BY CHIEDU UCHE OKOYE
Anambra State’s history is chequered given its turbulent political past. Soon, the state will commemorate its 26th anniversary, having been created in 1991. Anambra state, which is carved out of the old Anambra State, is a land of great men and women, who contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria. Little wonder, the state has a slogan which befittingly captures its riches, potentialities, and human and material resources.
Is Anambra State not the home state of the Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a pan-Africanist and freedom fighter; Chinua Achebe, a raconteur of global acclaim; Chief Emeka Anyaoku, a former commonwealth secretary general; Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, the former African Sprints Queen of the tracks; Chief Osita Osadebe, ace high life musician; Father Iwene Tansi, who’s in the running for sainthood; and others who I won’t list here for the reason of space, and the thematic concern of this piece.
But how a state that is richly endowed with material and human resources slipped into the control of conscienceless, selfish, and knavish political god fathers in the recent past has continued to gobsmack and irritate me. Who doesn’t remember Mr.Chris Uba and Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju’s fierce and bitter fight for the control of Anambra’s financial resources? Then, Dr.Mbadinuju was the governor of Anambra state. And Dr. Chris Ngige, a former governor of the state, was abducted on the behest of his political god father, Mr. Chris Uba. Consequently, those battles for the soul of the state and the control of the state’s financial resources hobbled the state and stalled its economic and technological development.
But, it’s Mr. Peter Obi’s coming into office via electoral litigation that changed the political dynamics and landscape of the state. The godfather syndrome as well as phenomenon is not the chief factor that determines who will occupy the highest elective post in the state, now. And, Mr. Peter Obi, whose legendary and superlative leadership of the state cannot be disputed, had instituted and laid a template for the political leadership of the state. During his stay in office as the Anambra State governor, he revamped the educational and health sectors in the state, embarked on the infrastructural development of the state, and improved the welfare of the state’s civil servants tremendously. His leadership scorecard for eight years was splendid, commendable, and impressive.
His successor in office, Chief Willie Obiano, has not let us down regarding giving the Anambra people inclusive, visionary, purposeful, and qualitative political leadership. Having prepared adequately for the leadership of the state, he hit the ground running soon after he took the oath of office as the state governor. Being acquainted with the state’s diverse and multifarious problems, he produced a pragmatic blueprint that would guide him in the leadership of the state.
Knowing that an anarchic situation is a disincentive to development in any state or country, he convened a security summit where he unveiled his plans and strategies on how to restore order and enthrone unity in the state. Happily, today, armed robbers, kidnappers, hoodlums, and pickpockets in the state had relocated to elsewhere. The security of life and properties is now guaranteed in the state. So, expectedly, investors and industries, who had fled the state, have returned to it to set up their businesses and build industries.
And, the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano has boosted the practice of agriculture in the state with his implementation of practical and innovative agricultural policies. Today, Anambra is a net exporter of vegetables to African and European countries. And Anambra’s variety of rice is preferred to other locally produced varieties of rice in the country. The revenue, which the state generates from selling its agricultural produce, augments the financial handouts its receives from the centre.
So, not surprisingly, Governor Willie Obiano has executed capital projects, which benefit the generality of Anambra people. He has constructed new roads and repaired bad ones in the state, not being unaware that good roads open up a state for repaid industrialization and development. And he built flyover bridges in the Awka Capital territory, which ease traffic congestion on the Awka section of the Enugu-Onitsha Express-way during the rush hours. Now, people commuting to work in the rush hours are not trapped in the crawling traffic for long hours, there.
Again, Governor Willie Obiano has continued to lend unquantifiable support and help to educational institutions in the state. Having successfully surmounted academic hurdles in the various schools, which he attended, he knows that schools shape the personalities of youths and equip them with skills and knowledge with which they’ll navigate their ways in our competitive world. This has informed his resolve and decision to re-position the educational sector in the state. So, he donates computers, school buses, instructional materials, and classrooms to them. And teachers’ salaries and other entitlements are paid with promptitude, now. Those who teach in rural areas are rewarded for teaching there. His kind and avuncular disposition to the plight of teachers and issues of education in the state has endeared him to teachers. As a result, the state has not fared badly in national examinations; it has continued to post excellent results in NECO and SSCE. Today, students from schools in the state do excel in global educational competitions like science quiz, debating competition, and others, too.
Now, the teachers are rooting for his re-election as the Anambra State governor. But it is not only the teachers that are solidly behind him in his quest to win a second term on office. Other civil servants are singing his praise for his good and unrivalled deeds. It is a common knowledge that Chief Willie Obiano has earned the moniker, ‘the alert governor’ for paying civil servants in the state their salaries on the 25th day of each month.
In addition to paying their salaries promptly, he approves periodic training for deserving workers in order that they can enhance their skills, knowledge, and performance. And he donated mass transit buses for them, which transport them to the Anambra State civil Service Secretariat from their different places of abode. More so, during the yuletide, he gives them bags of rice for the celebration of the Christmas. And civil servants who distinguished themselves in the performance of their duties are rewarded handsomely by the governor on the civil service day.
So, based on his performance so far in office, Governor Willie Obiano is deserving of winning the forthcoming Anambra state governorship election. Hasn’t he acquitted himself well in office? The answer is a categorical yes. The numberless awards on good political leadership, which he has won so far, are testaments to his excellent and laudable leadership performance. So, I urge the people of Anambra who, I believe, are politically sophisticated and enlightened to cast their votes for Chief Willie Obiano in the next Anambra governorship election. Anambra ought to be led by an able political leader, who possesses probity and leadership qualities.
Okoye, who is the public relations officer in the Office of the Head of Service, Anambra state civil service, is on the staff of the Anambra State Ministry of Information and Communication Strategy ,Awka.