SPECIAL FEATURE: Obiano’s 6 years of purposeful leadership

Gov Willie Obiano and his legacies

By James Eze
As Governor Willie Obiano marks his six years in office today, one thing that comes to mind is the saying that ‘morning shows the day.’ Obiano’s First Hundred Days in Office clearly showed him as a surefooted leader, who had diagnosed the leadership illness of his people and had came to work armed with the right prescription for the ailment.

Unlike what we see these days, Obiano did not waste time in settling down to business. He knew too well, the inherent capacity of Ndi Anambra to transform their environment. 

However, unlike his predecessors, he was quick to figure out that Ndi Anambra would not take ownership of their state if it was left broken and unsafe. He knew that the silent pain had always been the unfettered audacity of criminals across the state…and that until the audacity was hacked away, no meaningful development would take place in the state. 

It was clear as daylight to him that a society, which went to sleep at 4pm for fear of the underworld was a society in chains and one in which real progress would hesitate to take roots. So, he wasted no time to tighten the noose on security and that has served as a precursor to Anambra’s hopeful narrative of change in the past six years.

To be sure, anyone who is familiar with South East Nigeria would know that the Igbo are passionately attached to their homeland. The Igbo wanderlust and intense attachment to the homeland is captured in the saying that “obialu ije nwe una” and “eje ana bu isi ije.” But nowhere is this emotional attachment as strong as in Anambra State. 

That is why Anambra usually turns into a big carnival at Christmas. Ndi Anambra will always find their way home for Christmas. Sadly, many people could not do that for years because Anambra was unsafe. Only people who could afford a large battalion of battle-ready policemen visited home to sprite their aging parents away to safer places. 

But Obiano has changed that and restored the legendary Anambra pride. Indeed, Governor Obiano did more than restore the people’s pride. He actually re-imagined the New Anambra and worked hard to bring his dream to pass. 

Anyone who is aware that Obiano’s stated mission in government is “to create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to wealth creating opportunities” will not dispute that the governor has excelled in his mission. Anambra is socially stable and business-friendly today. 

In the past six years, Anambra has attracted a large number of indigenous entrepreneurs and some foreigners to the local business space. In much the same way, Obiano has continued to expand the frontiers of wealth creation in Anambra State right from his first week in office. 

The Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) has produced a large number of enthusiastic entrepreneurs and won the governor a Presidential Award for the support of SMEs. The ease of doing business has been boosted in a considerable way by the creation of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA). 

Similarly, the recent hosting of the Nigeria Police Games was a big Christmas gift to small businesses in the state. So many restaurants, bars, hotels, supermarkets in Awka have confirmed that their businesses experienced a high patronage during the games. That is the business of government; to create a fertile ground for dreams to bloom.

Governor Obiano has also left a big imprint on Awka the state capital. Yes. The glorified local government headquarters has now become the fastest growing state capital in Nigeria. Apart from Lagos State, no other Nigerian city has Awka’s trademark fancy bridges that have become the norm in major cities in the world today. 

Again, like Lagos, Awka has evolved a 24-hour lifestyle and a booming night economy that might not be on the scale of Lekki Phase 1 at the moment but stands a chance of outpacing it in the near future. 

Indeed, Obiano has successfully recreated the social environment of Anambra State and unleashed a social harmony that was once a wishful thought among the people. A visit to Anambra State on any given weekend is enough to get a fair idea of the emerging social circuit.

And who can deny that in six years, Governor Obiano has made Anambra State a reference point in Agriculture? Who can deny the immense economic value of Coscharis Rice Farms and Mills or the popular Anambra Rice or the massive impact of JOSAN Rice Farms and Mills? Which worker in Anambra State is not happy with the fact that Anambra is the first state to pay the new Minimum Wage? Which black African is not proud of the five school girls from Regina Pacis Secondary School Onitsha that defeated China, US, Spain, Turkey and Uzbekistan to win the Gold Medal in Technovation at the Silicon Valley? And who can dispute that all these great achievements were recorded under Governor Willie Obiano.

And as the once colourless Alex Ekwueme Square transforms into a showpiece sporting complex, as the magnificent International Conference Centre begins to impose itself on the Awka landscape and finally; as the Anambra International Cargo Airport begins to emerge from its foundations at Umueri, it is increasingly becoming impossible to deny that Governor Willie Obiano has changed Anambra State in six years.

Akpokuedike Aguleri bu nnukwu mmanwu!

Congratulations on your 6th year in office!
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