ime flies. Time does not wait for anyone. Time is precious. Time lost is not regained. There is time for everything, says the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3. If you waste time, time will in turn waste you. Forward ever, backward never. Please check your time. What does your time say? My time says that Anambra State is 22 years old, 27 August 1991 to 27 August 2013. I hope Anambra State has ears. So, let us congratulate her by shouting: "Happy Birthday!!!"
Anambra State was created on 27 August 1991 by the Military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Awka was pronounced the State Capital. All able and disabled persons rejoiced at the birth of the New Anambra State, which was carved out from the Old Anambra State, whose Capital was at Enugu. Even animals jumped for joy at the creation. Immediately General Babangida announced it, my house dog jumped and started dancing with me. It was on that day that I saw a dog laughing. It spoke with its tail.
Navy Commander Joseph Abulu was appointed the first Military Administrator, from August 27, 1991 to January 1992. He did some fund-raising to start work. Some street-lights were mounted along the Zik's Avenue to give light to the dark city of Awka known for black smith. But the Imo Awka masquarades were uncomfortable with the street lights. Passers-by were also colliding with the lights. Before Abulu could recover the pledges made at the fund-raising he organised, he was removed like a sign-post.
An elected Governor, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife came on board on 2nd January 1992 with his white beards to transform the new State. He had a good intention. He was planning and planning on how to make Anambra State the London of Nigeria. He made the State "A Home for All." No wonder scorpions, centipedes, snakes, and other dangerous animals inhabited the State then. He hid the State's Treasury in the ceiling of the Government House to avoid thieves and embezzlers from tampering with the money. In order to confuse them, he moulded a field as round-about at the Amawbia junction. Before you could turn the round-about, dizziness would have caught you. Hence you will not be able to climb the ceiling of Government House to steal from the State's Treasury. He removed the unplanned street lights mounted by his predecessor. Unfortunately, Ezeife's elected government was cut short on 17 November 1993 by the Military who forgot their guns at the Government House.
From November to December 1993, an Acting Governor in the person of Police Commissioner Dabo Aliyu was given the baton of leadership of Anambra State. His tenure was very short. Before he could enter the Government House, he was removed. Only the Police Force can tell us his achievements within the short period.
Colonel Mike Attah took over the baton on 9 December 1993 and rounded up on 21 August 1996. He had a good intention to transform Anambra State. But Money-bags in the State confused him and corrupted him. He was unable to shoot them at sight because of his leniency. But he did little development-wise in the state.
Group Captain Rufai Garuba succeeded Mike Attah. He administered Anambra State from 21 August 1996 to 6 August 1998. His intonation was unlike a typical Hausa man. He was gentle and calculated. But the money-bags also blind folded him. He did his best and left.
Wing Commander Emmanuel Ukaegbu arrived on 6 August 1996. He started where his predecessors stopped. He was soft-spoken. Rich Anambrarians bombarded him with bags of money to sell the State to them. He struggled and struggled to defend himself and do the work he came for. But Democracy was waiting at his door. Hence he left on the eve of 29 May 1999.
Election came. Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju of the Peoples Democratic Party was declared the winner of the Gubernatorial Poll. He was therefore sworn-in on 29 May 1999. He fought with his god-fathers over the control of Anambra Seat of Government. The person who plays the pipe dictates the tune of the dance. But Mbadinuju couldn't dance. They fought him from all corners. As a result, he turned into a prayer-governor. In fact, he became a pastor every Monday at Onitsha Main Market. But his prayers couldn't trap his enemies. When two elephants are fighting, the grass suffers. Hence, Anambrarians saw hell within Mbadinuju's tenure. Workers were not paid. Schools were closed for almost a year. This made many of the pupils and students to turn into armed robbers. Consequently, Mbadinuju employed the services of the dreaded Bakassi Boys to roast the armed robbers along the streets of Anambra State. Some innocent persons also became victims when the Boys were used to settle political scores. For instance, the Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association Onitsha branch Barnabas Igwe and his pregnant wife were brutally murdered in broad-light at Onitsha. Pensioners were called dead woods. Ants from the dead woods ate up Mbadinuju's government on the eve of May 29, 2003. He was refused a second tenure.
The political terrain of Anambra State became so bad. Corruption fought corruption. It became a State of the survival of the fittest. The 2003 Gubernatorial Election was conducted with stories of massive rigging. Dr Chris Ngige of PDP and Mr Peter Obi of APGA fought it at the poll. However, the corrupt referee at the Electoral Commission declared Dr Chris Ngige the winner. Ngige and the fowl began dancing at the political stage. But Ngige failed to surrender to his political god-fathers who wanted to empty the State Treasury into their private pockets. He nearly paid with his life, but God saved him. Ngige began massive development of the dejected Anambra State. For the first time in history of the State, roads were constructed even though most of them were in Idemmili area. Teachers and Civil Servants were promptly paid their monthly salaries. Anambrarians heaved a sigh of relief that the Messiah has come. By these acts, Governor Chris Ngige revealed that Anambra State was not so poor as portrayed by her past military and political leaders. Nonetheless, Ngige came through the back door. Consequently, the Court of Appeal removed him on 16 March 2006. The end does not justify the means.
The rightful winner of the 2003 Anambra State Gubernatorial Poll, Mr Peter obi, was sworn into office on 17 March 2006. The cock then crew. Anambrarians awoke from slumber. Peter the Rock has come to lay good foundation for the rebuilding of the State after many years of bad workmanship. Unfortunately detractors connived with the State Assembly under the leadership of Mike Balonwu and illegally impeached Peter Obi. But as God does not sleep, Peter Obi bounced back after three months through the Appeal Court who quashed the illegal impeachment done before cock-crow. Massive development of the State from all aspects started in earnest. Consequently, ANIDS was born. It reads: Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy. This scheme paid off so much in the State. Roads were constructed. The entire State is now connected with good road-networks. Schools were rebuilt with modern facilities including computerization. Commerce was given a face-lift. Hospitals were built and up-graded. Mission schools were returned to their rightful owners. In fact, if I were married, I would have given my first child the name ANIDS. Obi knows what governance is. I rate him the best governor of Anambra State in these 22 years of existence. He has transformed the State from "Home for All" to "Light of the Nation." Governor Peter Obi is about to leave the stage after eight years of excellent and exemplary leadership. If it were possible, he should continue governing Anambra State until Jesus comes again. But time is up. Thank you Peter the Rock. Upon this Rock shall your successor stand to lead Anambrarians to the Promised Land from where you stopped.
A widow told her consolers not only to weep for her, but also to plan on who inherits her as husband. Therefore, we pray that the forth-coming Anambra State gubernatorial election on 16 November 2013 may produce a worthy successor to wear Peter Obi's big shoes, so that we may reap much more dividends of Democracy that surpasses that of Governor Obi who is now standing at the exit door.