Stretching to a New Height of Excellence: A NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM THE GOVERNOR OF ANAMBRA STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY CHIEF WILLIE OBIANO, JANUARY 1, 2015

By Chief Willie Obiano

My dear Ndi Anambra, I bring you warm greetings as we enter into a new year. We should be grateful, individually and collectively that God saw us through 2014 and ask for Divine guidance in 2015. Fellow citizens, the New Year presents us a chance to look inwards to re-appraise ourselves and look outwards and renew our faith in God. Indeed, it is a time to make resolutions and rededicate ourselves to the values that define us and the challenges and struggles that shape our evolving society. Above all, the New Year is a time to freshen up our convictions on the ties that bind us together as one people who must break through the limitations of time and resources to lay a solid foundation for hope. The future of any society lies in its capacity to look beyond the darkness and doubts of today and see a glimmer of hope in the shadows of tomorrow.

Ndi Anambra, we look back at where we are coming from to where we are today and where we are heading to in the future, we can all see that our tomorrow will be greater than our yesterday. Our state is now in its 23rd year. Although this great state may not have started out strong, it has over the last couple of years picked up momentum. We are committed to taking the state to greater heights with our articulated Blue Print.

Ndi Anambra, looking back, we can all see that 2014 was a phenomenal year in all respects. It was the year when after a glorious 8-year tenure of my predecessor, former Governor Peter Obi, our beloved state witnessed the smoothest transition from one administration to another without the usual rancor that marked such changeovers in the past. That transition opened a new vista in the evolution of our democratic culture and restored our faith in our collective ability to be masters of our own house.

Year 2014 in Retrospect
Ndi Anambra the out-gone year was indeed a year of great beginnings for my administration. We began on a consultative note – holding extensive consultations with critical segments of the society and finally holding a stakeholders forum with our distinguished citizens. From these consultations, we collectively resolved to build a free and prosperous society that we will be proud to bequeath our children.

Our first focus was on the security of our state with a view to creating an enabling and secure environment for our people and for investors. Following a very successful Security Summit that attracted some of the most notable experts in the security business from across the world, we commenced a blistering offensive against crime and criminality in Anambra State. The launch of the Joint Task Force on security, otherwise known as Operation Kpochapu marked the beginning of the journey to wipe out kidnapping, violent armed robbery and the trade on hard drugs in Anambra State.

Ndi Anambra, since April 2014, we have proved that with determination and focus, we can emancipate our dear state from vicious criminals that have made life miserable to our people for ages. In so doing, we have successfully opened the floodgates to the investment community and attracted a massive inflow of investments into Anambra State. In the outgone year, my administration attracted $1.63bn investments into Anambra State. In This year, our goal is to triple that figure and establish a solid foundation for the growth of a buoyant domestic economy. We remain faithful to our mantra, to make Anambra the first destination of choice for both foreign and domestic investors.

In furtherance of this, we have set up various committees that will provide the critical thinking in key socio-economic areas of the state and advise government on the best approaches to solving our numerous developmental challenges. These committees are made up of experts and highly resourceful Anambra indigenes with track records of excellence in their areas of expertise in Nigeria and abroad. Every modern government works with structures such as these to achieve set objectives. I have no doubt that when we begin to implement the recommendations of these committees, our dear state will eventually take-over the driving seat of Nigeria's fastest growing states.

My dear Ndi Anambra, in the past year, we also took several bold steps including one which envisions an ultra-modern capital territory for our beloved state. The new Awka Capital Development Authority (ACDA) has successfully conducted a comparative study of three model cities across the world with a view to fashioning out a modern city that will reflect our great cultural heritage, our well-known drive for excellence and our readiness to compete in a fast changing world, in one fell swoop. In addition, the ACDA Board has concluded extensive consultations with the various stakeholders, traditional rulers, community heads, notable associations and opinion leaders within the designated areas to win their support to the project. I have no doubt that with the support of these stakeholders; our dream of a befitting capital city will come true in a peaceful atmosphere.

