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Anambra @ 31: From analogue to digitalisation

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Anambra, standard bearer – Nduka Eya

I WILL not speak on Anambra at 31 years without first of all giving the history of state creation in the south east, Nigeria. I was part of the process.

  31 years ago, there was creation of states, We all were in the old Anambra. We had AnambraState as a big state. We had Awka, Onitsha, Nsukka, Abakiliki and Enugu, five and when states were created, of course, there were first of all,  creation of bigger states, which splits old Anambra into Anambra South and Anambra North. AnambraSouth made up ofAwka and Onitsha and Anambra North made up.ofNsukka, Abakiliki and Enugu Divisions.

  It was in 1979 that old Enugu was created. After, the new Anambra and Enugu were created,new Anambra was made  up of Onitsha and Awka while the old Enugu was made up of Enugu, Nsukka and Abakiliki. Enugu was divided into two when Ebonyi was created out of Enugu.So, Ebonyi went with part of Imo, that is Aforikpo and Enugu remained with Nsukka, the present Enugu State. So, that’s the history of creation of Anambra.

  Talking about journey so far, It’s quite a long journey. Creation of state is a step to development. When we had one Eastern Region, what is now, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, AkwaIbom, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia, we were all part of this thing called South Eastern Nigeria. Enugu was the headquarters. Now, we started splitting. Imo is a state, Rivers is a state, AkwaIbom is a state, Cross River is a state, Bayelsa is a state, Abia is a state,Ebonyi is a state, Enugu is a state, Anambra is a state .When you go to these places, you can see a difference.

  State creation brought, particularly infrastructural development, down to the locality.

Talking about Anambra, those who followed Anambrawhen it was created. I was the Commissioner for Education when it was created. We had our teething problems because, strictly speaking, when Anambra left, what was left as old Enugu State was practically empty. We didn’t have high profile civil servants. The high profile civil servants, like the permanent secretaries, they all came from the other side.Naturally, they saw education before us. In those days, things were done on merit, it’s not a question of quota.

  When you go with human development, Anambra had done very well. I remembered in the beginning, it wasn’t easy because assets sharing became a problem, mutual suspicion, who is cheating the other .I think our people should be less emotional.

  Anambra was actually setting the pace. The Onitsha market was moving every day and you could see development. Incidentally, I schooled in Onitsha.I attended my secondary School in DMGS from 1951 to 1955 and I knew how it was.I later came to teach at Reverend Anyaegbunam Memorial School. You see network of roads.Then, this selfish thing. I don’t know if I should blame it on politicians. Mbadunuju’s era was a disaster. I worked with him as a federal electoral. He started owing salaries.These things were not there before and people are singing themselves, oh! , we have done very well while they were sinking lower and lower.

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  Each governor in Anambra State tried. Ezeife tried but they didn’t have the wherewithal they didn’t have the kind of money that the present people have. You talk about trillion.

  Ngige worked, he did very well in the area of infrastructure. Peter Obi worked too.

  Peter Obi tried. He did well. Very unassuming. Peter Obi worked in all sectors, education, health, infrastructure, security and so on. When you see people made by God, who came for service you will know. Peter Obi will sit and give you account of what he did as a governor of Anambra State. When you see a good thing, you uphold it.

  Obiano started well. He did well. He built an airport at Umuleri, carried out infrastructural developments in all sectors.

  Now we have Professor Soludo. Soludo is a class man. Professor Soludo went to University of Nigeria, he came out with a first class. He became the CBN Governor on merit. Soludo made proposals, policies that changed our economy and he has started doing same in Anambra State.He came and continued with the good works his predecessors did. He has brought low the security challenges in Anambra State, reactivated the monthly sanitation exercise in the state and his good works are seen in all the sectors, especially in the economic development of Anambra state.

  Security in Anambra State has improved.

  Education-wise, Anambra has always been good, won international and local awards. Anambra has built a very strong education–based structure. Nnamdi Azikiwe University was a campus of Anambra State University, Awka. Anambra is a standard bearer. That is why they get 400 in JAMB and they don’t get admission and somebody in the north will get 100 and will be offered admission because of quota.

We have gone through difficult times.

  I wish the government and people of Anambra State well. I urge Anambra State Governor, Professor ChukwumaSoludo to remain focused to give Anambra his best. I also urge the people of Anambra to support Professor Soludo to work and give the state his best. Congratulations to the people of Anambra state.I pray for more development to the government and people of Anambra state.

