By Ikenna Ifedobi
According to Henry Kissinger the great American political juggernaut, “the task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been” also former American president Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that “the supreme quality of leadership is integrity”.
Indeed both quotes strongly apply to the character of the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state; the ability to take the demographic to new heights and to do it with integrity.
This is something new not just in Nigeria, but in African politics. Most African leaders in all levels of power devolve into despotism and avarice which eventually results in a miserable situation for the populace. Governor Obiano however has in just 4 years transformed the socio-economy of Anambra state from squalor to affluence.
In just one term he has revolutionized the nature of the state from a haven of pseudo criminality to the standard of harmony, security and prosperity. This is very remarkable in the sphere of African politics. On my last visit to Onitsha, I could barely recognize the environment. It is so clean and orderly that those that knew its condition 6 years ago would whistle in astonishment. The wise men say “as above so below, as within so without”.
The nature of one’s immediate environment and circumstances especially as they relate to leadership are a reflection of their inner state. It can be said that the positive transformation of Anambra state today is a reflection of the personal harmony and discipline of Governor Obiano and a testament of his progressive mien as a person. This article is an attempt to highlight some of the wonderful achievements of the Obiano government and to challenge other Nigerian politicians to this new standard of statesmanship and political integrity.
The rudiments of reform and change.
Ever since the 70s until Obiano’s tenure, Anambra has gained the infamous reputation for criminality, declining education and a total absence of law and order. But right now the security situation is perhaps the best in Nigeria. The difference is like night and day; no more kidnappings, no more brazen robberies, and no more thugs on the street and no more traffic lawlessness.
Today Anambra with the leadership of Governor Obiano has one of the best police and security situations in Nigeria. It has never been this peaceful as far back as I can remember. Obiano is the only governor that not only paid his workers, (which is special in Nigeria) but increased their salary by 15 percent in 2015.
This was at the time that the national economy was faltering and most governors were looking for federal bailouts to remain solvent. The fact that he even paid his workers at all and on time is revolutionary, for those that are familiar with the Nigerian mentality.
Also, the debts inherited from the previous administration in the form of N1.9 billion salaries owed to the state water corporation and N1 billion pension owed to local government retirees were paid off.
Anambra went from agricultural dependency to exporting food to Europe! With a strong emphasis on industrial agriculture there is now Anambra rice which is of high quality, tomatoes, onions, poultry, etc., all on an industrialized scale.
In a perfect synergy between state and private sector agro based investments, the Obiano government has attracted 150 million dollars from Coscharis farms in Anaku, 50 million dollars from NOVTEC farms, 160 million dollars from Joseph Agro ltd, 220 million dollars from Ekcel tomato production farms, 50 million dollars from Songhai/delfarms, 61 million dollars poultry farm, an 11.4 million dollar modern abattoir, and much more.
Under the Obiano leadership, not only can the state sustain itself but it can export and feed others while generating huge profits independent of federal stipends- a monumental feat by any standards.
In terms of infrastructure the achievements are nothing short of stellar: the construction of Anambra’s longest bridge measuring 280 meters long, across Omambala river, as part of the 42 kilometer road that opens access to oil fields in Aguleri, partnering with UDIPPCO and Falcon corporation to improve state generated electricity through the gas to power initiative, construction of tank farms for storing oil and gas products, the repair and asphalting of over 102 roads, the building of multiple commercial centers apart from Onitsha main market to improve commerce, a mass transit and public transportation scheme with 200 brand new taxis and 40 luxurious buses, the construction of modern bus stops and bus terminals in strategic areas of the state, 24 speed boats for marine transport and ambulances for riverine communities, 47 solar powered boreholes that serve 27 communities, installation of 250 electricity transformers for rural electrification and a massive improvement in streetlights, the list goes on.
This is just scratching the surface as a more elaborate list of his achievements can be found online. But you get the picture. The infrastructural base of Anambra state today under governor Obiano has surpassed in 4 years all achievements in the past 30 years put together! This is monumental. And all this is realized with a strong emphasis on security and civil safety, which is evident by the degree of harmony and orderliness today.
Wisdom and leadership.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Obiano’s progressive transformation of Anambra state is the evidence of sublime wisdom in his approach, which is a quality that transcends mere political familiarity, and borders on the realm of divine inspiration. In January of 2015, for the first time in recent history an Igbo statesman initiated a formal ceremony for all the souls that passed away during the world wars, Biafra war, slave trade and other situations in the past.
He remembered these ancestors and in so doing cleared the spiritual environment of any astral angst and bottlenecks by indignant spirits. To have such a perspective and understanding of the effect that the unseen world has on the visible spectrum takes transcendental wisdom and adept understanding of the science of life. With the spiritual atmosphere clear, the floodgates of prosperity were thrown open and the result is what we all can witness today.
Many families, states and peoples may not understand this sublime science, that their prosperity and advancement may be held back by indignant souls begging to be properly remembered.
A proper scientific proof of this reality can be found online in an article titled “Ancestral Anambra hand and socio-economic development” where I explained that even the Japanese government after successive earthquakes that threatened to sink the entire country suddenly remembered that they never formerly honored the young kamikaze pilots during World War 2. Once this ceremony was properly conducted the natural disasters went away and things improved quickly.
Another very important factor that underlies the current success of the Obiano government is its consistency and continuity in completing the projects of his predecessor. This is one aspect of African politics that is often overlooked but which determines the overall wellbeing of the state in the long run.
The success of developed countries despite partisan politics is in the continuation of policies and projects regardless of party affiliation and orientation, and Governor Obiano not only continued and finished most of his predecessor’s work, but set the trend for that culture in the political environment.
A bigger stage.
It is imperative that Governor Obiano is voted in for a second term. If in just 4 years he can develop the state to such an extent, a second tenure will transform Anambra into the commercial and social hub of Africa.
The degree of integrity, hard work, diligence and harmony enjoyed by his constituents has never been achieved till date. If he continues with this level of dynamism, then Nigeria as a country can use a man of such vision and acumen. In a way, the chaos that was Anambra was a microcosm of the entire Nigerian society.
If he could reform Anambra from dependency to self-sustenance and exports in just four years, while making the state safe and secure, such skills are definitely most needed in the presidential and executive arm of the country. He will be perfect to reform Nigeria. Bravo to the hardest working governor in Nigeria: his Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano.
Ikenna Ifedobi is an economist and consultant of the American petroleum Institute (API) in USA. firstname.lastname@example.org