IfeanyiChukwu Afuba

Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano is often reckoned with for giving his State a befitting NYSC Orientation Camp; a Court of Appeal Division; the first oxygen plant in the southeast, a cargo airport, community, self – choice projects and international conference centre among other landmarks. But the choice of a succession candidate in the person of Professor Chukwuma Soludo should be seen as Obiano’s parting legacy. It may well be the most definitive of his legacies.

And the reason is simple. Leadership ranks among the highest values of government and governance. Nelson Mandela did not rise to international honour because of the infrastructure he built as President of South Africa. No, he became a hero for inspiring the dismantling of apartheid and forging a stabilising, rainbow framework for the new nation. At the time of Ben Gurion’s reign, Israel was in critical need of modern transformation but the former leader is best remembered for the founding of a Jewish nation. Former Premier of the Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo, was rated highly by his constituents as much for his development projects as his vision.

And so from a consideration of management – goals perspective, Senator Ben Murray Bruce declared in just two years of Obiano’s governoship: “There is something to be learnt in Anambra.”

Thus, while the multiple increase of Anambra’s fortunes in many sectors under the APGA – Obiano watch cannot be downplayed, Obiano’s greatest achievement in governance may well lie in the reign of standards. From security to social services, from infrastructure to investor – friendly economy, Obiano makes the statement: we’re here presently; why can’t we move on to the next level?

Governor Willie Obiano’s leadership is noted for instilling a sense of confidence in the Anambra State community. “Umunnem”, he would invite in that endearing term that never fails to rally, this generation has a duty to push forth the frontiers of development. That insistence on extending the standards of heritage is reflected in the fact that no other government has celebrated the State’s galaxy of pace – setters in different walks of life as the present. That consciousness has led the administration break new grounds. Accordingly, Willie Nwokoye submitted that Obiano has raised the bar of governance in Anambra State.

Nwokoye’s prediction four years back in 2017 that the Obiano experience would scare off mediocres from future governoship contest has come to pass. As far back as 2019, any discerning student of Anambra politics could tell that Professor Chukwuma Soludo was the APGA heir apparent. And that singular prospect of a very strong APGA candidate influenced the quality of aspirants and contest in the main opposition parties.

Soludo’s credentials need no debating. Even members of opposition parties guardedly admire him worthy to be Anambra’s next Governor. His choice and grooming in the past three years is a statement on Obiano’s commitment to the cause of Anambra State.

The choice of a competent and assertive personality as a successor indicates that Obiano is not interested in someone who will sing his praise when he has left the scene. It had been his testament that the man or woman to take over from him would be someone with the potential to record greater achievements. This type of concern with the public good, with the future of society is the stuff of statesmen.

No doubt about it, Obiano has not been the typical politician. A measure of the social cohesion wrought by his reign is the absence of any major or prolonged crisis in the State in the past seven and half years. In this period the State has enjoyed unprecedented industrial peace.

History would be kind to Willie Obiano for repositioning Anambra State for greater heights. The progressive journey that APGA’s 2003 mandate heralded in the State looks set to continue. God has not finished with
Anambra State.

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