Sunday, 9 July 2017

Incubating Dreams with the Awka International Conference Center

Construction is in full gear at this landmark project which is fast rising from its foundations at Agu Awka.

The design is of ultra-modern International standards with a minimum seating capacity of 5,000 persons. The structure is to be provided with all the facilities and equipment necessary for international conferences, outdoor catering services and other functions.

Basic features of the complex include a grand entrance foyer with an atrium, sub-dividable grand auditorium/ballroom, an exhibition hall, meeting rooms, green room, storage spaces, restrooms and associated spaces.

Slowly but steadily, Governor Willie Obiano is making it clear to us that it takes only resolve and focus to change our story.

Yes! It can be done!

Everton complete signing of Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney

Everton have re-signed Wayne Rooney from Manchester United on a two-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

Rooney is returning to Goodison Park having burst onto the Premier League scene with the Toffees between 2002 and 2004 as a teenager.

His Everton and England exploits earned him a big move to Old Trafford where he went on to become his club and country’s all-time leading goalscorer.

United manager Jose Mourinho said: “It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne; he has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.

“It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton. His experience, focus and determination will be missed and I wish him well for the future.”

Rooney’s departure to Merseyside will see United conclude a deal for Romelu Lukaku as the Belgian heads in the other direction.

Lukaku has already completed a medical and will join the Red Devils for an initial fee of £75million despite a counter offer from his old club Chelsea.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman will be sad to see Lukaku go but is delighted to have secured the services of Rooney as a replacement for the big forward.

Koeman added: “Wayne has shown me that ambition that we need and that winning mentality – he knows how to win titles and I’m really happy he’s decided to come home.

“He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back. He is still only 31 and I don’t have any doubts about his qualities. It’s fantastic he’s here.”

In a 15-year career, Rooney has won the Champions League, Europa League, five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup and scored 323 goals.

Anglican Women Honour Osodieme

Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme), displaying the award received from President of the Diocesan Women’s Ministry and wife of the Bishop, Dr. Mrs. Elsie Nwokolo at the end of 2017 Women’s Conference of Diocese on the Niger (Anglican Communion) held at St. Philips Church Ogidi, Idemmili North Local Government Area.

The wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) was today conferred with Proficiency in Leadership Award by the Women’s Ministry of Diocese on the Niger (Anglican Communion) at the end of 2017 Women’s Conference held at St. Philips Church Ogidi, Idemmili North Local Government Area.

Presenting the award, President of the Diocesan Women’s Ministry and wife of the Bishop, Dr. Mrs. Elsie Nwokolo, said that Osodieme was chosen for selfless service to humanity through her Non-Governmental Organization, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), and for supporting her husband the governor in delivery of service to the people and the Church.

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, Senator Andy Ubah, Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) Bishop of Anglican Diocese on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, President of the Diocesan Women’s Ministry and wife of the Bishop, Dr. Mrs. Elsie Nwokolo and Nnamdi Ibegbu SAN at the end of 2017 Women’s Conference of Diocese on the Niger (Anglican Communion) held at St. Philips Church Ogidi, Idemmili North Local Government Area.

Speaking after the conferment of the award, Osodieme expressed gratitude to God and women of the Anglican Communion for finding her worthy of the honour which she noted came as a surprise but can only spur her to continue with her dedication to the course of the less privileged.

Said she: “I must say that I am overwhelmed at your gesture and honour which was unexpected. It is however a testimonial to the recognition that what I am doing is recognized and must be impacting positively on humanity hence these several awards from different noble groups and organizations. It might interest you to know that I do all these things that you have seen displayed with donations from philanthropists both from within Anambra and abroad and I assure you that I will not relent in support of our women and the less privileged.”

Enumerating the achievements of the Obiano administration, Osodieme said that most of the companies which signed agreement with the government have started operations with potentials to help boost the revenue base of the state. She called on the women to embrace agriculture by forming cooperatives to access loans through the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA).

Member Representing Idemmili North and south, Hon. Obinna Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme), Bishop of Anglican Diocese on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, President of the Diocesan Women’s Ministry and wife of the Bishop, Dr. Mrs. Elsie Nwokolo and Senator Andy Ubah at the end of 2017 Women’s Conference of Diocese on the Niger (Anglican Communion) held at St. Philips Church Ogidi, Idemmili North Local Government Area.

Osodieme stressed the importance of supporting the governor to complete the good work he is doing for Ndi Anambra rather than the attempts to distract him in the name of politics. She also thanked Bishop Nwokolo for his wonderful sermon, and the Women for their “spirit filled Conference” and urged them to ensure that the outcome is implemented.


Earlier in his Sermon on the topic "You are a Chosen generation," the Bishop of Anglican Diocese on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, described Christians as God's favorites, siting example with the Biblical David as a man who lived righteous life during his time on earth which made God to described him as “a man after my heart,” thus earning him God's favour and blessings. He therefore called on the congregation to avoid sin in other to gain God's protection and eternal life.

Cross-section of the congregation at the Special Service to end of 2017 Women’s Conference of Diocese on the Niger (Anglican Communion) held at St. Philips Church Ogidi, Idemmili North Local Government Area.

Bishop Nwokolo, advised Christians to always endeavour to maintain equity, justice and fairness wherever they find themselves, noting that it is not in man’s hand to judge or punish their enemies. According to the Bishop, in the Bible, David treated Saul who threatened destroying his life without malice and that availed him God's preservation from enemies. I call on you to always do good deed and wait on God in every situation or challenges of life, because God never fails His own and He is able to protect and preserve them.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Igwe Umenyiora, Ogbunike Endorse Obiano's Second Term Bid

By Jude Okeke

The traditional ruler of Ogbunike, Igwe John Umenyiora has endorsed the second term bid of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State saying
"Willie Obiano has done American wonder,” in his overall assessment of the three years of Obiano in office.
The royal father stated this Wednesday while blessing the kolanut at the Commissioning of a modern toilet facility built by the NGO of the wife of the governor at Oye-Olisa market Ogbunike, in Oyi Local Government Area.
According to Igwe Umenyiora, “I have said Willie is working because before he arrived on the scene as governor, kidnappers held Anambra captive and he came and did "American wonder and drove the criminals away."
Speaking further the royal father revealed. “When my daughter’s wine carrying was due, I appealed for the grading of St Monica's road to make it motorable. I told him my inlaw, if you don’t help us with this I will come and take back our daughter from you. He assured me that he will he not only grade the road but will asphalt it. Today St. Monica’s road has been completed. He is also working on the road cutting across 16 villages in Ogbunike to Ugwu Nwasike.”
“If you know ANSIPPA they are behind the attraction of investments and dropping of power of over $350m, they also plan luxury hotel and the international market too. Since my many years on the throne, this is the first time Ogbunike is feeling government presence I want to proclaim that Willie is going for second term; as far as Ogbunike is concerned.” Igwe Umenyiora asserted.

