By Odimegwu Onwumere
Encouraging positive projects and having the prowess to think outside the box are the qualities of any leader. These, well performed, make people from all walks of life to cheer and admire such a leader.
One leader who has enjoyed the cheers and admiration of his people to an immeasurable height, because of his generosity of spirit in leadership, is Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State. Anambra people have shown that they are happy with him, because his administration has embarked on honourable projects in the areas of health, education, sports, economy, peace, infrastructural renaissance, just name them, distinguishing him in various fields of endeavour.
From the church to the mosque and the traditional, Obi has been described as the best Governor Anambra has had, because of the steadfast in his cordiality to develop and rejuvenate the rural areas and provide them with basic necessities of life. Beaming searchlights on Anambra, Obi has contributed to good governance in Nigeria. Objectivity is his key. This is not a mere claim.
Many projects last year in the state that were at various stages of completion have been completed, and more started. This is not an erroneous assessment of Anambra State under Obi. The statement is an informed conclusion about governance in Anambra State in the last four years. Obi has been working interminably to achieve the hyped Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It cannot be said that Anambra State under Obi is one hundred percent perfect, because no organisation in the world has ever been such in term of leadership.
Christened Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, Obi is using this platform on ground to achieve the much advertised MDGs. He has tackled the menace of poverty by reducing its once dreaded Olympia Height in the state, which the European Union, through its Support to Reforming Institutions Programme (SRIP), has been in the forefront in partnership with the Obi-led government. The meager resources of Anambra State made it unavoidable to be in partnership with global, national and local partners. These are strategic partnerships, for international development partners/donor agencies. UNICEF, UNDP, DFID, EU, the World Bank, amongst others are the giant partners with the Obi-led Anambra State Government. Against this backdrop, the government regularly pays what is known as Government Counterpart Cash Contribution (GCCC). This is for development of the partnership activities, including accountability and transparency. The funds from development partners are managed well, by using the money strictly for the purpose it was provided for, and judicious sundry.
This could not have been achieved if the state is known for inaccessible roads, especially in the rural areas. As part of the government’s mappings, Obi recognised the need for building roads and bridges as the strongest weapons against poverty in the state, for the improvement of the individual and collective economy. Just to name but a few the exceptional networks of road Obi-led administration has carried – the 45-kilometre Anaku-Omasi-Ifite Ogwari-Igbakwu Road in Ayamelum LGA , the 43-Kilometre Amansea-Ebenebe-Awba Ofemili Road in Awka North, with a bridge (5Billion Naira), the 67-kilometre Onitsha-Atani-Ossomalla-Ogwuikpele Road in Ogbaru LGA, with three bridges (N17.8 Billion), the Umueze Anam-Mmiata Road in Anambra West LGA, with a bridge, the Nibo-Umuawulu-Awgbu-Amaokpala-Umunze Road, with the famous Odor bridge – are among the few examples of the infrastructural enhancement Obi-led government of Anambra State has showcased.
As a governor who loves his people, Obi envisioned ideas from different countries of the world, by not only visiting the urban cities, but also the remote villages. He has shown that he has the wand of power to develop Anambra State. Many armchair critics had shown interest in the state, but Obi was dogged to ignore them, because he’s not an armchair governor. Today, he has moved Anambra State from a presumably poor state to Utopia beyond statistics creating an elevated number of millionaires per four-sided figure kilometre by rationalising development in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Manufacturers and international businessmen now dot the state, not minding the miscreants called kidnappers who have tried to give the government a bad name, but they are very far from succeeding, because Obi is not sleeping with his two eyes closed, in the fight against crime in Anambra State.
Obi-led government has not only created wealth for Anambra State, it has also provided qualitative education for the residents, with revamped and stocked over 150 science school laboratories. It has also provided water, electricity, laptops, computers and constructed primary school classrooms in all the 177 communities of the State. The handover of the schools in the state to the church in which the State Government continues to provide financial support to the Church for the running of the schools and pay the salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff is another feat of the Obi-led administration.
During the returning ceremony of these schools to what the government called “its rightful owner” spurred both men and women in the state to almost near tears in ecstasy. However, the priority of the government is not centred on providing for the primary and secondary schools alone, it has also intervened to the tertiary level with significant makeover in infrastructure, accreditation of programmes and wide-ranging welfare. Inter alia, today, the Obi-led government of Anambra State has built a modern E-library – the Prof. Kenneth Dike Central Library at Awka – whereas the last Library built in Anambra State was in 1966.
Kudos to Governor Peter Obi for holding transparency in governance in the spirit of democracy. This has shown that Anambra State has no long way to go in the future. Obi-led government should be commended for empowering women than ever in multi-faceted ways, but most especially, through the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and using the State Poverty Eradication Programme, Women in ANIDS Micro Finance Scheme and in collaboration with National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and development partners like UNICEF, with gyrating loans worth over N330 million made available to hundreds of women supportive groups and women wings of Town Unions to start poultry farms, fish ponds, piggeries, and many other business. He should be commended for putting into practice programmes that are targeted to cut the sufferings of susceptible women such as widows, financially-poor women, and female care-givers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) etcetera.
Let all celebrate this man who has also done well in agriculture, environment, security, exploration of human and natural resources. Evidence is the distribution of micro-enterprises equipment worth hundreds of millions of naira to individual women and women groups. These equipment include garri processing machines, computers, hair dryers, sewing machines, welding machines, vulcanizing machines, ovens, shoe-making machines, cookers, grinding machines, polythene-sealing equipment, motorcycles, palm oil processing machines, palm kernel cracking machines, soap making machines and electricity generating sets. He should be celebrated for supporting the establishment of community cottage industries by women in 50 communities with the purchase of complete rice delivery service and processing machines.
How many times shall a man kill a lion before he is named lion-killer? Just ones. While anybody is entitled to his or her opinion on the affairs of Anambra State under the leadership of Governor Peter Obi, such opinions should be constructive than destructive. Critics should trim fictitious accusations of the government. Desperate jobless politicians in the state who are bent to maligning the government of Anambra State should look elsewhere. Well-meaning Anambra people cannot be easily carried away by lies of these jobless politicians against the administration of Obi. Anambra is the state any business and peace-loving person or group should be up to, as actually a great environment for business. Governor Peter Obi has encouraged positive projects and has shown that anybody can be a leader, only if the person has the prowess to think outside the box.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, contributed this piece from Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org