Obiano: Man of no mean feat
“THIS game started in 1946 and has become a regular event and also produced global sporting stars. We assure you that new stars have been discovered in this very game and I commend the athletes. I am proud of you all and I commend you for your composure. Thanks to Governor Obiano for hosting us and also ensuring he met all the promises. Awka 2020 is the best in recent times and a clear testimony of the state governor’s strength.”
These were the exact words of former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, in March 2020, after the police games which was hosted by Anambra State under the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano. Anambra State became the first state to host the police games in the South East region.
He went on out of his way to distribute bags of rice to all the police men that participated in the games. Possibly the first time such gesture has taken place.
This is a testimony that Governor Willie Obiano is a man of no mean feat.
Nicknamed 21/21 Governor, Willie Obiano started his second tenure with an historic unprecedented win in the election. As a man of charisma that won the 21 local government areas, he beat his opponents in their own homes in the November 2017 election. The result was so legitimate that it was not challenged or contested in the court or otherwise. His second tenure appears to be better evidentially than his best.
Ndi Anambra have always been yearning for the construction of an airport in the state; a state that has two essential commercial hubs in the country which is Onitsha and Nnewi. Past governors of the state have either promised and left it unfulfilled or made the task difficult than it seemed and leaving the burden to the hands of the federal government was the only option. Governor Obiano took it upon himself to build an airport and today, the state can proudly boast of Anambra International Cargo Airport (AICA) after a long journey of over two decades.
By 2:45 p.m. on April 30, 2021, at Umueri in Anambra East Local Government Area, an Air Peace Boeing737 aircraft, being the first plane to land in Anambra, touched down the centre line of the sprawling runway to the admiration of ndi Anambra.
In 2010, National Bureau of Statistics reported that the level of poverty in Anambra State stood at 53% on the national average. 10 years later, Anambra rates 14.8% on national average indicating a huge drop of 358%. Six out of these 10 years were under Obiano’s watch and within those six years, Nigeria has experienced two recessions but Anambra was totally insulated from the shock of the first recession through Obiano’s competent handling of the local economy.
When most states and even some federal parastatals used recession as an excuse not to pay workers in 2016, Anambra kept paying workers and giving other incentives.
Even in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, some states, federal government and private entities could not pay and laid off their staff, Governor Obiano did not sack; rather, he paid staff their full salaries and still managed to provide bailouts to small scale businesses.
In 2019, the World Bank rated Anambra among the Top-5 Most Improved States in ease of doing business in Nigeria. The state was given a presidential award for this achievement. In 2020 the National Bureau of Statistics reported that Anambra attracted foreign investments worth $10.2 million. It is interesting that to note that not even the COVID-19 pandemic could get in the way of these investments. And we are talking about a state which most people would rather stay away from just a few years ago.
The International Conference Center (ICC), in Awka, will be an iconic legacy of the Governor Willie Obiano administration that has changed the landscape of Awka. The architectural masterpiece is today, the most modern conference center in Nigeria, designed to accommodate 10,000 guests. Just like the Airport this particular legacy will be cemented in the history of the state and will stand the test of time.
The governor equally cleared the over 26 years arrears of pension and gratuity of retired workers of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation(ANPC) and Anambra Broadcating Service(ABS), who have been languishing in penury because previous administrations in the state did not deem it fit to do so.
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