CHALLENGES THAT CONFRONT CHIEF WILLIE OBIANO, THE GOVERNOR OF ANAMBRA STATE

January 25th, 2018

The Governor, His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano and his officials may receive one’s humble Congratulations over his victory in the Gubernatorial election and Senatorial election of Sir Victor Umeh into the National Assembly to represent our Central Senatorial District. The adage, to whom much is given, more is desired, rightly-comes to mind. Both officials won by landslides to show the level of confidence bestowed on them by the people. In as much as one is confident that Sir Umeh will perform creditably, the governance-responsibility falls on shoulders of Akpokuedike who won by 21/21 in all the LGAs. His opponents congratulated him and did not challenge results in Court. The people of Anambra State, the Igbo at home and in Diaspora, southeasterners, APGA and Nigerians expect the best performance from his government. He has advantage of being Governor for almost four years and has acquired durable all-round experience on problems of Anambra State. There are CHALLENGES that now confront him. There will be no reason for him to make any mistake or even fail in duty anywhere. His Excellency is expected to record massive progress and improvements over his present performance in governance. People expect him to perform maximally and creditably.

In the last four years of his Administration, it has been a long road to travel; a lot of work was done but quite a lot more is yet to be done in responsible governance. Akpokuedike should not wait until he is resworn-in next March. He must swing into action immediately and restructure his government by reshuffling his officials and their modus operandi to make governance of more grassroot-approach, purposeful, efficient and accountable. He must instantly put into motion the different machineries for unifying the Igbo both at home and abroad; his party-the APGA, to make it a more active national party that will play full national roles in oncoming 2019 elections. Many Anambra State people and the Igbo would like him to play a major role in strengthening and empowering APGA to form coalitions with some other parties in order to participate in all elections this 2018 and in 2019. The Governor should conduct free and fair LGA elections soon in 2018 so that he can carry everyone along down to grassroot level. He should continue with robust development of a more efficient Taxation and Accountability System in order to blossom the IGR more than before. Anambra people will quickly-pay for services where provided. The State is hungry for independent power plants for sure energy source like some others. People will pay for electricity costs where supplied regularly. Anambra State government must encourage attraction of more people, interest groups, agencies etc. for enhancing Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) system for projects in order to support infrastructural development through joint funding between State and partners fully or partially. Our people are congenitally-entrepreneurial and would provide support if requested for, as long as one shows goodwill, honesty and accountability. The government should tap this abundant good-natured human resource for State development.

We need developments of durable infrastructure of roads, 2nd bridge across River Niger, industries, housing estates, Umuleri International Cargo Airport, Agriculture, water supply schemes etc. It is sickening to find roads and houses recently-built failing or collapsing within few years of life. One finds such disasters in different parts of the country including Anambra State. Leaders/builders must not allow roads, bridges, drainages, buildings etc. to fail or collapse; shameful episodes. One must consider the impacts of soil-type, slope stability and other factors in designs and constructions of roads etc. Completed infrastructure must last out its lifeline in longevity. Everyone is waiting in anticipation for the successful completion of Umuleri International Cargo Airport; you, must prod-and-push overseas partner-funding agencies; we badly-need such a project irrespective of what unbelievers may think. You ought to put more life into the age-long suggestion that Anambra State government encourages the growth of ring-like-industrial-clusters around Onitsha-Nnewi-Ekwulobia-Awka Geometry. The government should provide incentives of lands, soft loans, low taxes etc. for budding entrepreneurs to invest along this Geometry. Similar developmental considerations should be given to practice of agricultural/food productions in Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Aguata, Orumba etc. areas. The World Bank funded Greater Onitsha Water Scheme, Obizi Water scheme and such other schemes should be revisited and fully-developed. The State government should come out with and execute bold and responsible surface water and groundwater supply schemes for urban and rural communities. No government of the State in recent History seems to care about the need for potable water supplies for the people. There are abundant water resources above and below ground surface in Anambra State; yet, most Anambrarians become sick and die for lack of potable water supplies to their communities. After oxygen, water is next in importance for human existence/subsistence; water must be sustained.

Sir HE, there is a lot of work to be done for the State in areas of human development and care for Education in Primary and Secondary Schools, Polytechnic and Universities. The State University Teaching Hospital at Awka requires special attention and funding. Health Care and Management resources from Hospitals and Health Centres should be looked into critically and be improved. HE Obiano should consider the possibility of giving free or subsided Medical services to the aged, infirm, pregnant women and children. In terms of Social Welfare Schemes one humbly gives Kudos to the Governor for continued payment of salaries, allowances and pension to retired people; this should be continued and consolidated. There ought to be clear-cut development programmes for youths and provision of job opportunities and soft loans to entrepreneurial-minded ones among them to enable them start off life on their own. Anambra State is besieged by multivaried ecological disasters exacerbated by climate change and anthropogenic activities. There are annual flood disasters and soil, channel and gully erosion and landslides destroying lives and property all over the State. The State has been steadily-losing human and animal lives, ancestral lands, forests, vegetation, infrastructure (roads, houses, water schemes etc.), surface water resources (springs, streams, lakes and rivers), agricultural/farm and marsh lands etc. One is yet to be impressed by any concerted actions being taken by any State governments in tackling the problems vegetated by these ecological malaise. This administration must come out with well-planned strategic approach that is holistic, multi-technique and multiobjective in nature to successfully-combat the environmental nemesis. There are Environmental Laws that where strictly-enforced, can reduce destructive havoc perpetuated by man in destroying environment. The State has lost many human and material resources during gully erosion and major landslides; lakes and rivers have been severely-polluted suffering heavy losses in aquatic lives. Socioeconomic losses are estimated to be trillions of Naira. Communities should be mobilized to form Erosion Control Committees to tackle floods, soil erosion and incipient gullies. Government officials, developers, industrialists etc. must carry out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directives before execution of projects and carry out consequent amelioration measures at end of execution of such projects; failing which, necessary imposition of relevant penalties should prevail. Destructive deforestation and advance of Sahara desert climate are prevalent in the State. Part of its Rainforest Belt has been replaced by Guinea Savannah grassland exposing lands to ecological derailment. We must curtail harvesting of timber, bush burning and clearing of vegetation for unnecessary purposes. Let us plant up open spaces and check damages to farm crops/vegetation by herdsmen that roam wild with uncontrolled movements of livestock. Your Excellency, History is beckoning on you to hopefully-perform.

By Boniface C E Egboka, UNIZIK, Awka, Anambra State; E-mail: boniegboka@gmail.com

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