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Sustaining The Legacy Of Growth And Development In Anambra State

A Lecture Delivered By The Governor Of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano At The Distinguished Lecture Series Of The Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, On Thursday, August 13, 2015
By Ifeanyi Aniagoh
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I bring you warm greetings from my beloved people of Anambra State. I consider it a great honour to be chosen to deliver this year’s Distinguished Lecture Series of the School of Media and Communication of this great university. I had looked forward to this event since I was informed that I would do the honours of presenting Anambra State to this dignified audience. I am indeed delighted to be here today. But, before I go any further, I wish to warn you that I came here with a piece of Anambra State – our sunny attitude to life, our irrepressible spirit, our outstanding self-assurance and of course our belief that since God generously gave man dominion over the earth, it is our responsibility to use that dominion to make God’s earth increasingly beautiful.

That is the spirit of Anambra. That is the silent power that is behind the success we have recorded in Anambra State so far and that is what I have come to share with you today. So, I must thank the School of Media and Communication for choosing the topic of this lecture which has given me a very large canvass to talk about the great offerings that my beloved Anambra has for its people, for fellow Nigerians and for the world. As you will soon find out, I am in love with Anambra State and I am never tired of talking about her.

Now, before I go any further, I would like to offer you some insights into Anambra State, her people and politics, her tragedies and her triumphs.

In the Beginning…
What is today known as Anambra State came into existence on August 27, 1991. It was carved out of the old Anambra State which was created in 1976 with its capital in Enugu. The present Anambra State has its capital in Awka with a land mass that covers an area of 4.416 square kilometres, making her the smallest state in Nigeria after Lagos. Anambra shares boundaries with Enugu to the East, Delta to the West, Imo and Rivers to the South and Kogi to the North. Anambra is the second most densely populated state in Nigeria after Lagos with an estimated average density of 1,500 – 2000 people per square kilometre. Anambra carries a heavy weight of Igbo history dating back to the 9th Century AD as revealed by the archaeological findings in Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of the state. Other historical relics like the Obu Gad, (the progenitor of the Igbo race) and Ini Eri (Eri’s Grave) in Aguleri also raise the candle on the journey of our great ancestors to the present Igbo land.

The state is probably the most endowed state in all of the South East with Onitsha Main Market widely known as the largest commercial centre in all of West Africa. The flourishing city of Nnewi also holds the rare privilege of being the only automobile manufacturing city in West Africa. Anambra is endowed with natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, ceramic and a very arable land. The discovery of crude oil in the state has placed it on a whole new stratosphere with a world of possibilities waiting to be exploited. Statistics indicate that Anambra has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria today with a GDP of $11.83bn and a per capita income of $1,615 as at 2007.

The state is essentially an Igbo enclave with 98 per cent Igbo speakers and 2 per cent Igala speakers. Anambra took her name from the majestic Omambala River which is a tributary of the great River Niger. About 60% of Ndi Anambra live in urban areas. This attribute makes the state one of the most urbanized states in the country. It is made up of 177 towns organised into 21 local government areas. The state is home to the ancient towns of Aguleri, Nri and Onitsha.

Ndi Anambra…
Anambra State is famous for producing most of Nigeria’s distinguished citizens. We come from a long line of high achievers and path-breakers whose genius helped to shape our world into a better place for everyone. Long before the end of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Anambra indigenes had begun to astonish the world with their rare brilliance and boldness. Iseke-born Olaudah Equiano who is also known as Gustavus Vassa was the first African slave to write his own story in print. Equianoh’s book, titled The Interesting Narratives of the Life of Olaudah Equiano which was published in 1789 depicted the horrors of slavery and aided the passage of the British Slave Trade Act in1807 which led to the abolition of the trade on African slaves.

Equiano’s book is widely regarded as the true beginning of modern African literature in a narrative form. The great Zik of Afirca, Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe continued from where Equiano stopped and became Nigeria’s most iconic nationalist and the first President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Zik also holds the rare honour of being the only Nigerian whose name appeared in the country’s 1963 Republican Constitution. Anambra is also home to Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra as well as Dr. Nwafor Orizu, first Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Anambra is the home state of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, Nigeria’s first beatified Priest of the Roman Catholic Church.

