Last Friday, March 17, 201marked exactly three years that Chief Willie Obiano took over as the governor of Anambra State from his predecessor, Peter Obi. The handover which formally took place at Ekwueme Square, Awka, witnessed the largest turn out of people in the history of the state.
Obiano mounted the saddle on the back of a heavy burden of expectations. Such expectations arose from the very high standards set by his predecessor, Obi, who in turn was faced with such after he took over from the sacked government of Chris Ngige.
Despite leaving on unsavoury circumstances, Ngige had contrived to make his mark in the governance of the state, with his government focusing majorly on road construction apart from prompt payment of workers' salaries. Being that the government Ngige took over from failed woefully in many aspects, Ngige's regime was hailed as messianic. Thus when he left office, many were not sure if Obi could fill his shoes.
But after what seemed a slow start, Obi went on to stun many people with his holistic style of governance through a vehicle he christened Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, ANIDS. This enabled him to develop the state simultaneously on all fronts; something many thought impossible at the beginning.
It was his success that made him become the first governor to be re-elected. He rode on that momentum to also install a governor from his own party then, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Obiano, though an accomplished banker, was relatively unknown in the state's political terrain, having concentrated only on his chosen career. Thus his choice by APGA as its standard bearer, came to many as a surprise, given the array of those who had lined up for that position.
Suffice it to say that Obiano's emergence is now history. But he had promised on coming aboard, to continue on the path of progress the two previous governors had taken.
Three years after, we can all but admit that Obiano has not faltered. The entirety of the expectations of the citizenry may not have been met, but it is clear that the present government has genuinely tried its best within the limits of the present financial difficulties, to keep the state afloat.
The state is afloat because salaries are still being paid as and when due, projects are still on-going, and the machinery of government is still well oiled.
While it is easier to criticise from outside, the truth is that the current economic crunch has dealt a huge blow to many state governments. It is such that many states are now behind in salary payment and other things appear to have also stalled.
We are satisfied that the Willie Obiano administration has tenaciously survived the odds. It is not easy.
We therefore urge him to continue holding the fort, while finding ways of improvement. He should seek more partnership with development or donor agencies. These agencies played a huge role in the success of the previous administration. With their help and the increasing revenue profile of the state, Anambra will continue to thrive.
We congratulate Gov Willie Obiano on the attainment of three years in office and it is our prayer that Anambra will never return to the days of the locust.
May God bless Anambra State.