The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano has proven himself a true leader. Recent events in Anambra State, before and after the November 6 gubernatorial election have brought the salient but astute leadership qualities of the governor to the fore. To say that his resolve was stretched to the limit would be understating his ordeals within the period. However, his focus and determination to deliver what he believed was best for ndị Anambra, remained his priority even when it seemed he was standing alone.
Firstly, Obiano’s sudden absence at the meetings of the southeast and southern governors was one issue that generated controversies over his intent and leadership. Gov Obiano has never toyed with the safety and security of his people. He declares war on anything or anyone that threatens public safety in the State and he fights at the frontlines with all his might, leading the battle himself. So it came as a surprise that he would boycott a meeting that was meant to improve the safety of his people. He was called out, criticized and vilified but he maintained his stand not to share a table with some who allegedly sponsored violence in his State and/or were privy to such conspiracy. Many didn’t take him seriously but he stands vindicated today.
Secondly, The apocalyptic predictions preceding the November 6 Anambra gubernatorial election all came to null as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, recorded what has been adjudged as the most peaceful election in the State in recent times. While the President or Presidency as the case may be, the INEC, the security agencies led by the Nigeria Police, independent observers, civil society organisations and all people of a good conscience, share in the success of the exercise, credit must be given to Gov Obiano who fought against all odds to ensure the reality and success of the November 6 election.
When Malami’s unfortunate ‘state of emergency’ statement hovered ominously over Anambra State, Gov Obiano stormed Aso Villa to defend and protect his people. The Rocks of Aso quivered under his angry gaze and the airwaves shook as his voice thundered: “Malami’s statement is very unfortunate. I will call him to express my reservations”
Many saw a side to Obiano that was hitherto unknown. Against expectations, he took the war to the enemy, fought him ferociously and defeated him right on his turf. He ensured that he got the President’s view on the controversy and proclaimed the same to the world thus: “there’s nothing like that (state of emergency) in the President’s books”. He then went on to declare that “Anambra has been the safest State in Nigeria” prior to the campaigns and the bloodletting sponsored by mindless politicians. He also said that he will deal with the invaders, and he did.
From 2014 when Obiano assumed office, he set out to fight crime and return sanity to Anambra State. He fought kidnappers, drove away armed robbers, battled miscreants and cultists, and defeated the criminal underworld. Under his watch, a State known for the worst crimes became the safest State in Nigeria, opening opportunities for social and economic development and investment. Having dealt decisively with the worst of the criminal world, the shenanigans of opponents, within and outside his Party and State, were not enough to deter Obiano.
Although burdened by unscrupulous legal deals stretching more than 900 kilometres to Birnin Kudu and disturbed by the betrayal of allies, including his deputy, Obiano refused to be cowed by desperate and wicked politicians. The deep wound of their betrayal yet fresh, he defended the renegades, tagging them spies than their true nomenclature. Obiano would not be distracted by minions, he knew the real enemies and focused on them. They sounded the drums of war but the People’s Warrior, Akpokuedike, was ready to dance.
The Governor deployed human and capital resources to secure his people against bloodthirsty invaders. His goodwill gained him the assistance of the Nation’s might and a contingent of no less than 50,000 security operatives were detailed to secure lives and property in Anambra State and ensure a peaceful and violence-free election. Security has since improved in Anambra and public safety has been restored. The invaders have been decimated. They dare not disturb the peace of Anambra State again.
According to the late American military leader, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, “a true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” The integrity of Obiano’s intent is now manifest. His desire to keep Anambra State on the path of progress and sustainable development towered higher than personal gains.
One can conclude that Obiano has realised his vision. He has also accomplished his mission. The success of the November 6 gubernatorial election and the victory of the APGA and its candidate, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, despite desperate efforts by the vile and wicked to subvert the will of the people, aggregates the equality of Obiano’s actions. His intent as the leader of the APGA and Governor of Anambra State, to give ndị Anambra a successor that will keep the State on the path of sustainable development, proves his integrity and capacity as a true leader.