The first black Commonwealth General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Father of the African Novel, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Nigeria’s first Executive Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, first African Military Advisor to UN Peace Keeping Operations, Lieutenant General Isaac Chikadibia Okafor, first African Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and founder of the National Archives, Prof. Kenneth Dike, first Nigerian Ambassador to the European Community and first Economic Adviser to the Federal Government, Pius Okigbo, black Africa’s first PhD in Radio Astronomy who also discovered the radio source of Crab Nebula Neutron Star, Prof. Samuel Okoye, first African to be made District Officer by the Colonial Administration, Chief Jerome Udoji, first Nigerian winner of the MacAthur Foundation genius grant and the Orange Prize for Fiction, Chimamanda Adichie, first Nigerian millionaire and first President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Sir. Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, first Nigerian Labour Party members of the British Parliament, Chuka Umunna and Chinyelu Onwurah are all from Anambra State. Other great Africans like Prof. Dora Akunyili, Prof. Chike Obi, Prof. Ben Enweonwu, Prof. Uche Okeke, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Phillip Emeagwali, Christopher Okigbo and Cyprian Ekwensi are all from Anambra State.

Ladies and gentlemen, no other state in Nigeria can boast of such a glittering array of accomplished citizens, cutting across several generations to the present day. To cap it all, recent research findings have shown that Anambra has over 1,500 billionaires. I repeat, no other Nigerian state can dwarf Anambra in human capital development. And that is why we pride ourselves as the Light of the Nation. I think we deserve a round of applause here!

A Brief Deconstruction of the Igbo Worldview & Politics

Anambra State is one of the core Igbo States and possibly where the purest form of the highly reputed republican nature of the Igbo has found its greatest expression. Our people’s egalitarian spirit and the deep philosophy of Egbe belu ugo belu (fairness to all and malice to none) have, from time immemorial, engendered a culture of healthy competition that can be seen in business, politics and in life. Re-enforced by the Igbo concept of dualism in life which says that ife kwulu, ife akwudebeya (nothing ever stands alone in life), our people’s worldview has continued to stimulate a healthy rivalry in our communities, showing itself in all spheres of our communal life.

The Igbo cosmos is full of legendary rivalries, conflicts and resolutions. Some of these traditions are handed down through the oral tradition, like folk epics, folklores, proverbs and songs like the fabled battle of supremacy between the earth and the sky which made the sky to withhold rains for years until the earth caked up like stone and the dead could no longer be buried. In surrender, the earth sent the vulture as her emissary to appease the sky… (so goes the story). This story tells us that the Igbo universe has always accommodated rivalries. In other words, rivalries are accepted in the Igbo world up to a point that earth and the sky can wage a war in our fables.

This is instructive! Expectedly, these legends have continued to shape our socio-political thoughts and how we engage ourselves in the modern society. Right from the days of the famous Igbo village democracy to the present days of party politics, our people have continued to engage each other in rivalries that enrich our understanding of our humanity and sometimes serve as comic relief to a society in the throes of depression. They also offer a timely warning on the dangers of singularity as against the imperatives of dissimilarity which is the bedrock of multi-culturalism, tolerance and democracy.

Politics in Anambra State
Ladies and gentlemen, any keen observer of modern Nigerian politics can easily testify that nowhere is the famous rivalry in contemporary democracy as fierce as the South Eastern states and nowhere in the South East is it more intense than in Anambra State. For a better appreciation of the peculiarities of Anambra’s political theater, it is instructive to note that in colonial times, the Europeans made their entry into Igbo land through the estuary of the River Niger in Onitsha. The British colonial government and Christian missionaries penetrated most of Igboland through Onitsha to set up their administration, schools and churches. Consequently, the earliest beneficiaries of this historic contact with the agents of Western civilization were Anambra towns surrounding Onitsha. As it turned out, our people made the most of this contact with the colonial masters. The result is that Anambra is one of the most literate states in Nigeria today. The result also is that Anambra sons and daughters are some of Africa’s most illustrious children. The other result, however is that our people are highly enlightened and not very easy to lead. Everybody is wise in Anambra State. This has led to extreme difficulties in managing our communal affairs as a distinct group of people. I alluded to this in my Inaugural Address as governor, when I pointed out that “the greatest challenge that we face as a people is the challenge of fostering peace and brotherhood amongst ourselves.” I also asked our people the whereabouts of the love that made us survive the adversities of the Biafran War.

