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Obiano boosts investors’ confidence in Anambra – Mbaji

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Governor Willie Obiano’s administration is recognised both in Nigeria and other Africa-Union (AU) member-countries owing to its innovations in governance and giant strides spanning all sectors of the economy. In this discourse, a business mogul and Chairman/CEO, Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief C. U. Mbaji, popularly known as Ide Oha of Achina, itemises those very unique achievements that accorded the governor myriads of honours and place him above his contemporaries. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts:

ON THAT preliminary arrangements that made way  for quality service delivery solid foundation is key to the success of any enterprise. Governor Willie Obiano set up his plan,  a master piece before he embarked on the journey to the Government House.

Initially, he established various committees with men and women of proved integrity, responsible people from all the three senatorial districts of the state and got to the business of governance.

These committees got their mandates. Some were to deal on what I will call proactive measures. Some got the responsibility of setting up the administration’s four pillars  of development and their enablers (Four Pillars of Anambra State Wheel of Development), of course anchored on zero tolerance for crime and criminalities, and in pursuit of good governance.

The committee members were carefully chosen men and women of integrity, professionals in their various fields, and the governor got set for business with his lieutenants and with the understanding that the labour force constitutes the engine room of any government.

  Of course it’s at this stage that this administration introduced those unique innovations in governance with the aim of ensuring the welfare of the people, free business, free flow of traffic and reduction of unemployment rate to the barest minimum.

Immediately, at the onset of the administration, the Anambra State Business Agency (ASBA) was set up, charged with the responsibility of granting soft repayable loans to small businesses (Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the results here are clear – small scale enterprises, welding, cottage industries, transport, industries.

In this very circumstance, youths receive loans and purchased tricycles (keke), small buses (shuttle) and they’re seen plying on the roads,  busy, earning a living, and free from restiveness. The same applies to the agric sector (agriculture, farming and agro based industries).

With loans secured from ASBA, the youth engage in profitable mechanised farming and agro-based industries. Planting of cassava, ugu, onugbu, tomatoes, yams in large scale, including fishery and poultry as well as domestication of efi Igbo.

That Anambra is the first state in Nigeria to export agro products is no more news. They earn scarce foreign exchange here and this boosts the economy in its own little way. Such farms are numerous to be exhausted – Cosharis, Excell, Joseph Agro, Redemption Agro Farm, etc etc.

  Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) is another great innovation introduced at the early stage of this administration. This agency, One Stop Service Centre, has the enormous responsibilities of guiding, directing and protecting investors and other businesses to succeed even under harsh economic situations as we have now.

They are aided by ANSIPPA, directed on how to apply scare resources to priority areas for sustainability and profit. The Anambra Transport Management Agency (ATMA) takes care of orderliness on our roads while the Operation Cleaned and Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade) ensures that cleanliness is maintained and rules for easy flow of traffic is followed on our roads.

All these innovations contribute a lot to good governance. We’ve also Community Choose Your Project Initiative, which is another unique innovation introduced at the middle of this administration. Here, communities, about 182 of them now in Anambra State, Choose the projects of their choices and receive N20,000,000 from the government for their execution.

Government supervises these projects to ensure they’re executed according to specifications. Many town halls, hospitals, cottage industries were built with money derived from this programme and all these add value to good governance.

Of course, no one’ll forget the sound, water light and efficient security network established by this government that has brought peace, calm and stability in virtually all the nooks and crannies of Anambra.

Although, owing to the present circumstance we see ourselves in Nigeria today, few security breaches have been recorded here and there in the state, yet Anambra remains the safest state in the country when one examines thoroughly the horrible security situation witnessed in other states of the federation.

It’s the Proactive Measures Committee set up by Governor Obiano at the onset of his administration that has credit for this airtight security outfit. You know this involves all cadres of law enforcement agencies – the Navy, Military, Airforce, Civil Defence, Police, the Vigilante.

As we’re having this discourse, am sure government is on top of any security challenge in the state as our governor has said. This kind of unprecedented development is seen in virtually all sectors of the economy, in health, education, infrastructure, even in the transport sector etc.

  Taking the health sector, a lot has been done. Just recently, a woman delivered triplets at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka, and she paid no dime because she enrolled in the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), established by the Obiano administration. She pays N1000 monthly and this covers all her medical expenses.

This benefit is accruable to any onye Anambra who registers with ASHIA. Which good governance is better than this?  In like manner, there has been massive development in other areas of the health sector. Good health is crucial to life. Again, you can see the effort of the state government to contain  the COVID-19, and  an oxygen plant has been set up by this administration to facilitate treatment of those infected.

  Innovation in this health sector took cognizance of the COVID-19 pandemic when Governor Obiano commissioned WHO standard COVID- 19 Protective Care Centre at the Umueri General Hospital. This is adequate innovative solutions to the pandemic which results in low infections rates and rapid economic rebound.

