WHEN the Peter Obi administration assumed office in the year 2006, its programme of action was tagged Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, ANIDS.
It is a novel initiative; a multi-sectoral model predicated on the internationally-acclaimed Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, of eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, gender equality and women empowerment, reduction of child mortality, boost to maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability and global partnership in development.
Even as noble as the intents were, the Governor’s critics scoffed at the thought he could effect progress in all sectors simultaneously in Anambra State – a State without oil resources; a State literally under the steel grips of brigands who had held the apparatuses of governance hostage. Many of his admirers also wondered if he was not going too far in blending dreams with reality. But most people did not take Almighty God into consideration; that He selects leaders and empowers those who revere Him to make positive impact on their societies.
Now in its second term and some six years in office, the Obi administration has made tremendous impact on the polity, economy and society of the State with its ANIDS model. Across board, there are impressive and evidence-based outcomes with testimonials coming from the people whose welfare the purpose of governance is.
First are heavy investments courtesy of institutional structures. These include instilling transparency in the management of public affairs, boosting confidence and efficiency in the three arms of governance [Executive, Legislature & Judiciary and their apparatuses]; strengthening the infrastructural base of the State [best and most extensive road network in the country today with over 500 kilometres of urban and rural roads majority of them with dual drainages, water schemes, waste and emergency management, generating master plans for three major cities [Awka, the state capital; Onitsha and Nnewi]; housing development; concrete support for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare and educational services, and many others.
With the broad theme, “Towards a Sustainable Youth Development Culture in Anambra”, the Obi administration is steadily firming up youth foundation through the Anambra State Youth Re-Orientation and Empowerment Programme, ANSYREP, now in its third phase.
Incorporating character development and moral values into vocational training, the Governor reveals that “ANSYREP reinforces the basic industrious inclinations of our people and will lead to renewed growth of cottage industries and private initiative”. Towards the end of 2011, some 1,500 youths were given grants ranging from N25,000 to N100,000 as support in their chosen vocations which skills the Government had sponsored them to acquire. It is an on-going programme.
In sync with today’s best practices, the Government is collaborating with national and international organisations to inculcate information and communication technology competencies in various sectors and sub-sectors to enhance competitiveness and corporate governance. Today, every local government area of the State now has a Microsoft Academy and virtually all secondary schools have computer equipment.
Anyone familiar with pre-2006 Anambra State would appreciate the steady return of peace and stability in the area. Today, citizen involvement is at the heart of community policing in the State. As far back as its first tenure, the administration was providing support to the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Army in the sums of N10 million and N15 million monthly, respectively.
Similarly, the Governor encouraged all town unions in the State to set up security committees and vigilante groups which, of course, are being supervised by the Nigeria Police Force and provided relevant equipment for clear identification. The Government funds them! It is also pertinent to note that as part of collective responsibility for security, traditional rulers and Presidents-General of communities experiencing violent crimes frequently would be sacked and handed over to the Police for prosecution.
One of the unique aspects of the ANIDS model is that it cuts across public and private sectors. This has been especially telling in educational and health services. In the third week of November, 2011, the Government formally returned over 1,000 schools to their initial Missionary-owners. Beyond the hand-over, Government also committed solid financial support for the Missions to the tune of N6 billion, spread over 15 months and subject to satisfactory submission of work plans. Interestingly, Government will continue to cater for the schools’ staff salaries, while the Missions will be in charge of general administration.
Discerning Nigerians would note that prior to the forceful take-over of these educational institutions in 1970, they easily take credit for the grooming of most of the cream of society – in terms of morals, character, discipline, academics and maturity — who could hold their own anywhere in the world.
The Governor put it succinctly: “Our Government’s commitment to delivering quality education for the good people of Anambra State is total. That is why I have decided that our State shall henceforth be speaking only of acceptable global standards in education, instead of minimum standards”.
Mr. ONUKWUGHA OSUJI, a commentator on national issues,wrote from Lagos.