It was in attempt to answer this question that I convened a highly successful Stakeholders Meeting that attracted some of our best and brightest sons and daughters, a few months after my inauguration. I found it hard to accept that a state so gifted in nearly every aspect of human endeavour has been blighted by lack of internal coherence and unanimity of purpose for so long. I found it difficult to believe that we could not harness our individual success stories into one mighty success story for the group. I found it hard to contemplate that in our twenty four years of existence as a state, things began to fall in place only nine years ago when my predecessor Chief Peter Obi took over the reins of leadership and began to implement the APGA model of governance.

Even so, I still shudder with bewilderment when I remember the titanic legal battles he had to fight, the impeachment wars and the sudden return to power. I sincerely think that we could and should have done better as a people. I still think that we have yet to evolve the culture of patience and forbearance with our leadership class. It is important that our elites realise that only one man can be a governor at a time. And until we realise and accept this cold fact and begin to support whoever the people have chosen to lead them, we may always succeed as individuals and fail as a group. And we all know that group failure makes individual success meaningless.

The Basic Challenges Facing Anambra State
Unlike many states in Nigeria that are plagued by diverse challenges, the challenges of Anambra State can essentially be broken down into three broad categories – Political Challenge, Environmental Challenge and the Cultural Challenge.

Political Challenge – As earlier indicated, one of the greatest challenges facing Ndi Anambra is our inability to fully understand that while our culture favours the flourishing of plurality and dissent, our political success as a group depends on how we manage these differences in a manner that would not stand in the way of progress. In particular, we must realise that once elections are over and a leader is sworn in, we must put aside our bitter politics and work together to build our dear state. At the moment, there seems to be no end to rancorous politics amongst brothers. And that must change!

Environmental Challenge – Anambra State is blessed with a vast stretch of arable land. Anywhere you go in Anambra State, the dark green colour of the leaves on every tree bears witness to the riches of our soil. Anambra is blessed with the best flora and fauna in these parts. However, for several decades, the much dreaded global warming and climate change has wreaked havoc on our land leading to massive earth movements that have resulted in some of the most horrendous gullies that erosion has ever caused in this part of the Atlantic. The massive devastations in Nanka and Okoh are monumental reminders that we must rise to the challenge of repossessing our environment. They tell us, without words, that we must work together to preserve the earth, our earth… one of the few things we all own together. We are bound to that piece of earth by nature!

Cultural Challenge – The third and perhaps most crucial challenge facing Anambra State today is the challenge of forcing a cultural rebirth. Almost all the ills that have plagued our communities since the end of the Biafran War can be blamed on the profound shift in the culture of our people. Before the war, our people lived a life full of dignity and meaning. The great scholarships enjoyed by many promising youngsters under the auspices of the Igbo State Union, Town Union Associations and Age Grades were testimonies to the brotherhood and love that we once had. Although we joined the train of Western Education several decades after the South West, it was these traditional structures and hierarchies that helped our people to overcome that handicap in one burst of energy. Unfortunately, the Biafran War seems to have put a knife on the things that once kept us grounded and now we have lost our cultural moorings. The respect for authorities and hierarchies that once made us act as one have given way to a regime of chaos and disorderly conduct that has left us in perpetual search for values. And this too, must come to a stop!

What is Growth and Development?
Ladies and gentlemen, to bring us back to the second component of this lecture, we must take a hard look at the operative words in the topic of this lecture. To my mind, the operative words are Legacy, Growth and Development. First, I will start with -

Legacy - In ordinary parlance, Legacy means something left or handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. Legacy presupposes that something of value has been achieved that ought to be preserved, kept or sustained. We shall soon know whether this word with all the weight it carries can be associated with contemporary developments in Anambra State. The second operating word is -

Growth – Growth refers to a positive change in size, often over a period of time. Growth can occur as a stage of maturation or a process towards fullness or fulfilment. It is a natural progression or sequence in life from one stage to another. Next is –

Development – Development is a process in which something or someone grows or changes and becomes more advanced. It represents a degree of movement or increment from one point to a higher point. There’s a great deal of relationship between Growth and Development. They are like Siamese twins. In human terms, it is almost inconceivable to have one and not the other.

A comprehensive overview of the three operative words offers us a rare window into the hopeful nature of the topic of this lecture. The inference we draw from them suggests that something good is happening in Anambra State that is yearning to be preserved. In other words, there is a legacy of growth and development that ought to be sustained. Ladies and gentlemen, I shall spend the remaining time left in this lecture to identifying these tangible evidences of growth and development in Anambra State that we must strive to sustain.