  Of course, improvement in education in Anambra State remains unprecedented. Policies implemented in this key sector by government have yielded positive results. In this very sector, Anambra remains tops in Nigeria for eight consecutive years.

 At the Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley, in the United States, our students from the Regina Pacis Secondary School, Onitsha, six female students, defeated all students from over 90 countries to come first. Queen of the Rosary College (ORC), Onitsha, won this year’s Global Price Award at the Diamond Challenge Global Summit.

They had previously defeated other nine teams from various schools in Nigeria at the national competition to represent Nigeria for this Global Award at Delaware, U.S.A. In previous discourses, I’ve talked of our student, Ego Maduaforkwa, from Uzoakwa, Ihiala, who broke JAMB’s 42-year-old record with a score of 365 out of 400.

Anambra student, Nwobi David scored the second highest result in the 2020 JAMB   and Obiajulu Okeke, also from Anambra, came tops at the 2019 Young Nigerian Science and Technology Presidential Award Presentation, and Uwakwe Nelson got second position in last year’s science school competition.

There are many more records broken by Umuakwukwu Anambra, too numerous to be exhausted here. However, mention must be made of special feats achieved by Anambra State students in the internal and external exams like in NECO,  NABTEB, WAEC, GCE, and national and international debates and quiz competitions.

  In fiscal feats, Anambra was ranked last year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as one of the two most fiscally sustainable states in Nigeria, and the National Bureau of Statistics’ data places Anambra as the state with the lowest unemployement level in Nigeria. All these achievements are consequences of Obiano administration’s positive economic policies, and here, the magic wand of those innovations I spoke about like ANSIPPA, ASBA and even Anambra Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA), and ATMA and OCHA comes into play.

I’m talking of good governance and why governor Obiano is adjudged the best state chief executive in this context. All these accolades, honours just didn’t come from the blues. The giant strides of Obiano administration in this important sector laid the solid foundation which propelled our students to greater heights.

  Same successes are recorded in the other sectors like environment, commerce and industry, tourism and equally important, are the ease of doing business, infrastructure and roads. That Governor Obiano is recognised thus far and remarked for good governance is a no mean feat. it’s this good governance that attracted to him those plethora of honours/awards like Zik Leadership Award, Sun Governor Award, Daily Times Man of the Year Award for Social Harmony and Good Governance from the Vatican, etc.

Even his wife, the first lady supplements her husband’s robust efforts with her Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a non-governmental Organisation (NGO), whose charity work is felt in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Surely, it is this NGO that accorded her the Sun Newspaper Award of “Most Supportive First Lady of the year 2020”.

  Infact certain exceptional performances attracted these awards to governor Obiano.

On Obiano’s special style of leadership

  Right from the onset, this government has sustained efforts towards protection of lives and properties through its model, unprecedented Joint Security Network (JSN). As said earlier, I believe our state remains the safest in Nigeria when compared to the security situation in other 35 states and Abuja. Under the present state of massive unemployment, history will never forget our governor for exhibiting great act of magnanimity in employing 150 disabled persons. The governor has remained a model in the South East if not in the entire country for infrastructural development and prompt workers’ payment.

  To my understanding, Governor Obiano’s government is a people-oriented government which approaches the issue of governance with the decency of statesmanship. The governor possesses that right combination of knowledge, depth and experience to lead successfully, protecting lives and property, seeing to the welfare of the people and creating windows of investment opportunities. This administration boosts investment confidence in Anambra State.

  The administration’s prudent management of the state IGR has witnessed meaningful progress in growth rate and driven the state to the next level of social economic growth.  In fact, Governor Obiano has given a new definition to leadership. Of note is this administration’s feat in the area of security.

The dizzying pace with which it was able to turn around Anambra State from a heaven of violence and criminality to a situation where the state is adjudged as the safest in Nigeria is amazing to behold. Even more salutary is this administration’s ability to ensure that the ingredients of good governance are firmly in place in formidable institutions. Here in the state, we’ve some sets of policies which are products of courageous and progressive decisions that have further institutionalised the concept of good governance necessary to run an integrated agenda that work for the common good. This government has been forthcoming in promoting basic human rights while also creating and enforcing basic laws and implementing policies and programmes needed to deliver the much needed democracy dividends to ndi Anambra.

  Today in Anambra, many can attest to the fact that a new and rising paradigm has taken root. Indeed, if there’s anything this administration is known and appreciated for, it is that it’s dreaming big dreams, sometimes far beyond what its resources can accommodate. Various policies and programmes being implemented across Anambra State come with great benefits to the people who are thumping applauses in appreciation.

Getting at the twilight of his administration, one sees more legacy projects – the 10,000 sitter capacity hall, the International Stadium, the International Cargo Airport and many more. With all these clearly seen on ground, it’s not surprising that Governor Obiano is adjudged the overall best in good governance.

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