Expanding The Frontiers Of Excellence…

Being The Inaugural Address Presented By The Governor Of Anambra State, Chief Willie M. Obiano, March 17, 2014

By James Eze
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Beloved Anambrarians, with humility, I stand before you today, to accept this historic responsibility that you have given to me to serve. Our great leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, advised Ndigbo that only wise political choices would ensure their survival as a nation within a nation. I am proof that you heeded that advice.

Ndi Anambra, I wish to assure you that you made a wise choice when you voted me and Dr. Nkem Okeke as your Governor and Deputy Governor. Not only that, in voting for our great party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance, you once again listened to the wise advice of the great American Civil Rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, that; 'We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.'

Ndi b'anyi, let me quickly say that the occasion we have today is not a celebration of the victory of one party over another but the triumph of the human will over the challenges that make democracy a reluctant seed to grow in Africa. Fellow citizens, barley 10 years ago, the situation in Anambra State was so appalling that Anambra's famous son and writer, Chinua Achebe referred to it as a place where a small clique of renegades had turned into a 'bankrupt and lawless fiefdom.'

To the glory of God, the tables turned against enemies of Anambra when our great leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu built a new political ark for our people and gave us a fighting chance in the ever-threatening flood of Nigeria's political climate. Today, our story is different.

After 8 years of a remarkable leadership under the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), our narrative has changed from the story of near-bankruptcy to that of the only state in the federation that hosts Nigeria's first indigenous automobile manufacturing plant. Yes, it is a thing of pride to know that our brother, Dr Innocent Chukwuma has launched Nigeria into a new industrial orbit by fulfilling the country's dream of indigenous automobile manufacturing with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Limited, Nnewi. The story of Innoson is the story of courage and vision. It is the narrative of the New Anambra!

Slowly but steadily, we are regaining our self-belief. We are reminding ourselves that a people who astonished the world with their ingenuity and resourcefulness in wartime can lend a weighty hand to efforts to re-make our world in peace-time.

Indeed, the time has come to prove to ourselves that the entrepreneurial spirit for which our people are known all over the world can take firm roots at home; that together as one, we can be masters of our own house! Fellow citizens, under my administration, we have no choice than to decide whether we are truly the sons and daughters of our fathers and true heirs to their long history of pioneering excellence!

Ndi Anambra, at this juncture, I pray you to join me in thanking our brother, Mr. Peter Obi for the excellent job he has done in Anambra State. OKWUTEEE!!! Similarly, we must not forget to thank the ebullient Chairman of our great party, Chief Victor Umeh for providing the vision and stability that made it possible for APGA to deliver on its campaign promises to our people. OHAMADIKE!!!

We must also thank our great party men and women who worked night and day to actualize the victory we are celebrating here today. KOKORONKOO!!! X3. My greatest gratitude however goes to Ndi Anambra, some of who broke party loyalties and climbed over narrow interests to cast their votes according to their conscience. I salute your courage! Your clamour for continuity in Anambra State as captured in your slogans 'From Agulu to Aguleri' and 'from Obi to Obiano,' has finally been fulfilled! This victory belongs to you all.

Fellow Anambrarians, a time comes that rarely comes in history when the ebb and flow of life makes extraordinary demands on a generation of people. The words of Nelson Mandela bring this point closer home. According to him, 'sometimes, it falls on a generation to be great.' This generation has a historical responsibility to free our people from the clutches of underdevelopment and set the urgent tone for accelerated advancement.

Now, the natural question that you may want to ask is; what plans do you have for us? In the timeless view of America's Max De Pree, 'the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.' In Nigeria today, finding a permanent solution to the challenges of electricity supply and offering a secure environment for life and property is paramount to any viable economic blueprint. These twin challenges have proven to be the biggest constraints to the full manifestation of the ingenuity for which Ndi Anambra are known. It has always been clear to me that the realization of my dreams for Anambra State depends on how well we tackle these challenges.

The good news is that there is hope for Anambra State. We shall aggressively address the challenge of power supply with the proposed citing of ultra-modern Independent Power Plants (IPP) in the three industrial hubs in the state; specifically, in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka. When fully operational, these plants will generate enough electricity to power the entrepreneurial dreams of our people.

In the area of security, Anambra will be different under my watch. Not only shall we redraft the operational manual of the entire security apparatchik of Anambra State to ensure a lightning-quick response, we shall also re-orient our people to see that every citizen has a role to play in the security of our communities. The concept of community policing or what is better known as the Vigilante Groups, has worked well in Anambra State.

The next challenge however is to re-train, re-equip and refocus them to meet the dynamics of our time. Along the same line, we will strengthen the Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies in the state to enhance their efficiency and response rate to distress calls.

Fellow Anambrarians, your clamour for a Capital City that fully reflects the essence of our people will be addressed by my administration. We shall re-design and remodel Awka to meet the structural and aesthetic requirements of a 21st Century city that we can all be proud of. We shall also faithfully implement the master plans for Onitsha and Nnewi.

Ladies and gentlemen, my administration shall launch Anambra into a new economic phase through what I call the FOUR PILLARS of Development. They include -

1. Aggressive Mechanized Agriculture - We shall engage in a serious production of Cassava, Maize and Rice where we have a comparative advantage. In addition, we will re-train, re-equip and organize our farmers into cooperatives to enable them share resources and attract funding from Donor Agencies and Financial institutions. These efforts will lead to Massive increase in food production in the medium to long term and the emergence of Agro-based industries in the area of Storage, Processing, Manufacturing and Packaging. That will create a lot of jobs for our people.