Re-imagining Anambra State
Before APGA wrestled power from PDP in Anambra State in 2006, the state was bursting at the seams with controversy. There were stories of the kidnap of a sitting governor, of violent eruptions that led to the burning down of public buildings and several other symptoms of a dysfunctional state. Save for a handful of roads, Ndi Anambra had no serious intimations of the transformational powers of a democratic government. This is essentially so because the endless ego clashes between estranged political partners had reduced governance in the state to a bizarre rumour mill where only tales of the absurd sprang forth. While the leaders engaged one another in fisticuffs, Ndi Anambra suffered.

They suffered from the fearsome regime of terror by armed robbers, kidnappers, drug barons and human traffickers. They suffered from the ravaging effects of gully erosion which severed one community from another. But perhaps more importantly, they suffered the psychological trauma of having so many widely acclaimed intelligent people but not having a befitting leadership. Happily, their anxieties began to dissolve with the inauguration of the APGA government in 2006.

Ladies and gentlemen, the process of re-imagining Anambra State began with the inauguration of the APGA model of governance in Anambra State. This is because in APGA, we value imagination a lot. Like Albert Einstein, the famous theoretical physicist, we hold the view that “logic will get you from A to B but imagination will take you to everywhere.” We also believe, like Matt Furey, that “the strongest nation on earth is the imagination.” So, after what could be rightly considered as Anambra’s years of the locust, we in APGA had to re-imagine the state.

Weaving a New narrative for Anambra State
Ladies and gentlemen, we are doing a new thing in Anambra State. We are adding a new chapter to our interesting narrative. We have resolved to make the sun rise from the East once again. That is the way it should be. Often times, when people ask me “how did you do it?” I tell them it is simple. I merely drew from my private sector background. I began with a dream. Spanish born Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest artists the world has known, once advised that “everything you can imagine is real.” I began by imagining a New Anambra State; a state where everyone feels free to go about their normal businesses, a place where foreigners would feel free to come. As at the time I was imagining this, Anambra was the poster-boy of kidnappers and violent robberies in Nigeria.

So, I started by evolving some Vision and Mission statements. We declared that our Vision is to make Anambra State the 1st Choice Investment Destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities. Similarly, we stated that our Mission is to ensure that Anambra State becomes a socially stable, business friendly environment that would attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth-creating opportunities. A close look at the two statements will show that for us to realize our Vision and Mission, a key enabler like Security must be in place. We also figured out that a strategic approach to governance was crucial to realizing the big picture.

So, we outlined an economic blueprint known as the Four Pillars of Development which indicates clearly the key sectors that we would focus on for accelerated development. The Four Pillars of Development include – Agriculture, Trade and Commerce, Industrialization and Oil & Gas. These economic areas instantly became priority areas into which we would welcome investors. Needless to say, our choice of these sectors was informed by the fact that these are the four major areas where Anambra State has a clear competitive advantage. In Agriculture, Anambra has 100% arable land that can support year-round cropping. In Trade and Commerce, our people are great entrepreneurs and masters of the informal sector. In Industrialization, Ndi Anambra are among Nigeria’s greatest industrialists with Innocent Chukwuma blazing the trail as the manufacturer of Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile. In Oil & Gas, Anambra is richly endowed with a vast gas field while crude oil production will hit the 3000 barrels per day mark in September this year. In simplifying our Blueprint this way, we made it easier for prospective investors to understand at a glance the basic offerings of Anambra State.

We also clearly spelt out the basic conditions precedent to the full realization of the Four Pillars of Development. We call them The Enablers. They include Education, Health, the Environment, Electricity, Youth and Sports Development, Security, Transportation, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Planning, Women and Children and Social Infrastructure among others. These are the foundation carrying the Four Pillars.

Stooping to Conquer… SECURITY
In evolving a comprehensive Blueprint, we realized that unless we did something out of the ordinary to provide an effective security, all our best laid plans would be in vain. It was also clear to us that the fastest way to announce our arrival as agents of change in Anambra State was to isolate and overcome the greatest challenge facing the residents in the last four decades. So, we adopted a single-minded approach to security, declaring an all-out war against crime and criminals in the state. Our first strategic step in this area was to host an International Summit on Security to which we invited Moshe Keinan, a top Israeli expert on security.

