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How Obiano Is Setting Anambra State Apart From Other States (PART 1)

By Luke Onyekakeyah
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If there is one governor who is not losing sleep over the current economic crunch and other myriads of problems plaguing the country, that is Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State. It is not that the Governor has become immune to the socio-economic hardships confronting Nigerians. The reason is, as the saying goes, the way you make your bed so you lie on it.

Governor Obiano, from all indications, is proving that he understands the peculiar problems facing Anambra State. Things will begin to change in the country if each governor could take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of his state and act accordingly the way Obiano has done. Across Nigeria, the problems are the same bordering on lack of basic social amenities, that, notwithstanding, some states could be high flyers if the governors know what to do.

It is senseless for all the governors to be doing virtually the same thing, which is why there is practically no difference between the states. The same problems of poverty, lack, mass ignorance and dirty environment are evenly distributed all over the federation. But why can't there be a small Taiwan, a masterpiece of modern economic development, in one or two states that could serve as beacon for others?

That explains why virtually all the states are in trouble at the same time. As many as 28 states can no longer pay workers salaries except by bailout from the Federal Government. When the money was flowing, the same states that are cash strapped today were reeling in stupendous cash, which was lavished in stack prodigality. The governors that presided over those billions went on junketing in private jets oblivious that no condition is permanent; the crude oil market from which the money rolled is most unstable and unpredictable.

For a long time, Anambra State was embroiled in untold internal crisis that pushed governance to the back seat. The consequences were many in all ramifications. Onitsha, at the time, was more of a refuse dump than a commercial city. The original "A" state became embarrassingly odd in the country.

Since Governor Obiano assumed power on March 17, 2014, Anambra State has made a steady progress. By kicking off with the promise to make Anambra an economically viable and investor paradise, friendly, safe and secure state, the Governor demonstrated his clear understanding that Anambra is the epicenter of business in Nigeria.

Having secured the state, Obiano then created the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), an economic blueprint that captures his four pillars of development, namely: agriculture, industrialisation, trade and commerce, oil and gas. ANSIPPA is Obiano's magic wand that holds the key to wealth creation, economic development and investment in Anambra State.

Within a short time, ANSIPPA is making waves in the various sectors of the state's economy.

In agriculture, for instance, notwithstanding that Anambra State has the smallest land area in the country after Lagos, which makes land a major constraint, even as gully erosion has devastated large swaths of landscape, Obiano embarked on a vibrant agricultural revolution, designed to make the state self-sufficient in food production as well as have the surplus for export.

To achieve this, the Governor has embarked on mechanized farming to produce rice. The state has become a major rice producer, gearing to surpass 320,000 metric tonnes. The Anambra rice brand is reportedly stone free and competes favourably with foreign brands that suck Nigeria's foreign exchange.

To be continued...