For the past 7 years and nine months, Chief Dr Sir Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, Knight Commander of the Pontifical Order of Saint Gregory the Great, has demonstrated that he is a proactive, visionary and foresighted. Akpokuedike has positively touched all sectors of the state economy concurrently.
It has been years of sustained investment in security to a point where the country’s security establishment unanimously declared Anambra the safest state in Nigeria. Before he came on board, Ndi Anambra in the diaspora dreaded visiting home. Most of them conducted burials, marriages and other traditional ceremonies outside the shores of Anambra state. Even those at home slept in churches and police stations for fear of kidnap and armed robbery attacks, which were not spared.
On commerce, 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. Thus, foreign investments have been flowing into the state.
The most distinctive of Obiano’s building bricks of greatness so far is in the fight against poverty. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the level of poverty in Anambra State declined from 53% in 2010 to 14% on national average.
Meanwhile, the crowning glory of the Obiano years is the Anambra International Airport, the Awka City Stadium, three flyovers in Awka capital territory, which all functional now and the International Convention Center in Awka, which is almost completed. These are audacious legacy projects that have given Anambra a sturdy foot into the future.
On Agriculture, Anambra state has advanced remarkably towards food sufficiency under the Obiano administration. Under the Governor’s watch, rice production in Anambra state increased from 80,000 metric tons in 2014 when he took over to 525,000 metric tons yield in 2021. Popular indigenous brands of Anambra rice have dwarfed other products, including foreign rice, in the markets.
What is more, increased yield in cassava, yam, maize, bitter-leaf, vegetables and ventures in livestock and fisheries have revealed that Obiano’s agricultural revolution in Anambra state is not only strategic but also holistic. Governor Obiano provided irrigation facilities in farm settlements to promote dry season farming. Even during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, Obiano yet championed another novel idea for agricultural advancement titled Ugbo-Azu-Uno to encourage productivity, even at a subsistence level.
Akpokuedike equally believes in stomach infrastructure; hence his “Ana Alu olu Ana Alu mmadu” mantra. Graciously, the alert Governor and the Most Worker-Friendly Governor in Nigeria has been living up to his promise of paying salaries by 25th of every month.
Night life has returned to the state, thanks to the glimmering street lights in all communities, making it a one-community-state, while roads and bridges have been constructed.
The Obiano administration also introduced a health insurance scheme, ASHIA in order to enhance the living standards of the citizenry. Akpokuedike constructed the biggest oxygen plant at COOU Teaching Hospital, Amaku Awka as well as equipped the hospital with modern health facilities and personnel.
Again, for the first time in the country, a government started a people- oriented program known as “Community Choose Your Project Initiative”. Under this arrangement, each of the one hundred and eighty-one communities in the state is annually given twenty million naira to execute any project of its choice. Sir Willie also attracted Appeal Court to Anambra, 29 years after the creation of the state.
On education, the Willie Obiano administration has taken the sector to an enviable height in Anambra State. Anambra has recorded the most impressive feats in education by any state in Nigeria. Anambra comes first in almost all internal and international examinations The robust motivation given to school teachers in Anambra State by Obiano has put Anambra teachers up for national honours and awards for exemplary performance.
It is gratifying that Governor Obiano has so far changed the face of Anambra in diverse ways. He touched all tangible and intangible sectors concurrently – security, erosion, commerce, sports, empowerment of youths, women, children and the disable community as well as environment, industrialization, roads, bridges, employment and road infrastructure.
No doubt, if not for constitutional limitations, Ndi Anambra would have wished Akpokuedike to continue to steer the ship to Eldorado. Your Excellency, indeed, you have made Anambra state the true Light of the nation. To God be the glory.
WRITTEN BY CHIEF JUDE EMECHETA