Friday, 3 March 2017

Anambra documents its history



Determined to preserve its rich history for posterity, the Anambra State government will in the coming days present a comprehensive photo-history book of the state showcasing its glory.

The book is entitled “Anambra Light of the Nation: A Compendium”. It was sanctioned by the Anambra State government as part of its 25th Anniversary, which was marked in the last quarter of last year. It is designed to celebrate the state’s rich history, cultural heritage, enterprising spirit and exploits of it’s people, arts and craft, food and lifestyle, as well as its iconic personalities, past and present leaders and traditional institutions.
Deputy Governor Nkem Okeke, who chairs the anniversary committee, said: “Twenty five years in the life of a people or state is a remarkable milestone. As a people, Ndi Anambra have overtime, proven to be special breeds who have excelled in whatever field they find themselves.
“We are particularly known to be industrious, resilient, creative, courageous and hardworking. All these are evident in the ingenuity of our people and the outstanding successes they have recorded both at home and in the diaspora.
“So, we thought that documenting these great exploits of our people and Anambra’s history in a book form, would invoke a sense of pride in Ndi Anambra for generations to come, because a people without history will most likely face a blurry future.

“So, as part of our 25 years anniversary , we thought it wise to take a bold step in recording these success stories of our state, as an entity , as well as the glorious impacts of our people in shaping the history and socio-political economy of Nigeria.
“We also intend to use the Compendium to showcase our rich cultural heritage, God-given natural endowments and unique tourism potentials, as you know, tourism everywhere in the world is a big revenue earner, therefore, highlighting our numerous tourism potentials
in this manner would help in drawing the attention  of the world, especially, potential investors to this sector in our state. In essence, the Anambra state compendium will tell you all you need to know about Anambra and Ndi Anambra.”
Speaking on the reasons behind the compendium, Chief Emeka Okonkwo, the Coordinator, Anambra@25, said: “Our dear state Anambra is the land of several firsts in different fields and its people have contributed in many ways in shaping the history of Nigeria, but one of the greatest problems we have is that the history of Anambra and the numerous great exploits of our people  are not well documented for people, especially the future generation, to appreciate.”
Okonkwo stated, “Take for instance the great strides of pioneer transporters such as Ekenedilichukwu or the unequalled business acumen  of the late billionaire, Sir. Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu and several others whose lives were tales of integrity, hard work, enterprise  and unblemished characters that are worthy of emulation.”
Throwing more light on the project, he  went further to state that the compendium would be  an “authentic referral material on Anambra that is devoid of partisan politics as it seeks to give a factual and accurate information of Anambra’s 179 communities, early civilisation, government structures, past and present leaders, traditional festivals and religions”. He added, saying, “the book would also highlight our beacons, who have placed Anambra on the global map as well as our icons that have made Anambra proud at the national stage.”
A synopsis of a section of the book, ‘Our Enterprises’, made public by the publishers, read in part: “Anambra State is easily the state with the highest number of billionaires in Nigeria…this is not surprising considering the well-known commercial, industrial and enterprising nature of Ndi Anambra. And it is marketed by Great Source Investment, run by an indigene of Anambra state, who also played a key role in the anniversary events last year.

“Right from the colonial era, Ndi Anambra have continued to excel in Industries, trade and commerce. The achievements and exploits of Ndi Anambra’s forebears such as Sir Louis Philip Odimegwu Ojukwu are legendary.”, the synopsis stated.  Profiles of notable industries and their promoters will form part of this business section, it also revealed.
Dr. Njideka Duru, of the Centre For Preservation of Indigenous History, speaking  on why Anambra deserves a documented comprehensive history, stated: “among the Igbo there is a strong attachment to Anambra… In the build up to the Nigeria’s independence in 1960 for example, apart from a handful of individuals from other neighboring states, most of the personalities that called the shots from the eastern flank were from the present day Anambra. There were, for instance, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Akwaeke Nwafor Orizu, both at different times, President of the country and Senate President, respectively.
“They also had younger contemporaries such as late M.C.K Ajuluchukwu, Mbazuilike Amaechi, Igwe Osita Agwuna and Dr.Okechukwu Ikejiani. These people at the time, helped to sustain the fire of Nigeria’s nationalism,” she noted.
“Even after independence, when the ship of the Nigerian state left no room for the Igbo,” Dr. Duru, continued, “the task of charting the path for self-actualisation of the people through the instrumentality of the Peoples Republic of the Biafra, fell on General Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, again from, Nnewi, Anambra state. Also at the height of the civil war, when the federal authorities were looking for an administrator for the East Central state, they settled for late Ukpabi Asika, from Onitsha, Anambra state, too.”

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