In assessing Anambra State’s growth at 30, MAUREEN IKPEAMA and ADAEZE ONUORAH-AROH got the opinions of some non indigenes from Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi States. Excerpts:
Anambra has proven to be leader in all fields of life – Ogazimora, Ex-Commissioner, Enugu State
IT IS enchanting news to break that Anambra State has now clocked 30 years. It started like an enterprise not really fancied. The doubts led to confusion, anger and frustration when the posts of public administration were contemplated.
It has been an interesting experience all these years, from military administrations to democracy or civil rule. To a large extent, Anambra has proven to be a leader in all fields of life, but it has shown an unparalleled content for men of industry and commerce. Thus, it has been a point of pride to all, be she/he from Anambra or anywhere in Nigeria, because the excellence achieved as more of it ahead, cannot but be a source of inspiration to all. Many may not have noticed, but Anambra has become the Poster State in Nigeria tending to the ultimate social organisation in self governance. It is about the only state that has, almost without the input of government, erected a brand new industrial city, which has set the example and opened eyes of all in the possibility of opportunities scartered across the nation. In erecting and consolidating Nnewi, it is now accepted that indeed, self help in industry, commerce, trade, academia, etc, can be the ultimate group and individual behaviours that will lift Nigeria from the flop.
Again, citizens of Anambra have shown that indeed, these opportunities can be created where factors of comparative advantage are now discoverd to be everywhere and actually provide for healthier environment. Today, there are emerging impressive industrial and business clusters in virtually every part of Anambra, which shall remove the stress of rural-to-urban surge and spread individual opportunities.
It is true that many Nigerians have yet to appreciate the flash points of tension as they relate to stranger statutes of persons who arrive at locations and excel. These have caused some social dislocations, often tending to cause loss of wealth as they disrupt the flow of commerce and industry.
This is where the government of Anambra State and indeed others will have to step in to step up rural development. If Anambra industrialists and businessmen can seize the bull by the horns and move businesses into the erstwhile uncharted rural areas, they must be aided as such has shown from the Nnewi and other rural clusters that the future of social stability in Nigeria lies in deescalating urban population growth by compelling opportunities to abound elsewhere.
The second field yet to be covered is for the Government of Anambra State to understand, as others should, that the youth population has come into what Franklin Roosevelt called “bulge stage” of society. This means an expansion in number, manners, training and skills that are capable of running wild if not harnessed and channelled by government in a deliberate bid to avoid social implosion. The only way to stave off this threatening explosion is diffuse infrastructure development. This is expected to translate into creating the fields or environment of operation for all who can try with own idea. I wonder who doesn’t appreciate the necessity of real intercity roads, not provincial treacherous alleys. Who does not appreciate the necessity for good and functional health institutions, decent/potable public water supply, etc?
Frankly, Nigeria has almost come to that stage where it does not have the luxury of ignoring the youths any more. They are ever larger in number, confused over the indices of life as the ballooning global social upheavals force young men and women to the tipping point. Their world is already going beyond the comprehension of the erstwhile fields of expertise of men and women of past substances. New careers emerge in their hundreds by the day. Many of these are not even regulated and cannot be comprehensively regulated. The attempts to regulate have caused tensions and what looks like youth revolt.
Many social science scholars have tried, in comprehending this development, to suggest ways. But in reality they cannot, because these are continuously evolving novel ways of doing things, quite above the understanding of older men and women.
The future lies in finding a way to get the youths involved in political leadership. Somebody can claim that young persons are involved in governance in Anambra State, nay Nigeria, but that is missing point. The critical point in this is trying to understand the youths in formation and implementation of public policies.
Many of the older elements are actually irritated by youth departure from the norm. But this is only healtheir if they just express bewilderment and join to lend a few steps in guidance rather than rebuke. Indeed, all over the world, the ways of doing things have largely altered and ours cannot be different. Or do we wish to sink? I doubt.
Another area is that older persons and indeed people involved with policy formulation and implementation must understand that we are dealing with a highly impatient but vital bracket of society. The worst case will unveil where this new society begins to consider the old war horses as impediment to their dreams.
The Igbo is largely a vast confederation of republican polities, which as etched in culture, memory and tradition, is unimpeachable by any measures. Consequently, the ever “i can do” attitude can never be erased. Relatedly, measures seen to obstruct this spirit will amount to social confrontation, the horror of which can explode as did in the unfortunate #EndSARS protests which gave expression in some young men in a state to physically attack a tarmac (main road) just to show their anger.
The Igbo and indeed, Anambra, are not actually like the others who may, on prompting of elders, accept to wait for the future. Prof Ben Nwabueze, in his 1985 Ahiajoku Lecture, captures it thus, “the Igbo has no retraining Emperor or a certain imposing god that blunts the sharp edge of men to battle nature.”
