THE STATE ON THE MOVE: OBIANO HAD SWITCHED LIGHT OF THE NATION ON. NO OFF.
“An inspiration,” “a tremendous symbol”, and someone who makes us “proud”: these are uncommon descriptors of some citizens of Anambra state on non- divisive, all-expected re-election bid of their incumbent Governor, Chief Obiano, let alone most coming from members of the opposite party.
Nonetheless, Chief Winifred Obiano is no stranger to well-deserved bipartisan praise.
Election in Nigeria is like a football match, a tale of 2 halves. Upcoming
Anambra State 2017 election times when electorates make decisions they would live with for the next 4 years is the topic on the scene nowadays.
A statement by Abraham Lincoln, from 1862, written after he was criticized for military blunders during the Civil War. It read, in part:
“I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right will make no difference”.
The soft-spoken former Chief Internal Auditor of Chevron Oil Nigeria Plc. One of the auditors that audited Texaco Refinery in Rotterdam, Netherlands deserved well-earned second chance, with no need for ten angels to testify on his behalf.
Lots of why nots with glaring answers!
Anambra state socio-economic values has been restored to health remarkable for a state known for the menace activities of self-styled godfathers and moneybags where the issue of money controls every facets of activities and elections.
Is a general knowledge, things aren’t all right in the Nigeria economy, or, for that matter, in the global economy. But the emergency measures Obiano and his team Okeke introduced back at inception of power eventually has been stabilising things, engaged in the long slog to bring the State economy back to life after the years of socio-economical and political tumults.
Now it looks like Nigeria financial world was falling in, Evidence has shown really, he has been working late hours, as the Governor of the state to restore calm to the markets and to prevent the state’s financial institutions from meeting the fate of other states, which are at the helm of collapsing.
When President Barack Obama took over the presidency of the US at a time the country was going through an economic crisis, many Americans were impatient with him until towards the end of his first term when they realised that he had both strategy and character to move the US forward. They discovered that he was still the best they had out of the 200 million plus American citizens to slowly but carefully lift the superpower out of the crisis.
Many might have expected Obiano to fail to find a working formula with both the central government and the opposition. Interestingly, he has managed to effortlessly work with these protagonists without joining their conflicts. He has kept to his job and mandate to the citizens of Anambrans.
However, as an incumbent, people will always find something to complain about but voters won’t give a hink.
Nevertheless, As Obiano achievements stands it seems, he may have a credible challenger to his re-election even though some of his political opponents have been rumoured to be scouting for someone who can lock him out of Awka centred seat using some zonal formula.
But Anambras had rejected politicking at detriment of their common goal and anonymously endorsing him to stay put for the best of the state . They just needed commitment. He gave commitment.
Come 2017, he might face challenges from contenders who might campaign on improving the state’s economy, but no amount of propagandas will be compelling enough to unseat this working incumbent.
Back in 2014, little of this could have been imagined. When Obiano took office, he was a bookish academic technocratic albeit one who had sat at the top seat of one of the top financial bank giant in Nigeria, Fidelity bank as an Executive Director, and, before that, as a head of Audit unit. But for some one from diverse profession vary from career politicking of adherent politicians, Obiano proved, he knows how to get things done drawing from the bank of experiences as financial analyst.
The governor’s best case for leadership comes where he took a huge socio-economical risk to reverse the state’s catastrophic several years financial decline by getting rid of some state debts, reset the books and establish the potentials for progressive growth in a healthier direction.
Obiano’s economic model has led to the best business and job growth in the state and he still has a road map plan to make it even better.
His vision and mission were hinged on four pillars of his administrative blueprint – agriculture, industrialisation, trade and commerce, oil and gas supported by twelve enablers; security, education, health, roads and social infrastructure, housing and urban development, the environment, transport, finance, electricity, women’s welfare, tourism, and youth development and entrepreneurship, there his economic blueprints were tied.
He priory stated out that the development strategy of the state in keeping afloat despite the present economic crunch in the country was his ability to define his vision and mission for the state and he walked it.
A look at his famous economic outlines: Economic Stimulator
ANSIPPA is Obiano’s magic wand that holds the key to wealth creation, economic development and investment in Anambra State.
Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), an economic blueprint that captures his four pillars of development, namely: agriculture, industrialisation, trade and commerce, oil and gas.