2. Oil & Gas - We will provide the enablement for Oil & Gas companies to prospect for natural resources in our state and set up a refinery within one year of my administration. Commencement of a Refinery will attract Oil & Gas ancillary companies to come to our state. This has a lot of job creation potentials for our people.

3. Trade & Commerce - We shall provide an enabling environment for our traders to switch from importation to manufacturing the goods they currently import to Anambra. We shall introduce e-Commerce and build ultra-modern markets and Shopping Malls and revamp existing ones with new amenities.

4. Industrialization - This state hosts a large number of Industrial Clusters. My administration will strengthen this advantage with an appropriate policy framework that will boost our indigenous capacity in this sector. This will have a direct impact on wealth creation in the state and bring down unemployment.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the Four Pillars of the Anambra Wheel of Development. They constitute the Treasure Box of Anambra State and the ignition through which we shall light up the ENABLERS like Education, Health, the Environment, Youth and Sports Development, Security, Transportation, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Planning, Women and Children and Social Infrastructure among many others.

The remarkable thing about this Blueprint is that it is centred on the family. When we create jobs and boost the earnings of workers, we are strengthening the family. When we subsidize education and revolutionize healthcare delivery in the state, the family is the ultimate beneficiary. When we secure our communities and build new estates with first class infrastructure, we reinvigorate the family. All over the world, the role of the family as the first point of civilization is fully acknowledged. Sadly, today, we are too driven by narrow pursuits to build strong families and stronger communities.

Beloved Anambrarians, I would urge you to also spare a thought on one thing that has held down this state from the full realization of its manifest destiny for years. Fellow citizens, the greatest challenge that we face as a people is the challenge of fostering peace and brotherhood amongst ourselves.

Over the years, we have allowed narrow interests to put a knife on the things that held us together and today, we can no longer act as one. Ndi Anambra, where is the love that once led our people through the extreme adversities of war? Foremost French philosopher, Victor Hugo reminds us that, 'to love another person is to see the face of God.'

Fellow Anambrarians, our land yearns for healing! It is our collective responsibility to heal this land with love! Our ancestors; philosophers and magicians that they were, must have divined our time when they came up with witty and timeless sayings like Onye aghana nwanne ya, Igwe bu ike, Izu ka mma na nne ji etc, all of which place group aspirations over and above individual ambitions. That is why we have started this movement; a social hurricane that will sweep through our towns and villages, through the nooks and crannies of Igbo land and through the Igbo Diaspora. We are calling on everyone to rethink and re-engage our heritage, our history, our families and our future.

There comes a time in history when a generation plagued by uncertainties and doubts must grind to a halt to take a hard look at itself in the mirror. Fellow Anambrarians, now is the time!

To our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, I say; don't forget whose children you are. The easy comforts of exile may be sweet but nothing compares to the fulfilment of a life among your own people. Bring home your dollar and your skills. Anambra State needs you. Ana Igbo needs you. Nigeria needs you!

We shall soon set up a special Diaspora Liaison Programme (DLP) to open a window for Anambrarians and other Nigerians who may wish to start up a business in this state as a first step to their eventual relocation to Nigeria. The modalities are being worked out and the final details will be announced in due time.

As I close this address, I wish to say a word to my people, Ndigbo. Umu nnem, we are inheritors of a precarious season. Nigeria's political climate today demands an honest self-assessment. The hard question we must ask ourselves is; how well have we fared as a people with a political future? The South Eastern Nigeria is the only region which does not have a dominant political party. Today, APGA is the only political party in Nigeria whose geographical coverage has yet to match its inherent potential. The time has come to re-invigorate the party and reclaim all the states in the South East and South South and the rest of Nigeria. To do this; we must climb over the recriminations of the past to build new bridges of understanding across Nigeria. If our ancestors sacrificed so much to create Nigeria, we must not sacrifice any less to rebuild this country. I have no doubt whatsoever that our future as a people is guaranteed in Nigeria.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I, at this juncture, thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for its special interest and support to Anambra State. I must also thank our Economic Partners and Donor Agencies, the World Bank, the European Union and other United Nations Agencies for their tremendous assistance to the development quest of Anambra State. Let me quickly assure you that my administration will work with you in a very structured, honest and transparent manner.

Coming closer home, I want to thank all the traditional rulers and the church in Anambra State for the huge endorsement you gave me during the elections. Oga adili unu mma! My special thanks also go to Umu-ada Anambra (the women of Anambra State). Ndi nne maa ma! I am grateful for all you have done! May I also express my profound gratitude to the dynamic youths of Anambra State. Ndi oga adili mma! Ekenem unu!

Finally, I extend an olive branch to my brothers, Senator Chris Ngige, Ifeanyi Ubah, Tony Nwoye and other candidates who ran for election with me. We must not let the ideologies that polarize us deny our people the full benefits of our talents and wisdom. I urge you to join hands with me in brotherhood and love to create a bold new world for our children and our children's children.

We are only limited by the scope of our dreams; not the depth of our talent or the breadth of our gifts!

It is a New Day in Anambra State!
Ndi Anambra nine, ndi Igbo nine, tetanu n'ula na chi efogo!

Dalu nu!
Chief Willie M Obiano,
Governor, Anambra State
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