ON significance of the award
This award is of great significance and of great importance, coming from the Papacy; from no less a personality, an international figure than the Head of the Catholic Christendom, Pope-Francis II. Never in the history of our country right from independence in 1960, through all administrations, both military and the present civilian administration to date, had a state chief executive got this honour. And the honour itself, for ‘Good Governance and Social Harmony’ is equally significant.
Governor Obiano’s humane approach to governance is remarkable. His administration has the interest of the masses at heart, hence security and welfare of the people is at the centre of his government. His liquidation of pensions and gratuities of staff of the State Water Corporation and Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), as well as National Light Newspapers is exemplary.
Hundreds of staff of the two media houses had lived on since 1991 when Anambra State was created to 2017 without receiving their pensions and gratuities. Most of them have died out of hardship. Chris Ngige’s administration was confronted with this problem. So was the Peter Obi Government. But it was only the present regime, the Obiano administration that tackled the problem head on and solved it finally. Only God knows what good the liquidation of these arrears did for these staff and the families of the deceased among them.
Since these debts were liquidated, staff of these organizations, particularly those of the two media houses have come back to life again and the two media houses, the ABS and the National Light Newspapers have bounced back, working assiduously to perform their broadcasting and publishing roles creditably. Their staffs have gotten a sense of belonging.
The liquidation of arrears of pensions and gratuity of workers of the aforementioned organizations has cleared a huge dust that has covered the state radio, television and newspaper organizations for 27 years. With this, other states have seen the need and importance to settle such debts and pay arrears when accruable. This settlement is an important aspect of humane approach to governance that considers the citizenry, their welfare, and one that believes in the principle of equity, justice and fairness.
Also, wife of the governor, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, since she inaugurated her pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), has been working assiduously, caring for the need of the less privileged, the down trodden, the aged, the widows, the motherless; empowering them and building houses for them, especially the old widows. This pet project has offered the cleft lip patients free surgery and empowered their mothers. The project has been providing toilet facilities to various markets in the state.
Another important aspect of human approach to governance of this administration is the establishment at Nteje of the centre for the mentally deranged by the governor’s wife under the CAFÉ project. These sets of people are looked after and rehabilitated. Those of them roaming the streets are apprehended and sent to this rehabilitation home.
The last governorship election is another case in point where Governor Obiano has displayed a high sense of maturity and decency in handling the election which he won overwhelmingly.
There were no petitions, no skirmishes, no tribunals. Even the lost governorship aspirants congratulated the winner, Obiano. Two of them even attended his swearing in ceremony for his second tenure. In fact, the election was the most peaceful and credible in the history of the country. And up till today, it has been a reference point in Nigeria.
Today, our state is on the threshold of emerging an economically viable state fully recognized in the comity of states in the country. Under his leadership, the light shines. His administration has so far delivered good governance. Though the stakes are high and challenges innumerable, Governor Obiano has proved that with his pedigree in the field of human, social-economic and political engineering, monumental transformation is achievable.
Although Anambra State has passed through many vicissitudes since its creation in August 1991, Governor Obiano administration has restored hope in the citizenry through his robust programmes and policies. His administration has given governance a human face.
In all aspects of Governor Obiano’s administration, he has exhibited a culture of professionalism, transparency and fairness, and successfully restored public confidence in governance, and rekindled that waned indomitable spirit of Ndigbo. No doubt, his visionary leadership has recorded monumental transformation of the state.
With land mark achievements in virtually all sectors of the economy and his quality leadership achievements and enormous contributions, Governor Obiano has inspired hope for a better Anambra State. Remember he has been conferred with many quality awards like the Zik’s Leadership Award, the Sun Governor Award, the Silver Bird TV Man of the Year Award, the Daily Times Newspaper, and Daily Telegraph Newspaper Awards to mention but a few.
Governor Obiano possesses that right combination of knowledge, depth and experience necessary for effective leadership. All he does is devoid of discrimination without recourse to religious, political or party beliefs. His administration is people-oriented and he possesses that uncommon humility and unwavering commitment to duty and I can chip in here that this governor is a living epitome of the rarest ideals of patriotism, and selflessness in service.
On unique aspects of governance that contributed in attracting the international award
Here, we dwell on the governor’s achievements in industrialization and commerce, education, agriculture, ease of doing business, security and infrastructural sectors.
In the education sector for example, we see the exceptional performances of Anambra State Students in such examinations like WASC, GCE, NECO and NABTEB; their exceptional performances in national and international debates where they come tops, and their feat in U.S.A; in Silicon Valley, San Franciso to be precise, where students, from the Regina Paecis Model School, Onitsha, who represented Nigeria in the World Technovation Competition came out in flying colours.
In the agric sector, much has been achieved. With the agricultural revolution going on, investors, both local and foreign, have stepped in and set up large scale farms. Anambra is successfully transiting from subsistent to mechanized agriculture and food security is assured. Thousands of our youths now see this sector as worthwhile, courtesy of Governor Obiano’s robust vision.
In the area of industrialization and commerce, the ANSIPPA is ever ready, attracting foreign investors, stimulating their operations, working out modalities on which they’ll operate optimally.
And in security, much needn’t be said here. Everyone knows that Anambra is the safest state in Nigeria. The peaceful and tranquil atmosphere that prevailed throughout last Christmas and New Year is attributable to the water tight security architecture put in place in the state by the combined efforts of all the security agencies.
On New Year and expectations
The New Year has come with its plethora of challenges – security challenges, the coming election, role of our jobless youths, continuous crash of oil price and their resultant inflation and dearth of white collar jobs, poor GDP, as well as chronic liquidity shortages. Now, there must be attitudinal change on the part of the youth.
They’ve to resolve to toe the path of truth, justice, and hard work, and stand their ground to shun all vices like robbery, cultism, exam malpractice, thuggery and those violent activities that accompany electioneering campaigns like killing, maiming, wanton destruction of properties.
And for the fast approaching election, politicians must be peaceful, indulge in issue-based campaign and avoid hate speech. They should play the game in accordance with the rules. Anambra State is ours. We must do all in our power to work conscientiously to ensure its development.