The Anambra state economy continues to thrive because, unlike other states , he understands that for businesses to succeed, government has to get out of the way. He understands that free market principles, low taxes and reasonable regulations allow businesses to create jobs and opportunity for the state.
His administration brought intervention relief to soft-pedal the impact of recession crunch on the downtrodden of the state and absorbed effect of acute drop in the supply of Foreign Exchange to avoid these businesses scaling down operations or shutting down completely.
He brought in an economic stimulation development plan titled ” Stimulus Package” centred on Four Key Areas-
Tax Relief Programme,
Special Intervention Programmes for Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs and Large Enterprises,
Social Intervention Programme for Low Income Households and finally;
Intervention in Infrastructure-for-Jobs
The foundation of a strong economy is to ensures that entrepreneurs, job creators and hard-working citizens have the freedom to aspire, to innovate, to grow and to prosper.
Through “Tax Relief Programme” existing taxes, levies and fees were evaluated and waivers introduced and collection of some illegal levies scraped.
Sale of consolidated emblems in Anambra State suspended, Hawkers Permit on all streets in the state and Wheelbarrow Tax in all markets in the state stopped as well imposition of unapproved levies on students in public primary and secondary schools in the state abolished.
He established, lauding economic policies that protect small businesses from overreaching federal and state regulations and provided long-term certainty about business operation within the state.
When Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) made available N2bn fund to each states in Nigeria to help stimulate local entrepreneurship across the country. To boost domestic economy, Anambra state set up a credit scheme under an agency titled” ASBA” ( Anambra Small Business Agency) to ensure even dispensation of need fund to SMEs and MSMEs in Anambra State and presently over start-up N1.5bn has been effectively distributed to many, centred strategic focused solely on productive sector such as famous Anambra Rice.
The next stimulus initiative at the offing stage is the Social Intervention Programme for Low Income Households and the most vulnerable populations of, proposing to fund three Youth Empowerment Schemes in fish farming, garri and ice processing clusters in the State.
State provided job Intervention infrastructures that has provided jobs for 500 persons into various positions in primary health centres across the state, engaged 300 road sweepers to keep our cities clean and 250 youths to rid our roads of potholes in our zero pothole programme as well employed 300 youths into Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra not left out newly formed “OCHA brigade” to support state’s enforcement drive.
Upcoming contenders might campaign painting pictures of crisis in the state, the evidence will continue indicating the contrary.
For instance, unemployment is lower than the national average and, while still low in global rankings, household incomes increased during this regime faster than in any other state in a recent reporting period.
Interestingly, Obiano isn’t a professional politician but a financial analyst expert and he demonstrated so.
In that regard, when it comes to rallying the state government infrastructure to provide assistance and then marshalling the resources to make something happen.
Infrastructures and Industrialization goes hand in hand. One of the state government objective is to become one of the top 3 industrialized states in Nigeria and is pursuing that by keying in to this four core areas – creation of modern industrial parks and small-to-medium enterprise clusters, improved drive for investment as well, better access to financing and strategic capacity building.
With the more rehabilitation presently going on, bad roads reconstructed and new ones constructed, such in Ayamalum area, bridges built to facilitate the movement of people. At Awka capital, pedestrian bridges (flyovers) built and construction going on at the three arm zone areas for members of the state executive, legislature, and judiciary.
Some major Infrastructural and development projects being embarked upon by the state presently includes urban renewal, mass housing, mass transport system and garbage recycling all in rim of completion; three gigantic flyover with longest bridge at Aguleri-Otu and two others, linking state to its oil well site.
Impressively, the state as far had attracted over $140 million investment to its manufacturing sector, a scheme had jump-started job creations to the state.
Anambra state government “Fires of Agro-revolution approach” :
Agriculture has potentials to revive monolithic economy of today’s Nigeria under right policy.
Obiano laudable agricultural programs and policies have succeeded in repositioning the sector into the bane of employer of labour wherein farmlands becomes source of not for revenue generation but job creation for ever teeming youth of the state inclusive league of men and women to Anambra state being ranked as agricultural products earner in the world and state produced rice enormously, competiting taking its earned market share among the imported ones.
Presently, the state is in forefront of food basket of Nigeria consumer-oriented economy.