Did Peter Obi really want Willie Obiano to excel? I don't think so

By Uzonna Ononye

Recent developments and mostly unintended revelations have deflated what could have passed as general, incontrovertible belief that the former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi and his successor, Willie Obiano, parted ways over the incumbent's non performance and penchant for extravagance.  I lack the competence of sitting in judgement over an individual's lifestyle particularly when there is no doubt that 'this is who the individual has always been'.  Permit me therefore to proceed with pointing out a few of the deliberate landmines planted on the path of governance by those who held sway before now.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will say again that Willie Obiano owes a lot of gratitude to his predecessor in office as governor of Anambra state, for 'making' him governor. Prior to that election in 2013, virtually nothing was known in the political space about the man his admirers call Akpokue Dike. But from his emergence as candidate of APGA to the election proper, there was no realistic chance left for anyone to become governor apart from Willie Obiano.
I am aware of the popular view that Obiano was not really Obi's choice. But whether the former governor was arm twisted  by circumstances beyond his control, or compelled by superior reasoning to drop his allies of yester-years, Gov. Obiano couldn't have stood a chance to win more votes than the least popular among those earlier preferred without the support of Peter Obi himself.
Perhaps, it is this massive influence of Mr. Peter Obi in the emergence of his successor that beclouded the reasoning of most people in assuming that the former governor meant well for Willie Obiano.

When a state governor placed embargo on employment for over 7 out of an 8-year tenure, and suddenly recruited over 5,000 civil servants, just 2 months to the end of his reign, he is setting a trap for anyone taking over from him. This is simple and short.
The question any sensible individual with a mind not coated by primordial political sentiment will ask is why embark on such exercise when you are leaving office?  From my little corner, the answer is not difficult.  The employment of 5,000 civil  servants in a state like Anambra will alter the monthly wage bill by at least 40%.  The new government is now forced to take from two very difficult options: Stay with the figure whether it aligns with your policies or not, or nullify the recruitment and battle with the consequence for a larger part of your stay in office.

Willie Obiano chose to keep the workers, perhaps because he understands the pain of losing a job just few months after celebrating an employment, and damn the challenge of beginning with a seemingly over bloated work force.  Was the number of civil servants really too many? In answering this, I will ask questions on how the previous administration went for 8 years without any recruitment.
The usually untold part of the employment concoction is that the former governor's Aniocha Local Government has  more candidates than the 7 local government areas that make up Anambra North Senatorial District.  Actual implication of this is that in 15 years from now, Aniocha alone will produce over 30% of top civil servants in the state. This is pure and concentrated nepotism.
For want of a better expression, that act of the former government in Anambra state is not just callous but unjust.

Since the return of democracy in 1999, there were 2 governors in Anambra state before Peter Obi.  Never has the hand-over document been made a tool for media manipulation. That on its own wouldn't have been an issue but for the half truth and mischief that dotted the entire argument.
No one can take away Peter Obi's financial management skills from him. He deserves unadulterated commendation for being prudent to the extent that the state, at the end of his tenure, was debt-free in simple terms.
Now, while the former governor and his men were singing about the figures in cash and investments, he was completely mute on commitments he tied the state to few minutes before driving out of the government house for the last time as governor.  Mr. Obi had issued cheques dated March 18, 2014 and thereabout, amounting to hundreds of millions of naira. The next morning, while the new governor was being introduced to civil servants in his office, banks were pulling out funds from the state's accounts in honour of valid instruments issued by the previous administration.
The fact about the handover controversy is that as at the morning of the inauguration day, the figures were correct. But the truth is that a substantial percentage have been designated to be spent, while the other large chunk coming close to N30bn cannot be touched by anyone because of the nature of the investment.
So why has it been so difficult to spell out the issue clearly if mischief was not intended? In any case, how Gov. Obiano has continued to manage such deliberate mischief without engaging in outright combat remains interesting.

If Peter Obi meant well for Willie Obiano, he will not have conducted the Local Government Election on the 12th of January 2014, when he was leaving office on the 17th of March.  Remember that for 8 years, he did not consider it important to establish an independent third tier of government.  
His successor voted in that election as the governor-elect since the governorship election was conducted on the 16th of November 2013, and Obiano fully declared winner two weeks after.
From all indications, the former governor hurriedly conducted the LG polls, despite the huge criticism it attracted, because he desired to see his successor lose sleep over the initial challenge of dealing with LG executives who owe their loyalty elsewhere but the incumbent.
Those who follow trends of governance in Nigeria will realise that just one of the booby traps, wrongly handled, is sufficient to create a destabilising factor which could derail a government from the word go. How Willie Obiano successfully navigated through the murky waters, with minimal stumble and distraction  will be a relevant reference for students interested in understanding how Chameleons on the corridors of power can be neutralised.

Uzonna Ononye is the Head of News and Political Editor at Silverbird Television, Lagos

Source :

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Mrs. Obiano: Promoting Hygiene in Rural Markets with Public Toilets

Cutting the Tape: Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano Commissioning the toilet. She is flanked by Member Representing Oyi Constituency, Hon Vivian Okadigbo, wife of the National Chairman of APGA, Lolo Mary Oye and President General of Ogbunike Progress Union, Engr. Nnamdi Nwadiogbu

Here are photos from the event

Unveiling the plaque

Well-done my Daughter: HRM Igwe John Umenyiora blessing Mrs. Obiano and holds aloft the kolanut to welcome the distinguished guests to his kingdom.

Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs.) Obiano and her entourage on arrival at Ogbunike

Behold the modern toilet structure with sections for market women and men

Behold the modern toilet structure with sections for market women and men

Overhead tanks: Let there be water and it flows

Behold the modern toilet structure with sections for market women and men

Unveiling the plaque

The wife of governor of Anambra State and Founder, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) commissioned CAFÉ Market Toilet project at Oye-Olisa Ogbunike on Wednesday 3rd April 2017. The project is in furtherance of her NGO’s support for for clean and healthy Anambra and the promotion of the dignity of women and men in rural markets. In appreciation of her selfless gesture, the Ogbunike community led by their traditional ruler turned out in numbers to welcome their daughter and her entourage.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Peter Obi: From Thesis to Antithesis

By Nkemdilim Udozo

It is difficult not to wonder what Peter Obi wants. To be seen as the only Nigerian politician without sin or to make sure that all his colleagues who are in power or out of it are seen as sworn enemies of their own people; to incite the people against their leaders and induce a popular revolt by the youths; to trigger off a Nigerian version of the Arab Spring? (Egypt and Tunisia, how market); or just what?

Since his May-Day appearance on The Platform, the increasingly popular boot-camp for young professionals run by Pastor Poju Oyemade, I have made repeated efforts to figure out what drove Obi to make so many regrettable comments in that lecture. I have wondered what might be his mission and if he is deploying the right strategy to achieve it. In simpler terms, I have asked myself, is there a method to Obi’s madness? Has his strategy of presenting himself as the solitary exception to the rule in Nigeria worked well? And can Obi in all sincerity look his fellow politicians straight in the eye and tell them, “I am different from you?”

I don’t think so. I don’t think that in private and public lives, Peter Obi can lay any serious claims to being different from any Nigerian, let alone his fellow politicians. I would not call Obi a hypocrite yet, but I find it hard to reconcile his public utterances with his private pursuits. I find it impossible to accept that this Peter Obi of The Platform fame who puts up a pubic show of integrity is the same former governor of Anambra State who has been locked up in a cutthroat fight for three years with the man who took over from him for refusing to pay him back the N7bn he purportedly spent to bring him to power. Many people who clapped for Obi at the venue of the lecture and those who continue to clap for him on social media ever after would be horrified to know that the cause of the endless quarrel between Obi and his successor is his demand for N7bn from the treasury of Anambra State. This became known to everyone in the state following the famous public apology by the current governor to Obi in August last year at the funeral rites of the deceased Fr. Tagbo, the former principal of Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha. A few days after the widely reported apology, Chief Joe Matins Uzodike, Obi’s former Commissioner for Information who continues to speak for him in media circles in Anambra told Odenigbo FM that the only condition for peace was for Obiano to refund the sum of N7bn to Obi. Uzodike’s embarrassing comment which can be easily verified, sent shock waves throughout Anambra State. Many people wondered why Obi would make such an infuriating demand from his successor and why he wanted to plunge Anambra State into debt. And this is just one reason why I find it hard to take Peter Obi seriously.

So, Obi should have known better than to present himself as the very epitome of probity in a public lecture. In fact, I doubt if any Nigerian public office holder, past and present can lay any serious claims to integrity. I wonder if Obi thought his attack on Security Votes through. As a governor, Obi did not reject Security Votes to show his fellow governors that Security Votes are not important. As a matter of fact, Obi showed his confusion or lack of grasp of the basic issues of governance when he claimed that he spent security votes to promote education in Anambra State. While his claim that he spent N1bn per primary school is not supported with any hard facts on ground in the education sector of the state, it is painful to recall that Anambra was a security hellhole during his regime with kidnappers and cutthroat armed robbers in full control of the state. Had Obi applied Security Votes to the security challenges of his time, may be the likes of GUO, Soludo’s father and several others would not have been kidnapped. Anyone who lived in Anambra of Peter’s time can testify to these high profile kidnap cases under his nose. Happily, the story is different today under his successor. And that is why Obi has lost sleep; the very fact that the man he installed in power may have made more impact than him in areas that matter most to the people.

It is for this reason that Obi never loses the chance to take a dig at his successor. For instance, Obi could easily have delivered his lecture without condemning the efforts by different state governments to lay down the necessary infrastructural foundation for their states with modern bridges and flyovers. After all, he built the Nkpor Bridge himself. But because he couldn’t resist the urge to make light of the amazing flyovers his successor has built in Awka, he flew off the handle, claiming that some people were building flyovers that led to nowhere. It was the same impulse that riled him into making disparaging remarks about airports and advancing naïve views that only Lagos airport deserves to be upgraded; a clear hint that he is already worried about his predecessor’s proposed International Cargo Airport project. In so doing, he betrays himself as lacking the sensibilities and accommodating spirit of a statesman. Former US President George W Bush once said that he found it beneath him to castigate his successor. Not so, for Obi. No one else is good enough to him!

But no one should take Peter Obi serious, really. It doesn’t take any extraordinary foresight to see why. He has turned the high-minded art of public lectures into a mere exercise in vainglory and self-congratulation. Anyone who has watched the video of Chukwuma Soludo’s recent lecture would be wondering whether Obi, a former governor who had practiced public speaking daily for eight years couldn’t have done better. Rather than teasing out some basic thoughts on public sector spending that would guide public policy making, Peter Obi has turned The Platform into a circus show of sorts where he entreats a crowd of youths in the audience to hollow stories about wristwatches and shoes. It is saddening to see that while Soludo in his lecture was advocating a huge leap of the imagination like the crafting of a 50-Year Anambra Plan that would be broadly owned by Ndi Anambra as a template for building and sustaining the emergence of the state as Nigeria’s leading start-up capital, Peter Obi who ruled the state for eight years is telling the world about his wristwatches and shoes on a national stage. And that is truly embarrassing!

Governorship Aspirant Decamps to APGA, Endorses Obiano

Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano  and former Governorship Aspirant and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Harris Chuma, Member Representing Oyi State Constituency, Hon Vivian Okadigbo and APGA members during the declaration in Ogbunike today

By emeka ozumba
A Governorship Aspirant and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Harris Chuma who is a well-known opponent and critic of the Governor of Anambra State shocked the people of Ogbunike, in Oyi Local Government Area with his public decamping and declaration of support for Chief Willie Obiano to continue in office after the scheduled November 2017 Elections. 
Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano decorating former  Governorship Aspirant and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Harris Chuma with APGA cloth after his declaration in Ogbunike today.

