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Saturday, 13 November 2010 21:54

Governor Peter obi and the burden of leadership

Obi is Anambra State's man

When Henry Kissinger was the United States Secretary of state, Germans refer to him as ‘Unsere eigenen Mann’ which means  ‘Our own man‘ because  Henry (Heniz) Kissinger to them  is not just only a German American but a favorite one.  Governor Obi is ‘Unsere eigenen Mann’ which means in Igbo language ‘Onye nke anyi’ because he respects and honors the people of his state.  Obi is truly a son of the soil.

Governor Obi is tenacious, decent, respectful and self-made man a quality that personifies what it really means to be Anambrian and son of a soil. He has made the people of Anambra State proud, for he tendered a leadership that differentiated him from the antecedent governors of the state. For one thing, he is serious with his job and he is determined to leave a legacy of successful governance.

But all things being equal, he will not be absolved from constructive criticism. When and if we do that we are not being fair to him or our self.  One thing for sure, Obi is equal to the task and the best thing he expects from us is not to be milling around him, asking and begging for contracts and handouts. Alas, he wants us to help him build Anambra state, which we all can be proud to call our home.

To his credit and his commissioners, they have a comprehensive blue print for Anambra State development. By this his administration does not concentrate on a project but simultaneously undergoing many projects. The downside is that no single project is fully enhanced, nor greatly accomplished. In addition, the blue print lacks creativity with regards to generating local revenues.

For instance the collection and disposal of solid waste/debris in commercial city of Onitsha has not been fully achieved or instituted due to lack of fund and superior management.  The environmental deterioration of Onitsha continues to worsen due to unattended littering of trash and rubbish in every nooks and corners of the city. In spite of the effort of Obi's administration the ditches and gutters are still teaming with debris and pollutants that readily contaminate the ecosystem. And such an environment breeds misquotes and subsequently malarial diseases have never been subsidized.

During the campaign for re-election, Obi promised to transform Onitsha into a modern city. This is a tall order and credit must be given to him for his vision. For a modern city to be realized and becomes functional some basic social amenities must be present .These social amenities and infrastructures must include electricity, tap drinking water and a functional sewage treatment plant.

In case of electricity, we all know quite well it is under federal government jurisdiction but   nothing stops the state government from not acquiring solar light panels and safe the streets from total darkness at nights. The government of Delta State was able to light streets of Asaba before Onitsha Head Bridge with solar light panels; therefore it can be done. No more excuses!

Governor Obi has embarked on provision of water boreholes to provide drinking water. But instead of investing limited resources in digging water boreholes, it is better to find ways to resuscitate the abandon Onitsha Water Works and others around the state. Moreover some of these water boreholes are exposed to hazardous metals (Arsenic, lead, Boron etc) together with  ecoli bacteria and radioactive elements can be life threatening and carcinogenic.

When children drink untreated water that is exposed to nature occurring pollutants it may result to diarrhea and cholera even death. The boreholes water is not treated nor chlorinated to make it healthy and safe for human consumption.

At the dawn of 21st century there should be a plan to set up waste water treatment plant in Anambra State where sewage and wastes are treated before the release into the ecosystem. The human and animal wastes can be treated properly into manures that will be utilized for farming.

The most important function of a government is to protect life and property. The mal-enterprise of kidnapping threatens the pursuit of life and happiness in Anambra State. The massive unemployment among the youths in the state do contributes to kidnapping and armed robbery. Although that the federal government control security apparatus, the state government cannot totally absolve itself when it comes to the provision of jobs to the youths. It may not be the function of government to provide jobs rather to create a secured environment with less criminal activity for capitalism and free enterprise to thrive and succeed.

Anambra state could be creative with its initiatives and improvise on new ways to lower down joblessness among the youths.  The government can create environmental corps whose function would be to patrol the state and pick up trash. These corps will be mandated to issue violation tickets when citizens violate environmental rules and regulations. And the revenues they generated can sustain their salaries and employments.

Although the government of  Anambra State will complain that there are no resources and funds to carry out these projects. But the most important thing is the willpower and willingness to initiate a change. Start from somewhere and who knows what will happen next. The Chinese philosopher Lao Zi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

 

 

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President Goodluck Jonathan in Anambra State

Anambra State and its people including Governor Obi are making the preparation and putting the finishing touch to receive the August visitor, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan on his official visit to the state. The people of the state will come out in mass numbers to receive and show Anambra hospitality to the president. Without doubt, the people of the state and its government are solidly in support of the president and his progressive policies. While ago the governors of south eastern Nigeria and stakeholders congregated at Enugu and wholeheartedly endorsed President Jonathan for another four years.

