By Emeka Ozumba
The governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano is barely two years in office but he has never left anyone in doubt about his commitment to open and transparent government driven by performance with a focus on reinventing and surpassing efforts of previous administrations. He set-out to build enduring institutions by streamlining processes, cutting costs and adopting global best practices as basic standards for state initiatives. Little wonder the pervasive buzzword within the governors’ core team is: ‘doing more with less.’
Indeed, those who feared that the Continuity mantra of the Obiano administration may be a ploy for “business as usual” have been pleasantly surprised at the pace of transformation across the state with programmes geared towards achieving his vision to make Anambra the first choice investment destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities.
As a one-time big player in the private sector where performance measurement is a constant, one is not surprised that Obiano immediately adopted a system of government that is accountable to Ndi Anambra with the conviction that transparency and accountability is the cornerstone of an open society—helping to ensure fairness, economic equality, and civic participation. Governor Obiano had no doubt that good governance is key to achieving his dream of building a peaceful, prosperous Anambra where the dignity of labour and industry would once more reign supreme.
Early in the life of his administration, he set the tone of inclusive governance with the first Stakeholders’ Summit where he interacted with a bi-partisan audience which cut across socio-political, religious and business strata in Anambra state.
It was in the same vein that the governor hosted the crème de la crème of the state to another interactive meeting at the Governor’s Lodge Amawbia over the weekend and came away with a resounding applause for his eighteen months scorecard.
Akpokuodike did not disappoint, he seized the moment with an impassioned speech titled My Dream of A new Anambra: The Journey So far; and masterfully outlined the giant strides of his administration. He aptly set the tone of the well-attended event when he stated “I have always believed that democracy and accountability are like Siamese twins – you cannot have one and leave out the other.
I have always believed that accountability is the essence of democracy; it provides democracy the moral weight to exist as the best model of governance known to mankind.”
To his eternal credit and the dismay of mischief mongers, Obiano applauded the eight-year contributions of Mr. Peter Obi as governor under the APGA banner. He called on the audience to applaud the structures set-up by the previous administration and in the same vein defined clearly to the appreciation of all, the super-structure he is building to sustain the legacy of achievements.
Reeling out a surfeit of achievements in just eighteen months, Governor Obiano captured his feat in the area of security of lives and property when he stated: “we he inherited a state unsure of itself and lived in fear of kidnappers, violent armed robbers, brutal drug dealers and several child-trafficking syndicates.
” He recalled that “the dread of kidnappers chased many illustrious citizens away and forced most families to conduct traditional marriages away from their ancestral homes.” Today the story is different as investors throng the state in response to the new found enabling environment and attractive investment climate in Anambra.
Following implementation of his Four Pillars of Economic Development – Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade & Commerce, Oil and Gas and twelve Enablers; the state has so far garnered over $2.4billion USD in investments. For instance, agriculture has netted investments worth over $ 660m. Industrialization sector has $140million investments even as the state targets the top-three position nationwide with sustained push to become a major hub of industrial activities; Trade & Commerce attracted $350 million with the wholesale shopping complex in Ogbunike in Oyi LGA, not to mention other ongoing mall constructions in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi. Above all, the state Oil and Gas sector boosts of over one billion barrels and 30 trillion cubic feet of oil and gas which will be fully developed by 2018.
That Coched Farms, Anaku, one of the flagship agricultural investments recently harvested the first 20 hectares of rice is a fitting testimonial to the viability of the investments and positive prospects for the state. This perhaps explains Obiano’s prompt and confident answer to questions from the audience and optimism about the future Anambra. He asserted that his team was able to forecast the trends stressing that any leader who is unable to take stock of the present and project into the future may be unable to make reasonable impact on the lives of the people he is leading. He assured that his government will keep his promises to Ndi Anambra and called for concerted efforts by all to ensure that taxes and rates are paid into the right government accounts.
Above all, the Stakeholder event which lasted into the night attracted a former Vice President, two former governors, former Ministers, eight former Senators, members of House of Representatives, Six former Secretaries to the State government, prominent religious and royal fathers as well as captains of industries just to mention a few. That these excited prominent Anambra sons and daughters were seen stepping out late to their homes with a renewed spring in their strides is a testament to a secure Anambra under Obiano.
Ndi Anambra have every right to beat their chests that in the face of dwindling national economy their state stands ahead of the pack due to prudent management of its lean resources. Now that Governor Obiano has assured that a fifth economic Pillar is being developed to “leverage our state’s natural advantages of being a gateway to the South East and South South and strengthen our position as one of the most established trading centres in West Africa.”
Let the applause continue!
Ozumba writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State