Hurray! Anambra state of Nigeria is twenty years old today(27/08/2011). The state was created on Tuesday, August 27, 1991 by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, along with eight other states. It was created from the old Anambra state, which is the presentEnuguand some parts of Ebonyi states. The state derives its name from Anambra River, which itself is a tributary of the majestic River Niger. Anambra, situated on a rolling flat land on the eastern plains of RiverNiger, has a population of over four million people, according to the 2006 census. Its capital is Awka but it has Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka and Ekwulobia as its Awka but it has Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka and Ekwulobia as its major commercial hub.
Anambra is sharing boundaries with; Abia, Delta,Enugu, Imo and Kogi states. One of the special characteristics of Anambra state is the immense resourcefulness of its people, who carry on a most animated relationship with people who come across them. Anambra people are unarguably the brain box of Ndigbo. This is because the state produced the likes of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria’s former Vice President, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Professor Chinua Achebe, Professor Philip Emeagawali, the computer wizard, Professor Chike Obi, the great mathematician, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, among others.
The first military administrator of the state was Commodore Joseph Abulu, then a Naval Group Captain. He was replaced by Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who was elected as the first civilian governor of the state in 1992. The Ezeife administration was terminated in November 1993, when it was barely one year in office, following the overthrow of the third republic, ex-governor Ezeife was briefly succeeded by former police commissioner Dabo Aliyu, who after a few week was replaced by retired Col. Mike Aattah in December 1993. Colonel Attah was later replaced with Group Captain Rufai Garba in 1996. Group Captain Emmanuel Ukaegbu came on board as Military Administrator in 1998
Consequent upon the return of democracy in Nigeria on May 29, 1999, Group Captain Ukaegbu handed over the reins of power to Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. Dr. Chris Ngige governed Anambra state from May 29, 2003 to March 16, 2006, when the court of Appeal, Enugu ruled that Mr. Peter Obi was the actual winner of the April 19, 2003 governorship election in Anambra state. Governor Peter Obi was sworn-in for the first time on March 17, 2006. During the unconstitutional impeachment of Governor Obi, his Deputy, Dame Virgy Etiaba mounted the saddle till February 2007. On May 29, 2007, Dr. Andy Uba was sworn in. However, few days into his stay in office, the Supreme Court declared the election that brought him illegal. With that landmark judgment on tenure interpretation, the history of the country was rewritten, paving way for scattered governorship elections in the country.
Governor Obi was re-elected and sworn-in for second tenure in March 17, 2010, making him the first governor to be re-elected since the creation of the state. His re-election however, was not unconnected with his outstanding contribution towards the socio-economic and political emancipation of the fortunes of Anambra state. This has been manifesting in the unprecedented delivery of democracy dividends in the state.
During his governorship campaign in 2002, Mr. Obi’s question was, “Is Anambra state cursed or are we the cause?” Not many people at that time gave serious thought to that poser. Happily, few years into his first tenure Governor Obi provided answers to the questions he posed. With a unique approach to governance, encapsulated in his blueprint, the Anambra integrated Development strategy (ANIDS), which allows for simultaneous development in all sectors of the state economy, the Governor has demonstrated that Anambra is neither cursed nor are Ndi Anambra the cause of the state’s underdevelopment since its creation in 1991.
Given his antecedents as an astute business man and his prudence in the management of resources, Governor Obi has delivered verifiable democracy dividends that have broken the jinx of under-development in the state. The ANIDS formular has become a success story, resulting in landmark achievements in all the sectors of the state economy. The formula has enabled the state government to plan, budget appropriately, allocate resources, monitor the implementation and receive feedback from the people for whom the various ANIDS project are being executed.
ANIDS has touched all sectors, including good governance, security, law and order, judiciary, education, health, information and culture, works, Transport and agriculture. Other sectors massively touched are Environment, Public utilities, water resources, lands, Housing, re-orientation, revenue generation, commerce, industry and tourism, women development, youth and sports, local government and chieftaincy matters as well as economic planning.
Governor Obi has equally given our children a brighter future. Jobs have been provided, while computer and accessories, buses, boreholes have been provided to almost all the schools in the state. The Obi administration has equally reconstructed over seven hundred kilometers of roads including the 165 meter long Odor Bridge, the longest bridge ever built by any government in the state. He has built three new gigantic Secretariat complexes and enhanced the welfare package of workers since he came on board. Governor Obi administration equally built the Anambra state ultra Modern Fire Service Headquarters and state Emergency Management Agency complex, Anambra state University Teaching Hospital complexes in Awka, built the first modern e-library in the state, constructed over four thousand classroom blocks across the state among other numerous gigantic projects.
Governor Obi’s style of leadership, characterized by prudent and frugal management of resources, has attracted many accolades from both within and outside the country. Many donor agencies such as European Union, UNICEF, World Bank etc, which hitherto left the state, are all back. Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Governor Obi as his Honorary Special Adviser on Financial Matters and a member of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team.
Having gone thus far, the people of Anambra state should never relent in praying for and supporting the government as well as living up to their civic and social responsibilities. The government, on the other hand, should continue with its purposeful leadership. In the years ahead, Ndi Anambra will like to see more roads, pipe borne water, independent power plant and happier workforce so that the state will continue to be the Light of the Nation. Anambra Adibago Mma, Nyeaka ka Odi mma.