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President Jonathan Undertakes A Whistle Stop Visit to Anambra

By Mazi Odera

The Igbo adage that a good road is habitually revisited twice, was made manifest with President Goodluck Jonathan's return to Anambra on Saturday 22 February 2014. He also made a clear promise to return yet again, before 17 March 2014 to fulfill his long standing promise to flag off and break the grounds for the 2nd Niger Bridge from Asaba to Onitsha.

The president's official visit took many by surprise since it was not a priorly scheduled state visit. The president had indeed broken his visit to Imo state to touch down briefly in the ancient commercial city of Onitsha, where he paid a courtesy call on the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe at his Ime Obi Palace.

Some have speculated that the president made the visit to douse increasing public expression of concern that the southeast and the Igbo people were losing out despite their steadfast support for him.

As if on cue, President had passionately expressed appreciation to the Anambra people for their unrelenting support and indeed, for their overall contribution to the economic growth and development of Nigeria. He also acknowledged the continuing support from Ndi Anambra while exhorting the Anambra people to appreciate outgoing Gov. Peter Obi, who was not indebted to any financial institution despite his huge accomplishments during his tenure.

The president's host, HRM Igwe Achebe in his tour de horizon remarks, expressed appreciation for the president's magnanimity towards the Anambra State Government and people. He dwelt also on broad issues of national concern, including growing impunity in public life resulting in official malfeasance, broad national insecurity and the scourge of violence being wreaked Boko Haram. Igwe Achebe also urged the president not to relent on his Transformation Agenda programme and applauded his courage for convoying the National Conference.

Finally, he urged the president to extend to incoming Gov. Willie Obiano, the same support he gave to Gov. Peter Obi. The cosmopolitan monarch reminded the president that the Gov. Obi remained his stanch ally -- "your greatest supporter and pillar of strength in the entire South –East". He then urged the president to take Gov. Obi close "and deploy him effectively, particularly in the immediate period ahead. We assure that he will be an even greater asset to you now that he is free from the burdens of State governance."

The president's whistle stop visit to the south-east coincides interestingly with the eve of the Southern Leaders' Summit scheduled for Calabar on Monday 24 February 2014. Delegates from the south-west, south-south and south-east are already converging in the Cross River State capital.