These are really good times for the people and government of Anambra State. Let us take a cursory look at three major developments, which took place in just the past week. On Saturday, October 5, Anambra State alone won four out of the 24 national awards available at the 2019 Teachers’ Day in a competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Education, in conjunction with The Presidency and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, for schools and individuals that excel in primary and post-primary education. Many states didn’t receive any, and none of the few that received got more than one prize. Out of the five cars that President Muhammadu Buhari donated for the competition, Anambra took two. Anambra State has been dominating this competition in the last three years.
While the latest educational exploits were making the headlines, it was revealed that the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, has approved the creation of a division of the appellate court in Awka, the Anambra State capital. Unlike in other states, where the federal authorities built such courts, Anambra State has provided the structures, including the court hall, administrative quarters and five residences for the justices.
“We cannot continue to wait for the federal authorities,” explained Governor Willie Obiano for the action, “because 70 per cent of the cases at the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal originate from our state. We wear the shoes, and so know where they pinch. We can save our people the time, financial resources and drudgery as well as security risks involved in driving regularly in large numbers on the bad Enugu-Onitsha Road. Our providing the buildings is comparable to our reconstruction and rehabilitation of federal roads in our state for the benefit of our people”.
Perhaps the most dramatic of the major events in Anambra State in the last one week was the launch of the of the second phase of Operation Kpochapu (or Operation Wipe Out Crime), which saw the deployment of supersmart surveillance cameras from Industrial Video and Control in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the first time the sophisticated gadgets, used to detect and capture the two radicalized brothers who detonated deadly bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, have been deployed in Africa. Governor Obiano calls the systematic use of the state-of-the-art communication gadgets as the cornerstone of the second phase of Operation Kpochapu the Smart Security City Project.
What took place in Awka last Friday was no ordinary launch of advanced security electronics but an unveiling of security armada.
“I have never seen anything like this in my decades of service in the Nigeria Police Force!” screamed Deputy Commissioner of Police Frank Mbah, head of the police relations team at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. There were 101 vehicles, many of them from Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company in Nnewi, the only indigenous auto manufacturing firm in West Africa. In addition, there were 79 hi-tech motorcycles. Each was fully equipped with the latest security devices. The hi-tech vehicles were branded accordingly, and have been distributed to the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, State Security Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Correctional (formerly Prison) Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and even the Federal Road Safety Commission.
The surveillance cameras work efficiently at night because they have infrared light. Each covers a space as big as four Olympic-size football fields. There is also an advanced drone to be operated in conjunction with the Nigerian Air Force. Not to be forgotten is the presence of three big Dura Patcher trucks from the United States to be used for not only security but for fixing potholes and craters. They will be deployed to the roads and streets of Anambra State once the rains are over, thus enabling NdiAnambra to drive around smoothly during Christmas when millions of them living outside the state return home to be with their relatives, friends, in-laws and others.
Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police who, on behalf of the various services, took delivery of the Anambra State security armada, said that he was expecting a large number of vehicles and sophisticated equipment when he was coming to the state, but certainly not on the scale of what he saw at Ekwueme Square. Other governments, he added, should learn from the revolutionary steps that Anambra State has taken to protect life and property in the state.
Governor Obiano has thrown a big challenge to his counterparts across the country and even the Federal Government because all federal agencies, which deal with security, law and order, should go fully digital in their operations, the way Anambra State has.
Air Vice Marshal Ben Chiobi, an accomplished Nigerian Air Force pilot, made a profound statement when he observed that another governor could have pocketed the money spent on the acquisition of these assets and the training of the officers to run them and label it security expenditure, which he would not account for. “This is where Anambra makes the difference”, he said. AVM Chiobi, mni, is the head of the Anambra Integrated Security Surveillance, the platform that coordinates the various service personnel and advanced equipment.
Many of the finest professionals and entrepreneurs from Anambra State, like the rest of NdiAnambra, identify proudly with the Anambra Smart Security project. They include Senator Onyeabo Obi; Allen Onyema, the popular chairman of Air Peace; Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, chairman of Nestoil; Stella Okoli, founder of Emzor Pharmaceuticals; Cosmas Ibeto of Ibeto Group; Agunze Chibu Ikokwu, former president of Aka Ikenga; Obiora Chukwuka, chairman of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals; Chika Okafor of Chikason Group; Ben Okoye, chairman of Brass Fertilizer; Ifeanyi Obiora, chairman of Obi King Group; Simeon Eyisi whose firm holds the Samsung franchise in Nigeria; Raymond Obieri, founding chairman of Intercontinental Bank; Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors; Bishop Paulinus Okafor of Awka Diocese; as well as numerous National Assembly members.
“These are just good times for our state,” observed Edwin Enwegbara, an engineer and founder of Eauxwell Group, echoing the popular words of the American band known as Chic, which Bill Clinton made his slogan when he was campaigning for reelection in 1997 as America’s President. From agriculture to industrialisation to security to education and to many other sectors, Anambra State has become a most competitive state. Both the people and their government are living up to their reputation as the Light of the Nation.
•Adinuba is Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Anambra State