By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka- FORMER Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida has commended the pioneering roles played by indigenes of Anambra State towards the development of Nigeria, saying it was therefore not surprising that the state created 27 years ago, was one of the fastest growing states in the country.
In a message he sent to the unveiling of the maiden edition of Anambra Compendium, a compilation of the people and history of the state, in Awka, Babangida, whose administration created the state in 1991, recalled the roles played by such people like the first president of Nigeria, late Dr Nnandi Azikiwe, first senate president, Nwafor Orizu, among many others, adding that even the new generation of indigenes of the state have continued to work hard to put Nigeria in the forefront in various areas of human endeavour.
Represented by the former chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Simon Okeke, Babaginda enjoined Anambra people not to relent in contributing towards national development.
According to him, it was not a mistake that his administration created Anambra State in 1991, noting that the state had developed tremendously such that it is harbouring thriving businesses and industries and fast becoming a global investment hub.
Describing the rate of development of the state as almost magical, Babangida attributed the state’s achievements to what he called “the creative and resilient spirit of the people in making something out of nothing”.
He said: “Onitsha is the home to the largest and still expanding market in West Africa, while Nnewi has become the Japan of Nigeria, accommodating many industries and manufacturing companies.”
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, who chaired the ceremony, described Anambra as a state with rich cultural heritage, which, he observed, was the driving force behind its success.
He said:”Diligence, dedication, hard work and entrepreneurship are trademarks of Ndi Anambra and all these are encapsulated in the culture of the people. The result is evident in the compilation of names of great achievers recorded in the book.
“That the state is coming first in many spheres is due to government’s proper investment. We have a leader that is doing well and we should support him. Let us continue to be one because if it is well for us individually, it will be well for our state.”
The state governor, Chief Willie Obiano , in his address, described Anambra as a trail blazer in many fields, ranging from politics, military, religion, science, education, to entrepreneurship.
He urged the people of the state not to play second fiddle to anybody, stressing that the state would not be tired of honouring her distinguished citizens.
“The excellence of the old has transcended through generations to become resplendent in the present and younger generations. Ndi Anambra are still writing their names in gold all over the world, achieving greatness in their chosen fields of endeavour and we will continue to encourage them,” he said.
The 800-page book, which chronicled the lives and achievements of over 300 prominent indigenes the state, was unveiled by the managing director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo.