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How Anambra got this far

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IN HER 30 years of existence, Anambra State has continued to move from strength to strength, achieving tremendous feats in all facets of life – social, political and economic. Despite many disadvantages and challenges the state has faced, she continues to lead the pack with a large margin while consistently setting new pedigrees/standards. 

  Today as Prof. Charles Soludo takes over the mantle of the state’s leadership (an administration bearing hope and so much promise), it is dutiful and a  responsibility to expound on ideas and philosophies of great men and women who have had the grace to be at the helm of affairs and steered the wheel of governance against the many winds of turmoil since 1991.

With tenacity, zeal, courage and exceptional skills, these seasoned administrators and men of valour have institutionaliseda complete and comprehensive developmental roadmap from nothingness for the state. It is also imperative that we know where we are coming from, the many sacrifices, the present statusquo in order to create and achieve a better future.

When Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife took the mantle of leadership as the first civilian governor of the state, he met the state formless and void –with the exception of Onitsha, which had maintained a bit of her colonial designs. The newly created Anambra State had no master plan, road network, institution and infrastructural presence.

 To tackle these deficits and the intending population explosion due to influx of civil servants and other citizens, the  Ezeife administration instituted “Think Home Philosophy”, an ideology calling on all well meaning Anambrarians to return and invest in the potentials and the future of their state.

Serial entrepreneur and CEO, Lake Petroleum, Chief  Mbaji on recounting why himself and a host of his peers returned home to invest despite the future looking gloomy then, said: “Ezeife’s administration was honest and transparent as there was no much backlog in the day to day bureaucratic administration despite shortage of staff, resources and institution buildings.

 Also, most of us saw the then housing deficits not just as business potential, rather as an avenue to serve the people and provide their needs”. However, Ezeife’s administration ended abruptly as they were listed from power through a military intervention.

The return to democracy in 1999 after a six-year hiatus ushered in Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s administration which introduced Joint Action in Development (JAD), a partnership between the state, local government and communities to provide water supply, rural road network and electrification. However, the fun fair surrounding the new political development did not last long as the state suffered from a social security menace. This challenge was heavily present in Onitsha, the state’s commercial centre. Murder, kidnapping and armed robbery were the order of the day as the likes of Chiejina and Derico were kings of the city

Mbadinuju moved swiftly to tackle the menace head on by instituting Bakassi Boys, a community-based outfit with an orthodox approach. Despite their approach, insecurity and its enablers were wiped out while Mbadinuju’s community policing model has been replicated not just in Anambra State but across the country as community vigilante service.

  Assuming office in May 2003, Dr. Chris Ngige knew how important good and efficient road network is to the acceleration of urban and rural development. However, his altercation with the then federal government which led to limited funds and resources from the centre brought to his foresight the need to expand the state’s economic and revenue generation frontiers. Results today show that one can travel from one end of the state to another in a short time frame, stress-free and while other states wait on the commonly-shared federal allocation to deliver policies and execute projects, such backlog is non-existent in Anambra.

  With Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) as the driving force of his administration, Peter Obi set out to develop all sectors of the state simultaneously – health, education, economy, finance, amongst others. However, his best wins were in education and financial prudence. Through deliberate efforts, his administration restored quality and the best results of the basic levels of education in the state as financial wastefulness of public funds was abated.

  In his eight-year rule as governor, Dr. Willie Obiano endeared himself to the people through a transparent, yet efficient model of governance. Through his blueprint, Four Pillars of Development and 12 Enablers, Obiano created a social polity where anyone and everyone could get in touch with good governance.

Today, not only has the health sector improved tremendously in service delivery, Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises continue to grow In the state despite inflation and economic turbulence across the nation. In infrastructure, Obiano has left legacy projects – Anambra International airport, International Conference Centre and the FIFA-standard Awka Sports Stadium. However, Obiano’s best gift to Anambra is his mandate to hand over power to the best candidate – Prof Charles Soludo, this has come into fruition today.

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