To be the first choice in investment destination and most preferred location to site new industries.
To create a socially stable, business-friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State.
a. Attraction of 2.4 billion dollars investment in one year.
b. Agriculture 660 million dollars
c. Industrialization 140 million dollars
d. Trade and commerce 350 million dollars
History was made on Monday March 17, 2014, in Anambra State as a civilian governor, for the first time, handed over to another governor. Chief Willie Obiano won Anambra governorship election, which started on November 16 and continued on November 17, with a rescheduled poll in Obopsi, Idemili North LGA. It was rounded off with a supplementary poll in about 210 polling units in 16 local governments of the state.
Obiano shocked members of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Anambra people and Nigerians at large by moving from being regarded as a greenhorn in politics to wining the nomination of the party to stand for the governorship election of the state. Though he was described by many political upstarts as far as politics in the state in concerned, he struck a feat that is rare in politics. If rebranding is the process of giving something a new image, in order to make it more attractive or successful, then Governor Willie Obiano is truly rebranding the state. His actions have involved an extensive rebranding of the state. This is not about the construction of roads, attraction of billion dollars investments, revamping of the agriculture sector or the prompt payment of salaries and pensions. His government has done all these and much more than he has been given credit for. The interests are not those traditional responsibilities which his government in so short a time, has been so focused to achieve. The focus is his capability to retrieve the state from the sidewalk of pedestrian governance. He had come into the governorship race with profound academic qualifications, unconsciously preserving the Anambra tradition of not leaving governance in the hands of those who have not been adequately stewed in the fundamentals of hybrid education or very well tested by corporate or technocratic parameters.
Anambra State’s sons and daughters were held spell bound on Saturday 26th September, 2015 by Governor Willie Obiano’s rendition of his account of stewardship to the state in the past one and a half years. The venue was in the expansive compound of the Governor’s lodge in Anambra.
Lauching into a highly persuasive speech titled: “My Dream of New Anambra” Obiano said: “I have always believed that democracy and accountability are like Siamese twins – you cannot have one and leave out the other. I have always believed that accountability is the essence of democracy; it provides democracy the moral weight to exist as the best model of governance known to mankind,” pointing out that it was for the sake of accountability and transparency that he had summoned the people to present his scorecard. The governor also took the hordes of critics who hound him on social media by surprise, praising them for providing the sharp edges that had helped him maintain focus on his goals. “I must also thank the critics of my administration for providing the sharp edges that helped us to keep our eyes on the ball; reminding us that governance is a social contract between the state and its citizens and that the power we exercise truly belongs to the people,” he said.
Displaying a rare show of extraordinary humanity, governor Obiano showered praises on his predecessor, former governor Peter Obi who had been locked in a bitter war with him for quite some time. “I must thank my brother and Predecessor, former governor Peter Obi who as the first APGA governor laid a good foundation for my administration to continue the journey for a better Anambra State. Government is a continuum and though administrations may come and go; the concept of the organized society and the merits of purposeful leadership shall never change,” he declared. He went on to reel out Obi’s achievements and thereafter, he implored the audience to give the former governor and his team a round of applause.
Drawing his audience attention to the Anambra of his dream, he started by defining what his dream is not and traced the footpath to what it is. Said he; “It is a functional and efficient geopolitical space where the quantum of man’s capacity to remake himself and his environment is equaled by the opportunities for inventive expression. It is a place where our well-known entrepreneurial talent and derring-do will manifest in its fullness for the comfort and prosperity of everyone. That is the dream!” In other words, that his vision for the state was to make Anambra State the first Choice Investment Destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities while his Mission was to make Anambra State a socially stable, business-friendly environment that would attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth-creating opportunities, Governor Obiano affirmed that he had kept faith with his promises to Ndi Anambra. Said he: “Ndi be anyi, there have been speculations on why Anambra State has been able to pay and increase the salaries of workers, at a time when other states are looking for bailouts. There is no magic to it. Our ability to forecast economic trends is the answer,” he maintained.
Obiano’s private sector background shone through his overall approach to governance is process-driven and result-laden. It answered questions on the key Enablers of his economic blueprint and cast a beam of light on the factors behind the governor’s ability to increase workers’ salaries at a time when his colleagues are looking for bailouts. He argued that his administration had cleansed the state of violent crimes that had blighted it for decades and opened the floodgates of opportunities to prospective investors thereby attracting an impressive volume of investments to the tune of $2.4bn in one year. “Its essentially to the glory of Almighty God and the audacity of our collective hopes that our waves of successful attacks on the men of the underworld were enough to sweep out crime and criminality from Anambra State,” pointing out that his economic blueprint would have suffered a stillbirth if he had not taken care of the insecurity in the state.
Recalling the magnitude of the security challenges he had to overcome, Governor Obiano observed that “the turning point in our heavy-handed assault on the underworld was the arrest of Alphonsus Ngwu; the notorious illegal arms dealer who supplied most of the weapons used by violent criminals in this state and beyond. There was also the arrest of Okechukwu Nnaegbo, a kidnap kingpin, in an aircraft in Lagos when he was about to escape from the country. With those two arrests, we won both psychological and moral victory over criminals in Anambra State and swiftly put the remnants of the bandits to fight.” Giving an update on his economic blueprint, he revealed that Agriculture had attracted investments valued at over $660m, Industrialization $140m and Trade and Commerce $350m among numerous other investments covering hospitality, oil and gas, power generation, meat processing, etc.
He further noted however that no human society was perfect and there would always be room for improvement even in the most advanced civilizations. “So, it was no surprise to realize that we inherited a state that was unsure of itself… a state that lived in fear – fear of kidnappers, violent armed robbers, brutal drug dealers and several child-trafficking syndicates. The dread of kidnappers chased many illustrious citizens away and forced most families to conduct traditional marriages away from their ancestral homes. We inherited a state that had yet to plan its future along the lines of its natural endowments and the talents and abilities of its human capital. We inherited a proud people who had no proud capital city that would reflect their sense of worth as great pioneers and merchants of light in the whole of West Africa,” he said. Pointing out that since assuming office, he had made bold efforts to define the challenges of the state and proffer solutions to them, Governor Obiano argued that any objective assessment of his administration must be based on his clearly stated Vision and Mission Statements.
Furthermore, Governor Obiano said, “As some of you are aware, long before I took the oath of office, I had organized a strategic retreat to prepare for the challenge of leading Anambra State. It was at this retreat that we realized that oil prices would soon crash in the international market and that for states to remain solvent, something dramatic would have to be done. Armed with this knowledge, we swung into action and in less than one year, we were able to increase our IGR from the N500m we inherited from my predecessor to N1.3b. Our target is to hit the N3b threshold and we won’t relent until we have achieved that. We have continued to tinker with our revenue structures to plug all the loopholes and enhance efficiency and transparency”.
While the entire idea of presenting an 18-month scorecard is in itself a novelty, holding such a high profile state function that attracted men and women of timber and calibre in Anambra State was itself a loud statement on the great work the governor has done in securing the State. If the presence of Anambra’s best and brightest at the event is a measure of Obiano’s acceptance among his people, then, the point was resoundingly made. With the presence of a former Vice President, two former governors, former Ministers, eight former Senators, members of House of Representatives, Six former Secretaries to the State government, prominent religious and royal fathers, a Forbes Magazine rated maverick billionaire, leading industrialists and several leading opposition figures, the event was an overwhelming endorsement of Obiano’s 18 months of sterling performance.
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