NO MATTER how anyone takes it, an irreversible transformation on all sectors has been going on in Anambra State since March 17, 2014, that many call it silent revolution. Although it may not be uhuru yet, unbiased onlookers see necessary spade works in tweaking institutions to sustainably calibrate the state’s economy and build on solid foundation for greater growth. The onus, therefore, shifts to succeeding administrations, particularly the one that may be sworn in on March 17, 2022, to ensure continuity along present policy templates.
FROM perennial renascence despite enormous potentials, Anambra emerged a competitive, global brand rated among the top-five most improved states in ease of doing business in Nigeria by World Bank, becoming rallying point to other states in search of cutting edge, homegrown masterstrokes.
INDEED, under no previous administration did Anambra have it as good as the moment and in record time too, thereby sending tongues wagging over whether what is happening is a product of rocket science or a sci-fi movie.
BUT like every scientific procedure, an answer to this puzzle is simple and verifiable. Unlike his predecessors, but like a seasoned seafarer anticipating turbulent weather at noon, Gov. Willie Obiano set forth at dawn and came up with a skillset and mindset native only to a honed accountant and administrator par excellence of the governor’s cast.
This is how ‘The Four Pillars and Eight Enablers’ arrived to change Anambra’s leadership milieu hitherto steeped in false starts and missteps as previous administrations were caught up between political correctness and laying enduring legacies.
FIRST, Gov. Obiano prioritsed security as a driver in his economic blueprint through strategic, sustainable investments in this sector which his predecessors consigned to infra dig status with egregious consequence across board. But with his reprioritisation of security, Obiano created a social capital network that will take even the most prodigal successor quite long to expend. Not when as Nigeria’s safest state, Anambra attracted over $10 million foreign investments just last year alone when many economies were knocked out flat by coronavirus pandemic.
YET Gov. Obiano did not rest on his oars as some others may opt after rewriting Anambra’s security narrative in gold. He took on education and, again, hit instant success – taking this neglected, critical sector to enviable heights. In no time Anambra started recording feats upon feats at both national and international extracurricular meets apart from dusting other states in WAEC, NECO and NABTEB examinations.
Students from Regina Pacis Secondary School Onitsha, for instance, won gold at 2018 World Technovation Championship in United States with their peers from St John Science and Technical College, Alor, following suit in 2019 – clinching bronze at International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology (IFEST) in Tunisia just after Anambra school children represented Nigeria at 2015 World Schools Debate in Singapore and shone like meteors.
NONE of these laurels was a fluke. They were results of Gov. Obiano’s robust motivation to school teachers through go-getter incentives and recalibration of moribund physical infrastructure abandoned by his predecessors.
NEXT came healthcare where Gov. Obiano established Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHDA) in 2015 and followed it up with Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) to tackle fundamental flaws in primary healthcare delivery in the state where previously there was no co-ordinated response. His vision and investments here quickly yielded so much that in 2018, Anambra came first in national immunisation campaign apart from massive enrollment of ndi Anambra into affordable health insurance policies.
DOES anyone need to be told where Gov. Obiano’s revolutionalisation of farming, through mechanisation and commercialisation, has taken Anambra State on radars of food sufficiency in just seven years? When rice production increased from 80,000metric tons in 2014 to 345,000metric tons in 2020, with about 525,000metric tons projection for 2021? When from their perennial subsistence traction Anambra leveraged into export of staples such as cassava, yam, maize, vegetables and livestock as well as aqua culture and revival of efi Igbo or native cattle ranching?
THIS brings industrialisation next up as the governor’s obvious forte. First, he held a business roundtable for captains of industries and investors of Anambra extraction where he set the tone for akulueuno or think-home investment clarion. Not long after, Gov. Obiano delivered on his promise to create enabling environment through provision of access roads to farms, industrial clusters and electricity reinforcement with over 400 transformers to power factories and homes in several communities in Anambra State.
ANAMBRA State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) and Anambra Small Business Agency(ASBA) were established to drive these policy frameworks and coast them to harbour. While Gov. Obiano and his seminaleconomic team made macroeconomics their primary catchment, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, his wife, was bringing up the microeconomics front through free skill acquisition and empowerment to over 5,000 youths and women from the 21 local government areas under her pet, non-profit Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) aegis.
BUT the much said so far is just a tip of the iceberg on how Gov. Obiano realigned Anambra’a development matrix through multi-sectorial transformation. A walk round town, from Amansea to Onitsha Bridge Head, Aguleri to Ihiala or Umunze to Uga, through Igboukwu will dislodge every cynicism still beclouding any doubting Thomas’ mind.
THAT’s why we join other men and women of goodwill in Anambra and beyond in rolling out the drums and red carpet for Gov. Obiano for scanning tomorrow from yesterday. Only so doing will reassure whoever receives the baton from him on March 17, 2022, that ndi Anambra always celebrate selfless service.