Any discerning student of Anambra State‘s recent history will not fail to identify the progression of “motivation” and “standards” playing out in the government and politics of the State since 2003.
The reward for Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s failure in governance was his emphatic rejection in the 2003 governorship election for a second term in office.
However, the denial of the APGA of its governorship mandate won in the April 19, 2003 poll had provoked the people’s outrage.
Ngige’s modest achievements rubbed off on the incoming Peter Obi administration. Although Obi earlier sold a beautiful manifesto to the people of Anambra State, the approval rating Ngige received could not be ignored and led Obi to redouble his efforts.
Although Mr Peter Obi achieved the landmark of N9b cash and N35b investment handover to his successor, the gains were wiped off with a humongous N127b debt his administration left behind. The scary debt profile included money owed contractors on completed projects; CBN loan; rightful benefits denied some public servants and counterpart fund obligations.
Consequently, Chief Willie Obiano assumed office with a huge impediment, the biggest financial yoke borne by any Governor of the State since the Fourth Republic.
But undeterred by fiscal and psychological disadvantage, Obiano has impacted on the recreation of Anambra State on higher levels not witnessed before.
In the six years of Willie Obiano’s management, Anambra State’s economy has grown to become the fourth largest in the country. The State’s GDP rose from $1000 to over $2000 per capita. John Nnia Nwodo, President, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo puts it succinctly:
Indeed, Anambra achieved ascent as a major food producing State under Obiano. Through increased funding of the sector, MOUs with reputable firms and incentives to small holder farmers, the rice production story changed from 244, 235 metric tons in 2016 to 445, 000 metric tons in early 2019.
Obiano’s governorship is also defined by the operation of strategic public institutions. The State’s Road Maintenance and Capital Territory agencies were constituted for the first time at the beginning of the Obiano administration – several years after their legal creation. With a sustained system of road rehabilitation reminiscent of the colonial Public Works Department, the agency exemplifies the policy of “doing more with less.”
In 2016, Obiano introduced a model grassroots development scheme now widely adjudged impactful. The community project venture covers the State’s 181 autonomous towns. Each community received N20m for the execution of its choice project in each phase of the programme.
Long after he leaves office, Obiano will be remembered for his Olympian scale achievements. He takes credit for bringing Anambra’s security architecture to digital heights. He has the singular recognition of being the southeast Governor who a funeral – memorial for the Igbo civil war d**d and who launched the efi Igbo (Igbo cow) project.
In the words of Senator Ben Murray Bruce, “there’s something to be learnt (and celebrated) in Anambra.” That’s why William Maduaburochukwu Obiano is Anambra State’s legacy Governor.
Afuba is editor of Anambra Times.