Anambra State with the smallest land area in the country after Lagos, coupled major land constraint like gully erosion which had devastated large swaths of landscape, Obiano took the economic risk to embarked on a vibrant agricultural revolution, designed to make the state self-sufficient in food production as well as have the surplus for export.
Mechanised farming was adopted to area of rice production, prompted the state to became major rice producer, gearing to surpass 320,000 metric tonnes under the brand “Anambra rice” reportedly stone free, competing favourably with foreign brands that suck Nigeria’s foreign exchange.
In improvement on agriculture, Obiano recorded a great deal, so much that Anambra State joined the league of exporting states in Nigeria, following the success recorded in the sector with the exportation of local rice, pumpkin and bitter leaves to the United Kingdom.
With the sum of N225m earmarked,
250 youths had been trained at School of Agriculture in Mbakwu under Anambra state famous Vegetables-Export Programme, N300m has been distributed to Vegetable Production in the state.
Education’s importance is paramount to any state capacity building.
Anambra state is studying — not spinning wheels with budget cuts rather it had restore cuts, lower class sizes, boost accountability for all schools, helped teachers with training and found more money for higher education.
Gov. Obiano reformed tenure had commissioned an effort to devise a teacher accountability system, and the state is expanding preschool access faster than any other.
But taken in total, it’s hard not to give him much credit and considering game-changing ideas — such as the free tuition plan in progress. The state has been able to put a policy holding authorities more accountable for school performance, addressing failing schools, not just thinking about educational funding alone, need for new standards, better teacher training and stronger accountability — but needs where a substantial overhaul of the way schools were managed.
Obiano’s nod at his educational reforms were as resultant improvement in school academic performances of the state in the national competitions.
Some of his policies stretched the laws of governing ; others extended its remit in ways that made some uneasy. “Some are born radical,” my Profile of him began. “Some are made radical. And some have radicalism thrust upon them.”. Governor Willie Obiano was one of the latter. Given the seriousness of the situation, he believed he had no option but to be unconventional.
The most glaring achievement one observes visiting the state at recent first time in living memory, is crime-free state.
For more than four decades, Onitsha, economic engine-room of south east was a metaphor for crime and un-describable absurdities.
Starting the era of the first and second ” Oh Yeahs boys “down to the Bakassi , Derico days, host of other underworld regimes in Onitsha that made the city synonymous with the violent crime, stripping its established famousity, a book titled, ” Onitsha Market Literature” referred as literary publishing capital of West Africa..
Close to four decades; the city was an anathema of sorts; a taboo to sane folks. But Obiano’s “Operation Kpochapu” changed that narrative in just six months!.
It would seem that he had this in mind before he assumed the leadership of the state, figured out that if he could fix Anambra’s security worries, then everything else would follow, knowing that without a secured Anambra, his famous “Four pillars of development would amount to nothing.
So, formula for cleansing Anambra of crime and criminals, became impressive.
When there is peace and security, progress is close by. A tour across the state would open your eyes.
An aerial surveillance was launched with a police helicopter to sure that Anambra was effectively covered on the ground, in the waters and in the skies and even menace of herdsmen has never been one of the story of the state due to Air Police patrol due security mechanism put in place.
December last year, he raised the game in security campaign by donating 25 Smart Cars to the Nigerian Police Command & Control Centres with ultra-modern crime-bursting gadgets, and Gunboat to the Nigerian Navy to ensure a regular patrol across the water channels, sealing off all the criminal routes.
Security challenges, NURTW usually poses to peace and security in the state was handled by his Midas touch, repositioning the Union to their rightful place. Now, they face their transport business leaving politics to politicians.
Subsequently, Akpokue dike , adoption of combating predominate crime in Anambra state with high tech security network has been able to sustain free-crime status of state .
Anambra state government is fiscally sound and it’s impossible to overstate Obiano’s role in Anambra state’s nascent financial recovery.
There’s a palpable sense of optimism about the state these days, a marked change from the pervasive sense of impending financial ruin that has characterised some other states for the inception of the present federal administration.
What Obiano has done: No governor in Anambra history has made a bolder change to Anambra’s financial fortunes than him. Even if you believe emergency management. it’s impossible to quibble with the results: dramatically reduced debt, a balanced budget and money to spend on service delivery instead of long-term liabilities was a testament to the efficiency of his work.