The declaration which obviously took many people unaware including the wife of Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano, happened during the Commissioning of CAFÉ Market Toilet project executed under the auspices of her NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) at Oye-Olisa, Ogbunike.
The Ogbunike, Anambra born, Lagos based politician said that he decided to come to his home first and make an open and unequivocal declaration before going to the State level to re-enforce his new political move. Said he:
 “I did not just come home because I heard that the wife of the Governor is commissioning toilet. I decided to come and make an open declaration before our people. I am an active member of APC. If you Google me you will know that I am a Tinubu man. But I have noticed that I am backing the wrong horse in Anambra State. I am on a mission. I want to state it in the open before our people that I have formally decamped to APGA and I am supporting Willie Obiano because I am now convinced that he is doing a good job. I have never met Obiano and I have never met Osodieme before now. I want to assure our Igwe that I am no longer campaigning against Obiano."
Former Governorship Aspirant and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Harris Chuma declaring for APGA in Ogbunike today.

Comrade Harris also called on all sons and daughters of Ogbunike to support the governor for proving beyond doubt that he has the interest of Anambra at heart, everyone should vote for him during the coming elections. He emphasized even as his declaration was greeted with resounding applause from the crowd.
Reacting to the sudden turn of events, an elated wife of the Governor said that he could not hide her surprise and sent her aides to bring APGA cloth for her and her team to decorate Comrade Harris, the newest APGA faithful.  Said Mrs. Obiano;
 “What he has done today is remarkable. He has stated it in the open. APGA is not just a political party but stands for Igbo identity. I thank him for his courage and for ensuring that the APGA will not die. I wish to use this opportunity to tell all our brothers and sisters to come together and identify with peace and progress in Anambra. I also thank our Governor, the National Chairman and party officials whose work is attracting men and women of goodwill into APGA. It shows that the legacies of our founding fathers will remain.”
Thereafter, the Governors’ wife supported by wife of National chairman of APGA, Lolo Mary Oye, APGA Executive in Ogbunike decorated Comrade Chuma and welcomed him to the APGA family.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Senator Okonkwo Denies Interest in Obiano’s Seat

By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

Senator Annie Okonkwo, who represented Anambra Central in the sixth Senate, has dispelled rumours making the rounds that he will contest the forthcoming November 2017 Anambra State governorship election.
Okonkwo’s denial is coming on the heels of the emergence of his campaign posters in every nook  and cranny of the state, announcing his governorship ambition on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement issued by Mr. Collins Steve Ugwu, Special Adviser on Public Communications to Senator Okonkwo, he stated that it became imperative to issue a denial, given that Okonkwo’s posters had flooded the town.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt and for the purposes of public records, we wish to state pointedly that Annie Okonkwo as politically vibrant as he is, and as eminently qualified as has been established to aspire and contest any elective office in this country, does not intend to, and will certainly not be in the ballot for Anambra State 2017 governorship election.”
He described as ‘thoughtless orchestrations and a miserable script of mischief’ the emergence of the posters, adding that the intents of those behind the posters were not known.
“In all fairness,  Okonkwo is a bold politician whose courage of conviction does not come in piece meal, and makes no apologies for choices within his remit. But he is strategic and candid enough to discern that the pulse of the Anambra people whose interests he champions relentlessly and will continue to do, does not presently support the scenario being painted by these lazy labourers.
“Of course, as a committed vendor of service, sensitive to the wishes of his supporters and followers, he has been engaging them proactively and purposefully, to build consensus and strengthen alliances for the inevitable direction they will go as the election beckons. That will be done properly, colourfully and publicly,” statement concluded.

Raising the bar with Anambra’s Airport City project

By James Eze

In September 2013, the former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, tendered an apology to Igbo for deporting some of their kith and kin to Onitsha on July 24, 2013. It was an unusual apology, as it came loaded with both, “I am sorry” and “please, get your acts together.”
He did this rather brilliantly by asking Ndigbo some crucial questions. Said he: “Why should people feel compelled to migrate from one place to another? Is there one part of this country that is less endowed, whether in human or natural resource? Is that the problem? Is it the case that, perhaps, some parts are so endowed or not adequately managed?

