Saturday, 15 October 2016

OBIANO AND THE ECONOMIC FORTUNE OF ANAMBRA



By Prince Okpala

 

The legendary Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “The ultimate measure
of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

This is in sync with the holy books, which enunciate that tough
circumstances are to bring out the best and creative ingenuities in
determined and focused people.

It is in this regard that the current economic recession in the
country has begun to throw up new champions, one of whom is Governor
Willie Obiano.

Following his conviction that there would be likely protracted
suffering, as a result of the recession, Governor Obiano recently took
a radical interventional step, as it affects the people of his state.

In an uncommon feat, he abolished some critical levies and taxes in
the state, a move that left many Nigerians dumbfounded and in awe of
the exemplary and courageous leadership style of the governor.

In a special broadcast, he explained that the abolishment of the
levies and taxes was to cushion the effect of the economic downtown on
the people. The governor considered it as his duty to alleviate the
effect of the economic situation on the grassroots.

Indeed, Obiano’s move is, no doubt, a stimulus package that will ease
the pain of the recession and help the state bounce back to
prosperity.

The truth is that the country is in a painful journey at this time in
its history and all kind hearted governments and privileged
individuals should find creative ways of alleviating the suffering of
the people.

This is what Governor Obiano has done.

The government’s intervention came in Four Key Areas: Tax Relief
Programme, Special Intervention Programmes for Small and Medium
Enterprises, MSMEs, and Large Enterprises, Social Intervention
Programme for Low Income Households as well as Intervention in
Infrastructure-for-Jobs.

The Tax Relief Programme was meant to evaluate existing taxes, levies
and fees in the state and introduce some waivers and in some cases
scrap the collection of some illegal levies imposed on the people and
this would go a long way to cushion the impact of the recession on
households in the state
.
It included the suspension of the sale of consolidated emblems, the
collection of Hawkers Permit on all streets, the collection of
Wheelbarrow Tax in all markets and the imposition of unapproved levies
on students in public primary and secondary schools.

According to him, his role as governor is to envisage challenges and
provide solutions that will ensure a speedy comeback from difficult
situations that require the might of a state government.

The overwhelming feeling was that a governor has come out to show the
way, in an unlikely manner, because in time such as this, governments
look for more ways of taking from the people. But the Obiano
administration instead, chose to sacrifice for the common man.

This is not the only such people-centred intervention by the governor.
Only recently, the administration donated the sum of N10 million as
palliatives to victims of the Ose-Okwodu Market fire incident of April
2014 in the state. Presenting the money to the 97 beneficiaries at his
Aguleri country home, in Anambra East Local Area, Governor Obiano said
that the gesture was in keeping with his promise to the people to
continue programmes that would impact positively on their lives.

The government has also donated a 32-seater Toyota Coaster bus and N5
million to students of the Federal College of Education (Technical),
FCET, Umunze, Anambra State.
This was as the governor promised to carry out palliative work on the
road, leading to the permanent site of the college.

The governor, with the same heart of the milk of human kindness, cried
out recently over the poor state of federal roads in the state and
called on the Federal Government to hasten to save the roads from
imminent collapse, and mandated a construction company to the site to
start palliative works to save the roads
.
These and many more other interventions are without prejudice to his
agricultural policies and various other intervention measures, which
are all aimed at sustaining hope and improving life. His widely known
security measures have since transformed Anambra, which used to be the
den of criminals and kidnappers, to the safest state in the country.
The administration has also set an impressive record in internally
generated revenue (IGR), with a remarkable increase from the N500
million monthly that it inherited to aboutN1.3 billion per month.

The state government has opened up the state for rapid
industrialisation, embarked on massive rehabilitation of bad roads and
constructing new ones as well as strategic interventions in the
education and health sectors.

One of the achievements under Governor Obiano is the massive
investment inflow that the state has witnessed in the last two years,
courtesy of the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection
Agency (ANSIPPA). In a very short time, the agency has justified the
governor’s background, as an investment banker with remarkable
statistics.

Obiano and his team have shown that given time and resources, they can
turn Anambra State into Nigeria’s new postcard for excellence. One can
only pray that the good people of the state continue to support the
governor’s efforts to build a strong, dynamic, virile, industrialised,
economically viable and prosperous Anambra State.

With all of these, it is believed that the people of Anambra State
would, no doubt, continue to support the government for more dividends
of democracy, especially as the governor would soon be seeking their
blessings for a second term in office. Obiano has shown, in practical
terms, that he is the people’s governor, who deserves their votes for
a second tenure in office.

We are confident that the judgment of the people of Anambra State will
be fair and favourable, as the governor has proved that he is a firm
believer and a practitioner of good governance. He, therefore,
deserves a second term, as the governor of Anambra State, based on his
pedigree and performance in office.



• Prince Okpala, a political analyst, wrote in from Awka.

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