As the curtain closed on the generally highly rated administration of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, following the inauguration of new Governor Willie Obiano and his deputy, Nkamakonam Okeke one major concern was what the change of baton portended for the state. Building on Obi’s much-acclaimed achievements or a return to the old order when Anambra was a jungle in which political warlords and rent-seekers held sway to the detriment of the people? Only one thing was certain: it was the end of a good era and the dawn of a new but uncertain one? Happily, Obiano appears to have picked up the baton with gusto and gone to work with aplomb. His words since his inauguration on March 17 have been measured and his deeds assuring. God’s speed!
Succeeding Peter Obi, who is highly regarded for a substantial measure of good performance, not only in terms of fiscal discipline, but also in the careful deployment of state resources for infrastructural development and human security needs of the people of the state, must come with its own challenges. The most notable of these is an inevitable high level of pressure to deliver and match, if not surpass, a popular predecessor. It is common knowledge that Obi was reputed to be prudent with the use of state funds and exemplary in his ascetic personal lifestyle. When most of his counterparts were not satisfied even with ostentatious living and had to notch it up to obscene levels his modesty in public appearance and conduct put a shame to the splendor other governors advertised so gleefully. When others used state funds to procure and maintain chartered or private jets, Obi not only flew commercial but did so at the most minimal cost.
It is against this background that the least expectation seems to be that Obiano would follow in the steps of his predecessor and possibly surpass his performance in good deeds. These expectations are legitimate for, as someone coming into the job with impressive credentials from the private sector, it is only proper to expect the new governor to bring some entrepreneurship, sobriety and decency into the governance of the state. With these, the new government can definitely move Anambra to higher level on the scale of development.
Given that Anambra State has peculiar environmental and developmental challenges, the new government in Awka is expected to re-double efforts at addressing these fundamental problems of the state, most especially erosion and education for the teeming youth population. The government should also endeavour to support, in a sustainable manner, the ongoing industrialization in the state, especially in the Nnewi industrial hub. The support for local creativity and industrialization should, however, be done in a way that will not compromise youth education, as youth education is pivotal to the developmental aspirations of any state and should be accorded adequate priority.
It is also important to focus on the provision of pipe-borne water to ease the burden on the people of the state who are perennially in search of clean water. This way, the new government can consolidate and build on the good legacies of its predecessor.
It is, however, important to underscore the fact that the task of bringing development to Anambra state is not the sole responsibility of the government. It is a collective responsibility of all citizens and is, therefore, incumbent upon all, especially opposition parties, civil society, media and the private sector to join hands with the Obiano government in taking Anambra to greater heights. This collaboration is, however, without prejudice to the ongoing litigation against the victory of Governor Willie Obiano. If anything, the case should be pursued to its logical conclusion within legally permissible limits. This way, whatever legitimacy question may be hanging on the new government can be permanently laid to rest. The judiciary too owes it a duty to the good people of the state to treat all pending cases pertaining to the election with urgency and decency in a manner that ensures justice, fairness and equity, following which Anambra’s upward ascent can continue.