Anambra’s reputation as the best financially managed state in Nigeria has been well established in the last five years. Despite receiving one of the least allocations monthly from the federation account, Anambra was until a month or two ago the only state in Nigeria to have increased workers salaries across the board in the last six years. It is the first state to pay workers in the nation, and does so religiously well before the end of every month. Governor Willie Obiano cleared the backlog of salaries of the Anambra State Water Corporation staff members who were not paid by the preceding Peter Obi administration for over five years, leaving many highly trained engineers, geologists and other eminent professionals to die of hunger, starvation and malnutrition, to say nothing about their being subjected, together with their families, to contemptuous conduct by landlords, traders and others who provided goods and services to them on credit. It is not for nothing that states like Kogi have been sending delegations to Anambra State to understudy Obiano administration’s financial management.
Against this background, it is regrettable that some inelegant politicians have been fabricating all manner stories to create the impression before millions of ndi Anambra visiting the state from all parts of the world that for Christmas the state’s resources are not properly managed. They are alleging that the state government spent a colossal N1.3 billion on the 2019 Christmas decorations. We are satisfied that the politicians making this unintelligent allegation have no credibility. They are the ones whom Professor Chinua Achebe famously described as renegades in 2004 for their determination to “turn my homeland of Anambra into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom”.
How much does Anambra receive every month that it can spend N1.3bn on mere decorations? If Anambra, which receives a little over N2bn monthly from the federation account, could spend such an amount on decorations, then it will certainly not be able to pay salaries and allowances of workers and meet its obligations to contractors. Yet, the Obiano administration is not only up to date in salary payment, it is the only one in the whole country that has paid every worker the 2019 leave allowance. Of course, it is the only administration in the whole federation that has given every worker in the state a bag of rice to celebrate the 2019 Christmas.
There is hardly any aspect of our state which is not getting impressive attention. Just on Monday, December 16, the governor presented 40 vehicles to the Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) under the leadership of Ikechukwu Aduba, one of the finest police officers ever in the Nigeria Police Force, and to the Anambra State Fire Service, whose officers now receive N20,000 per month as hazard allowance, and no longer a miserable N10 per month. With the possible exception of Lagos, it is difficult to think of states which can compare to Anambra in terms of the extent of roads now under construction or reconstruction. It is also difficult to see states which use Dura Patcher machines from the United States to fix potholes. Of course, Anambra State is the only place in Africa operating the super smart Mobile Surveillance System (MSS). Needless to state, Anambra leads the whole country in security and has been assisting neighbouring states in security matters. We even assist Lagos and kebbi states in the rice value chain, as the famous Lake Rice, a joint venture between Lagos and kebbi states, is milled or processed in Anambra State. It is a trite fact that Anambra’s achievements in education in the last four years are incomparable. By next April, Anambra will have the biggest conference centre in West Africa, with 10,000 sitting capacity.
All these achievements, and many more, would have not have been possible if the state’s limited resources were not managed most prudently. Governor Obiano is not just an accountant, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and also its Patron. In addition, he is an auditor and banker who rose to the top in his chosen profession. The state’s Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke, though an engineer, has a degree in economics. The Secretary to the State Government, Solo Osita Chukwulobelu, was an econometrics professor in the United Kingdom. Many other members of the state Executive Council are excellent accountants, former senior bank executives and other development-oriented professionals. No wonder, Anambra State has now become one of the three least indebted states as regards domestic debt. And it is by no means surprising that Anambra has the least poverty index of all states in the whole country, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Governor Obiano and his team are too focused on Anambra’s future to spend a fortune on mere Christmas decorations. As everyone in Anambra State knows, the ongoing spectacular Christmas shows in Anambra State are financed by private sector operators like Stanel Group. It is the private sector that brought personages like Professor Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School, Engr Emeka Okwuosa of Oilserv Group and Mrs Uju Ifejika of Britannia-U to Awka to participate in the shows on Wednesday, December 18.
The people of Anambra State and, indeed, all Nigerians are once again assured that Anambra’s resources will continue to be managed most prudently to the admiration of all.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
C. Don Adinuba is the commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment, Anambra State
– Dec. 19, 2019 @ 16:15 GMT