APGA: A time for consolidation

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By Ibeneme Chika

(When a good and solid foundation is laid the structure stands the test of time).

When the Enugu Appeal Court nullified the election of Dr Chris Ngige as governor of Anambra State in 2006 and brought in the government of APGA led by Mr Peter Obi, it took him two years to plan and another two years to lay the basic foundation for the development of the state. Peter Obi took time to plan, analyze and lay the foundation and started the execution.

Obi had his priorities and blueprint which was majorly on the economy and road infrastructure. He consolidated the development in his second term as governor. This is the reason for his wonderful performance as governor of Anambra.

At the inception of his administration, Governor Willie Obiano showcased his priorities around four pillars of development and 12 enablers which are pivotal to the classical development of Anambra state. The 4 pillars are as follows:
1. AGRICULTURE
2. INDUSTRIALIZATION
3. TRADE AND COMMERCE
4. OIL AND GAS

However, these four pillars of development could not be achieved if critical enablers like security and infrastructure were not in place. It is worthy to mention that after the civil war, Anambra became a horrible zone with record of the highest number of brigandage, kidnap cases and hooliganism in Nigeria. Successive governments and some organized groups tried to fight crime and criminality through some unorthodox means without success.

Measures like the Onitsha “BOYS OYE, OMATA BOYS and BAKASSI BOYS” are still fresh in the memories of Ndi Anambra. But none of these unorthodox method solved the problem of insecurity in the state. Even the erstwhile Onitsha branch chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (Barnabas Igwe)and his pregnant wife were allegedly killed by one of these unorthodox outfits. Also the erstwhile Nnewi South Local Government Chairman of

All Peoples Party (APP), Chief De Doga of Ekwulumili, reportedly died in the hands of one of the unorthodox security outfits.

Thankfully the era of wanton acts of criminality in Anambra is over. Such things are no longer happening under Akpkuodike’s watch. Anambra juzili oyi. Ndi afia a na-azu. Ndi madu a na-enwe añuli. With security of lives and property and stability, industries started opening up. Investors started trooping into the state. Employment opportunities are being created. Economy started contrasting while the internally generated revenue (IGR) of government started improving.

Before now nothing was going well in the area of agriculture. The food programme in the state was on auto pilot. There was no agricultural blue print for the state. The ministry existed by default. Today, the tune has changed with Akpokuodike taking agriculture as a serious business.

Convinced that agriculture is one of the highest employer of labour in the world, Obiano made agriculture a priority ministry. He engaged a commissioner that has the technical know – how in the area of sophisticated agriculture and mechanization. The result is that Anambra is now known for massive rice, yam and vegetable production. Anambra is the first state in Nigeria that developed a world class rice brand that is known as “ANAMBRA RICE”. Akpokuodike has attracted massive investments into the agricultural sector in Anambra. Anambra is tops amongst the food producing states in Nigeria. Today, Anambra yam is the most sought-after yam in America. Our vegetables are still making waves in European markets. Anambra is the first state to sign on to E-FARM initiative. Everybody is going back to farming in Anambra state courtesy of Akpokuodike’s sincere support to the sector. A naghi enyo eziokwu enyo.

In trade and commerce, Obiano has accelerated this aspect of the pillars. Before now, it is very difficult for a trader in Onitsha and Nnewi to bring down their goods from Lagos wharf to Onitsha and Nnewi. There are over 20 Customs check points on the road where officials extorted money from the traders thereby making things very difficult for them. But Akpokuodike went to the customs and negotiated the check points down to the barest minimum. Akpokuodike also met with the authorities of the Central Bank of Nigeria to seek for a concessionary forex rate for traders in Anambra and the discussion is in progress.

Obiano also pressured Ethiopian Airlines which is the only international airline plying Enugu airport to have a desk in Onitsha in order to ease the hiccups encountered by traders whenever they want to travel. In Anambra Aerotropolis project, there is a plan to build International Business and Industrial park that can accommodate manufacturers from China who will produce and sell to Nigerians at the same rate they sell in China. Besides, the governor has in mind to put Anambra in the top three states in trade and commerce in Nigeria. There are expansions in markets and establishments of modern shopping malls in the state. Also trade and commerce is generating thousands of employments for the youths of the state.

There is the need for Ndi Anam bra to support Akpokuodike to consolidate on the gains of his first term. We can’t change the winning team in the middle of the match. As Prof Chukwuma Soludo queried, “If not broken, why mend it”?

*Chika is resident in Amichi

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