By EZEKWELU KINGSLEY
THE people of Anambra have continued to count their joy and blessings ever since Chief Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano became Governor of the state. This is their response to the reality that the state has taken new path of rapid and impressive rate of development within 18 months of visionary, result oriented, creative, sophisticated, focused and humanitarian leadership.
Within few months of assuming office, the governor began massive development projects in all nooks and crannies of the state. An accountant by profession, Obiano has lived up to the billings expected of a prudent manager of both human and material resources.
The governor brought in his vast experience over the years in the private sector to bear in Anambra State. Understanding the imperative of a secured state, as security is a prime need of his people, Obiano swung into action to ensure security of lives and property and has turned Anambra from most crime prevailing state to most secured, peaceful and safest state in Nigeria. He has shown that he is truly a genius public administrator. The governor has shown commitment to the reality that no state or country can boast of growth and development when the security of lives and property of its inhabitants are under threat of jeopardy. His commitment to eradicating the dread spate of kidnaping and armed robbery incidents, and restoring normalcy in the state, is unprecedented.
Governor Obiano, who advocates that security of lives and property is the bedrock of governance, invested huge state resources to enhance the capacity of security operatives in combating crime in the state. He provided the much-needed logistics to the security agencies in the state with the mandate to chase criminals far away from the state. Today, Anambra State is adjudged the most secured state in Nigeria, thanks to the doggedness and sincerity of purpose as exhibited by the amiable and indefatigable governor of the state. The success story recorded in security birthed the “Willie is Working” mantra.
The governor’s vision for the state is to make the state the first choice investment destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities and this is gradually becoming a reality as the state now boasts of influx of investors in diverse sectors of the economy. All these are happening in just a space of one and half years.
The governor is driving the state with a powerful economic blueprint, which he terms the four pillars of development, and these include Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade and commerce; oil and gas. The fifth pillar which focuses on the state becoming the logistic hub of Nigeria and West Africa, is still incubating. These pillars are propelled by the enablers which include Agriculture, Education, health, the environment, infrastructure, commerce and industry, housing and urban development, security and social welfare, tourism, sports and youth development, administration and civil service and enabling laws.
In the agricultural sector, Anambra State is already enjoying the massive input and commitment of his administration. The agricultural sector of the state has witnessed an enormous revamp and attention from the state government since the inception of Obiano’s administration. Not only have effective policies been made to improve on the sector, the governor ensured that such policies are effectively implemented, leaving not just volumes of promises but a mountain of fulfillment as well in the agricultural sector.
Obiano’s projection in agriculture is to be among the To three agricultural states in Nigeria. The efforts in this regard have yielded remarkable results. In a bid to provide agricultural products in quantity, enough for consumption and export, the Governor attracted a number of investors, both indigenous and foreign, to invest in the evergreen agricultural sector of the state.
So far, his administration has attracted over $660 million investments to this sector. Some of these investments are: the $150 million investment in rice production and processing in Anaku, Ayamelum Local Government Area (LGA) by Coscharis Group; over $160 million investment in Omor Rice Mill and 5,000 hectares farmland for rice cultivation and processing by Joseph Agro Limited of the Aiteo Group; the $220 million Tomato and Cassava production and processing farms in Omasi Community, Ayamelum LoGA, by Ekcel Farms Limited. Others include the $40 million investment by Grains and Silos Limited to construct an ultra-modern grains storage facility to support our thriving brewery industry in Onitsha and other parts of south-eastern Nigeria; the $50 million agreement with Delfarm and Songhai Regional Centre to transform the farm settlements of Igbariam into another Songhai agricultural marvel of Nigeria.
It is worthy of note that Coscharis Farms has given the state the first harvest in mechanized agriculture in Anambra State. With this feat, the state government’s drive to become a leader in agriculture has gone beyond mere statement of facts as it would soon be exporting rice to other states in the country.
The education sector is flourishing greatly in the state as the state has maintained the first position in the WAEC and NECO examinations. The governor, in his support for the growth of education even in the rural areas, provided speeding boats for teachers in the riverine areas. He has also gone to the extent of adding incentives for them and to teachers who take core subjects like English, Mathematics and the sciences. With his support in the sector, the state won the national inter-basic school debate championship back-to-back (in 2014 at Abuja and 2015 at Abeokuta). It is also on record that Mrs. Rose Nkemdilim of the Federal Government College0 (FGC), Onitsha, from Anambra State, emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Maltina Teacher-of-the-Year. The governor with respect to these successes in education was recently crowned “The Pillar of Educational Development in Nigeria” by the President’s School Debate Nigeria (PSDN). Recently, Anambra State students in institutions of higher learning passed a vote of confidence on Obiano in solidarity to his giant strides in education.
The health sector is also feeling the vibes of the ever-relentless contributions of Obiano in the state. Recently, the governor commissioned the newly renovated and newly re-equipped Orumba General Hospital, Ajali which came to be through public private partnership programme of the state government with the RISE clinic USA aimed at re-engineering and management of hospitals as well as the formation of the health alliance in the state. The pilot phase of the programme has four hospitals for re-engineering and they include RISE clinic Adazi-Enu, RISE clinic Onitsha, Orumba General Hospital and Ossomala General Hospital. Under the robust efforts of Obiano’s administration, the Anambra School of Nursing has now been accredited and producing midwives and nurses. Also, under Obiano’s immense commitments in the health sector, the first set of medical graduates from the state university who hitherto had stayed up to 10 years in the university owing to accreditation issues will be graduating this November.
In environment, the Obiano administration, believing that a clean state is a wealthy state, recently launched the state “Daily Sweepers” at Upper Iweka, Onitsha. About 300 Anambrarians were engaged and charged to ensure that the state becomes one of the cleanest states in the country. The government provided buses, motorized carts, mowers, sweepers, receptacles, etc for the smooth take off.
From the foregoing, it is glaring and conspicuous that Obiano is, indeed, delivering the dividends of democracy to Ndi Anambra. The capital city of Awka, which has over the years been neglected by past administrations, is now wearing new looks as the governor has erected three flyovers which on completion will transform the state capital to what it should be. The flyovers are expected to be completed and commissioned in January 2016.
Obiano also extended his development foresight to roads in various council areas in the state. As a means of saving the dilapidating roads and ensuring safety of roads within the state, the governor recently launched the “Zero Pothole Campaign”. The campaign is aimed at fixing the potholes on roads in all the local government council areas in the state. As a means of creating employment, 150 young men and women in the state trained on road, patching of potholes. Sequel to this and in recognition of the governor’s resolve in developing the state through quality roads and infrastructural development, the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) conferred on him as the “The Most Highway Engineering-Friendly Governor in Nigeria”.
The workers in the state are not left out as they have continued to sing praises of Obiano who is the only governor that pays workers before the 27th of every month. This singular act showcases a governor with human heart who understands the importance of workers in the state. The governor has already began the construction of over 12000 housing units for workers in the state to increase productivity.
What more can be said of the people’s governor, a man who has dreams and thoughts of welfare for Anambra daily. It is, therefore, not surprising that one of the biggest print industries in Nigeria deemed it fit to recognize and reward our own governor. Not only that he is among the awardees, this is the maiden edition of the category. He has only achieved this magnitude within 18 months, what could be said of the remaining years of his first tenure? Ndi Anambra should watch and see as Obiano rolls out his magic wands in the remaining years of his first tenure. Indeed, this great performer deserves this honor because Willie is Willingly Working and the people are happy.
Ezekwelu Kingsley is S.A. on Media to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State