Such is our lot, and if properly guided, will always lead to glorious material and social success in life.
(Igbonekwu Ogazimora is an Enugu-born legal practitioner, former Commissioner for Information in Enugu State and former Chief Press Secretary to the former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaraoke Nnamani)
Anambra’s done well…portends more – Egotenwa
ANAMBRA State at 30 years has done well and is doing well. The infrastructural development in the state is commendable. There is electricity supply in every community. Anambra State is well developed. At 30 years, Anambra state has done well but more needed to be done in the area of security. Culltism in Obosi is a nightmare to the people. It should be curbed so that people at the area should have peace and sleep with their eyes closed.
On the area of infrastructure, the state government should work at the Idemmili River Junction to bring to an end accidents that occur there. The state government should do something to stop accidents The flyover that was under construction but abandoned at the Idemmili River Junction should be completed, so that accidents would stop.
Our town, Obosi is well developed. Educationally, Anambra State has done well and had won so many laurels both nationaly and internationally. Though there are some schools in our community that need more facilities. The state government should do something about it and provide necessary facilities in all the schools that lack facilities so that education in the affected schools would improve. Health wise, we have good hospitals. Onitsha is okay. The road infrastructure is good.
(Stella Egotenwa is labour unionist from Obosi married to Abia State)
Anambra’s blessed – Udoko
ANAMBRA State is blessed. It has good leaders ever since its inception. At 30 years, Anambra State is lucky. It is a place that everybody would like to be. It is a place that anybody elected as a governor would like to be. There is a competition of leadership in Anambra.
Anambra State is developed. Individuals are richer than the state government and they participate in self-development of the state. Security wise, Anambra State has done well. Before, you dare not pass through Upper Iweka in the evening. Bad boys were there pick pocketing. Governor Willie Obiano controlled crime in the state. His administration fought kidnappers and gazzetted a law on Kidnapping.
If Anambra state government should sanitise Upper Iweka, I will score Anambra State high. Anambra had good leaders. Senator Chris Ngige did well.He built network of roads. Peter Obi came and did well. I will score him 95 per cent. He improved the economy of the state. He built roads, schools, health institutions. He built a five – star hotel. Governor Obiano built an airport under one year. It has started operation.
He constructed flyovers in Awka and a lot of infrastructural development is going on in the state. On Agriculture, Anambra State Government has done well. There are Anambra rice and other agricultural produce in the state. At 30 years, Anambra state is well developed, better than it’s counterparts. Anambra state has grown better than most states that are older than it.
I would want Anambra State Government to establish its own industry. I mean a state government owned industry. In the state, it’s individuals that built most industries. The state government should build its own industries and create more jobs for the people. I also want the state government to build the Agulu Road that leads to Orlu and other parts of Imo State.
In all, Anambra has really grown at 30 years. I congratulate the government and people of the state and wish them well. I pray that the next governor will continue with the good works past and serving governors had done. I wish them a peaceful and successful governorship election. Thank you
(John Udoko is Civil Servant from Enugu State)
Anambra: Number one state in Nigeria – Onyike, Ex-Commissioner, Ebonyi State
AS ANAMBRA State marks its 30 years anniversary, what can you say about the state?
Anambra State is by all standards a model state. It has stood the test of time as the number one state in Nigeria in all aspects of human endeavour. Anambra leads the rest in human capital development. They have made it in industry, commerce, science and technological innovation. Anambra is certainly a success story.
In terms of achievement, what can you say about the level of development in Anambra?
In terms of development, Anambra is emerging as the industrial and commercial hub of the West African sub-region. While Aba is getting more and more rotten, Onitsha has been cleaned up since and it is playing a central role in the emergence of the Onitsha-Nnewi-Awka industrial hub.
How would do you compare Anambra withd other states in terms of agriculture, security?
There is no basis of comparison between Imo and Anambra States in any sphere of development, be it agriculture or security. There have been no serious governments in Imo State. Unfortunately, the politics of Imo State was hijacked by 419 elements. Imo State may have had the potential for good agricultural products from Ohaji-Egbema-Oguta axis, but the political leadership to turn things around has been lacking. Even in the area of insecurity, Imo State became the headquarters of “unknown gunmen”.
What’s your take on the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra?
The forthcoming governorship election will enthrone a new leader with the capacity to drive the new vision in Anambra development and help to steer Igbo nationalism into its proper direction.
What is your advice to governorship aspirants and voters in Anambra ahead of the November 6 poll?
My advice to the political class and voters in Anambra State is that they should exercise s sense of decorum, discipline and decency before, during and after the November 6 election. Anambra is not Imo State and can never have the same scenario which played out in Imo during the 2019 general elections. It was the crisis in Imo that led to the ugly phenomenon of Supreme Court imposed ruler.
(Abia Onyike is the former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi State)
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