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*Nigeria: Reflections on Anambra At Twenty
By Okechukwu Asekuma
Recently Anambra state marked its twentieth anniversary on the 27th day of August 2011. It was a swell occasion attended by a galaxy of prominent Anambra indigenes, but not limited in scope. Government officials, diplomats, captains of industries, the business community and journalists were also present. It was an occasion for introspective search which afforded the people an opportunity to reflect on the progress the state has made so far; its noticeable challenges, and the prospect of attaining self dependency.
The three day event was kick-started by inspection of projects executed by the Peter Obi administration and interlaced with symposium/award giving ceremony and ended with interaction with stakeholders/breakfast. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
As the speakers spoke there was a note of concord to the effect that the state has potential for greatness, but only lacked political will to drive it. There was also the issue of the teething troubles made evident by the military administrators’ inability to bequeath the state with good foundation. As a result, the abundant human and material resources indwelling in the new state were adversely hemmed in and stifled to listlessness.
This was enervated further by impunity of the emergent political class. Bickering and rancor, unleashed on the system as a result, simply enfeebled the structures that would engender transformation. What was more, development became delayed for as long as the situation prevailed. Though all the speakers in turn agreed there is still hope for the state once leaders as well as the led agree to alter their turn of mind and affirm positive attitude. Hard work and application of right values they all agreed would unlock the cache of potentials and set the state on the path of greatness. Evident in this assertion is the conviction that the state has produced till date some of the best humankind the nation can boost of.
One of the speakers, Oby Ezekwesili, was particularly emphatic about the need for hard work and lamented the seeming loss of enterprising spirit by the people. She urged a rekindle and blamed the loss of values in Igbo land of today on respect accorded questionable wealth and their questionable accomplishments. The audience was informed that ideas, rather than oil, drive economy of developed nations, and urged to propound a surfeit of them so as to push development bars beyond the reaches of time. She harped on the need for the people to prioritize their values before oil is tapped in the zone lest it accomplishes nothing. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Gov. Peter Obi flanked by two Anambrarians honoured as part of Anambra 20th Annioversay celebration: The Chief Executive Officer of Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Mmaduka (left) and the Managing director of the Citi Bank, Mr. Tony Emuwa (right).
It was a moment for true reflection indeed as members of the audience had the opportunity to re-evaluate the very essence for which the state was created. Re-echoing Ezekwsili on the need for right values, the governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi said the state will no longer indulge people of seedy antecedence, but will appreciate those who brought it honour. According to him politicians will now have to earn the ‘Excellency’ titles through their excellent conducts. That way, public offices would be sanitized, especially when occupiers know that honor/courtesy would be conferred accordingly.
Those present were enjoined to emulate the people honoured for their outstanding contributions in the transformation of the state, nay Nigeria. Men and women who blazed forth like stars that lit pre/post independent Nigeria. People like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nwafor Orizu, Chuba Okadigbo, Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba, Emeka Anyaoku, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Chinualumogu Achebe, Chike Obi, Pius Okigbo, Ben Nwabueze, Emeagwali, Chukwuemeka Ike, Soludo, Christopher Okigbo, Chimamanda Adichie, Cardinal Arinze, Papal Nuncio Okolo, Blessed Tansi, Emmanuel Ifeajunna, Power Mike, Innocent Egbunike, Mary Onyali etc. They were exhorted to replicate the feat.
This then brought the issue of empowerment. Whether the state has empowered the citizens enough to be able to replicate the feat of their forebears? If no, what is expected of it in order to arrest the deplorable state and nudge the youths back to some worthy engagements. Have those in authority shown concern in bequeathing their generation and indeed future generation a workable society. Or has it been “a great fizzling act”, to use the words of one of the critics of the state. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
This is where the Obi administration has done very well and needs encouragement. His administration has on its advent espoused far reaching ideas on how to make the state work. First, he deftly destabilized a phalanx of barely literate moneybags operating in the state as god fathers. With this, impunity was brought to a manageable degree as political strife fades behind the recesses. The state no longer competes for space on the banner of negative news. As peace returns in the state so have development. Using his work plan, the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS), he has been able to work development in all sectors of the economy simultaneously. Though there are those who are apt to disagree with this. But in doing so, they should not forget that the facts are verifiable. Apart from the fact of raising the bars of development in sectors hitherto neglected, fleeing international bodies and donor agencies are back in the state. This was made possible with the flight of impunity from a state that once reveled in a hideous kidnap attempt of her governor and mindless destruction of its common heritage.
Today infrastructural development of the entire state has gained some mileage from its previous middling state. Without prejudice to the ages of the five south eastern states, the development reach of Anambra state is comparable to no other within the zone. Consolidating on the foundation of an earlier administration, Obi built over 500kilometres of road in the hinterlands with bridges and box culverts. Until his assumption of office, the state had no befitting workers’ secretariat besides the one provided the state on creation by the federal government. The two edifices that serve as the workers’ secretariat were conceived and built by the administration within the first four years. The efforts of the administration in education, health, judiciary, transport, environment, industrialization, security, agriculture can only be appreciated against their dismal emptiness prior to Obi becoming the governor.
What seems a blight on the good work of the administration, the neglected federal roads that extends from Onitsha to Enugu, has seen the Governor pressuring the federal governor for permission to do them. Again this is without prejudice to a master plan already secured for the beautification of the three cities of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi. If the plan is put to good use by a conscientious successor then will cynics appreciate the man’s far-reaching innovations. Actually what the Obi administration does in the state is more of foundation since that vital aspect of statecraft was missing out all those years. In much the same way Tinubu laid the foundation of transformational government in Lagos today, many will appreciate Obi’s work when a hard working governor takes over in 2014.
Okechukwu Asekuma writes from Awka, Anambra State.
*Tags: Nigerians, Okechukwu Asekuma writes from Awka, Anambra, State, Peter, Obi, Africa, Masterweb
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