Monday, 20 June 2016

As Gov. Obiano Turns Zikist - By Mike Udah


On Sunday, June 19, 2016 and at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, His Excellency, Dr. (Chief) Willie Obiano, FCA will receive the 2015 Zik Prize for Leadership. This prize belongs to the Good Governance category of the awards named after the great son of Africa.

 

Administered by the Lagos-based Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) whose current chairman is the former Minister of Petroleum, the former Education Minister, a three-time Senator and an erudite Professor of Medicine, Prof. Jubril Aminu, this honour has naturally and necessarily thrown up a lot of questions: What is this prize about? What does it symbolize? Does this governor deserve it? If yes, why and how does he merit the award? Is there anything Zikist about Obiano? Is there anything Zikist about the Zik prize? What is the perception of PPRAC?  Is it taken seriously by the Nigerian and non-Nigerian public or is it seen as one of those numerous bodies driven by the desire to make money through churning out awards with reckless abandon? The questions can go on and on.

The truth of the matter is that Zik prizes belong to a class of their own. They stand out in several respects: the people behind them are serious-minded, well respected Nigerians and non-Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavor. PPRAC’s former chairman, for instance, is Professor Anya O. Anya who is “a professor of professors”. His former students have been professors for decades! He is a household name in Nigeria, nay, the world who has traversed the fields of Pure Sciences, Politics, Public Policy and the academia.


A former chairman of National Merit Award, Prof Anya (NNOM), Hon DSC, FAS, OFR, a distinguished parasitologist is also a chartered biologist, fellow and past vice president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a former Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Economic Summit Group.

The current chairman of the body, Prof Jibril Aminu is a rare gem, an exceptional scholar who studied Medicine on Scholarship, distinguished himself in that prestigious profession and in University administration. He also carved a niche for himself while he served in the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Such people as the two professors cited above and others in the PPRAC are definitely not cheap. They are rather quite elevated. They are people of class and refinement – persons who can easily separate the wheat from the chaff. This simply means that those who they chose or have chosen as beneficiaries of the Zik prizes are accomplished achievers in their different fortes

Is Governor Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano an accomplished achiever in his forte? The answer is a resounding and resonating yes. Can we go back a bit into his past? This person while a student at Christ The King College, Onitsha won an international essay competition.

This person earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Lagos in Accounting in 1979, bagging the prestigious Second Class Honours (Upper Division). This same person added an MBA to his kitty from the same University. This same person distinguished himself as the first black Internal Auditor in Texaco. He left an indelible mark in Fidelity Bank Plc from where he meritoriously retired as Executive Director and Second-in-Command in hierarchy of that financial institution at the time.

Was it not on account of his sterling antecedents that this person (Akpokuo Global) was invited to return from his comfort zone in the United States to replicate his “miracles” in Texaco and Fidelity Bank in Government House, Awka?  Within two years, has he not acquitted himself creditably, moving Anambra State from good to great?

A firm believer in Thomas Hobbes, Obiano’s primary task upon assumption of office was to fix security and make it air – and war-tight, and so it has remained, to his credit and to the glory of God!

Worried about the difficulties of really knowing what we think we know, the French Philosopher, Rene Descartes, suspended all thoughts which he had nursed initially and concentrated on discovering the most basic issue of establishing his very existence. This was because, for him, if he did not exist, then he could not think, among other things. It was only after he had confirmed (that) cogito ergo sum (“I think; therefore I exist”) that he went further to explore the ramifications of life.


Probably borrowing this Cartesian principle, Gov. Willie Obiano first fixed security apparently because he felt that where there was no security; there could not be governance. The Bible has the same approach: “Seek ye first the Kingdon of God, and every other thing will be added unto you”, it admonishes. We may conveniently add: “seek ye first security and every other dividend can be added to governance!”

From Security, Obiano has fixed agriculture, infrastructure, environment, oil and gas, bureaucracy and much more. With Anambra being the only state with a branded rice, he has made it the Agricultural capital of Nigeria. What is more, Anambra State now exports fish, vegetables and other products to different parts of the world. This boost in Agriculture was greatly helped by His Excellency’s prior production of a geological map which, among other things, identified the competitive agricultural potentials of the different parts of the State. The result is that specific crops are planted in places (communities and local government areas) where they will grow  better.

Through the creation of such bodies as Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), Awka Capital Development Agency (ACDA) and Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA), the introduction of computer training to teachers and the mandatory directive given to them to own computers, Anambra State’s educational landscape has been transformed by Governor Obiano. The result has been marvelous with different categories of the state’s students and pupils winning national and international laurels.

With the advent of the Obiano Administration, Awka’s status as a State Capital has been quite manifest as contemporary fly-overs now dot the city from Aroma through Akwata Junctions to Amawbia by-pass.

To mitigate the dwindling Federal allocation caused by the crash in oil price, Obiano the financial wizard, has put measures in place which have raised the states internally generated revenue (IGR) from five hundred million Naira (when he assumed office) to two billion Naira.

The Governor has restored sanity to the Civil Service by plugging all loop-holes after a personal audit he ordered was done – an exercise which led to the discovery of Five Hundred ghost workers!



Noticing the important role played by electric power, Governor Obiano has heavily invested in the development of sub-power stations with a view to enabling artisans, small scale industrialists and other categories of consumers to leverage on the availability of better electricity supply.

Now, who says Akpokuo has not turned Zikist? Zik of Africa epitomized, good governance. This was why he was often fabian in his approach to political issues. This was why he believed in building consensus. This was why he teamed up with another political party to form a government of National Unity after he fought relentlessly and achieved the independence of our country along with other compatriots. This was why he did not insist on having the prime designation of Prime Minister, but accepted the position of a ceremonial head. Zik preached the electric philosophy – one which incorporates in a single ideology all the salient elements of other world-views. All these qualities characterize Gov. Obiano.

This is therefore to welcome Akpokuo Global  to the Club of Zikists – the fold of those who, on account of their accomplishments, have been found worthy to be associated with the first President of Independent Nigeria and the late Owelle of Onitsha.

Congratulations, Your Excellency!


Written by Mike Udah, a socio-political commentator on current issues from Lagos.

No comments: