The South East Renewal Group (SERG) has commended the Anambra State government for exemplary leadership in the country, saying its commitment to financial discipline, integrity, honesty and transparency has marked it out.
“There is no other explanation for the various paths in different fields which the state government has been breaking in the last four years”, according to the SERG in a statement in Enugu today signed by the president, Dr Charles Ifebuzo, an accountant, and the secretary, Rowland Anyanwu, a development economist and management consultant.
“Though what accrues to the state government annually is almost an insignificant fraction of what the Lagos State government receives yearly, the Anambra State government is competing effectively with its Lagos State counterpart.
“In fact, Anambra is far ahead of Lagos in such areas as education and security.
“ It is the safest state in Nigeria today and also the most peaceful, thus attracting huge investments estimated by experts to be worth between four and five billion dollars.
“Its record in education is such that it its students from Regina Pacis Model Secondary School in Onitsha on Thursday, August 9, 2018, won the highly coveted Global Technovation Competition in Silicon Valley, California, and its students from St John’s Technical Secondary School at Alor won the bronze medal in the International Festival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) held in Tunisia from March 21 to 29, 2019.
“Anambra in December, 2018, became the first state in Nigeria’s history to win in four straight years the highly cherished President’s Cup for Secondary Schools Debate, repeating a similar feat on Saturday, October 5, 2019, when at the National Teachers Day celebrated at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Anambra State won four out of the 24 prizes available when no other state got more than one and went on to win two out of the four vehicles donated by the Federal Ministry of Education, The Presidency and the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
“Anambra’s record in infrastructure development is also exemplary, as it now has the longest bridge in the South East, the best road network in the whole country and is now building the largest conference centre in West Africa with 10,000 sitting capacity. It will be ready in April.
“It is also among the three least indebted states in Nigeria and the only state in Southern Nigeria which has not exceeded the 50% threshold of the total annual revenue, according to the Debt Management Office and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.
“We have examined various explanations for Anambra’s outstanding development record, including the recent one that it has to do with the fact that Governor Willie Obiano is a professional banker and auditor who is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants (ICAN), assisted by Dr Nkem Okeke, an engineer with a degree in economics, and Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, an econometrist with huge research and teaching experience in the United Kingdom and the Far East.
“It is our considered opinion that the explanation is true, but only to an extent. After all, we have seen how creative accountants and a host of other brilliant professionals have messed up organizations like Enron of the United States and the Nigerian unit of Cadbury, the British multinational.
“It is our firm view that Anambra’s excellence, despite its meager allocation every month from the federation account, has more to do with a large stock of values like trust, honesty, integrity, loyalty, discipline, prudence and commitment to the common good which collectively define social capital.
“Other states, especially those in the South East, are encouraged to borrow a leaf from Anambra State and restore public trust in them.
“We hereby lend our support to the call last December by the Igbo Leaders of Thought led by Professor Ben Nwabueze, the globally acknowledged constitutional law expert, and Professor Chiweyite Ejike, former vice chancellor of the defunct Anambra State University of Technology in Enugu, on Governor Obiano to share the secret of his success with his brother South East governors.
“We note with delight that both Ebonyi and Enugu states, for instance, have started their own versions of the highly Anambra’s eminently successful Community-Choose-Your-Project initiative through which the government executes N20m project in each of the 179 communities in Anambra State, though Obosi and Onitsha receive the double of this amount in consideration of their enormous populations.
“Researchers, scholars, writers and even students should conduct research on the correlation relationship between effective development and such values as trust, integrity, discipline, honour and dedication to the common good”.