Excellence in service goes with great reward. In the present circumstance where in Anambra State, the agric sector has received a great boost, and food security is assured following Governor Obiano’s robust intervention, President-General of Amansea town in Awka Anambra State, Chief Celestine Nweze, examines those aspects of the governor’s giant strides in various areas that made him clinch many awards, particularly, President Buhari’s 2018 Agricultural Revolution Network Merit Award. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts.
ON overall assessment of the Obiano administration
It’s my view that the Obiano leadership is value-driven and his administration development-oriented. He has successfully re-defined governance and with open door policy, has been running an inclusive government where every community has a say and the much needed dividends of democracy gets to every nook and cranny of the state.
I strongly believe that Ndi Anambra are happy with this administration, where kidnappers are on the run because of the water tight security architecture in place; one where business men and women enjoy good terms from the ease of doing business introduced by the government.
Virtually in all sectors, his administration has excelled. His administration is education friendly. The governor sees education as key, as one of the core enablers of his four Pillars of development.
His giant strides in all sectors of the state economy are unprecedented, in agriculture, transportation, health, investment, industrialization, trade and commerce; name them, even in the tourism sector and in infrastructure and road construction. The three flyovers in the Awka Capital are there for everyone to see.
Now the perennial traffic gridlock is almost over, motorists now pass freely at Akwata, Arroma and Amawbia expressway and the governor has hard working lieutenants. Even in cleanliness, the state has excelled too with the ASWAMA, OCHA Brigade, and the Daily Road Sweepers working. And remember there are entrepreneurship programmes to alleviate unemployment.
Right from the onset of this administration, Governor Obiano foresaw this unemployment problem, set up more acquisition centres to train our youths to acquire skills to establish their own businesses. He achieved tremendous success in agriculture, re-focusing the sector towards commercialisation.
In investment, the administration has done well with ANSIPPA in action; you remember the administration’s Public Private Partnership programme and of course, its strategic partnership with the church.
Our mission schools are now revitalised, better equipped, and in spite of dwindling resources, the government pays salaries of civil servants and those of pensioners regularly, and even increased workers salaries by 15 per cent and is paying when many states owe salary arrears of over five to six months.
And he’s ready to pay minimum wage. Already, efforts are in top gear for its immediate implementation.
The present state administration has exhibited a high sense of transparency and forthrightness and has remained committed to the core values of discipline, integrity and responsibility.
It is successfully exploring international partnership to boost investment potentials in the state to better the lots of her citizens.
And in fact, the governor’s exploits and giant strides transcend party lines. And I make bold to state that his prudent management of resources has brought massive developments to all the nooks and crannies of Anambra State and set the state on the path of sustainable growth.
All in all, I will posit without any iota of doubt that the governor has performed creditably. His administration is doing well. It is said when the righteous are in power the people rejoice. Ndi Anambra are happy. These giant strides and developmental thrust of the governor and his humility, candour and team spirit are other noble attributes that stand him out .
On the importance of agricultural sector to human existence.
In fact, let me first felicitate, with Governor Obiano for winning President Muhammed Buhari’s 2018 Agricultural Revolution Network Merit Award. That he was considered at all and later chosen and given the honour among his contemporaries, 36 governors in all, is in itself a great feat and wonderful achievement for many reasons.
When one looks deep into the award, into the processes undergone and certain factors considered before arriving at the governor, one will immediately understand that merit was the major criterion used by the committee that made the recommendation.
Our governor, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano is an APGA governor, not of the APC, the ruling party; not of the PDP which is the main opposition.
He’s from a lone, single party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Again, the owner and giver of the award is an APC President, Muhammadu Buhari, who has more APC governors than even those of PDP.
Without merit, the APC President would have given the great award to an APC governor. And the President himself is a man of integrity who believes in uprightness, equity and justice in all he does. He had so much integrity that whatever recommendations he received from the panel, the committee that scrutinized the 36 governors for the honour, I am sure he sat down,
did his own homework and made his own findings before accepting Governor Obiano and giving him the award. Remember that this is the first of its kind in the history of the country. In fact, the current presidential award attests to his integrity, reliability, hard work and above all, his unshakeable commitment to the welfare of his people.