Ndi Anambra, in the outgone year also, we kept our campaign promise of 4Cs ... to continue, complete, commission and commence a set of new initiatives that will change our beloved state for good. Along this line, we have continued all the projects we inherited from the previous administration and flagged off new ones that will enlarge the scope of our quest for accelerated development.

We launched a new cultural identity and brand for our people and gave Anambra a new Anthem, logo and flag that succinctly capture the identity and promise we hold out as a great people. We also took a bold step to engineer a new ethical order with the introduction of the new Anambra Core Values into the school system. We have expanded the boundaries of freedom for our people and brought back nightlife to our cities. Above all, we capped the year up with an amazing holiday season -- a Christmas; celebrated with fanfare and in an atmosphere of unfettered freedom from the usual traffic snarls and insecurity that made previous Christmas Seasons a miserable experience for our people in the past.

Our Aspirations in the New Year
My dear Ndi Anambra, our world, country and dear state cannot escape the challenges that are part of everyday living. Many experts predict that 2015 will be a tough year to Nigeria due to falling oil prices. Despite this scenario, our aspirations this year are bigger than the past years. Umunnem, our hopes and dreams shall not fall with the falling oil prices. With our enormous human and material resources, we shall not surrender our ambitions to the dwindling oil prices in the international markets. We shall draw on history and our past accomplishments to stretch the scope of our vision and expand the boundaries of our possibilities.

Ndi Anambra, when we took over the reins of leadership in March last year, our Internally Generated Revenue stood at N500m a month. In less than one year, we grew it to over N1bn. This year, we shall triple that figure. This will insulate us from the shock of falling oil prices and a possible dip in federal allocations to states. Therefore, the same determination with which we have pursued our security challenges is what we will bring to fighting the leakages in our IGR. I urge you all to pay your taxes and other statutory levies and fees as good citizens of Anambra State. Let me assure you that we have now harmonized the taxes collected by the State and Local Governments to eliminate multiple taxations for the same revenue windows.

This year too, we shall complete many landmark projects like the three flyovers in Awka and the six-lane stretch of road from Amawbia to Amansea. We shall also complete and commission the Agulu Lake Hotel Resort and other critical road projects we inherited from my predecessor. We shall flag off more projects covering the Four Pillars of Development of this administration and lay the foundation for an ambitious economic growth. Our investment in security shall be more robust this year as we intend to re-invigorate and refocus the security network in the state to ensure a rapid transition to crime detection and prevention. We shall continue to maintain a zero tolerance of crime in Anambra State.

In other aspects of our programmes; we shall develop new markets and re-organize and upgrade existing ones. We shall also direct more investments to the Oil & Gas sector to make a strong case for our inclusion in the NDDC and to be listed among Nigeria's oil producing states. In addition, we shall expand our current capacity in the Agricultural Sector and ensure the implementation of all the MoUs we signed in the sector in the outgone year. As adequately captured in our budget for this year, all the Enablers like Education, Healthcare and other key segments of society will get a deserved attention.

Ndi Anambra, this is a year of hope and fulfillment. This year, we shall work for a new social and economic order in Anambra State. We shall build strong families to ensure the emergence of stronger communities. We shall force positive change on various aspects of our collective life that have been resistant to our collective march to progress.

Ndi Anambra, this year is an election year. It is a very important year in our national history. We all have a collective responsibility to play an active role in the coming elections. We must all strive to get our Permanent Voters Cards to enable us participate in the voting process. Those of us who have yet to get their cards should do so within the available window in this New Year. We must remember to vote for all APGA flag-bearers in the coming elections. Let us also remember to vote for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the Presidential Election. President Jonathan is our candidate and we must vote for him.

Ndi Anambra, before us lies an awesome year! This year, we shall stretch to a new height in our pursuit of Excellence and prove to the world that Anambra State can be great again! Let us build a land of progress and lift our homeland high!

God bless Anambra State that we love!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Happy New Year to you all!
Chief Willie Obiano
Governor, Anambra State

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