Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Obiano's Pedigree Of Distinctions Fit To Lead Anambra.... By Dr. Chido Nwangwu

Elected under the banner of the markedly Igbo-interest APGA party, Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, a banker of international repute, a philanthropist and cultural custodian, a devout Catholic, a friend with a versatile sense for humor and a good son of modest background shall be sworn in — in the afternoon of March 17, 2014 — as the Governor of Anambra State. 

First and foremost, to understand the realities and dynamics of Obiano’s emerging governorship, we must situate him in the recent political ecology of Anambra.

Anambra is homeland to some of the formidable financial heavyweights in Nigeria and holds an impressive mix of talented leaders. 

Also, truth must be told that Anambra has, to this day, more than its fair share of spoilers and

 squads of acid-tongue, elbow-throwing politicos who thrive in crises and malice. Lest I forget, there’s the motley of pint-size political god-fathers and buccaneers for whom business gets its highest returns from politics. 

Over the past 20 years, Anambra has witnessed, except for two or three, an unimpressive confetti of political charlatanry and, in some cases, murderous events which turned away many well-meaning citizens of the State from competitive public service. Many refused to be involved in the partisan swindle for which the recent political business of the great State had become synonymous…. 

Consequently, Obiano’s emergence, his selection by outgoing Governor Peter Obi and subsequent election, I believe, reflect the popular vote of Anambrarians to maintain a responsible handling of the resources of  Anambra. Evidently, the performance bar for Governors in Anambra has been lifted higher by a hardworking, resourceful and populist Obi. Obiano’s performance expectation, I must note, has been pushed very high.  

Second, in the big picture of  geo-politics, especially ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 potentially explosive presidential election, the Obiano-APGA votes fulfilled and secured the broad sentiments around the Igbo interest for a  relatively independent and symbolically autonomous political community of  Anambra. Therein lies the importance of Obiano as, potentially, a key leader of the Igbo eastern states, at this crucial period as Nigeria bifurcates along the geo-ethnic lines of the ruling PDP and the opposition APC.

Third, all politics are local, as the political maxim states. Obiano, understandably, in a way similar to Obi, prefers the PDP over the APC. Mallam el-Rufai did not help matters for his APC party with his November 2013 Anambra election drama at a hotel in Awka and useless insults at the Governor Obi. 

Chief Obiano told me recently, during an exclusive interview, that APGA and the Igbo voters “will get more mileage” by supporting Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (of the PDP) for the 2015 elections.

My 100 minutes interview is, to date, the most comprehensive insight to Obiano, the accomplished banker, who bagged the USAfrica Best of Africa International Banker of the Year 2012 (long before he had an eye on partisan politics).  Obiano charts a path for his priorities as Governor from March 17, 2014, speaks candidly on his relationship with the outgoing, popular Governor Peter Obi who strongly backed him to victory in the November-December 2013 elections. 


He reflects on how he got into politics and governorship campaign, and outlines why he considers security as critical to making Anambra State a business destination of choice in Africa.  On a personal level, he speaks about his wife Chief Mrs. V. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) who introduced me directly to Akpokuedike Obiano in 2012. 

Fourth, on the all-important issue of the direct impact of his plans, the retired banker cited, like he did during his campaign, that a number of the public policy pillars and economic enablers of his agenda for governing will drive economic development and growth, exponentially, for Anambra. 

But governance and campaigns are two different realities.  

For the campaign, it’s largely an information warfare and mobilization battle, and….

For governance, first, it’s about definable achievements to be seen by the constituents; then followed, realistically, as both information messaging and mobilization battle for the hearts and minds of the governed/voters.

Why is this relevant to Obiano? 

Even the best plans and initial achievements have, sometimes, been drowned in the fire and thunder of the boisterous politics of Anambra (and parts of Nigeria). But I believe that Obiano’s pedigree and achievements show him as man who is determined to make history in Anambra for good reasons. 

The man who goes by the courage-filled traditional title of ‘Akpokuedike’ cannot offer any less as Anambra beckons…. 

On balance, I believe that Willie Obiano  has the integrity, the intellection and clarity of purpose to lead the great homeland of Achebe, Azikiwe, Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Osadebe, P-Square, etc. My brief inquiry to his history and upbringing show a family value of spartan discipline and resourcefulness —instilled by his late father, Sir Philip Onuorah Obiano, a well-known headmaster in their hometown of Aguleri. Those two uncommon attributes are needed for leadership roles, particularly as Governor of a State with scarce resources and fiercely competing priorities.

Evidently, Obiano’s governorship promises to usher in the dawn of a new era where policy lucidity meets relevant experience. 

Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public policy networks, served as  adviser to Houston’s ex-Mayor Dr. Lee P. Brown on Africa business/issues, and appears as an analyst on CNN, SkyNews London; is completing a book on Mandela & Achebe: Footprints of Greatness. He established the first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet,

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