That summit marked the opening sequence in a line of strategies that we unleashed to achieve our objective of a safe and secure Anambra State. We followed it up with the official launching of Operation Kpochapu; a Joint Task Force on security, made up of the brightest and agile officers of the Nigerian Police, the Army, the Navy, the NDLEA and the local vigilante groups that supplied the critical intelligence. We made sure that members of this team were adequately equipped and motivated to brace up for the encounter with the underworld. We also made bold efforts to show that we value the men and women who put their own lives on the line to secure Anambra State.

To this end we, extended symbolic gestures to the family of a soldier who lost his life on active service. That was important to re-enforce the commitment of his colleagues who suddenly realised that their families would not be abandoned if anything happened to them while on duty. To strengthen the message that crime does not pay, we invoked the necessary constitutional powers and revoked the titles on buildings used as holding cells for kidnap victims and promptly pulled such buildings down. Our strike out against criminals was bold, decisive and clinical and I will continue to be clinical. It had to be so for us to stand any chance at all against ruthless groups that had operated for decades without a committed fight-back.

Stooping to Conquer… ANSIPPA
One of the great initiatives that have facilitated the new narrative in Anambra so far is the formation of the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA). As the name suggests, ANSIPPA is the ultimate one-stop investment boutique of Anambra State. Headed by renowned investment bankers and business analysts, ANSIPPA has the singular mandate of attracting investments and fast-tracking the process of investing in Anambra State. The agency conducts due diligence on prospective investors, procures the necessary documentation in record time and makes the entire process of settling down for business easy and memorable to all classes of investors. ANSIPPA’s professional handling of the investment process re-affirms the confidence of the investor in the government’s commitment to its Vision Statement and helps in generating a positive buzz in the highly sensitive investment community. ANSIPPA has turned out to be one of the visionary initiatives of my administration; attracting investments valued at $2.4billion in the past sixteen months.

These investments cut across Agriculture, Trade & Commerce, hospitality, housing, electricity generation, health and oil and gas. While we are expecting more investors to join the queue, Anambra has so far signed up Coched Farm Ltd, Delfarm Ltd, Ekcel Farms Ltd, Grains & Silos Ltd, Joseph Agro Ltd, Lynden Farms Ltd, Integrated Farms Ltd all in the Agricultural Sector. In the Transport Sector, we signed on IRS Consult Nigeria Ltd and Temple SYC Inspection Ltd. In the Hospitality Sector, we signed on Cardinal Developers and Trust Ltd. In the Power and Energy Sector, we signed on Falcon Corporation Ltd and UDIPPCO Ltd. In the Trade and Commerce Setor, we signed on Africa Capital and Business Support Ltd. In the Industrial Sector, we signed on Richbon Nigeria Ltd and in the Housing Sector, we signed on Efab Properties Ltd and Cotabs Engineering Ltd. As our profile continues to rise in the investment community, more investments will certainly come to Anambra State.

Stooping to Conquer… The IGR Campaign
Our emerging success in Anambra State is partly a result of foresight. For instance, when I took over the reins of leadership in March last year, we organised a strategic retreat for the Executive Council members. During the retreat, we analysed the Nigerian economy and foresaw that oil prices would crash to about $55 per barrel in less than one year. We predicted that if oil prices crashed, it would bring down our FACC by 50%. Having figured that out, we began to work on improving our IGR. We quickly restructured our revenue-earning sources and introduced the use of ICT in revenue collection. This ensured greater efficiency and transparency in our accounting processes. We deployed biometric machines to capture the profiles of all civil servants and weed out ghost workers from our databank. That plugged all leakages in the sector and saved the state a large sum of money.

These changes impacted immediately on our IGR and gave us the headroom to meet some of our fiscal obligations. Again, following the same trajectory, we held another retreat in June this year for the members of the Executive Council and invited top-flight experts like Bismark Rewane, Mac Atasie and Eileen Shaiyen among others to provide a comprehensive view of the global economy and distil it down to Anambra State and how to survive the present economic crunch. It was a similar foresight that made us re-organize our revenue structures and improve our monthly revenue generation from the N500m mark we inherited to N1.3bn within a period of one year. And this is just the beginning. Our target is to hit the N3bn mark in monthly revenue and we shall not relent until we achieve this. We are looking at other creative ways that can increase the current figure without losing grip on our ambition of becoming the most loved administration in the history of Anambra State. This is one ambition we hope to achieve.

