It can be hard to find the perfect birthday wishes for the wonder working governor of Anambra state, Chief Sir Dr. Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano as he turns sixty-six years old today. He was born on a beautiful rainy Monday morning of August 8, 1955 in the oil-bearing Aguleri town, in Anambra East local government area to an educationist father and an entrepreneurial mother.
Following in the footsteps of his Catechist father, young Willie started his early education at the Holy Trinity Primary School, Onitsha, a mission school, where he imbibed his early Christian values. He later attended the prestigious Christ the King’s College (CKC), Onitsha and passed out as one of the best students in his time.
In fact, Willie was the 1974 John F. Kennedy Essay Winner at CKC. He studied Accountancy at University of Lagos, graduating with a Second Class (Upper Division). He later obtained Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Marketing from the same University.
Chief Obiano is a Fellow and later, Patron of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He holds a national Merit Certificate for outstanding service during his National Youth Service Corps in Benue State, in the 1979/80 Service Year. He is married to an Amazon, pretty Chief Dr. Ebelechukwu (OSODIEME). They are blessed with a beautiful daughter, a medical doctor, and a son.
Following his impressive academic performance, Willie Obiano quickly got his first job at First Bank and later joined the lucrative oil and gas industry as a staff of Texaco International, where he rapidly rose to become the company’s Chief Internal Auditor, being the first black man to hold such position. After years of functioning at the top level in the oil sector, Willie moved his enormous expertise and exposure to Fidelity Bank Plc.
His arrival in the Bank marked a dramatic turn in its fortunes. As the Executive Director in charge of Business Banking, Chief Obiano managed the bank’s vast human and material resources with the dexterity of grandmaster in the game of chess, deploying talent and resources seamlessly to ensure a calculated expansion of the business and a healthy growth of the bottom line.
As an administrator, Chief Obiano is almost flawless; deploying carrot and stick with great wisdom and tact – showing as much firmness as compassion as the circumstances demand. As a leader, Ebubedike showed tremendous charisma and personal charm at Fidelity, attracting the young Turks and the best brains around him and mentoring them to a point of self-possession. This is partly because he had extensive professional trainings in Harvard Business School and Stanford University, both in the United States of America, among others.
One of the greatest qualities of Chief Willie Obiano is his philanthropic spirit and his willingness to help people in need. Before he became the governor, he is known to have secretly operated a Foundation that offered scholarships to many people and empowered thousands of women and youths. He is also a pillar of the church, having made extensive donations to diverse development projects in the Catholic, the Anglican and Pentecostal churches. Consequently, he has won many honours from the churches, including the prestigious Knight Commander of the Pontifical Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KCSG) from Pope Francis.
Sir Willie is a leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Little wonder Anambra has been so transformed in all sectors of the economy in terms of agriculture, trade and commerce, health, information, education, roads and road infrastructure, street light project, housing and urban/rural development, transportation, children, youth and women empowerment, tourism, economic planning and environmental management.
Akpokuedike has touched many lives directly and indirectly. He has empowered the youths, resulting in the flight of crimes and criminalities from the state. Anambra remains the safest state in his seven year reign as Governor, while all the communities in the state are dancing to the glory of God for Akpokuedike’s Community Choose Your Project initiative; a new and rare feat by any state governor in Nigeria.
Today, there are many youths in Obiano’s cabinet as Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, SAs, EAs, heads of institutions of government and other political appointees. Before he leaves next year, Anambra will be a proud owner of a brand new International and Cargo Airport, 10, 000 seating capacity International Conference Centre, City stadium among others.
For all these, his community, Aguleri, conferred on him and his wife separate chieftaincy titles for distinguished services. Chief Willie Obiano bagged the title, ‘’Akpokuedike Aguleri’’. He and his wife, Dr Eberechukwu, were adopted into the Igwe-in-council of the Idigo dynasty of the ancient kingdom of AGULERI.
Indeed, Akpokuedike has affected all the three zones in the state, beautified Anambra, turned the face of Awka, changed the outlook of many communities, made Anambra the safest state, revolutionized agriculture, lighted up all parts of Anambra, improved electricity supply, put smiles on the faces of workers and pensioners and improved both human and material resources.
No doubt, Ebubedike is an exemplary leader at 66. Your Excellency sir, whatever you ask, may you receive; whatever you seek may find; whatever you wish, may it be fulfilled on your birthday and always. Another adventure-filled year awaits you. May God bless your new age, Amen.