Anambra State has a lot to be proud of and as it’s truly the -light of the nation. The state and its people have contributed immensely in the making of Nigeria and are in the vanguard of Nigeria’s actualization. The great sons and daughters of Anambra State have continued to make Nigeria proud and great.  The one shining example was the role played by the late Rt. Honourabe Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in struggle to free Nigerians from colonialism and ushered the country into the oasis of freedom and liberty.

Even to the present day illustrious sons and daughters of Anambra State including those at home and Diasporas have not rested on their laurels but used every opportunity to make Nigeria better and greater. The Honorable Chinua Achebe, an Anambrian and one of the greatest novelist of our time continues to speak out on issues that are relevant to the people of Anambra state and indeed Nigeria.

With the availability of ample human capital in Anambra State, there are also numerous problems confronting the state. This is where Governor Peter Obi comes in and he will have the ear of the president of Nigeria with this official visit. First and foremost, the provision of security is not adequate to confront the menace of kidnapping. The problem of kidnapping is among the major problems confronting the state. The government of Anambra State may not appreciate the depth of the problem but kidnapping is a clog in the progress of the state.

Anambra State business community especially the tourism industry is bearing the brunt of kidnapping that have gone rampant in the state. Anambra citizens residing outside the state are reluctant to journey home as fear of being kidnapped becomes overwhelmingly probable and real. The citizens of Anambra State in Diasporas especially those in North America and Europe are not returning to the state in a record numbers. The state is losing out because money and resources are not flowing freely into Anambra State.

Governor Obi will dialogue with the president and solicit for a help in providing adequate security to protect lives and property in the state. After all, the most important function of a government is the protection of life and property. President Jonathan is a progressive and compassionate leader; he will come to the aid of the government and people of Anambra State on this calamity they are experiencing.

Another major problem is the issue of unemployment among the youths. The young men and women are the most important human resources needed for growth and development. In a capitalist economy government do not necessarily create jobs but they do create conducive environment that enable job creation to be possible and sustainable. President Jonathan’s visit to the state can be a source of relief and the beginning of something great and spectacular for the Anambra state and indeed Nigeria.

Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.


 

 

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

The government of Anambra State, Nigeria and Access Bank a local financial institution have recently lunched 2.5 Billion Naira microfinance project. This is good news coming from Anambra State that is bedeviled with high unemployment and capital flight.  “Access Bank Plc, a Nigerian commercial bank, has agreed to work with the Anambra state government to launch the state’s first microfinance scheme, by providing an equivalent of USD 16.5 million to selected microfinance institutions (MFIs) within the month. State Governor Peter Obi plans to set up workshops at the local government level throughout the state, in order to monitor progress and train operatives on “effective operation of the scheme.”  The petty traders and small scale merchants can get small loans based on their worthiness of character without the conventional collateral and security.

Access Bank and Anambra State must be applauded for this important project. The issues of credit and liquidity availability are the major problems confronting small business in Anambra State and Nigeria. It is not news that the people of Anambra State are business orientated with industrious and enterprising spirit. But issue of finance can become a hindrance in starting and sustaining a business venture. Therefore with the presence of micro financing the lines of credit will become avaliable to the serious merchants and traders in the state.

Governor Peter Obi “has also organized a committee, consisting of himself, representatives of the Access Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, microfinance bank operators, and others, who will oversee the program. The criteria for taking out a loan are not based on assets or collateral, but on “proven good character of the borrower.” The MFIs receiving funds are restricting the maximum amount that can be loaned to an individual to be equivalent to USD 3,294.”

The problems of unemployment do contribute to kidnapping and armed robbery phenomenon in the state. The youths and young men must be encouraged to start small businesses and they can be persuaded to attend trade schools. Guarantees must be given to the youths that loans and credits must be extended to them at the completion of the trade schools. This can help to curtail delinquency and idleness among some of our youths who are likely to engage in criminal behaviors. The micro financing scheme can become a possibility in fighting crimes and unemployment in the state. But we must be careful not to over stretch the project for government does not necessarily create jobs but formulate policies with enabling environment that makes job creation possible by the private sector. The prime reason for the micro financing is to provide the needed credits to small and petty traders who do not have the collateral and expertise to get loans from commercial banks.

The chairman of the State Committee on Microfinance, Mr. Eze Echesi is capable of doing a good job for the people of Anambra State. Echesi have to assemble a committee of experts and technical advisers from all walks of life especially traders and merchants to aid him in implementing and running a successful micro financing entity. The Governor of the State Peter Obi who is a successful businessman can be of a great help and adviser to the chairman of the project.

