Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State recorded an unprecedented victory during the November 18, 2017 Governorship election by beating the other 36 contestants with majority of the votes cast in each of the 21 local government areas of the state. OKECHUKWU OBETA, in this report examines the expectations of the people vis-a-vis the victory.
Perhaps, nothing defines the task facing Governor Willie Maduabrochukwu Obiano of Anambra state current second administration better than the adage which states that “ to whom much is given, much is expected “.
At the election, Governor Obiano scored majority of the votes cast in each of the 21 local governments to emerge victorious over 36 others who wanted to unseat him from the Government House, Awka.
Notwithstanding whatever various factors political experts could allude to as why he earned such overwhelming victory, the primary reason, however, is that the majority of the people of the state were convinced that he has more capacity to deliver good governance to them than all others who contested with him.
Indeed, the people of the state have high expectations from the governor in his current second tenure. The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, made this fact clear in his goodwill message to Obiano shortly after the latter was inaugurated for second term on March 17, 2018, at the popular Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, the state capital.
Addressing newsmen at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, Bishop Ezeokafor expressed satisfaction with the performance of the governor during his first tenure. The Catholic clergyman however stated that much is expected from the administration in the current second tenure. And for the administration to meet up the people’s expectations, he advised the governor to avoid flamboyancy and prune down the size of his political appointees so that he could save enough money to deliver the expected services for the masses.
Stating that Obiano had the best opportunity now to write his name in gold, Bishop Ezeokafor said “time had come for the governor to prove his critics wrong”.
A former Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Media, Mr. Ifeanyi Afuba, stated that the areas the administration would write its name in gold at the end of this second tenure include the realization of the Umueri International Airport project; transformation of Awka into a modern state capital, and revolutionisation of the state’s agricultural sector among other social services.
He noted that the administration had already mapped out short and long term development plans that would enable the governor write his name in gold at the completion of his eight years in office, pointing out that he had laid solid foundation to make the state’s economy strong through the attraction of foreign investors into the state.
Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mr. James Eze stated that it was in realization of the enormity of challenges facing the administration to deliver by ensuring a corruption- free administration that forced the governor to invite the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to lecture the new political appointees including the Secretary to the state government (SSG), Chief of Staff, Principal Secretary to the Governor, Commissioners, Special Advisers, etc, on the dangers that would befall anyone who indulges in corruption.
Not for the legal obstacles placed against the conduct of the local government council elections by some aggrieved stakeholders who took the State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) to court, the CPS stated that the administration would have put in motion necessarily procedure to democratize the local government administration in the state. He added that the governor would have announced an increased new minimum wage package for the state workers, if not that the federal government is being awaited to make a pronouncement on the issue.
Even Obiano himself is not unaware of the great expectations from his current administration from the people of the state. He stated this much after his inauguration for a second term. He said, “I am fully aware of the weight of the history you placed on my shoulders with the landslide victory we recorded on November 18, 2017. I understand your hopes and expectations and I will never let you down.
“Our administration has established the basis for hope. We have announced a new season of excellence. We owe it to ourselves to be greater than those who came before us. Ndi Anambra together, we shall carve out a future that posterity will be proud of.”
Governor Obiano pledged that the state in the next four years will witness a bold effort to lend roots to the great progress his government has made in the past four years.
He said, “We shall tighten the screws on our security architecture to ensure that Anambra remains Nigeria’s safest state.We shall install Ultramodern CCTV Cameras in strategic locations across the state to give us a new advantage in crime detection.
“We shall drive hard reforms in the education sector to retain our position at the top and make education accessible to everyone to ensure that no child is left behind in our dear state.
“We shall build a state-of-the-art teaching hospital in each of the three senatorial zones to deepen our reforms in the health sector and initiate a medical scheme for people above 75 years of age. Major roads in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka shall be dualized to ease traffic congestion and boost the aesthetic appeal of our cities”, the governor stated further. In fact the governor tagged his second term as a period for “A Consolidation of Excellence”.
Even the political opponents of the governor during the governorship contest had made the task for Governor Obiano to deliver more challenging. Apparently not to allow the administration give any excuses that it could not perform because of distractions from opposition, especially those who ran with him in the election,virtually all the governor’s co-contestants in the election, in an unprecedented manner immediately after the contest conceded victory and refrained from challenging the outcome in the tribunal.
Governor Obiano even noted this gesture much during his inauguration. He stated “I stand before you today as a product of love.Your Love. Your Love for Anambra State. Your Love for Good Governance!
