ANAMBRA'S SILENT DEVELOPMENTAL REVOLUTION
Those who judge development in Anambra State in recent times from only what they see through the Niger Bridge entry point and Upper Iweka roundabout and moving towards either Awka or Owerri might not be aware of the silent developmental revolution taking place in the entire state and in virtually all the sectors.
And as such, they may be guilty of error in judgement if these few mentioned points inform the bases for such assessment. Basing Governor Peter Obi's performance on this premise alone will be an attempt to mask the truth. If such persons should visit Onitsha GRA, they will certainly swallow their own words in shame. Many people that pass through Upper Iweka and main market do not know that Onitsha GRA with its beautiful scenery and greenery does exist. A visit to some of the sites of these laudable projects that Obi has embarked upon in his first term and the ones in his second term show that something tremendous is happening in this agrarian state.
Even a friend of mine and an indigene of my own state conferred in me after passing some Anambra hinterland that the state government has done much on rural roads to the extent that one can hardly see any stretch of red earth road in the state. He concluded by asserting with conviction that really Anambra has overtaken Imo by more than five years. And I agreed totally with his logical observations. I want to even add that Anambra has overtaken most states in the South East in terms of integrated development. The beauty of what Obi is doing in Anambra today will be better and more appreciated in future than now. And I say this with great conviction and sincerity of purpose.
Even at that some critics of Obi administration would readily point out that Obi has slowed down a bit in his infrastructural development strides. They opine that after wining a second term that there is nothing more at stake hence the alleged reduced tempo of the occupants of Government House at Awka. While the critics of the administration are entitled to their views, I want to add that Obi is even increasing the tempo. The only snag I noticed is that the governor is publicity-shy. He is not one of those that would advertise an uncompleted project or a project that has not taken place. The fault is that Obi does not blow his trumpet. He is not flamboyant. He is level headed.
He does not assume air. Obi does not insist on sitting in VIP stand at occasions. At times, he has even relinquished his seat for other people to sit. Perhaps, the fault is in Obi himself because he does not play to the gallery or sing his praises as others do or hire people to do it on his behalf. The Anambra governor at times is highly misunderstood. He is not the Chop-I-Chop politician or the agbataekee group or the akpu and ofe uha politician. I have no doubt whatsoever that Governor Peter Obi meant well for all Anambra people, Ndi Igbo and other people as well. He came into politics with a purpose.
That purpose is to make governance work in Anambra State and by extension Igboland. And I think that the man is succeeding. But he needs our support. We can offer criticisms but let they be constructive. Damaging criticism does not help either. Obi is a new breed of politician who came to politics with strictly business sense. By business here I mean boardroom business and not the type you do in Idumota, Ochanja and Ariara markets. Please don't get me wrong here, the buying and selling done in these markets has their economic values as well.
Perhaps the only drawback is not giving enough roles to ethical considerations while the business goes on. Obi wants things to be done scrupulously. He wants every penny spent to be accounted for. He does not know that our people are not yet used to that kind of governance. They want a government that must pamper and even feed people at government expense. Obi's idea of governance is to provide service to the people. He wants to build roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, offices, libraries and industries.
Perhaps, Obi will be better appreciated when he leaves office than now. And I have my reasons for saying so. Obi has stabilized governance in the state. An eight-year reign for Obi in the state will mean more development to the people.
For instance, the Peter Obi administration has completed work at the Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency (ASRMA) in Awka and the Customary Court of Appeal building. There is much progress at the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, Awka. Already, buildings housing the out-patient clinic, consultants' clinic, House Officers' Quarters, laboratory, Radiology, male and female wards have been completed.
The Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Awka has been completed with complete Fire House with modern fire-fighting equipment. There are also administrative blocks, clinics and stores. The Professor Kenneth Dike Township Library in Awka is completed. This is about the first modern library to be built in the entire state since 1966.
Governor Obi ahs completed two state secretariat buildings while works in other are still on-going. The same can be said of the Women development Centre in Awka, which house a conference centre and lodging facilities. It has an amphitheater. Work at the Ekwueme Square, Awka is nearing completion.
Otalu and Aghomili bridges on the Agulu-Ezechukwu-Ajalli road have been completed as well as the Odor Bridge through Amaokpala/Oko axis. Some of the on-going bridges Obi is constructing include the Amansea/Ebenebe Bridge, Obibia Bridge in Okpuno and the Umueze-Anam/Mmiata Bridge. About 25 bridges are being built in different parts of the state. These bridges serve as links to many communities, especially the agrarian communities that serve as the food basket of the state. Linking them with roads would facilitate easy evacuation of farm produce which will at the same time improve the economic life of the people.
On education, Obi is doing much to improve teaching and learning in the state. The government of Anambra State has given buses to over 100 secondary schools and provided the same with boreholes as well as generators. To ensure that students in the state are computer-literate, the governor has provided over 10,000 laptops and desktop to secondary schools in the state. The government has embarked on building 4,000 classroom blocks in four years in various communities. What this translates to is that the government will build 1,000 of such classrooms per year. The project is community-driven as the communities are solely in charge of the project having each been given N6 million grant for commencement. The various communities appoint committees that would oversee the project.
He has also done much in uplifting tertiary education in Anambra State. The Igbariam campus of Anambra State University is busy with construction activities. The fencing of the entire campus is in progress as well as works at the Faculty of Agriculture, Senate/Administrative Block. The Faculty of Management Sciences Block and Faculties of Law, and Mass Communication are not left behind. The same can also be said of works going on the State School of Agriculture, Mgbakwu.
The Anambra State government is working hard in rural water scheme to ensure that the people have access to potable water. The Agulu-Aguinyi Water Scheme is one of them. There are about 17 different small town water schemes in the state.
This is never a roll call of what Governor Peter Obi has done in the state so far. It is never intended to be so. It is just to show a few of the numerous things the government is doing to deliver to Anambrarians the dividends of democracy. There is no doubt that more are coming in the days ahead.
In view of the size of the federal allocation that comes to the state and its low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the Peter Obi administration has demonstrated that with astute management of scarce resources that governance can really work in this part of Nigeria.