“Those are the honest debates that we must have. The political storm is gathering and allusions have been made to the issues I address, not only by the chairman, but also by the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. How can development be so difficult in the part of Nigeria that gave us Ike Nwachukwu, Chinua Achebe, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Alex Ekwueme and so on? How can development be so difficult in that part of this country? I think those are the real issues.”
The hall erupted in a predictable frenzy after those remarks. Some felt he had spoken well. But others felt his remarks were a gratuitous insult. Yet, there were many others who accepted the remarks as a wake-up call. This tiny group felt reasonably provoked to rethink the Igbo place in Nigeria.
It is not clear whether the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, was in the audience when Fashola asked those historic questions, but it would seem that since he assumed office six months after Fashola’s memorable posers, Obiano has been driven by the desire to prove him wrong; to prove that the South East can manage its endowments well and that a robust development is not impossible to the heirs to the greatness of the Great Zik, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chinua Achebe and Alex Ekwueme!
To anyone who has observed the steady rise of Anambra State in the past three years, there is hardly any month that something inspiring has not happened in Anambra. There’s always some good news about a great new beginning, an ancient fear erased, a fresh burst of energy streaking away in the right direction or simply a symbolic gesture that offers the people a new way to see themselves. Indeed, it’s not totally out of place to say that in the past three years, Anambra State has assumed the allegory of the tiny acorn that took virtually no time at all to make the transition into a mighty oak. The sun seems to have risen on Anambra and it has stepped up to its long envisaged role, as the crown jewel of South Eastern Nigeria.
Interestingly, a fortnight ago, Governor Obiano added a new chapter to Anambra’s growing narrative in excellence when he led a team of Chinese investors to the site of the proposed Anambra Airport City project in Umueri to perform an official flag-off of the project. This memorable event was preceded the previous day by a formal agreement signing ceremony between the state government and Elite International Investment Holding (Sinoking Enterprises Investments Ltd.) at the Government House in Awka.
Short video clips and photographs of the agreement signing had ricocheted on social media and drawn euphoric reactions from Ndi Anambra and Ndigbo across the world. However, if Obiano had felt any uncertainty about building a cargo airport in Anambra State, the flag-off of construction work on the airport erased all doubts about the project. The mammoth crowd of highly elated Ndi Anambra that gathered at the construction site in Umueri that day was a strong indication of the popularity of the initiative.
Reading the mood of the people well, Governor Obiano rode the moment boldly with a speech, entitled: Anambra on the Rise, in which he observed that the state had finally hit the bend in the river “and our famous can-do-spirit has now taken over! From now on, we have nothing to fear! Nothing! Not even ourselves!” While his speech was obviously crafted to awaken the people and mine their renowned capacity to rise to the moment and support an attempt at greatness, the implicit ambition that the Anambra Airport City project carries is beyond debate. In concept and planned operation, the Umueri International Cargo Airport is designed to stand out in West Africa in both grandeur and economic value. It is, for instance, the first Airport City project in all of West Africa; modelled to accommodate a terminus with two runways, an aircraft re-fuelling centre, a five-star hotel with a convention centre, industrial business parks, an aircraft maintenance section, an aviation training facility, a shopping mall and other recreational facilities. The two runways are conceived to land the largest aircraft in the world today. The airport will operate on a geographical space, covering 1,500 hectares of land with enough headroom for expansion into the neighbouring towns of Nando, Umunya, Nteje, Nsugbe, Otuocha and Aguleri.
In economic and financial terms, the Anambra Airport City project stands out as a clear statement of intent by a region that is finally finding its own economic feet. This is one airport that comes as an answer to the vital economic questions of a people. This is because, beyond the validity of Fashola’s remarks that queried the ability of the South East to manage its own affairs, the airport project also seems a timely response to the key questions raised by Prof Chukwuma Soludo at the third anniversary lecture of Governor Obiano in March this year. In a brilliant submission at the lecture, Soludo had tasked the Federal Government to meet its minimum obligations to Ndi Anambra by speedily granting all approvals for the Anambra cargo airport. He had also argued that Anambra is the 4th largest economy after Lagos, Abuja and Rivers State and all of the three economies have international airports. So, the basis for the existence of an international airport in Anambra State has been there long before the recent flag-off at Umueri. As Nigeria’s 4th largest economy, Anambra has the fundamentals to support a viable international airport.
Other economic parameters also lend support to Anambra’s growing economic importance. For instance, the aviation data released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicates that over four million passengers travelled through Nigerian airports last year. Offering more insights with this data to validate the need for an international airport in Anambra State, Igwe Cyril Enweze, who is the Chairman of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), observed that more than half of these passengers travelled for business purposes and 70 per cent of them were from the South East. According to him, these business travels were mostly to Asia with Guangzhou, China, accounting for over 70 per cent of the trade volume.
Lending weight to Igwe Enweze’s observation, Soludo had also called on the Chinese Embassy to set up a consular office in Awka or Enugu to strengthen the booming business ties between Anambra and China. “I know the intensity of business relationships between Ndigbo, especially Ndi Anambra and the city of Guangzhou and Shanghai in China. Consequently, an Anambra-Guangzhou-Shanghai Chamber of Commerce will not be out of place,” Soludo had remarked in Obiano’s third anniversary lecture.
Whatever the case might be, one thing that cannot be taken away from the Anambra Airport City project is its conceptual uniqueness. Modelled after the finest traditions of all Build-Operate-Manage-Transfer concepts, this project will not cost Anambra State a dime. So, effectively, it totally eliminates the usual charge of embarking on a white elephant project. Offering a clear insight into the agreement on the airport, the Chairman of Elite Investment Holding Company Ltd., Madam Huang Zhi Hui, said Anambra had no financial obligations to the project. Hear her; “Nigeria’s economic partnership with China would be strengthened by the Anambra Airport City project, which would be funded, designed, constructed and managed by China Aviation Planning, Construction and Development Company Limited, working together with Orient Petroleum Resources Plc, Anambra State government and Elite International Investments Company Limited.” There you have it!
All things considered, with the Anambra Airport City Project, it is a New Day in Anambra State!

• Eze wrote in from Awka. Email:

May Day Address of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano: The Future is Bright for Anambra!

An Address Presented by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano to Commemorate Workers Day on May 1, 2017
Ndi Anambra ekenem unu.
I am delighted to celebrate this Workers’ Day with you for two reasons. The first reason is that for the first time in a long while, feelers from the relevant authorities indicate that Nigeria may be on her way out of recession. To me, that is something to be cheerful about. My second reason for being happy to celebrate this great day with you is because, in spite of the current recession, my administration has kept its promise to you workers and to Ndi Anambra in general in the past three years!
We have upheld the concept of ana alu olu, ana alu mmadu! We are the only administration that increased salaries for workers in Nigeria in 2015 when the economy began to relapse into recession. We have ensured that salaries and pensions are paid on time ever since then. We ensured that December salaries were not only paid before last Christmas but that you also went home with a token of goodwill from my administration as a Christmas gift. Umu nnem, okwanu eziokwu?
Thank you very much. Now, I wish to restate my earlier promise that I will increase your salaries once I see a significant growth in my Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); once we are able to push it to N2.3bn per month. So, all hands must be on deck to achieve this target and create new economic elbow-room for ourselves and our families.
Ndi Anambra, I must not fail at this juncture, to acknowledge the huge support that Anambra workers have given to me and my Team in the past three years. I have no doubt that the overwhelming support that my administration enjoys from the good people of this state is because you people have taken it upon yourselves to distil government policies down to the grassroots and ensure that we are adequately understood by the ordinary folks. In all sincerity, my Team and I would not have been able to achieve this without you. So, kuolunu onwe unu aka biko!
I must also commend you for coping with the harsh challenges caused by the current recession. I salute your resilience in the midst of a contracting economy. I admire your belief in the brightness of our dream as a people of uncommon courage. I assure you that your faith in my administration is not misplaced. I assure you that we are building a new state that we can all be proud of.
Ndi Anambra, I have always said that our dream is far too bright to be eclipsed by the dark clouds of economic recession. I have always believed that we know the true worth of a people when they are pushed against the wall. That is why in the midst of a pervasive economic slump, my administration had decided to respond with a comprehensive Economic Stimulus Package which has been largely praised as revolutionary and humane. That is also why in spite of the gloom and doom of recession, my Team and I decided to raise the bar in our approach to the welfare of the workers of Anambra State.