So, I heartily congratulate him for bagging this honour. It’s a no mean feat. Then on those efforts, interventions of the governor in this agric sector that accorded him this most prestigious presidential award; right from the onset of his administration in March 2014, Governor Obiano recognised the importance of food security to human existence.
In addition to taking proactive measures to tackle certain challenges, he saw the agric sector as quite vital and took special measures here. He brought into the sector unprecedented revolution, great innovations never seen in the history of Nigeria that positively transformed the sector.
He established the Public Private Partnership (PPP), attracted local and foreign investors into the entire sector and with the help of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), set up a robust administrative mechanism through which agriculture was nurtured and completely mechanised and investors came in and set up agric farms, as well as agro-allied industries and attracted our youths who now see the sector as worthwhile.
Under this administration, this all importance sector transited from subsistence to mechanised farming and the state began exporting those products like Ugu, Onugbu, yams and fruits and earns the much desired scarce foreign exchange, as well as enjoys the innumerable benefits accruable from agric value chains.
Suffice it to say here that never in the history of the country that such agric products were exported until the Obiano government came on board. The federal and a few state governments have begun such exports but there’s no gain saying the fact that they copied the Anambra State model.
You know the governor has in the past won many awards like Zik Leadership Awards, Sun Governor Award, Daily Times Newspaper Award, the Daily Telegraph Newspaper Award, the Silver Bird TV Award, Peoples Choice Award from ndi Anambra in Diaspora,
U.S Africa Nigeria Governor of the year and many more including various Agricultural and Security Awards. In fact, I say kudos to him and on behalf of the entire Amansea Community in Awka North Council Area, I wish him more awards in future.
On the role of youths in agric sector
Youths play crucial role in the agric sector. They are young, energetic and can operate equipment like tractors, harvesters, threshers, ploughs, etc and work successfully in farms. Thousands of our youths are engaged in farming; most of them in multi-national farms in the state.
Now that the Obiano administration has re-focused agriculture towards commercialisation, our youths make a living from farming, and most of them have set up agro-allied businesses/industries to live better lives and contribute their quota to nation building.
Governor Willie Obiano gets pass mark here because in addition to skill acquisition and entrepreneurship centres his administration has set up across the state to impact on the youth certain skills to be self-reliant, the agric sector has done much here by further expanding the frontiers of employment.
Remember the vision of this administration in this sector, to ensure food security with excesses processed for export and to be among the top three states in agricultural production in Nigeria and number one in the production of rice.
In the present global economy where white collar jobs is also extinct, inflation is high and in the presence of mass unemployment, huge job cuts and chronic liquidity shortages, as well as poor GDP, these efforts at generating employment are critical as joblessness breeds restiveness among youths
On IGR and Federal Allocation
No government does it alone in terms of providing all the needs of the people. Every government needs contribution from the people. IGR supplements whatever allocations that come from the federal government.
In our state, you see ASWAMA carting away refuse, the OCHA Brigade working assiduously to clear our roads from street traders, even hawkers, and the vigilante contributing to crime prevention. The administration must look inwards to get additional revenue to execute these programmes.
So I advise every citizen to pay his taxes and levies. Companies should endeavour to pay too. I commend his Excellency for his pragmatic approach and robust programmes in this direction. The state IGR has more than doubled from what it was at the inception of his administration.
The people are seeing the benefits accruable from this internally Generated Revenue. They enjoy the services funded from the IGR.
On youth restiveness
The youths are our future leaders. They are our future hope. Train them well and they’ll be good citizens. I tell them to shun cultism and any act that’ll breed violence.
Youth restiveness is dangerous, inimical to the society. And every government does all it could to avert it.
I urge them to be strong, stand firm and face the economic realities of the time. They should queue into skill acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes set up by the Obiano administration to learn some trade, be self-reliant, set up their own businesses and contribute meaningfully to nation development.
I call on the people of Amansea to be peaceful and law abiding. Mutual co-existence, unity and peace constitute the cornerstone of community development and progress.
To ndi Anambra, I call on them to give firm, unflinching support to Governor Willie Obiano to enable him continue with the good work he’s doing for the state. I foresee a bright future for Anambra under the present administration.