IT was a very arresting sight to behold as Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State paced about under the sweltering afternoon sun.
The all-action Governor could not be held back by the scorching sun as he took personal charge of going from stand to stand inspecting creative craft works being exhibited by the students of the Government Technical Colleges in Anambra State.
On display were prototype vehicles running on water, hydro-powered generators, red bricks, blocks, assorted robots, modern cooking utensils, sports gadgets, diverse confectioneries, ultra-modern furniture, building accessories etc.
The splendid event was the 2018 Anambra State Technical and Creativity Day organised by the Anambra State Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy in alliance with the Ministry of Basic Education.
The day marked the grand finale following a series of competitions in the fields of Technovation, script writing, acting, music and dancing.
The visibly satisfied Governor Obiano announced his plan to establish the Anambra Innovation Centre to be domiciled in any of the universities in Anambra State.
The proposed centre will provide the much-cherished opportunity for smart tech-heads with bright ideas to explore their innate potentials.
The inspiration for Governor Obiano to initiate the Anambra Innovation Centre came from his recent visit to the United States where he undertook a working tour of the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Boston, Massachusetts.
A real estate wonder, the Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC) is popularly hailed as the “community of entrepreneurs.” Founded in 1999 by the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the CIC houses such preeminent companies as Google, Maven Technologies that became a Yahoo subsidiary, Great Point Energy, HubSpot etc.
It is Governor Obiano’s plan that the Anambra Innovation Centre will replicate the feats of the CIC in this modern day that the service industries have overtaken the manufacturing sector.
The Anambra State government will, in the next fortnight, sponsor seven persons to the United States to embark on a study of the Cambridge Innovation Centre model.
Among the seven persons designated for the study tour to America are the two youngest commissioners in the Anambra State cabinet, to wit, Mark Okoye, who is the 31-year-old Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development; and also,
the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali, who is equally aged 31. Government and non-government officials will make the trip to ensure a profound replication of the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Anambra State.
Governor Obiano had, from the very beginning, given pride of place to technical education in Anambra State by making it entirely tuition free. He added one technical school to the 11 he met when he came to power.
He has ensured that all the courses of the 12 technical colleges were now accredited as opposed to the unaccredited status he met. The 7,500 technical students in Anambra State have been duly armed to conquer as was on display at the 2018 Technical and Creativity Day in Awka.
The youthful Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali, stressed on the occasion:
“The integration of the creative economy in my Ministry has opened up a new dimension in government’s efforts to effectively address the challenges facing the youths.”
He revealed that the ministry was “collaborating with NGOs to fully realise the mandate of discovering, developing and deploying talents in youths.”
For the resourceful Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof Kate Omenugha, the collaboration between her ministry and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy “is in keeping with the state government’s vision of availing Anambra children education that is globally competitive.”
She reiterated that through the governor’s intervention, 26 trade subjects have received full accreditation in the technical colleges in the State.
The creativity dimension of the day featured drama, dance and music. Governor Obiano made the crucial point that he was determined to put in place a creative economy not unlike California in the United States. It would entail marrying entertainment to technology, as in Hollywood matching up with Silicon Valley.
Unlike in the Caribbean where music is mostly seen merely entertainment sans management, Anambra State will embrace the Californian model by using astute management and technology to reap the many dividends inherent in the entertainment industry.
Governor Obiano presented cheques to the winners of the various categories of contests. Miss Christabelle Ezenekwe, aged 14, the winner in the Acting Category, received the sum of N500,000. She was full of thanks to Governor Obiano for the encouragement and support that will help her further her education and acting career.
The inauguration of the Anambra Young Innovators, a group of youths with ideas on how to provide solutions through technology, was a major highlight of the day. The Anambra Youths Art Group was equally unveiled.
Anambra State is, indeed, poised on a great drive toward leading the charge in technology and creativity with Governor Obiano on the driving seat.