By James Eze ([email protected])
Ndigbo who are resident in Lagos finally caught the fever of the intense campaign in the Anambra gubernatorial election at the weekend when the campaign train of Governor Willie Obiano stormed the major markets in the nation’s former capital.
The traders who turned out in large numbers at designated venues to receive “the people’s choice” were excited to meet Obiano and his campaign team and listen to his account of stewardship directly from him. The places visited by the governor include the Balogun International Market at the Trade Fare Complex, Alaba International Market, National Stadium Surulere and Harbour Point Event Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking with his characteristic candour, Obiano informed the traders that he had cleaned up Anambra State and made it friendlier for business. “Please come home and invest in Anambra State. Our state has become a better place now. We are the safest state in the country,” he declared.
The Governor assured the businessmen and women that he had fashioned out dependable security architecture to ensure that Anambra continues to be safe for indigenes and non-indigenes who want to seek wealth creating opportunities within her borders.
He gave several instances of kidnap cases that the security apparatchik in the state had successfully foiled. “I remember a particular case in which a Reverend Sister was kidnapped in Kogi State. I got a distress call from her colleague who sounded distraught by the incident. I quickly switched into the mode and we began to track the kidnappers. We tracked every movement they made until they took shelter in a particular spot within the state. When I reached out to my colleague, the Kogi State governor, he directed one Mr Abu to work with me. But the man had no idea where the kidnappers had headed to with their victim but we knew exactly where they were. I sent a 20-man team to the kidnappers’ hideout; they stormed the place and rescued the Reverend Sister and arrested some of the kidnappers. That is how efficient we are in combating crime in Anambra State. In fact, every now and then, we get requests for assistance from neighbouring states. We are on a whole new level in that aspect,” Obiano assured.
He also informed the traders that Anambra was perhaps the only state in the country that did not feel the adverse effects of the economic recession, pointing out that his administration’s swift response with an impactful Economic Stimulus Package saved the day for Ndi Anambra.
“Anambra State did not suffer the corrosive effects of the recent recession in the economy,” he explained. “In fact, our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1% from N3.7 trillion to N3.8 trillion in year 2016. What is recession? Recession is when there is two successive negative growth in the GDP. Facts at the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that Anambra recorded 1% growth in its GDP within the period. That shows that we did not experience the recession. It also shows that we know what we are doing in Anambra State,” he further explained.
Obiano also informed the traders that his administration was paying serious attention to their colleagues back home and that he had given each of the 61 markets in Anambra the sum of N10m to upgrade their facilities and bring them up to contemporary taste.
“We have created the environment for 24 hour businesses in the state. In fact, a few businesses operate for 24 hours in Awka at the moment. There are streetlights crisscrossing major cities and towns across the state and our people are warmly responding to this positive development,” he narrated.
The Governor also told the traders that his administration had entrenched the practice of paying workers’ salaries on the 25th of every month, pointing out that by doing so, workers could now plan their finances and had more disposable income to spend and regenerate wealth in the state.
He therefore urged them to support his second term bid as he would further consolidate on the great strides of his administration in the second term.
The traders cheered his speech all the way and unanimously endorsed his bid for re-election in the November 18 election in the state.
Most of the traders demonstrated their support by branding their products with Obiano’s photographs and printing his name on some of the items they distribute across the country.
The most conspicuous of these goods branded with Obiano’s name and photograph is a beverage known as Muscato which was widely displayed by the distributor in some of the gathering in a warm display of support and solidarity to the governor’s bid for a second term.
Judging by the crowd that turned out at the various campaign stomps during Obiano’s Lagos tour, it is crystal clear that the people are solidly behind his second term bid. This is erases any doubt about the level of governor Obiano’s acceptance by the general population of Anambra State both at home and outside the state.