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Independent Anniversary: Obiano Foresees Brighter Future for Nigeria

…Grants Amnesty to 25 Prisoners
By James Eze
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The governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has assured compatriots that sooner than later, Nigeria would overcome the many challenges that beset the country at the moment to showcase the fullness of her endowment in human and material resources and earn the respect of the rest of the world.

In a message to mark the 54th Independent Anniversary of the country titled “A Message of Hope,” governor Obiano observed that in the past five years, the capacity of the leadership class to keep the country as one has been tested to the highest limit and expressed optimism that Nigeria's current challenge from internal terrorism would soon be a thing of the past. The governor also used the opportunity to grant amnesty to 25 prisoners who were serving various terms in different jails in the state.

According to him; “For some years now, the Nigerian Armed Forces have battled to save our country from Boko Haram and the potent danger it presents to our nationhood. With the resilient efforts made by President Goodluck Jonathan, I have no doubt that the defeat of Boko Haram is just a matter of time. After all, if Nigeria could survive a Civil War and many other ethno-religious challenges, it will survive Boko Haram!”

Recalling further, Chief Obiano observed that “when we cast our minds back to where we are coming from, we shall be grateful for how far we have come as a people. When we remember the Biafran Civil War and the successive military regimes we have survived as a country; when we remember June 12 and the numerous ethno-religious crisis we have overcome together, we shall find a reason to celebrate yet another Independent Anniversary.”

Drawing from his experience as the governor of Anambra State in the past six months, Chief Obiano declared that his belief in Nigeria's chances of survival of her many challenges is re-enforced by the changing story of Anambra State.

“For years, Anambra State suffered untold hardships in the hands of dreaded armed robbers and kidnappers who made it impossible for our people to breathe the fresh air of freedom. But to the grace of Almighty God, our story has changed today. My administration has fought the criminals and brigands among us to a point where they no longer present a meaningful threat to our lives and property. We have demonstrated that in a proper society, it is criminals who must relocate to give way to good citizens and not the other way round. We shall not relent on our efforts until the last vestige of criminality is removed from Anambra State,” he maintained

Chief Obiano expressed happiness with the recent exploits of the Nigerian Army who he observed are already winning the war on terrorism. “Just the other day, their dreaded leader, Abubakar Shekau, who had evaded capture for a long time, was killed in a shootout with our gallant soldiers. Fellow Nigerians, I am aware that sometimes the arm of moral justice may be slow in coming, but I have no doubt that before long, our soldiers will rout Boko Haram in the Sambisa Forest. I have no doubt that Nigeria's victory over the clear and present threat of internal terrorism is just a matter of time,” he further emphasized.

Giving his administration's scorecard in the last six months, the governor explained that he has tackled virtually all the immediate challenges confronting the state. Said he: “We have demonstrated enough resolve to rebuild Anambra State to meet our vision of a strong and viable state. So far, these efforts have been rewarded with the faith of many investors who are daily making inquiries and taking advantage of growing investment opportunities in the state.”

Governor Obiano also explained that due to the effectiveness of his administration's security initiatives, Anambra has started reaping the fruits of a more friendly business climate. “Ndi Anambra now sleep with two eyes closed and we are currently leading the charge for the return of Ndigbo as an economic power-block in Nigeria,” he maintained.

The governor further revealed that following the conducive investment climate his administration has created, the newly established Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) has received about 120 inquiries from investors across the world in the past four months.

“Buoyed by the positive indices, my administration set a target of $1.9bn (USD) investment by the end of 2014 and it is looking more realistic every day as more investors are taking advantage of the restored sanity and friendly business environment across Anambra to invest in the state,” he further reasoned, pointing out that two days earlier, the government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three establishments, Ekcel Farms, Grains and Silos Limited and Cardinal Developers and Trust Limited, respectively totaling $148 million (USD).

The governor also used the opportunity of the Independence Anniversary Message to apologize to Ndi Anambra who have been encountering difficulties in moving around the cities due to the heavy traffic caused by the huge construction works going on in the state. Explaining that the construction work in Awka was part of the plan to “transform Awka into a modern capital city that reflects the greatness of our people and our capacity to dream big dreams,” governor Obiano assured Ndi Anambra that very soon the traffic congestion in the cities would ease out.

Chief Obiano also used the opportunity to extend a hand of fellowship to his compatriots who lost the governorship race to him both in the ballot boxes and in the courts.

According to him, the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Anambra State gubernatorial elections has “finally convinced my brothers who ran the governorship race with me that in every race, there may be only one winner but the actual victory belongs to all who made the race possible with their active participation. Once again, I extend a hand of fellowship to these great sons of Anambra State. I implore them all to join hands with me and together we can build the new Anambra of our dream. Now that the litigations are over, we must work together for the good of our people. My administration will continue with our inclusive approach to governance. We are open to consultations and suggestions from all segments of society. That way, Ndi Anambra will always be the ultimate winners,” he further maintained.