Chief Eya an elder statesman was Commissioner for Education in the old Anambra State and pioneer Registrar of Federal Polytechnic, Idah.

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There’s stronger synergy between govt and private sectors – A.C Onuorah

AS Anambra marks her 31st year of creation as an independent state, we recount with joy and gratitude to God for all we have achieved so far as a people. It has been joinery of trajectory progression. From one government to another, there has been a determination by Ndi Anambra to move from good to better and from better to best and I feel strongly right to say that the present government is the best for the moment. 

The government is becoming more of a driver of policies for social-economic development. We are seeing stronger synergy between government and the private sectors; in the area of health, environment, agriculture, the hybrid palm seedings, coconut are some examples.

In schools, our technical schools are being equipped to provide students with relevant technical skills that will prepare them for the challenges of modern life rather than waiting to be employed after graduation.

While government may not be able to absolve everyone into the governance process, Prof. Charles Soludo’s government is providing better and general platform for citizens to strive in every good endeavour. And that is for me, the basic responsibility of any reasonable and sensitive government.

So, when we review Anambra at 31, we see a people determined to succeed. Anambra people are peaceful, industrious, respectful and very accommodating to visitors. In the past 31 years, we have produced refined gentlemen, great intellectuals, industrialists/businessmen of repute and professionals in many fields of endeavour and Anambra remains the homeland of Igbo people. And today, we can proudly say we have hired the best man for the business of leadership of government in the person of Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo.

  We have gotten a compass and so the journey of our development has become much easier with Gov. Soludo, so I see Anambra becoming one of the best three technological driven economy in Africa. A state of rule of law and order, more economic opportunities for its millions of citizens, transparent in governance, priding competence over mediocrity and proper youth involvement in the politics, encouraging and appreciating volunteerism. A prosperous, peaceful homeland where every youth can be able to compete favourbaly with other global citizens around the world. (Dr Anselm C. Onuorah is the TC Chairman, Anambra East LGA

Anambra has been through difficult times – Chinyere Okunna

ANAMBRA has come a long way as I remember. Even years ago, Anambra wasn’t anything to write about when it was created newly. Who knew Awka? Who knew anywhere? Onitsha was known for its commercial nature and maybe Nnewi.

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But then as a state, it was actually unknown. Within those years, a lot has been achieved among the past governors. Everyone has his own capacity. Peter Obi did what he did; I can access that because I was part of the government and I think he did tremendously well.

Obiano must have tried according to his own capacity, he must have left some foot prints in the sands of Anambra State, so he contributed through those 31 years of the life of Anambra State. Then, Soludo’s coming in and showing strong signs that he will do well. There are challenges facing him but people who know him are believing that he will do well.

He didn’t start wonderfully well because of the challenges there facing him; the security challenges, the financial challenges, even though we still don’t know how much he met in the treasury but we know there’s financial challenge. So far, he’s bouncing back and I believe personally that before he gets to his first four years, there will be a great change. So I think we’ve come a long way. Anambra is an Igbo heritage. We are known for perseverance no matter how things have gone wrong in the past years.

I remember 31 years also cover not just the recent governors, there were other administrators; there was Ezeife, who was elected, there was Ngige, who came in even though he legally left but he did something to contribute to our state. There was Mbadinuju. So if you remember all the governors we had, I concentrated on the most recent ones who were democratically elected.

  The governor who has come into office now is intellectually sound. He has been tested in the financial sector and basically, he’s showing signs. For me, these are signs of how he’s going to perform. The challenges when he came were daunting and they are still daunting now, especially the insecurity issue. Just recently, they killed a major in Anambra here.

It’s a big challenge to a governor. In your own very territory but I’m sure he’ll work hard and surmount everything. For me now, the greatest challenge is security. Then a lot of environmental degradation; the roads are broken down, the environment is dirty but he will surmount that. We’re financially handicapped but he’s raising loans, trying to also overcome that.

I personally believe he’ll do well; he’s going to bend down, get his acts together and rake off again. In the next four years, we’ll assess him and that will be Anambra at 35 or so. The difference will be there.

Prof Okunna, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul University, Awka was former Commissioner of Economic Planning, among others in Anambra

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