By Onukwugha Osuji Wednesday, November 09 , 2011
The failure of the generality of political leadership in Nigeria has been arguably the single most debilitating factor against societal development and progress. And, since many of them were not on the people’s mandate, there was little accountability but a high level of clouded purposes, broken promises and venality in the conduct of public affairs.
Mercifully, a few have established that with a clear vision, mission and commitment, positive outcomes are assured in governance.
The experience of Peter Obi’s administration in Anambra State has been significant.
Soon after his inauguration for a second term in early February 2010, a challenge was thrown to the Governor on “The Consolidation Imperative”. Some 20 months later, there is a revealing picture of his administration’s many targets and direct hits.
Coming from a career background of corporate excellence, Governor Obi had a bird’s eye view of the developmental imperatives for his State. The enormity of the challenges ahead probably informed the Philosophy of ANIDS [Anambra Integrated Development Strategy].
This aims at several targets within the framework of the internationally-acclaimed benchmark: the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs]. To put the administration’s programme of action in perspective, the MDGs are to: Reduce extreme poverty and hunger; Achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; Ensure environmental sustainability; and Develop a global partnership for development. The relevance of these goals to the realities of the Nigerian [including Anambra] state of affairs can hardly be overstressed. So, what is the status reckoning for the present dispensation in Anambra State? In typical fashion, the administration generated a Poverty Profile of Anambra State as a basis to tackle the twin challenges of reduction of poverty and elimination of extreme hunger.
The Poverty Map identified areas of dire need and others of various levels of deprivation. In deference to the basics of agricultural and rural development in the fight against poverty, the Government strengthened its participation in the FADAMA III Project – in partnership with the Federal
Government and international Development Partners. By fulfilling its counterpart requirements, the State opened up access the project’s goals of: funds & equipment to several hundred rural dwellers engaged in agricultural activities; financial support for thousands of the physically-challenged, widows and women to start their own ventures as well as to orphanages and care givers; revolving loans to women co-operatives in agro-allied businesses, including poultry/fish/pig/snail farming and supply of an assortment of equipment to set up cottage industries.
Still under this massive programme to combat poverty, there is a N2 billion intervention fund for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises [MSMEs]; extensive construction of rural roads to boost access to the various communities and optimize exploitation of their potential; construction of rural markets & lock-up shops, bore holes, abattoirs, cold rooms, VIP latrines; establishment of bakeries, rice threshers, palm kernel crackers, cellophane machines, mills for rice, cassava, feeds, palm oil, starch and maize; and procurement of tricycles.
The State Government’s investment in a Neem-based organic fertilizer plant would expand the agricultural sector’s capacity to create employment and increase productivity. In a similar vein, thousands of jobs at various unskilled and skilled categories would be generated from other investments attracted by the Obi administration to the State. These include a South African brewing plant at Onitsha and the Rice Mill at Omor – easily the largest of its kind in West Africa.
As observed by the Co-ordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme [NAPEP], Dr. Magnus Kpakol, “Governor Obi remains determined and dogged by initiating effective economic empowerment programmes”.
For Anambra-watchers since its creation some 20 years ago, the attainments of the Obi administration in the education sector will always bear repetition. To date, hundreds of primary and secondary schools have been rehabilitated and renovated; many others built, furnished and equipped.
The incumbent Anambra State Government has aimed at several targets and score many direct hits. With the fear of God and a clear vision, he has demonstrated that governance is all about the people and not some abstract statistics. Despite all the positive strides of the past five years, it is pathetic that erstwhile entrenched interests that had leeched on the State continue to sow the seeds of discord, calumny and hate among the citizenry. Would the people prefer the old-style imprudence of allocating the State’s resources and funds to a few individuals at the expense of the common good? The Peter Obi they know would not do that! The good among us should not appear helpless, while the worst display their vile energy, so help us God
Osuji writes from Lagos.
via Daily Sun
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