By VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA — THE eight years of Chief Peter Obi’s regime as the governor of Anambra State comes to an end today, with his formal hand-over to Chief Willie Obiano.
The famous Alex Ekwueme Square in the heart of Awka, the state capital, has been decorated for the hand-over and Obiano’s oath-taking ceremony is expected to attract people from all walks of life.
The hand-over committee, headed by Prince Chinedu Idigo, who was one of the governorship aspirants, as well as the office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, also a former governorship aspirant, have been working hard to ensure a smooth hand-over.
Similarly, the Commissioner for Local Government, Mrs. Azuka Enemuo, had been liaising with the chairmen of the 21 local government areas of the state to ensure the participation of the people at the grassroots in the epoch-making ceremony.
Bill-boards bearing photographs of the new governor and his deputy have been mounted in strategic places in the state, just as tailors had been making brisk business sewing various types of uniforms to be worn by groups.
Today’s event will be the first of such a hand-over ceremony in the history of Anambra State as the out-going governor, Obi, is the first to complete two tenures and hand-over to a governor elected on the same political party.
Activities for the hand-over began last Thursday with a dedication service at the Cathedral Church of Saint Faith, while the church service for the swearing-in took place yesterday at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, both in Awka.
By last Friday, most of the political appointees, who served during the regime of Chief Obi had moved out of their official residences and cleared tables in their offices, except for those whose duties would be required for smooth transition from Obi to Obiano.
At the Governor’s Lodge in the state capital, massive tents have been mounted in almost every available space for dinner party that will take place today.
Preaching a sermon at the special church service, yesterday, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, enjoined the new governor and his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, to strive to perform, noting that Obi, the out-going governor, did the state proud through his remarkable achievements in all sectors, warning that the regime could, therefore, not afford to disappoint the people.
According to the cleric, with the solid foundation laid by Obi, the new administration will not find it difficult to chart the right course for itself so as to continue to put smiles on the faces of Anambra people.
As would be expected, political office seekers have been lobbying those close to the new governor and brandishing their curriculum vitae for possible consideration for appointments that will start to be made public from tomorrow.
As a parting gift to Governor Obi, traditional rulers from the 177 communities in Anambra State, on Saturday, conferred on him chieftaincy title of Okwute (the rock), while his wife, Margaret, was conferred with the title of Ona (the ring) of her husband.
The Obi of Onitsha, who placed the traditional red cap on Obi, said the Royal Fathers decided to honour him because of the wonderful work he did for Anambra State.