Is Anambra really the Light of the Nation, By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

Created out of the old Anambra state on 27 August, 1991, Anambra State has so far been led by the following individuals: Joseph Abulu (Administrator), 27 August 1991- January 199; Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Governor) 2 January 1992-17 November 1993 SDP; Dabo Aliyu (Acting Administrator) November 1993- December 1993; Mike Attah (Administrator) 9 December 1993- 21 August 1996, and Rufai Garba (Administrator) 21 August 1996-6 August 1998Others are Emmanuel Ukaegbu (Administrator) 6 August 1998-29 May 1999; Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Governor) 29 May 1999 -29 May 2003 PDP; Chris Ngige (Governor) 29 May 2003-17 March 2006 PDP; Peter Obi (Governor) 17 March 2006-3 November 2006 APGA and Virginia Etiaba (Governor) 3 November 2006-9 February 2007, APGA. Mrs Etiaba was sworn in as the first female governor when the previous governor, Peter Obi, was impeached by the state legislature for alleged gross misconduct. She transferred her powers back to Peter Obi three months later when an appeal court nullified the impeachment. Peter Obi then took over the mantle of leadership on 9 February 2007 and is still the current governor.

Most of the leaders of the state during the millitary era made a little impact to the development of the intellectuals-rich state. When Nigeria witnessed the birth of the fourth republic on 29th day of May 1999, Anambrarians were full of hope that a messiah had surely arrived. Then Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who was popularly called Odera, was sworn in as a democratically elected governor of the state. Throughout the regime of Mbadinuju, he was mostly busy mounting sigh posts that bore the inscriptions of proposed road projects. Initially, people were happy for that but later, about 95% of those projects were either left uncompleted or totally abandoned.

Mbadinuju’s administration also engaged itself in organizing prayers at the Onitsha main market which portrayed him as a leader that feared God. The worst part of his administration was on September 2002 when unpaid teachers went on strike for a year and civil servants and court workers were also on strike for months. This mainly affected secondary school students who were meant to sit for their senior school certificate examinations then as many of them graduated with very poor results. The only achievements made by Mbadinuju’s administration were the rehabilitation of the state government house, house of assembly complex and recruitment of the Bakkasi Boys that fought armed robbers to a stand still during the period.

A man many consider the best governor in the history of Anambra State is Dr. Chris Ngige. Popularly known as Onwa, Chris Ngige, a proud son of Alor Town, tried a lot in rehabilitation of many kilometers of roads during his regime. He also made history on July 10, 2003 as the first sitting governor to be kidnapped. His administration, though short, achieved a lot in roads rehabilitation. His government ended on 17th March 2006 after the Court of Appeal declared Mr. Peter Obi as the rightful winner of the 2003 Anambra governorship elections. Mr. Peter Obi was predicted to continue or even improve on the developmental projects of his predecessor. During his first tenure as governor, Mr. Peter Obi achieved little compared with the expectations of citizens. Many roads especially in the three major towns of Anambra – Nnewi, Onitsha and Awka – were left untouched. For example  important road like the Nnewi Bank Road, Nnewi-Nnobi road, Athur Eze Avenue Awka  and many roads within Onitsha were no-go-areas especially during the rainy season.  Also his all-in-one project known as the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy ANIDS was a total failure because many sectors of the state economy were in a state of decay then. No standard road networks across the important cities of the state, The State Water Corporation seemed to be non-existent then. Although he tried in equipping the health sector, he failed to raise them to an acceptable standard. Also, his efforts in equipping the state-owned secondary schools with computers were criticized because the schools lack adequate manpower to manage those facilities, thereby leading  to non-utilization of those facilities.

Although a fresh election was held on 29 April 2007, he was reappointed governor on 14 June 2007 after a court ruled, in line with section 180 subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution, that he should be allowed to complete a four-year term. He won the 6th February 2010 election for a second term as governor.  After he won his second term election, his government woke up from slumber. On Monday November 21 2011,he handed over a total of 1, 040 primary schools back to their original owners, the churches, and gave them N6 billion to maintain the schools. This action was commended by the public because it will surely go a long way in restoring sanity in those schools. Also in late 2012, he started rehabilitating various roads in Nnewi, Awka and Onitsha, although most of these roads are not yet completed as of today. It will also be recalled that Virginia Etiaba was sworn in as the first female Governor of Anambra State on 3rdNovember 2006 when Mr. Obi was impeached and she served from then till 9th February 2007 and the court declared Mr. Obi’s impeachment unconstitutional. During her short tenure as governor, Mrs Etiaba tried a lot in rehabilitating some roads in the state.

Aside government, Anambra is blessed with brilliant, rich and hardworking citizens. These people include the late Zik of Africa Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; Late Ezeigbogburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Ikemba Nnewi); Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, and  Late Prof. Chike Obi. Also Anambra is blessed with industrialists like Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the  CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Nnewi, a world class company and the first indigenous vehicle manufacturing  company in Nigeria; Chief Cletus Ibeto the CEO of Ibeto group Nnewi; Chief Chika Okafor CEO of Chicason Group Nnewi; Dr. Ajulu Uzodike Chairman of Cutix Plc Nnewi; Cosmas Maduka Chairman Coscharis Group; Dr. Arthur Eze etc.

Also citizens of the blessed state are all doing well in their various areas of endeavors.

The government of Peter Obi, though trying in some areas like roads construction, should put more efforts in other sectors like water, sports, health and education. Also he should try and develop a standard masterplan for the three major cities of Nnewi, Onitsha and Awka. He should also try and build at least an airport in the state in order to ease the movements of goods and services so that our state’s position as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria should be restored. This is when the state will be fully proud to be addressed as the state of the nation.

Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu wrote in from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka

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