At the creation of Anambra State on 27th August, 1991, there were great expectations of awaited accelerated development. The home state of the greats such as Zik, Okadigbo, the Okigbos, Chike Obi, Achebe, the Ojukwus, Power Mike Okpala and majority of frontline Igbos in diverse notable fields, would produce no less hope in a country adrift.
The hope and optimism faltered however, as the state got entrapped in fifteen long years of political quandary. Governance declined to nothingness; and with it, the people’s ethos. But the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s momentous electoral defeat of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the gubernatorial poll of 2003 (which was belatedly actualized in 2006 by judicial sanction) provided the elixir that illuminated a true search for viable statehood. Since then, the leadership of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Anambra State has thrived in providing good governance for the people of the state.
But the notoriety of the state consequent upon the endemic crime wave remained. The palpable expressions of insecurity and fear seemed to overwhelm the state and its citizens with the mutation of criminality culminating in kidnapping. True, the vast economic activities in Anambra State predispose it to the challenges of crime, but the burden was becoming increasingly difficult for the people to live with.
That skewed past is now safely confined to history following the unprecedented success Gov. Willie Obiano has recorded in crime fighting. One of the cardinal pointers to a civilised polity is its ability to persuade or compel its citizens to be compliant to universal indices of ethical practices. Two years ago, when Chief Obiano boldly professed absolute commitment to the security of lives and property of the people, there were doubts about his capacity for adequate action; but the novel promptness as well as the effectiveness of his actions would soon translate his passion to reality to the admiration of all.
Barely one week in office, the Governor constituted an effective Joint Task Force on security comprising the Police, different arms of the Nigerian Military and the paramilitary groups. In furtherance of his impatience with crime in the State, an unprecedented Security Summit was quickly convoked on the 10th and 11th of April, 2014 – less than one month in the life of Chief Obiano’s Administration. The conference informed the template for effective crime control in the state.
The Governor does not merely glory in tough talks against delinquent persons, he encourages them to leverage on his many employment schemes to wean them off crime, hence his contention that, ‘if we replace the guns in the hands of our youths with employment letters and seed monies for small-scale businesses, Anambra would be freer from the criminals and social miscreants that have denied us peace of mind.’ The Governor is equally exploring many avenues of getting notable entrepreneurs who are indigenous to Anambra State to repatriate their investments home in order to provide employment for the youths. This innovative and reformatory scheme in crime-fighting has proved invaluable in containing the wildness that unemployment portends.
Chief Willie Obiano’s actions bespeak volumes of his determination to improve the lives of Anambra youths. His administration, more than any other in the history of the state, recognizes the resourcefulness of youths in his assignments and appointments. Obiano provides the youths vital mentorship by liberally challenging them with critical responsibilities and celebrating the successes they make of such engagements. He has deployed huge sums of money and energy towards empowering the youths financially. He does this by providing opportunities for their training in various skills. He provides seed money and job opportunities for large number of young people.
Given the potentials in gainful engagement in agriculture, Chief Obiano has trained hundreds of youths in modern farming techniques at Anambra State College of Agriculture, Mgbakwu. Equally, aware of the high technical consciousness among Anambra youths, the governor has provided sponsorship for hundreds of talented Anambra youths at Nnewi Technology Incubation Centre. He funds the centre for enhanced training.
Through the Ministry of Youths Entrepreneurship and Sports Development, the governor explores every available opportunity in realizing his dream of engaging the youths meaningfully. The Ministry is concluding plans to optimally deploy the Federal Government owned Youth Centre at Mgbakwu in furtherance of youth training on skill acquisition and entrepreneurship breath.
The governor does not respond to sports as merely helping the youth to keep strong, he sees it as a potential means of livelihood. He therefore encourages sporting activities in schools and among youth groups as means of grooming sports people who would not only make quality living from sporting activities but would bring laurels and good name to the state.
The administration uses agencies and the traditional institutions to reinvent the chains of values that constitute the heritage of the state and earned Ndi-Anambra enviable positions in the gathering of the tribes and among the peoples of the world.
In two long years of lean means, the yield of these efforts in enhancing sanity in Anambra State is evidenced in the minimal cases of criminality now reported in the state. The wholesome sense of freedom which Ndi-Anambra now feel as they go about their daily engagements is unarguably the best gift any government can offer the people.
* Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu, Anambra State