The year 2014 Christmas in Anambra remains indelible in the memory of Ndi Anambra and many Nigerians who pass through the eastern gateway across the iconic Niger Bridge. Actually many attested that the experience left them transfixed in awe when they saw the transformation of the once dreaded Upper Iweka axis with beautiful Christmas decorations amidst pomp and ceremony.
The decoration which was the first of its kind and bore testimony to the new Anambra of Governor Willie Obiano’s dream was done to beautify strategic junctions by corporate bodies including financial institutions and firms as part of their corporate social responsibility. The sponsors who have since set up base in the state chose to beautify the state as an affirmation of their support for the governor’s feat of making Anambra safe and secure.
With the 2015 Christmas by the corner, more volunteers are already lining up to take-over and decorate strategic spots cross the state to reflect the gaiety and celebratory mood of the Christmas season in Anambra. The unsolicited gesture of support by corporate bodies and individuals is indeed a source of joy and a welcome development in a state which is fast witnessing both physical and psychological revival.
Even with the pervading economic gloom, Ndi Anambra are already expectant in anticipation of the season’s beautification to spice up their mood. Some commuters around Upper Iweka said they can’t wait to see the beautiful scenes again and enjoy the fire-works party. Chukwuma Ude, a trader at the Bridge Head market said that he is already gearing up for the Fire-works party haven missed last year’s episode because he doesn’t wish to be told the story this time around, while Johnson Nweke, said that he has in stock fire crackers and knock-out which he would sell to the revelers. On his part, Obed Nwofor, a native of Awka cannot wait to experience the beautification on the new fly-overs dotting the Awka landscape. “Who no like beta,” he queried? Now we are beginning to feel what it means to be the capital like other cities around the world.” He stated.
Within the government circle, there was initial hesitation fuelled by the governor’s policy of ‘doing more with less.’ But the flurry of requests by sponsors was said to have spurred the setting up of a committee to harness the sponsorships and ensure that there is an even spread of the Christmas décor beyond the major cities of Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha. In fact, communities and individuals are being encouraged to spice-up their environment with Christmas trees and lightings that reflect the occasion.
As another Christmas of fun, dance and revelry in Anambra approaches, indications are that many who missed last years’ experience are ready to join the party. Many families, relations and friends are gearing up to spend the holiday period in their communities and enjoy the peace of a crime free Christmas. However, it is important that Ndi Anambra and the visitors alike do not take for granted the peace and security which has made the state one of the safest destinations in Nigeria. People should be on the alert and report any potential criminality or infractions of the law, since eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
Okuta-oloibe writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State.