Obiano: Two Years, Too Good! | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Obiano: Two Years, Too Good!

Posted: Apr 1, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

James Eze



On Thursday March 17, 2016, Governor Willie Obiano marked his two years in office as Anambra state governor. There were no ceremonies.

No drums. No pomp and no pageantry. Not even the usual state banquet or the solemn high mass. In fact, the governor kept a busy schedule on that day; commissioning the House of Assembly Complex and playing host to some important Nigerians who happened to be visiting Anambra for the convocation ceremonies of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University and the Odumegwu Ojukwu University. He later made a cameo appearance at the presentation of a collage of reports on his two-year administration

strung together by a childhood friend in a book form.

The day was deliberately drained of ceremony, drained of meaning. It arrived unheralded and went by unnoticed, unmarked. In doing so, Chief Obiano has deepened his enigma. And indeed, every day, the governor of Anambra State makes it difficult for critics to typecast him; to pidgin-hole him.

Indeed, to any intelligent observer, Obiano’s two years in office are steeped in symbolisms and hidden meanings.  While it is easy to see the flyovers and the gleaming roads across the state, his achievements actually stretch beyond physical infrastructure.

Obiano’s blueprint is so thoroughly put together that Chief Emeka Anyaoku paid glowing tributes to him in a recent function when he observed that “there are very few leaders who have strategic capacity. And there we have, in Anambra State, a leader who has strategic capacity.”

Again, for those who have the power of discernment, Obiano’s most memorable achievements so far may not be the massive investment inflow to the state or the agricultural revolution raging in the food belt zones or even the impressive growth in infrastructure. To this rather small group of people, it just might be in the little touches that humanise governance. It might be Obiano’s rather poignant declaration that “ana alu olu, ana alu mmadu.”

This is loosely translated to “while we are building physical structures, we must also build the individual who is the ultimate beneficiary of all development efforts.” In the past two years, he has walked this talk very well.

That was exactly what he did when he donated his salaries to the poor in March last year, when he increased workers’ salaries by fifteen per cent while other states couldn’t pay, when he offered scholarship to children of Boko Haram victims, when he offered automatic employment to the first set of medical doctors who graduated from Odumegwu Ojukwu University after exercising faith for ten years to bag a medical degree, when he granted amnesty to 25 prisoners and handed each N1m to facilitate their re-integration back into the society and when he introduced the mass transit buses to ease the suffering of civil servants who commute to and from Awka to serve the state. It must be said that Obiano has shown the subtlety and nuance that elude most leaders in Africa.

Nevertheless, another silent power in Obiano’s two-year old regime is his ability to define the priorities of the people and pursue them with single-mindedness. In his inaugural address, Obiano had quoted

America’s Max De Pree, arguing, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” He went on to single out the challenges of insecurity and electricity supply as the twin dragons his administration must slay to build a better state. His reading of the socio-political milieu in which his administration would function was very apt; so, was his superb handling of the challenges when he resumed duties as governor. Obiano did not waste time nor spare efforts in carving out a safer state when he launched a comprehensive crackdown on crime. He also went into credible partnerships with reputable companies like UDIPPCO, Falcon and Stanel to build independent power plants across the state that would wipe out the people’s tears over poor power supply.

But while companies like UDIPPCO are busy setting up on location, Obiano has made good his promise on security. In fact, he has done more than that. He has offered the people a new taste of freedom. Indeed, Anambra is free!

The spectre of violence and fear that once ruled the state is gone. In all, Willie Obiano has had a phenomenal two years in office. Away from the bridges, the investments, the rise in IGR and the rating of the state as Nigeria’s safest state, there is a sea change in attitudes, in self-rediscovery and in the increasing feeling of the people that silently says ‘ oh yes, we can be great again.’ Obiano said this much in his two-year anniversary broadcast when he declared – “my Team and I have demonstrated a strong ambition for greatness. We have shown that given time and resources, we can turn Anambra State

into Nigeria’s new postcard for excellence!”


Eze writes from Awka, Anambra State