambra State. The agency has so far attracted over $4.2bn investments to Anambra State. The last investment was sealed on Tuesday this week, with Zolt Energy Limited to build a 40 megawatts Embedded Power Generating Plant in Ogbaru. The beauty of this project is that all the power generated from it will be distributed mainly in Anambra State.
Effective road management and environmental cleanliness more especially in the metropolis, urban and semi-urban towns are adjoined germane and conducive to healthcare delivery and business activities. Governor Obiano came up with three landmark initiatives that have expanded the frontiers of business activities and social relationship in the state. With the establishment of Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade) and Anambra State Traffic Management Agency [ATMA] are pointers to good governance.
Another feather in Governor Obiano’s administrative paradigm for good governance ostensibly aimed at raising the living standard of the people in the hinterland and lessen their community development levies and donations is what one would describe as “a deft administrative initiative” called “Community Choose Your Projects”. It has become imperative for community based organisations to assist government in the provision of basic amenities and infrastructures especially in the hinterlands to uplift the living standard of the people. Socio-cultural organisations have contributed immensely to the economic empowerment of the people especially the vulnerable groups in the rural communities.
Last year witnessed a resurgence of socio-cultural formations like Orumba South Day, Orumba North Day, Awka North Day, Omambala Day, Nzuko Odimma Anaocha, Adazi Day celebration 2019, etc. The annual or bi-annual celebration of these socio-cultural formations witnessed merit awards, special recognitions, conferment of chieftaincy titles by the traditional rulers, launching of compendium, showcasing of modified cultural heritage in addition to debuting of new cultural dances and masquerades, all aimed at entertaining people and friends from all works of life.
Anambra State Government under the magnificent and populist-oriented political leadership of Chief Dr. Wilie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano has appreciated these social gatherings by attending them or sending the Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke. Government goes the extra mile to make promises to uplift the socio-economic welfare of the people which are fulfilled. Also the special recognitions, merit awards, chieftaincy titles etc. bestowed on people who have made immense contributions like giving scholarships to indigent students, rehabilitation of intra-village roads, provision of bore-holes for potable water supply, financial empowerment of widows, orphans and the vulnerable segment of the communities, serve as inspiration to upcoming well-to-do youngsters to key into the humanitarian services to lift people out of socio-economic dungeon and change the face of the rural settings.
It is interesting to observe that socio-cultural formations in Anambra state have gone far to cement the bond of relationship among the villages in the communities and ancestral clans for mutual benefits.
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