Dr. Harris Chuma-Odili, FCMsp
Since the creation of Anambra state, till today, Gov Willie Obiano as Anambra’s leader remain the most successful, and impactful in the history of the state.
On the occasion of 30 years anniversary celebration of Anambra state, I have elected to use this space to celebrate this giant of a patriot; this epitome of selfless leadership; this dashing example of courage; this charming example of bravery; that is the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano who took over reigns of power from 2013, till date.
If Anambrarians were looking for a combination of George Washington, Ho Chi Minh and Nelson Mandela, it doesn’t need to look far; all of these heroes converge on one person – Obiano – our only legit hero.
Obiano has now spent more than seven years of his tenure as governor of Anambra state. And of all my colleagues, politicians operating in the Anambra media space who would write, or have written, on Anambra this week, I again have the good fortune and privilege of writing on what I know about the Anambra state governor.
Whoever lives in Anambra or visits the state owes his conscience the crystal truth that Anambra has a leader, who has rekindled hope to the citizens, and that they should aspire to be the next greats. Believe it or not, Obiano is an inspiration, a motivator, leadership encapsulated!
Not minding political differences, I have continued to argue that Obiano has done more for ndi Anambra, and Anambra state, more than any other leader past – and only God knows the future after his tenure. Many people may disagree, and they have every right. First, even my premise is subjective: didn’t know First Republic leaders directly – all their good deeds I learnt second hand. But Obiano I know, even personally. I’m aware that his presence is felt around the state.
It’s not news that I’m not an employee of Obiano’s administration, nor did I directly ‘benefit’ from Obiano’s seven and half years reign in government. As the season we found ourselves today is the era of leftist politics, my opinion and judgment may have been clouded by the philosophy of the times.
Be that as it may, I have always wondered what Anambra would become, after the end of Obiano’s administration. Wondering about life-after Obiano’s handing over to the next governor in 2022. Wondering whether the ruling party the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA would win the 2021 governorship election under the prevailing internal crisis bedeviling the party. Wondering if many of the contestants of the 2021 gubernatorial election would be courageous to appreciate the man Obiano and his giant’s strides; his legacy projects, monumental achievements and profound impacts.
One thing is certain, providence will refuse to render Obiano irrelevant after leaving office. Only God knows what Obiano would become after 2022. For me, he would be crowned a living legend, his antecedents while in government will be history, but he will also remain current affairs. The younger generation needs hope, and there is a lot of it in this man. After 2022, our children should be told this feel-good story: that there was once an Anambra leader who epitomised selflessness, discipline and decisiveness. They should know, for example, that Obiano’s administration did massive, bold infrastructures while in government; built modern flyover bridges, Africa’s largest international Cargo/Passenger airport; empowered many youths, gave the old and young a sense of belonging in his government; in fact, the APGA under Obiano didn’t disappoint.
It is not enough, nay, unfair, to list Obiano among the ‘has-beens’ of Nigerian leaders. Obiano is E Pluribus Unum! (From Many, One!). Much has been written about Anambra 30 years anniversary and much will continue to be written. Apart from the fact that, ndi Anambra are currently saddled with the shopping for the next governor, we must not forget to engrave Obiano’s name in the sands of time, no matter our political linings, affiliations, and ideologies.
One thing Obiano has in abundance is charisma, known in Igbo as ‘Ebube’. This is not unrelated to the fact that he has been fearless since he was small. As we celebrate Anambra state at 30, I sincerely wish to end this unsolicited piece of writing with a clarion call to ndi Anambra, not to forget Obiano in a hurry. He has been our shining star; many lives have been positively affected by his leadership astuteness.
Finally, I will be doing a disservice to my colleagues in the world of journalism, my fans, family and friends if I failed to remind Governor Obiano that the few months left of his administration should be spent on rewriting any identifiable wrongs of his administration, knowing fully well that no one is perfect.
There’s urgent need to fix some ailing infrastructures in the state, especially in rural communities. The next six months should be dedicated to addressing the salient issues of deplorable major roads in some rural areas. Definately, posterity will be more friendly, and kind hearted, if your government exercises the right political will toward arresting these notable infrastructural deficits, before you victoriously bow out of office in March 2022.