The great thing about micro financing is the ability to directly work with the people at the grassroots; the regular day-to-day traders on the street corners and at village market place. The women in Eke market of Umuoji or Nkwo market of Nnewi and similar towns are the reasons that brought about micro financing in the first place and they are the ones that need credit to run their tiny and mini-business outlets. The danger with the project is that it can become a patronage to favor political ally and well connected in the state. This can be a major problem associated with government involvement. The government joint partner with a commercial bank can become deterrence to such a self-defeating purpose.

A major barrier that might delay the dispensing of a loan is the evaluation and quantification of credit worthiness of the borrower. Most of the petty traders are semi-literates and are not keen to record keepings and documentation of daily transactions.  The issues of logistic and location must comes into play therefore the managers of the project must go to the customers, for some of these traders do not have reliable transportation and fares to go to the offices of the loan management. Mass media enlightenment becomes imperative to educate the traders on awareness of the program.

Anambra State government must set benchmarks with deadlines on the project. The government must set a goal and purpose especially what they intend to accomplish with the scheme in next 5- 10 years with regards to business creation and reduction of unemployment in the state. The micro financing cannot be cosmetic and superficial but realistic and pragmatic venture with promising affirmative results to ameliorate the wellbeing of citizens of Anambra State.

 

 

Published in Archive

Vox populi, vox Dei – The voice of the people is the voice of God. Governor Peter Obi has been reelected and the victory goes to the people of Anambra State of Nigeria, whom inspite of the obstacles turned out to elect the candidate they believed in. In a free society, power comes from people and the people have spoken.  Democracy is about the market of ideas and the person that is able to convince the electorate wins the election.

This is a fresh and new mandate for Peter Obi; obviously he was distracted in his term with interrupted impeachment and trials. But with this victory the people have spoken and empower him to lead them for the next four years. This is not time for revenge or resting in his laurels but an opportunity to complete what he has started. A time for hard work; A time to talk less but definitely a time for action and to deliver the promises he made to the voters. The people put their destiny and trust in the hands of Governor Obi and he must reciprocate by doing the people’s business.

The possibility that Anambra State might live up its motto: The light of the Nation – is emerging. The politics of Anambra State might spearhead the revitalization of Nigeria’s polity. Let’s get this right, nobody is saying that the election was a utopia without hitches. But far from the truth, this is the best so far and this is a good beginning. There was absence of violence and intimidation at the polling stations. Although there were some hiccups especially with the absence of names of the voters together with the lateness of some of the polling stations. But we can make a fair assessment by generally saying that election was credible. Yet there remains a room for improvement, as this can become a foundation to build on. The INEC can learn from this as a case study as they get ready for the 2011 general election.

Governor Peter has to be humble at his victory and he is a thoughtful person. He should extend his hands of amity to his competitors and invite them to aid in building a great state. The campaigns and election are over and time to start planting crops has come! There are many challenges, problems and opportunities in our state. Governor Obi has to take the bulls by its horns and live up to the expectation and mandate from the people.

There are numerous problems in the Anambra State which begs for leadership and pragmatism. First and foremost, he must tackle issue of kidnapping and armed robbery enterprise. The most important function of a government is the protection of life and property. The governance must be creative in arresting unemployment that is culprit to the criminal behaviors. Public sector does not necessarily create jobs but formulate policy and liberalize environment that enable private sector to create jobs.

The pressing issues of erosion gullies must be confronted before it reclaim a sizeable landmass of the Anambra State. This is a serious matter and must treat as such without politicization and polarization from the federal government. The proliferation of water boreholes is not the panacea to paucity of safe drinking water. The new government must embark on provision of tap water in the rural and urban centers. The digging of the soil for water wells might increase the vulnerability of the soil to erosion. The underground water might be exposed to the toxic and hazardous nature-occurring materials which is carcinogenic.

Let us not forget Onitsha the commercial nerve center of Anambra state and indeed Nigeria. During the campaign Obi promise to transform Onitsha to a functional city; Yes! We must hold him to his promise. The management of solid waste collection and disposal in the city must be upgraded. The littering must be controlled with reliable best management practice. The new government must institute a modern sewage treatment plant and operations not just in Onitsha but in the rest of the state. The state may not have the adequate resources for all the projects but the most intrinsic social capital is the political will.

Due to inefficiency of the electric power authority, neighborhoods at nights were engulfed with coagulated darkness: Therefore the street lights of Anambra State especially Awka and Onitsha should be powered with inexpensive solar panels.

The people of Anambra State have suffered long enough in the hands of poor leadership and mismanagement. This is the time for liberation. With the support and loyalty of the people, Governor Peter Obi is capable of delivering and this is the beginning of a new day.     May God Bless Anambra State, Nigeria!

 

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