Umu nnem, I am happy to announce to you that before November this year, a total of 100 units of housing at the Civil Servant Estate in Isiagu would have been completed, allocated and ready to be occupied by their prospective owners. Yes. You heard me right. One hundred people among you will be proud owners of their own homes before November this year. That is my Special Workers’ Day gift to you. The Federal Mortgage Bank has approved the necessary funds and I assure you that this is one promise that is as good as kept already. They are the first batch of 1000 units of housing that we are building for civil servants and the members of the organized labour in Anambra State. My administration has already earmarked a total of 100 hectares of land in Isiagu for this estate. So, if you are not among the first set of beneficiaries, never mind. Your name might be in the next phase. Ndi be’anyi, okwanu ka osi di?
Indeed, it is a thing of pride that while the rest of the country is reeling from the shocks of recession, our dear Anambra State has attracted a major foreign direct investment valued at over $2bn US Dollars for the Anambra Airport City Project which I flagged off at Umueri recently. My brothers and sisters, this singular effort tells you that Willie is Working! Willie is Working! Say it again…Willie is…???. In fact, we are pushing the drive for foreign direct investment even harder now. That is why in the next one week or so, Agulu Lake Hotel Resort shall be taken over by the Golden Tulip Group, a world famous hotel chain with its head offices in the Netherlands. The hotel will be run in the finest traditions of world class hotels across the globe and it will help to bring the world to our doorsteps. Umu nnem, Willie is Working! Shall we say it again please?
Ndi Anambra, the Airport City Project and the arrival of Golden Tulip are clear indications that our future is brighter than our present. This is even more so when we remember that barely three years ago, some of our enterprising brothers and sisters did not consider our beloved state safe enough for investment. Now, we are attracting quality investors from different parts of the world to Anambra State. The combined impact of these two investments will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, a big growth in IGR as well as serve as a major boost to the domestic economy at large. Ndi Anambra, more of our youths will find employment in these places. Very soon, our young graduates will no longer face the pressure of having to relocate to Lagos or Abuja before they can find a decent job. We would have created enough pools of excellence to absorb the human capital that our universities produce. So, Willie is …???
Ndi Anambra, the road is long and the journey may be rough, but we have taken a few steps of faith already. In fact, from where we stand at the moment, we can see an outline of greatness in the horizons! My Team and I need your support and prayers to guide Anambra State to the land of fulfilment!
In conclusion, a day like this usually calls for something special. So, I asked my Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Anali Chude who is also the Chairman, State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy to come up with a list of our brothers and sisters behind bars whose cases deserve the compassion of the state. He came up with a list of 13 people who in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 212 of the Constitution, I hereby grant amnesty in keeping with the doctrine of the Prerogative of Mercy. They are – Mathias Umeozokwele, Livinus Ekwe, ijeoma Ike, Obinna Okonkwo, Esonwanne Henry Rotachi, Onyebuchi Okafor, Victor Ohatu, Onuegbu Makuachukwu, Chinemem Mmadueke, Victor Kalu, Jospeh Obi, Daniel Victor and Dagore Abuduulahi.
God bless Anambra State!
God bless Nigeria!
Willie Obiano

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Anambra 2017 and defectors’ Alibi

Elections in Anambra State usually throw up such eruptions as make strange bedfellows out of erstwhile associates. With the current gubernatorial cycle in the state now tending towards critical curves, this trend rehearses for a re-enactment. Besides election matters, nothing else seems of rational consequence any more in Anambra today; more among emergent political groupings are bent on Governor Willie Obiano’s upstaging and the ruin of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. November 18, 2017, the appointed election date, is responsible for this hype. The yield of the poll to hyper publicity is hardly unconnected with its distinctive separateness from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s traditional timetable for governorship elections countrywide; the staggered scheme being itself the product of a skewed 2003 election which, predicated APGA’s redemptive judicial struggle and 2006 Anambra’s political liberation from the stranglehold of itinerant godfathers and presumptuous outside influences.

Anambra being the fulcrum of the socio-political compulsions of Ndigbo, the present pre-electioneering setting truly provokes the sensibilities in the strenuous struggle for the heartland of Igbo nation by politicians of various inclinations, bona fide contenders, timid pretenders, wannabes and all.

The build-up to Anambra 2017 aptly exposes the unpredictability and the unreliability of many Nigerian politicians whose missions in politics are driven by no conviction other than voracious hunger to either amass wealth or covet power. This explains the unrestrained, if not unrestrainable, osmotic shuffles by many influential politicians in Anambra to political parties that suggest protection of the defectors’ interests. The capacity of a party’s chieftains to self-protect, and more importantly the loud influences and allurements of any incumbent Presidency determine the choices available to these politicians. For instance, when People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had a grip of the Presidency (1999 to 2015), despite the poverty of its trajectory in Anambra politics – exemplified in Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s failures (1999 to 2003) and Dr. Chris Ngige’s electoral fraud and illegitimate reign (2003 to 2006) – it was still fashionable for it to present unprecedented numbers of gubernatorial aspirants against APGA’s highly rated government in Anambra.

While other parties, including defunct components of the current All Progressive Congress conglomerate (ACN, CPC, ANPP, etc), posted meager displays at gubernatorial electioneering in the state, PDP paraded no less than thirty gubernatorial aspirants each election season; and lingered in the courts on election matters after losing to APGA: each time hoping to use Presidential fiat to rob APGA of the people’s mandate. That was PDP in Anambra State!

In Anambra 2017, majority of those who nursed hard impressions of APC before it chanced upon presidential powers now gravitate towards it for an embrace that was considered leprous before now. Indeed, most of those clamouring for APC’s ticket for the November 18, 2017 election lacked the boldness to call the party by name in Anambra until very recently when the delusions of their past and illusions of self-preservation exposed their ideological ineptitude and insincerity to any genuine political cause. But for phantom assurances of the Presidency to reward them with Obiano’s seat, probably, why, for instance, would acknowledged PDP high chiefs suddenly clamour to ingratiate themselves with the leadership of APC? Some suddenly forgot the humongous destruction their private interests caused Anambra State when Ngige was, and would choose to insult the sensibilities of Ndi-Anambra by taking the people’s sense of history for granted.

