Friday, 25 December 2015

Trending Question: Is Anambra Ready for Christmas?

                                  A shot of Upper Iweka during 2015 Carol Night

This was the topic of discuss in the 12th edition of Anambra Scorecard, an online live programme where the led engage their leaders, anchored on the Facebook Group, Anambra Square which is the Traditional Village Square of Ndi Anambra on Facebook.
Answering the question: Is Anambra ready for Christmas? Paul Nwosu, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Image categorically said “Yes of course” noting that “Anambra State government and Ndi Anambra are ready for Christmas and are eagerly looking forward to it.”
To put this high expectations in the right perspective it is important to recall what the situation was before Governor Obiano mounted the gubernatorial saddle.
According to Paul, “Before now Ndi Anambra used to look forward to Christmas with so much apprehension and trepidation. This is because it was a time when criminals prowl around looking their prey. For criminals it was a season business boom, occasioned by high profile kidnappings and robberies. This evil and reprehensible trend simply killed the pomp, fanfare and pageantry that characterized the yuletide in Anambra State being a predominantly Christian State. So, rather than come home for Christmas, Ndi Anambra would rather travel abroad or some far away land to enjoy their Christmas holidays, while those who dare to come at all would hire platoons of mobile policemen to guard and escort them around.
“But as soon as Governor came in he tackled the issue of insecurity. He constituted the joint military security task force and created Operation Kpochapu and equipped them with brand new patrol vehicles and communication gadgets. The combined activities of these groups flushed out the vicious criminals that held the State by the jugular. The sanity that followed provided conducive atmosphere that made the 2014 Christmas a huge success. Ndi Anambra returned in droves. The State was crime free and no single life was lost.
“Buoyed by the success of last year’s Christmas which is bound to even attract more Ndi Anambra and their friends home Governor Obiano continued to step up his material and financial support for the security agencies in the State. Three months ago he donated a gunboat to the Nigerian Navy to patrol river and adjoining tributaries. Then the big one came on Friday the 11th day of December when Governor Obiano donated 25 US-styled smart patrol vehicles to the Anambra State Command of the Nigerian Police. These vehicles are equipped with breathalyzers to detect drunk drivers and track other vehicles that are over speeding. All these have been done to complement the effort of the FRSC in ensuring that road mishaps and criminality are checked to the barest minimum.
“But beyond security; we have a proverb which says that an idle mind is a devil’s work shop. A hungry man is an angry who can make himself available to be drafted as an agent of criminality. This is why Governor Obiano takes the issue of Youth Empowerment seriously. His Excellency, Gov Willie Obiano, in the last quarter have created jobs for our teaming youth through the road maintenance scheme he recently commissioned and Anambra State “Traffic Management Agency where about a battalion well trained road traffic officers passed out yesterday, Tuesday, 15th of December. You will notice that every major public spaces - roundabouts, public buildings, etc has been decorated. These decorations were done by corporate bodies, banks, contractors and individuals.”
This is an expression of the fact that things are better in Anambra State and also expression of the fact that we are in for a colourful celebration. Answering the question, “What are the preparations for item 7, ‘Christmas rice’”, Paul explained that, “With the enabled environment which will definitely attract more celebrants there will be plenty of item 7 to go round within and outside of your household.
However, it is worthy of note that Gov Obiano, just as he did last year, is giving bags of rice to the workers. Currently, the wife of our governor, Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) is giving out bags of rice to the less privileged through her pet project, CAFÉ as she tours the 21 local government areas.”
It’s worthy of note that the rice are cultivated and processed in Anambra by Ndi Anambra… another first from Gov Obiano.
In respect to usual mass homecoming of Ndi Anambra during Christmas season and records of yesteryears heavy traffic jam at Onitsha especially on the bridge, Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, etc and the government’s preparedness to ensure free flow traffic throughout the season. Paul Nwosu recalled that only last week about a battalion of Anambra State Traffic Management Agency graduands passed out, noting that part of their tasks is to ensure free flow of traffic into and within the State.
Aside that, Gov Obiano’s effort in building road infrastructures has yielded great results such as the restored Flyover at Nkpor, the repaired portion of Onitsha-Owerri Road, the ongoing construction of by-passes, the road markings to guide drivers and ease traffic, etc. All of these coupled with the Anambra State Daily Road Maintenance programme which ensures Zero Portholes on our roads will help to ensure free flow traffic and smooth travels. Just few days ago, Obiano temporary opened the new Arroma and Amawbia Flyover Bridges to enable a smoother and traffic-free experience for travellers.
Thus, as we celebrated the yuletide last year without hearing of anybody being kidnapped or any form of security breach, the administration of Chief Willie Obiano has mapped out plans to achieve better results this year. Today, we have the Police Helicopter covering air surveillance for all the communities, cities and boundaries of Anambra State.
As Paul Nwosu answered, Anambra State is ready for Christmas… Let the celebration begin!

Written by Ifeanyi Aniagoh, a columnist with National Light Newspapers

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