Obiano, Reliving Zik’s Legacy


Oliver Okpara

The recent award of Zik’s leadership prize for good governance on the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, is another testimony to his superlative performance in government.

The governor of Anambra State had hitherto been a beneficiary of such awards and honours from various institutions, organisations and bodies.

These recognitions reflect so much on the way and manner Governor Obiano has taken the arduous task of governance and leadership to another level in Anambra State.

Before his election, Governor Obiano had stood out and distinguished himself as a frontline banker, a world-class management and financial expert, and a distinguished First-class economist. His intimidating pedigree in financial management and banking was a ready asset to be applied in tackling the plethora of economic and management issues in Anambra State.

Hitherto, Anambra State had never had it so good in vacuum dearth of committed leaders and patriots in government. Most of the past leaders in the state lacked vision, focus and commitment. Some of them were neck-deep in vain glory and unnecessary ego trips which did virtually nothing to move the state forward. White elephant projects dotted round the state. Some of the leaders were only interested in playing politics of survival. In the result, real governance took a back seat.

This was the scenario before Governor Obiano came on board. He came with a vision, a mission and the wisdom to transform Anambra State, to effect service delivery, to reflect the economy, to move the state forward in every sense of the word and to create dividends of democracy.

It is no longer news today that in Nigeria most states are literary failed states. Some of them cannot meet the needs of the people. They cannot pay salaries or fulfill other obligations constitutionally imposed upon them. Notwithstanding the fact that revenue coming to the state has noose-dived considerably, Governor Obiano has maximised the use of available resources.

His husbandry of scarce resources is particularly excellent. It can safely be said that Governor Obiano was the man who saw tomorrow. With the eagle eyes of an economic expert, he foresaw the impending drop in the price of crude oil and the danger it would portend for the whole economy in Nigeria.

In line with this vision, he prepared for tomorrow. He had a ready plan on how to cushion the harsh effect of dwindling revenue. Today, the result is there for all to see. Whilst his counterparts are unable to pay workers’ salaries, Obiano is increasing salaries in Anambra State and embarking on gigantic projects which impact the lives of the people.

The thrust of the Obiano administration is founded on the four pillars of development including agriculture, industrialisation, trade and commerce, and oil and gas. These pillars are supported by twelve enablers. The enablers give vent to the pillars or else the pillars would crumble like a pack of cards.

These enablers include critical aspects of governance such as security, education, healthcare, power generation, finance, social and civil infrastructure, water, sanitation, environment, hospitality and tourism, transportation, water and sanitation and of course, youth and sports.

It is not an overstatement to say that the identification of these critical ingredients or bullets of governance by Governor Obiano is highly cerebral and his in-depth conversion of these ideals to reality is the reason why Obiano is being honoured, celebrated and recognised within and outside Nigeria.

Drawing from his wealth of experience in banking, auditing, Governor Obiano desired to completely industrialise Anambra State. In this wise, he created an enabling environment for Nigerians and foreigners to come to the state to site industries, create jobs and by extension, create wealth.

The governments’ blue-print for creation of jobs in Anambra State is analysing. In agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, real estate and hospitality and the like, direct and indirect jobs being created. The job-creation plan also applies to other sectors of the economy.

On the whole, forty-two thousand, five hundred direct jobs and two hundred thousand indirect jobs are on the pipeline. About five hundred youths have been trained in various skills and crafts at the technology incubation centre in Nnewi. In the agricultural training centre Mgbakwu, hundreds of youths have received training.

Governor Obiano’s investment in agriculture is matchless. He has attracted $150 million from Coaschans farm project situated at Anaku. The sum of $50m was attracted from Novtec Farms Limited in Ndikeli Onwu, $160m from Joseph Agro Limited Rice Project in Omoru and $220m from Ekcel Farms, Tomato Production Farm in Omasi. There is also the $50m from Soughai/Delfarms Integrated Organic Farm project in Igbariam.

Other sort of investments include grains and silos with $40 million in storage facilities, Iynden farms with the $61m poultry farm in Igbariam, and Tricity Integrated farms with $11.4m ultra modern abattoir in Awka.

In the management sector, there is total success to report. Over $140 million investment has been attracted to the manufacturing sector. The Obiano administration also plans to have a fully developed oil and gas sector by 2018. Other sectors such as education, health and environmental have been given priority.

In transportation, government has put in place the modern mass transit scheme which takes charge of the three major cities in the state: two hundred brand new taxi and fifty luxury buses were purchased. Modern bus stops and terminals have been put in place in many parts of the state. In marine transportation, government has purchased twenty-four speed boats, water ambulance and a gun brat for the Nigerian Navy.

The Obiano administration compassed forty-seven solar-powered bore holes which will serve twenty-seven communities in Aguata and Anambra East Local Government Areas. Transformers are being installed in various locations in the state. Workers’ welfare is of utmost importance in the reckoning of government. Hence, in 2015, government increased workers salaries by fifteen per cent. Arrears of salaries over some category of workers and arrears of pension owed retired local government staff were cleared by the Obiano government.

It will be impossible to capture all that Governor Obiano has done in Anambra State in this short space. How be it, the governor’s achievements speak for themselves and they are there for everybody to see. As the lawyers would put it, it is res ipsa loquitur.

No wonder, the government has been mandated with series of awards bordering on good governance, good conduct and excellent performance.
Governor Obiano is, no doubt, a divine gift to the people of Anambra who had thirsted and lingered for good and charismatic leadership for long. In a short period of two years, Governor Obiano has surpassed all expectations. In just two years, Akpokuodike has done what some of his detractors could not do in eight years.

Surely, there is a silver lining in the cloud in Anambra State under Governor Obiano. All hands should, therefore, be on deck and all and sundry should give their unalloyed support to his wonderful performance so that he can transform Anambra and make it the dream state it has always yearned to be.

Furthermore, as 2017 beckons in Anambra State, there is no vacancy. All the pretenders to the office of governor and their principals should save their breadth. Anambrarians are rooting for Obiano because of what he has done and will continue to do. This winning governor will win again. You do not change a winning team.

To the wonderful governor of Anambra State, congratulations on this award. More grease to your elbows. The work has just started. It has been done for two years with six more years to go. Obiano is the man of the moment.