ANNIVERSARY OF OBI'S SECOND TENURE
His story in the politics of Nigeria is a familiar one that we cannot start re-telling here. As his first tenure as the Governor of Anambra State was ending, nobody gave Mr. Peter Obi the chance of being re-elected. At best, people believed that he was the best candidate for that election, but that he would be rigged out.
Given to verbose expression and perhaps strengthened by what they knew which were hidden from the rest of us, Prof. Charles Soludo and Dr. Chris Ngige were almost sure of victory. It was Soludo who even advised Governor Peter Obi to start preparing his handover note. Ngige, comic as ever, put a sign board close to the Governor's office, pointing at the Governor's office in a pose depicting a man who believed getting there was his birthright and a matter of time.
In spite minor, insignificant irritations, the election took place peacefully. This was how it came about that Governor Peter Obi beat all the opponents and was returned on the 6th of February as the Governor of Anambra State. The newspapers were awash with stories of Obi as having broken the jinx that prevented any Governor in the past securing a second tenure. On the day he was sworn-in, he promised that his second tenure will be better than the first. As far as I was concerned, that was his inaugural speech, his statement on policy. He made it clear that he would not be afflicted by lame duck syndrome, the tendency of public office holders to reduce in productivity at their second tenure.
Within a year into his second tenure, Governor Obi has really doubled his efforts at the development of the State. The major event during this one year was the coming of the President to Anambra State on a one-day working visit. The coming of Mr. President was momentous and significant. The President had a hectic day commissioning projects he completed during this second tenure, among which are the second phase of the State Secretariat, the aborted commissioning of the completed Odor Bridge, the commissioning of the ultra modern SEMA building. The President also commissioned some of the roads he completed during the second tenure as well as commissioned some of the completed buildings at the State's Teaching Hospital.
Always a thinking Governor and full of innovation, the President also, for the first time, commissioned two private owned factories: Innoson Motor Manufacturing Company and Juhel Parenteral Drugs Company. He explained the reason he convinced the President to commission private companies thus: 'These are the labour of two individuals trying to add value to the society. They are the ones the President ought to visit to encourage others to do likewise more than the routine flags-off or commissioning of projects executed using tax payers' money.'
One remarkable thing from the visit is the question Mr. President asked the Governor: 'where do you get the money you use to do all these projects.' He confessed that he had not commissioned comparable quality projects as he did in Anambra State. Knowing the monthly allocation each State gets in the country, Mr. President understood the question he asked. No doubt, Governor Obi is a lion when it comes to development. This is not just using available resources to work, but more in the fertility of his conception and his commitment to the people of the State. Full of energy, the man could go on for days uninterrupted with the amazing capacity to reduce his needs, including sleep to Buddhist minimum.
Today, Anambra State is doing so well in all indices of development. In the area of physical structures, Anambra driven by obi himself did wonders during his first tenure. Today, in just one year, more structures were started and completed at the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital such as the Medical School Complex, the Radiography and Laboratories Complexes, the pharmacology complex, among others. The Kenneth Dike Central Library, Awka is completed. The long abandoned SEMA Complex housing the fire station, Administrative block, Warehouse for storing relief material is completed. The second Onitsha business park is nearly completion.
In the area of road construction, one year of his second tenure, the roads asphalted in the state have risen from 450 kilometers to 570 kilometers. He has continued to surpass his promise of tarring 100 kilometers of roads in the state annually. Today, one can say that Anambra has the best network of roads in the country. He does this with the greatest sense of equity. Thus, there is no part of the State that is not witnessing road construction, unlike when past Governments concentrated on roads that led to their houses.
In the area of erosion control, the Governor is doing so well. During his first tenure, he confronted erosion menace at Umudim, Ekwulobia, Nanka, Umuchu, etc. In his second tenure, he has not relented. Today, work is going on in erosion sites at Ebenebe, Ichi, Nanka, Osumenyi, Nnewi, Adazi, among others.
In the area of education, it will be recalled that the Governor promised to construct 1000 classroom blocks in a year for the next four years. The first phase of 1000 is completed in all the communities in the state, except towns experiencing one problem or the other. The second phase of another 1000 classrooms is about to be flagged of. Meanwhile, the upgrade of infrastructure in our educational institution is continuing. Over 100 secondary schools have been given school buses, while the efforts to provide borehole to all the schools in the state are on.
Water is one area Governor Obi has recorded impressive achievement. When he became Governor, there was no water in any part of the State. As a short term measure, over 300 boreholes were drilled. In his second tenure, he has scaled it up to small town water schemes. Obizi water scheme that will supply water to the entire Aguata is almost completed. The rehabilitation of Dunukofia, Nibo, Nise, Nimo, Agulu, Awkuzu, Ukpor and many other small town water schemes is on. Definitely, by the middle of the year, many towns in the State will have potable water.
The Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi water schemes are receiving attention.
Obienyem wrote from Awka.