Last November, Anambra voters elected a vibrant and young academic to replace a banker, Governor Willie Obiano, at the Government House, Awka. In a bid to hit the ground running, the governor-elect, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has impaneled a mega transition committee with hot-headed Oby Ezekwesili, leading.
Anambra State has had its fair share of good and bad governance from the beginning. It is also blessed to have had men and women of letters at the helm of affairs. Anambra’s first civilian governor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, is a Harvard-trained Economist. The second, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, is also a PhD holder from Cornell University. The next was a medical doctor trained at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN. Then, followed another UNN-trained philosopher and Onitsha trader, Peter Obi, and now the renowned banker and administrator per excellence, Chief Willie Obiano.
From the incumbent Governor Obiano, the baton is to be passed on to Professor Soludo, a UNN-trained Economist, and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. From the foregoing, it can be said that Anambra has not been lacking well-educated men and women.
So, wherever there is a failure of governance, it is not due to a shortage of learned men lettered in various disciplines and fields of endeavour. This amply demonstrates that governance largely derives not from the academics of office holders but more from their levels of commitment and focus, plus numerous other man-made factors.
Anambra means a lot to many people, depending on where you are and what you are looking for at a time. For Ndigbo, Anambra is the business hub of Igbo land. It has the largest industrial cluster in the region and has several billionaires, more than any state outside Lagos.
Politically, Anambra is the melting pot of the South East. If Anambra coughs politically and in business, the entire South East catches a cold. It is a state of history and is not suffering the scarcity of iconic personages. It is home to the first President of Nigeria, later Owelle of Onitsha, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. It is home to the Biafra hero, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi. Two former presidents of the Senate Abyssinia Akweke Nwafor-Orizu, and Dr Chuba Okadigbo, two former Speakers of the House of Representatives, Edwin Umezeoke and Agunwa Anekwe, the former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, are all Anambrarians.
On the religious side, the man who almost became the first black Pope of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Francis Arinze is also from Anambra and remains the youngest African ever ordained a Catholic Bishop. Anambra equally produced a near Saint, Blessed Iwene Tansi.
Philip Emeagwali, the computer guru in the US, is also Onye Anambra, the late iconic writer, Prof Chinua Achebe, was also from here, ditto the reigning global literary lady, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The one-time richest man in West Africa, Odumegwu Ojukwu, the father of the Biafra leader Emeka, was also from Anambra. Not to talk of the new generations in Anambra State today, the Innosons and the Ibetos who are at the forefront of the unfolding industrial revolution on these shores. The list is endless.
Last week, the local media space was awash with names of about 80 Igbo personalities from all walks of life and across party lines, from different states and backgrounds raised by the Anambra governor-elect, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to serve in his transition committee.
There is no doubt that Prof Soludo is familiar with noble ideas. The CBN bank reforms under him readily come to mind. All eyes are therefore on Anambra State to see what kind of reform Prof Soludo will bring to the table now that he is going to enjoy the executive position. He is sure going to think outside the box.
Suffice it to say that the success of Soludo in the South East will have a far-reaching effect on governance in the state in particular and Nigeria at large. A committee chaired by a former Vice President of the World Bank and former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, who is also associated with great ideas along with other hotheads of international repute like Prof Osita Ogbu should be able to bring ideas that will help Soludo make the expected difference. Let’s therefore cooperate with the team to come out with the best.
God, bless Anambra State, the light of the nation.