“I am the proof that we have attained great political maturity in this state.
“I am the evidence that when the occasion demands, we can rise together as one and that when we stand together as one; we can bend the tide of destiny in our favour.
Ndi Anambra, this is the moment you have wished for, hoped for and prayed for. And I am here to serve!
“Never before has our beloved state witnessed the electoral history that you created on November 18, 2017. And today, I stand on the crest of your love to declare A New Season of Excellence for our beloved Anambra State.
“Ndi Anambra, our dear state is on a journey of self-awakening and discovery. We are reaching for the stars with the moon beneath our feet. And I am most grateful to you for choosing me and Nkem Okeke ( deputy governor)to lead you on this journey.
Therefore, my gratitude goes to the Almighty God for saying ‘yes’ to my dream of a second term in office, and I must thank you for your prayers and your votes that made me your Governor”.
Besides expressing appreciation to the electorate, the leadership of his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA), church leaders, leaders of traders and town unions, farmers and other stakeholders for his victory at the polls, Governor Obiano particularly commended the rare quality of sportsmanship exhibited by his co- governorship contestants as he stated “Indeed, I must recognize all the candidates who ran against me in the last gubernatorial election for putting up a formidable fight. They fought like true sportsmen and women and accepted the decision of the people in good faith. They did not waste time to congratulate me and applaud the verdict from the polls. In doing so, they added a bright new chapter to our narrative of excellence in this great state”.
As a mark of his appreciation for the overwhelming support given him, Governor Obiano outlined various governance plans his administration would deliver in the next four years to change the state narratives for good. He stated “the next four years will witness a bold effort to lend roots to the great progress we have made in the past four years. We shall tighten the screws on our security architecture to ensure that Anambra remains Nigeria’s safest state.We shall install Ultramodern CCTV Cameras in strategic locations across the state to give us a new advantage in crime detection.
“We shall drive hard reforms in the education sector to retain our position at the top and make education accessible to everyone to ensure that no child is left behind in our dear state. We shall build a state-of-the-art teaching hospital in each of the three senatorial zones to deepen our reforms in the health sector and initiate a medical scheme for people above 75 years of age. Major roads in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka shall be dualized to ease traffic congestion and boost the aesthetic appeal of our cities.
“To exploit the natural inclination of our people towards entrepreneurship, we shall introduce an Entrepreneurship Development Training for micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs. This will ensure that we retain our competitive edge in areas where our talent has found the greatest expression while acquiring new skills that will help us fit into a fast changing world.
“We shall devote a lot of time and attention to the construction and completion of the Anambra Airport City Project. This project carries the entire promise of the Fifth Pillar of our economic blueprint which is Logistics. Our dream of turning AnambraState into a logistics hub in the South East and South-South regions will come to reality once the Airport City Project becomes functional.
“Brothers and sisters, our dear state has always been in the commanding seat of Nigeria’s creative industry. Yes. This state has produced great writers, singers, poets, painters, actors and storytellers. Among us are innovators, inventors and trailblazers. Anambra is the birthplace of Nollywood which has become a multi-billion naira industry today. It is for this reason that I have decided to add another Enabler to my Economic Blueprint which I have designated as The Creative Economy. This shall harness the creative impulses of our people in different forms and build a big industry out of them. Yes, we are ready to bring Nollywood back to its birthplace and offer a home to our people’s creative energy. So, if you are a creative person in Anambra State, wake up because your time has finally come!
“We have set our sights on turning the Awka Capital Territory into a 21st Century city that will reflect our collective personality as Ndi Anambra. It will be a city of dreams that will announce our ambition to the attentive world! It will take a lot of sacrifice and hard work but it can be done and it will be done!
“Ndi Anambra, as I gaze hard into the face of tomorrow, I see joy and laughter for my fellow citizens. But I also see challenges that we must overcome to enjoy the liberties of true citizenship. I see the mountain of doubts created by electricity supply to the colourful dreams of our people. I see the horrifying threat posed by the menace of herdsmen to the happiness of our farmers. I see the lingering anxiety caused by the uncertainties in the nation’s economy. But these challenges are not stronger than our collective resolve to take back our happiness. I have no doubt that together we will rise against them and together we will put them behind us for good”, Governor Obiano stated further.
Indeed, not only a few observers agree that Good Obiano is passionate about his commitment to provide good governance, the fear, however is his ability to supervise his political appointees to key into his governance dreams and aspirations. He is essentially seen as a man with large heart.
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