Reflections on Obianomics
A day in the life of a governor can generate volumes of text, considering the drama, intrigues and scenarios that surround their lives in Nigeria. Portrait of Performance: Understanding the Vision Behind Obiano’s Achievements (NIT Publishing, Lagos; 2017) by Ngozi Emedolibe is a documentation that has packed Obiano’is leadership style as regards governance, but not exhaustively; because the author, a journalist, is more interested in highlighting the vision driving his projects, and how it could address other socio-economic issues confronting the state, albeit other leadership challenges in the South East region of the country.
Opening with an introductory section that bemoans the effects of bad governance in the country, the book, aptly identifies lack of preparation for leadership, as one of the major reasons most leaders fail in this part of the world and reiterate belief in prompting leaders from the fold of people with a track record of leadership skills in their portfolios. With copious examples, highlighted with innuendos (a disservice to the book which should be courageous to mention the politicians who came to power unprepared) the author mentions how leaders have been erroneously foisted on the polity by godfathers, who are only interested in raising successors, who would cover their tracks and protect their political and economic interests.
But striking a stellar example with the current governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, the introductory chapter makes no pretences about the intentions of the book, which is to sell the style of the governor in Anambra, going a step ahead to present him as the man waiting to take up the mantle of leadership in Igbo land judging by his actions so far. This part of the book captures it thus: “Governor Willie Obiano, an epitome of good governance, is a summary of what society needs to develop, a pathway for economic growth and presents a call for the citizens to be supportive of this vessel of transformation as the vision that could catapult the nation to enviable heights.”
A brief biographical account of the governor which forms the first chapter, (In the Beginning) that packs his life with intrigues that suggest he was made for what he is doing today. It is insightful for the author to go back to the basics to identify how significant Obiano’s birthday is. According to Emedolibe, as the then ‘Baby Willie Obiano’ was being born in August 8, 1955 in Africa, legendary Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, was also forming his movement, ‘26th of July Movement’, a platform that would eventually dethrone former President Fulgencio Batista, heralding unprecedented agricultural, educational, infrastructural and workers’ welfare reforms in Cuba. These, according to the author, are some of the reforms the Obiano administration has been championing in the state, as if it is by divine automation.
This chapter also does well by highlighting that the governor’s parents, who were lovers of education, did so much to impact on the young Obiano the thirst for education which would pay off with some of the great schools he attended as a child, juxtaposing it with the administration’s quest to make sure education in the state remains a priority.
The chapter on ‘Preparing for Service Delivery’ highlights how the life of the governor, from secondary school to the University of Lagos and his National Service (Benue State) was being geared towards service delivery to his immediate community. Most profound, according to theauthor, are his years in the oil and banking industries, where accountability and being accountable formed the fulcrum of his service, much synonymous with the expectations of every political office holder.
The remaining chapters would reflect on his insightful achievements in sectors such as security, agriculture, transparency in governance, stability in the polity, etc. But the book, with 15 chapters, is not only about the feats of the administration. Readers will find Chapter Thirteen soul-lifting, especially if they are from Anambra State, as the book goes futuristic by looking at Anambra in 2022, judging from the on-going projects by the governor, buoyed by how steadfast he has remained with his promises, which the author lavishly explains with four prominent speeches delivered by the governor.
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