The Software of Governance
When we assumed power in Anambra State, we were quick to realize that it was not enough to win with the physical structures we would build in the state. We recognised the fact that actual victory would be won in the psychology of the people. So, right from the outset, we set out to reign in the hearts and minds of Ndi Anambra by evoking the great epics and folklores of our ancestors. Consequently, my earliest speeches were laced with echoes of who we are and the great ancestry we have. It was crucial to remind ourselves that we come from a long line of pioneers and trail-blazers who would never settle for second fiddle. It was important to emphasize that we are the inheritors of extra-ordinary legacies and we have an obligation to leave worthier legacies for our children. In pursuit of this, we conceptualised and introduced a new logo for the state that would serve as a subtle reminder of our heritage.

We also introduced a most inspiring piece of song as the Anambra Anthem. It swept through our schools and colleges like a forest fire and offered our children a fresh set of mental pictures of who they are. We also sought to win by giving governance a human face; clearing pensions owed senior citizens and responding to the cries of the civil servants with a 15% increase in salaries at a time that oil prices were crashing and states were grappling with the reality of shrinking revenues. These gestures are the software of governance. They are just as important as building roads and bridges, which we are also doing in a magnificent way. We made sure that Ndi Anambra could visualise themselves in the New Anambra of our dream and that they liked the picture they saw. That is the software of leadership!

Sustaining the Legacy; what we must do next
Ladies and gentlemen, our activities in Anambra State are difficult to capture in one narrative effort. Nevertheless, I have made an attempt to pinpoint the highlights. Now, having so far established the fact that the APGA model of governance has indeed left some legacies in Anambra State that should be sustained, our challenge is therefore what we must do to sustain them. Again, from our narrative effort so far, it can be seen that the problems and prospects of Anambra State are clear to us. It is also evident that the strategies we have so far adopted for the growth and development of Anambra State are valid and effective. To my mind, to sustain our great strides in Anambra State, we require a three-pronged response to the dynamics of our times. They include – Commitment, Consistency and Creativity (the 3cs of achieving sustainability). And here is a breakdown –

Commitment – After setting a robust and effective development agenda with our blueprint, my administration must continuously demonstrate a commitment to this objective. We must not waver at the sight of difficulties or allow a fleeting moment of self-doubt to creep in. Our resolve must be final while we stay focused on improving our strategy. There will be occasional tests of our will power but we must never surrender to distractions, hindrances and frustrations. At the same time we must not allow ourselves the liberty of self-adulation nor allow our initial success to lure us into complacency. We must strive to sustain our passion for the goals we have set for ourselves knowing that the room gets brighter when one candle lights up another. So, our passion must be infectious enough to move Ndi Anambra to inherit the flame we have lighted and take full possession of it.

Consistency – One sure way of sustaining our development strides in Anambra State is by ensuring that we are consistent in the things we do and the things we say. A government that says one thing and does another has no place in the heart of the people it exists to serve. We must be consistent in our promises and pledges to the people. We must never swap horses at mid-stream. If we promise to deliver three flyovers that will transform the landscape of Awka, we must walk our talk by moving heavy equipment to site and laying the foundation for the superstructure as we have done. Governance in Anambra State and everywhere must go beyond rhetoric. Our actions must validate our words always.

Creativity – Ndi Anambra are some of the world’s most talented people ever. Creativity is a heritage that has found a home in us. Long before the white man came to the banks of the River Niger, our people were producing firearms and other great metallurgical tools in Awka. We must dig deep and dredge up this creative spark as we consolidate our hold on leadership. We have a responsibility to envision new creative ways of bringing governance closer to Ndi Anambra. We must figure out the most creative ways to increase internally generated revenue without inflicting avoidable pain on the people. We must devise new ways of making Ndi Anambra realise that we are here to serve them and are committed to serving them with diligence to the best of our abilities. It is the obligation of government to make itself understood and loved by the people. Only a very creative approach to governance can guarantee that. And that is what we must commit to and consistently deploy in Anambra State to sustain the Legacy of growth and development that we currently enjoy in the state.

In conclusion, I must observe that while it takes a few individuals to leave a legacy, it takes the collective resolve of an entire community to sustain a worthy legacy. It is my fervent prayer that Anambra State will never lack the men and women to create a legacy nor a deeply perceptive community of people to sustain it.

Thank you!
Chief Willie Obiano
Governor, Anambra State