Of greater satisfaction to the World Bank team was that Anambra was adjudged outstanding in all the areas of the bank’s intervention in the South-East
The recent recognition of Anambra by the World Bank as the best performing state in the handling of the bank’s projects in the South-East region has, again earned it global attention for good. Coming at a time many states are struggling with a myriad of challenges, including poor governance that reflects in the inefficient management of resources, the recognition represents another landmark in its developmental process. It is on record that the government and people of Anambra have been ‘inundated’ with awards in recent times, which is evidence of Gov. Willie Obiano’s determination to position Anambra for effective governance and adequate human capital development.
The World Bank country director, Rachid Benmessaou, who led a 10-man delegation from the bank to Gov. Obiano in Awka, revealed that Anambra emerged tops in the assessment conducted by the bank in the South-East on execution and delivery of the bank’s projects in the region during 2017. According to Benmessaou, the outcome of his team’s 2-day working visit to Anambra to evaluate the World Bank project implementation for 2017 was satisfactory. The World Bank officials noted that Anambra excelled in the handling and monitoring of projects going on in the state and that the state emerged first in project delivery, monitoring, accounting and transparency in the 2017 assessment.
Of greater satisfaction to the World Bank team was that Anambra was adjudged outstanding in all the areas of the bank’s intervention in the South-East region during the review period. The sectors that benefited from the $100 million World Bank investment in Anambra (out of the $10 billion earmarked for Nigeria) include agriculture and community-based development projects such as rural electrification and rural access roads. These are people-oriented projects where Anambra excelled in project delivery, monitoring, accountability and transparency in the bank’s 2017 assessment. A study of the state’s performance in the priority areas that impressed the bank showed that Gov. Obiano’s emphasis on transparency and due process contributed to the success story.
As Philip Crosby said in his book, Quality is Free, “when it is right you know it”. Gov. Obiano’s performance has been outstanding and this is verifiable. Nothing could have impressed the World Bank better than seeing its investments make the desired impact on the people. The officials had expressed satisfaction over the success recorded in agriculture which has led to an all-year-round farming in the state. Gov. Obiano did acknowledge that the World Bank intervention in the state added value to the quality of life of the people in the benefiting communities.
This outstanding leadership quality earned Anambra the well-deserved recognition while other states were missing in action. Benmessaou’s response during the visit suggests that Anambra is set to witness more of such projects in the near future. Of course, Gov. Obiano’s performance has added to the confidence the bank has in Anambra among Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja. For instance, Obiano’s request for the bank to step up intervention in other areas so as to complement his government’s accelerated development programmes was favourably noted by the World Bank team. “Your assistance has been germane to the achievements and successes recorded by the state. I commend your initiative through FADAMA to introduce an all-year-round farming in the state. Your initiative, Anambra and Local Reform Project (ANSLOGOR) is equally important as it aids accountability and due process,” Obiano said. His mood revealed the joy of a leader who has impressed the world; and whose state attracts key global players in the critical development areas.
He used the opportunity to urge the World Bank to assist the state more in fighting erosion by increasing their current 12 erosion control sites. This will reduce the burden on the state government which is battling with 976 erosion sites across the local government areas. Obiano further expressed his government willingness to play active part in any of the bank’s Community Social Development Programmes (CDSP) created for the state.
The governor’s insight into the projects and their specific impact shows that the state government monitored the World Bank intervention initiatives. Obviously, Gov. Obiano’s performance will go a long way in changing the impression among the international community that nothing works in Nigeria. It will also disabuse the mind of many who believe that the notorious concept of “Nigerian factor” makes it impossible for things to be done the right way. The World Bank would have been utterly disappointed if the story was difference in Anambra which is highly rated for exemplary leadership. Anambra also came tops in the World Bank Health Excellence Award announced in July 2018 based on its outstanding performance in immunization. The award was earned under the World Bank “Saving one million lives” initiative aimed at expanding primary healthcare to women and children. At the award ceremony in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo paid special tribute to Gov. Obiano for his outstanding performance in implementing the World Bank health initiative. The “Saving one million lives” award to Anambra was based on the World Bank assessment of the 2016/2017 yardstick for measuring health sector performance in Nigeria.
Gov. Obiano’s silent healthcare revolution in Anambra is in line with the Federal Government health policy that promotes universal under-five-year-olds in remote rural communities across the country. Most states of the federation have not registered demonstrable progress under this initiative. Their challenge is compounded by the fact that these states owe their workers accumulated salaries and pension arrears. Achieving this feat is a demonstration of efficient deployment of resources by the state government. The World Bank says the Health Excellence Award focused on evidence-based, cost effective management of the intervention that addressed the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. The award comes at a time Nigeria’s healthcare delivery is rated among the worst in the world. The people of Anambra can be rest assured that they are safe from the tragic effect of collapsed healthcare system that has attracted global attention. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, painted a gloomy picture of Nigeria’s sorry health condition, earlier this year in Abuja while addressing the Nigerian Economic Council: “In 1978, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, who later became the Nigerian minister of health, helped establish primary health care as the global standard.
Egbuna writes from Nnewi