But come to think of it: Of what electoral value is APC in Nigeria today that Ndi-Anambra would risk trading in their trusted home-grown APGA-government for a faltering concept that gladly ignores the participatory impulses of the people of the Southeast? What would the class of emergency apologists of APC or the perennially peripheral APC Ngige tell Ndi-Anambra to make the party saleable in the state, when the owners of the party contemplate no remedies for the unprecedented exclusions the southeasterners suffer in Nigeria’s APC? Could there be unspoken underhand bargains between the party and its Anambra governorship aspirants to gain the state’s Seat of Power beyond the legitimate electoral mandate of Ndi-Anambra? What has any state in the South East, whensoever, gained from being run by the party in the Presidency? Glaringly nothing! The shenanigan about the advantages Anambra would gain if run by APC is a hoax.

Professor Chukwuma Soludo calls it ‘an elite talk, an elite game for the elite interest!’ He further admonishes that ‘some might join a political party so that the federal authorities might deploy the armed forces and INEC to write election results for them. It has nothing to do with the people and their welfare.’ APC in Anambra is a sure recipe for erosion of the tempo of development the state has known for about twelve years of APGA government.

Observably, the temper of majority of residents of Anambra State over the political sophistry of most of the politicians now in circulation is suggestive of anxiety and reprehension driven by the singular constant element characteristic of Igbo success in their legitimate pursuits: Stock taking! Hind sighting! The people’s suspicion of the political buildup to November, 2017 stems from their due recourse to history. Disgusting memories of trodden paths and fears of their pernicious relive confront Ndi-Anambra. And the people would not be cajoled into any gloomy political misadventure; not by whatever repackaged niceties the exponents of past missteps recommend.

The people would not be intimidated into lavishing a cherished political heritage that does not only bear Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s imprimatur but increasingly offers them safety, dignity and functional development. The stellar achievements of Willie Obiano in the past three years, in keeping with APGA tradition, have further entrenched the party in the people’s consciousness, and Ndi-Anambra eagerly await November, 2017 to boldly demonstrate their overwhelming faith in Obiano and in APGA.

Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu

Obiano's Narrative in Excellence Continues Today

Join us on NTA International at 5.30pm today as we continue the Obiano Narrative in Excellence with a special focus on the historic Anambra Airport City Project.
Be a part of this story of hope and optimism!
Thank you
James Eze
SSA on Media

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Anambra State Emerges Overall Best In 2017 Public Service Excellence Awards

African Development Studies Centre (ADSC) in collaboration with the Guardian Newspapers, organizers of the Public Service Excellence Awards 2017, have announced Anambra State:
1. Best State in the South-East Zone in Works and Infrastructure
2. Best State in the South-East Zone in Health
3. Best State nationwide in Health
Nomination and selection criteria were based on the following:
· Independent research conducted by ADSC and
· Proof of Projects executed by the States
The award ceremony is scheduled to hold on May 26, 2017 at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos.

Ogbuefi Tony Nnachetta
Hon. Commissioner, Information and Strategy
Anambra State

Anambra 2017: ‘APGA will win’

Hon. Chinedu Nkwonta is the Publicity Secretary of the Anambra State All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). In this interview with NWANOSIKE ONU, he speaks on the party’s strategy to win the November 18 governorship election and the chances of other political parties.
How prepared is the APGA for the November 18 governorship election?

Anambra State belongs to the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Every Anambrarian understands the fundamental principles of the party. In fact, no Anambra person needs to be told that our collective destiny changed for the better when APGA took over the governance of the state. The gods of our land physically and spiritually agreed with the principles of APGA. That is why we do not need any extra preparation for any election, especially the governorship election coming in November.
Anambra State was like a leper before APGA took over. Former Governor Peter Obi came in and started the progressive movement that the state witnessed within the first eight years of APGA government. The story today is that Willie Obiano is working. Willie is working is not just a mantra; come to Anambra State today and you will be delighted by the monumental development going on in the state.

The APC and the PDP are threatening to take over the state.

The PDP is a forgotten party; the people of Anambra do not talk about the PDP anymore. It has been dumped in the dustbin of politics. Anambra is a traditional core Igbo state; it is the central of the Igbo nation. The APC’s wild dream of coming into Anambra is only a figment of the imagination of few politicians that still believe that brigandage still rule. Anambra has nothing politically, culturally, spiritually or otherwise in common with the APC. We are conscious of their obvious interests in our dear state; we can only say that Anambra State today is not the Anambra of yesterday. Our people are politically savvy and we know where our bread is buttered; it is in APGA.

You are sounding optimistic. What of the crisis in your party?

It is expected when you have people who feel disgruntled for one reason or the other. There is no major crisis in APGA today; compared with APGA, other political parties are in worse situation. APGA is a family; more like a religion. For us all, the followers, therefore, any minor misunderstanding does not remove the fact that the party is supreme and every member is expected to succumb to the superior authority, which is the APGA government under Dr. Willie Obiano. The fact still remains that Dr Victor Ike Oye is our National Chairman and Sir Norbert Obi our State Chairman.

What are Obiano’s chances of reconciling with people like Victor Umeh and Peter Obi?

Governor Obiano has no problems with Chief Victor Umeh. He is a grounded party man who would do everything for APGA to survive. He was the National Chairman of APGA for two consecutive terms. The rumoured squabble between him and the governor is only being propelled by mischief makers that want to create crisis where there is none. Of course, you know that Chief Umeh is still in court, fighting over the Anambra Central senatorial election. We are confident that he will triumph and all APGA members will jubilate, including Governor Obiano.
On the purported position of former Governor Peter Obi on the second term bid of Obiano, it is also another design by jobless politicians who want to benefit from such crisis. I will be the first to tell you that Mr. Obi knows he is not God. Therefore, he cannot say he will stop Obiano’s second term bid. The future of Obiano and APGA is in the hands of God and Ndi- Anambra. Governor Obiano will triumph, because he has exceeded expectations in all facets of developments.
All over the world, Ndi-Anambra are holding their heads high, because we have a working governor. As you know, the voice of man is the voice of the God, Ndi Anambra all over the world have spoken; they want Willie Obiano to sustain the strategic developments taking place all over the state.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Obiano, Soludo and the Biafra dream

By Emma Agu

“Many people are calling me to come and contest, but the point is, if Anambra has not broken, why mend it? This is a time of crises, and you don’t change a general in the middle of a war. Anambra, Obiano is your general. All of you planning to spend billions to contest governorship, please, bring your money and come and open factories and industries here to support the state economy. There will only be vacancy in Anambra Government House in the next four years.” -Professor Charles Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, while endorsing Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for second term. 
As preparations for the Anambra gubernatorial election gather momentum, various candidates and interest groups are deploying every conceivable strategy to score as many political points as possible. To those against incumbent Governor Willie Obiano, the battle cry is to label him a Biafra hater, who should not campaign with the name of Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the late leader of Biafra, who remains the symbol of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, on whose platform the governor was elected. Their argument is that Obiano has not supported the Biafra cause and has not done enough for Nnewi, the industrial pearl of Anambra and home of the late leader of defunct Biafra.