Business is booming and growing quicker and more rapidly the state. It’s an exciting time in Anambra state.
His sensitivity to the plight of the poor cannot be over emphasised.
Unfortunately, most Politicians only want to see the issues that please the upper class sorted out first before those that affect the poor.
The governor, a product of low-income earners, prove empathy to their common yearning, increased the salaries of cadres of civil workers in the state, donated buses plying major routes conveying them to and fro.
Most of his detractors may not key to this because it took off organized trade labour’s longstanding grip on state politics and they have no reason to cheer because it required significant financial and political investment in a state but the governor pulled support from everywhere, and got it done.
Given his superlative performance, Obiano verily deserves a second tenure. This is on merit as his track-record of performance; especially his able husbandry of scarce resources aimed at taking Anambra State to the next level, has touched the lives of the ordinary people of the state.
Anambra State and her people will be better with the re-election Obiano.
A lot of past governors in Anambra state had promised to shape state government according to the progressive values the embedded in Anambran’s DNA.
But only one candidate brought dreamt agenda into practical, achievable focus. And so by the narrowest of margins, with keen reservations, Chief Obiano has been endorsed for second term.
He will also go down in the history books of Anambra as an important figure. If he hadn’t demonstrated the flexibility and open-mindedness he did, things could have been much, much worse.
For a governmental institution that has traditionally, known to would have been putting more emphasis on fighting inflation than on pursuing its other legal mandate, insuring maximum employment, his economical transformations represents a historic turnover for the state.
Throughout it all, he was a reassuringly calm presence. And, in a town of raging egos, he was commendably modest.
Obiano’s administration certainly might not take all the credit for these positive signs, but they do show that he has the state on the right track.
“Obiano’s economic reform isn’t an unqualified success, nor is it an unmitigated disaster. State is not (high jobs) adding jobs in record numbers, but it has stopped losing ground”.
He deserve re-election to ensure that the work they started progresses.
Irrespective of political affiliation, with meager federal allocation the state administration is tremendously pulling weight beyond dire expectations within months in office amidst other state still rebooting.
There are already have too many machine politicians voting in lockstep with party leadership, unable to think critically for themselves. Governor Obiano is a rare exception to the disappointing cadre of leaders and governors we have in Nigeria today—thoughtful, committed, and intelligent.
Given to much candidates who would be coming on board, One might have chosen to hold some reservation on endorsement, one who combines Obianos values and empathy with Obiano’s pragmatism, one who recognizes people as a key part of the budget equation. But no such candidate can exists in this race.
And so, however uneasily, we choose pragmatism. Decisive action over poorly refined plans. Obiano over whosoever.
Ifeanyi Ubah, who would have been top contender, apparently rooting for Obiano’s second term, a possible indication that he may not be coming on board. APC candidates? comparatively, owing to the perception among the Igbos that President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments are skewed in favour of the North and against the Southeast, the party has not been embraced by the generality of Igbos and this is likely to affect its chances in the election, equally dismal performance of the APC at the centre had already marred the chances of the party in the coming election in Anambra. They have failed in addressing fundamentals for sound footing.
There is a strong perception that
recent Edo State manipulation in favour of the ruling party are likely to repeat itself in Anambra 2017 election but one thing sure about it stands, disparity in qualification between him and other candidates is evidenced by the variety and volume of already received endorsements he has earned, compared with other incumbent governors in Nigeria history by that people votes will mar the plan.
In a talk with people of the state, however, it’s clear the governor did his job, and more, is an incumbent uncommon transformer likely to continue building on the state’s germinal economic momentum, instrumental in Anambra state’s speedy voyage through socio-political bankruptcy, toward more hopeful rebirth.
It takes grit and purpose to achieve real prosperity, and for these reasons and more, a lot interest groups wholeheartedly and unanimously are endorsing his return.
Some might be slightly skeptical of what Obiano’ next term could hold(two-timers receding syndrome). Some argued he must find equilibrium, reflect Anambran’s more moderate values, and serve as a bulwark against gerrymandered.
And he has got to see more of people, not sums, as the bottom line of the state balance sheet but longer he stays there, fighting as well working for the people of Anambra state, the better for their sickly socio-political process.
While Anambra state continue the need for Obiano’s
level-headedness in helm of power and of course voters would be smart to give him another term.