For the first time, Anambra state witnessed the inauguration of a Governor to two successive terms without interruption as Willie M. Obiano was sworn in at a ceremony at Awka on Saturday.
It was the rubber stamp on the results of the November 18 elections where he won in all 21 local government areas of the state against the challenge of worthy opponents Oseloka Obaze, Osita Chidoka, Tony Nwoye and Godwin Ezeemo. The campaigns and debates preceding the elections have been hailed as a model for other states in Nigeria and the peaceful inauguration which took place over the weekend provides further confirmation of the progress of a state once notorious for the destabilizing roles of godfatherism, political abductions and general backwardness.
Over the past four years, Mr Obiano has received acclaim for his continuity of the developmental strides which has become synonymous with the state since Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s single term administration ended in 2003. From the three-year tenure of Chris Ngige before Peter Obi won at the Supreme Court in 2006, the state has moved itself to the top on the table of the best performing states in Nigeria. Even under the temporary management of Virgy Etiaba, the people of the state refused to backslide; Andy Uba also had 17 days in charge at some point but there was no damage.
It is rather amazing that this number of persons have been in charge in one state within such a short period without instability and catastrophe becoming the result. Far from that, an atmosphere of peace and progress ensues. Communities are opening up with new infrastructure, workers are being paid for their monthly service, and secondary school students remain in the top three in examinations performance across the country.
There are challenges like in Aguleri were the activities of Fulani herdsmen have caused fears, but the combination of sensitive supervision from Awka and local management by the community and state town union groups has worked to keep it off the national radar. Being the only state without an APC or PDP leadership, it perhaps should not surprise that the state has found a unique and pragmatic way of solving its internal security challenges.
Onitsha is normal again, movement is free and business is thriving around Upper Iweka, in part due to IPOB currently being less rambunctious than they were a year ago. The success of the elections and subsequent inauguration are effectively two crushing mementoes to their exaggerated declarations that both would not hold. As Mr Obiano said in his second inaugural address, it is a testimony to the determination of the people not to look back to the days of regression.
In Alexander I. Ekwueme, Anambra lost one of its most illustrious sons after the elections last year. He, like every other citizen of the state, had supported the progress made in the state over the past four years. But his absence will not set the bar any lower; on the contrary, Mr Obiano, without any further elections to contest, remains committed to build on the stability achieved for more success.
The mission, A Greater Anambra, continues.
By Alexander O. Onukwue | Follow @inquizimedia on Facebook and Twitter