It is a paradox that while there are those who would wish the Biafra dream away, the phenomenon remains as strong as it was when it started 50 years ago, to the extent that invoking it can be a formidable electoral asset in the South-East. The same goes for the late Ikemba Nnewi, who, for all practical purposes, remains a hero in Igboland. Therefore, it makes political sense to identify with Ojukwu the way politicians in other parts of Nigeria identify with their heroes.
But does Obiano qualify to ride on Ojukwu’s name to political stardom and electoral victory? Put differently, what qualifies one to be an Ikembarite? Is it simply Biafra sloganeering, which, in some cases, amount to a subterfuge for self-validation, self-enrichment and political fame? Is it by promoting the dismemberment of Nigeria into flag-hoisting new geographical entities, each singing a new national anthem at the United Nations? Or are we talking about the legitimate demand for restructuring to save the country from self-destructing?
From an entirely different angle, wouldn’t the establishment of a new socio-economic force that creates new opportunities at home, that catalyses a think home mentality and promotes aku ruo ulo, which places the Igbo nation on a strong political pedestal at home and commanding global recognition, meet the yearnings of the Igbo nation and by extension the Biafra ideal?
There are as many different answers to these questions as there are individuals and groups. However, to put the discussion in its proper perspective, it is advisable to recall that, in later years, Ojukwu had said that he would not hesitate to pick up arms, if the need arose, not to carve up Nigeria, but to defend the country from being dismembered! He was no longer the gladiator of old but the benign strategist, who knew that most times, there could be many different routes to the same destination. He pushed for a political arrangement that guaranteed equity and fair play for all ethnic groups in Nigeria. But of greatest concern to him, also, was the enthronement of progressive governments driven by the highest ideals that would restore the lost glory of Igboland epitomised by the globally recognised economic miracle of the defunct eastern region of Nigeria.
Considered from that angle, one can say without equivocation that Obiano is serving creditably in pushing the frontiers of that ideal. Enumerating the usual deliverables, such as good roads, educational infrastructure, hospitals and security of life and property would be adjudged commonplace in today’s Anambra State. Since Chris Ngige’s era, such indices of growth have been taken for granted with Peter Obi, setting a pace in infrastructural development that is now cited as the reference point of good governance all over Nigeria.
Ask the average Anambrarian and he or she will proudly tell you that Anambra is on the rise. On security, the transformation of Anambra, from its previous unenviable reputation as a dangerous enclave to a state where there is now zero tolerance for crime testifies to the giant strides recorded in establishing a safe zone for human habitation and investment.
So, in what sense does Obiano’s Anambra approximate Ikemba’s dream? To what extent can it be said that his administration has contributed to creating the psychological and physical environment of the new Biafra? That is, if, we accept that, the Biafra, of our dream, should be an investment-driven economic proposition guided by a clear-sighted political vanguard that gives the Igbo in the Diaspora the confidence to invest at home; that reverses the migration of the Igbo to other parts of the country where, time and again, they are placed in jeopardy and ultimately, to confer the political clout that only a strong geo-political bonding can generate. I think that is where Obiano is making a difference, where he has created a new political economy.
The city airport project at Umuleri is the latest and, perhaps, the most profound illustration of the profundity of Obiano’s vision. To be sure, building an airport is nothing new. Imo, Delta and Gombe states have all built their own airports. So, there is nothing new in a state government building an airport. What is novel in the Obiano paradigm is that he is not just building an airport; he is developing a new city, with an airport as its hub. The Umuleri International Cargo Airport is conceived as an “Airport City Model” comprising an airport with dual runway, a shopping mall, industrial and business parks and an airport motel. Perhaps, most significant in the business model is that, for the first time in airport development in Nigeria, the project affected people have been factored into the conceptualisation and life of the project. Believe it or not, for the life of the project, host community, Umuleri, will receive 4.3 per cent of the yearly profit. If you are looking for the definition of democracy dividend, here is it!
Much more reassuring, three years from today, a new city will emerge in Anambra State. Think of the huge effect of this project in redrawing the critical demography of the state. Imagine the multiplier effect of this on the state, the developmental impetus that it would trigger, spreading far beyond the boundaries of the state to far off locations in Kogi, Imo, Enugu and Delta States? What about the predictable inflow of investment capital from thousands of Igbo men and women in the Diaspora? Not to mention the huge job creation opportunities. This, to me, is a resurgent Biafra without a gun!
The dream Biafra of the average Igbo is a congenial environment where he will not suffer discrimination because of his ethnic background, where he has equal access to the bounties of nature with other people of other nationalities in the Nigeria project, where he can hone his skills and ply his trade. He yearns for a return of the halcyon days of regular power supply, of reliable means of transportation, where government can guarantee the safety of lives and property and he can worship his Maker the way he deems fit. It is in that sense that Biafra is at once a geographical as well as a mental construct. I am persuaded to argue that Obiano, more than anyone else, is pushing the frontiers of the Biafra that will emerge without firing a shot, without any acrimonious debate and without Nigeria losing an inch of its territory.
It is in the place of Anambra voters to decide whether or not Obiano should be re-elected or who their next governor should be. I do not have that locus. But I strongly believe that, given a say in the matter, like Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ojukwu, whom I had the privilege of meeting at solemn moments that challenged the Igbo identity, would have endorsed Obiano as a true son of Biafra!

• Agu, publisher of Zest Traveller magazine, is a fellow of both the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).