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When visionary leadership matters: The Anambra example

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The world is changing rapidly fast and countries are responding to the demands of visionary leadership which creates a paradigm shift for economic prosperity. From Asia to Europe and America, nations whose affairs are superintended by men and women of visionary leadership are harvesting prosperity and advancement in human capital. The progress recorded by some African countries since the turn of the century – Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Angola – can be traced to this. At the recently concluded 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the world leaders called for creative approach to dealing with critical global challenges. These include climate change and poor economic development. They also urged nations to invest in their people by identifying new and better approaches towards containing critical developmental challenges. It is said that visionary leaders have the ability of seeing what no one else sees. They find potential and opportunity in unfavorable times to prove they see what is not there, or what is not there yet. Only visionary leaders – individuals who see the potential for how the world should exist and take steps to get there – can successfully lead people to tackle these challenges. This is the case in Anambra.

Gov. Willie Obiano is among Nigerian leaders that toe the line of visionary leadership in a practical approach that needs to be emphasized as well as emulated by his peers. In recent times, he has increased the tempo of economic and human development of Anambra in a manner that is difficult to separate from the outcome of visionary leadership. Examples: Gov. Obiano raised the stake in visionary leadership when he inaugurated the Anambra 50-Year Development Plan Committee late 2019. Chaired by former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Charles Soludo, the Committee is empaneled to create the historic Anambra Vision 2070 Document – a Strategic Development Plan initiative meant to transform Anambra into a world-class economy and an advanced society. The Soludo-led team is charged with the task of crafting the vision and mission statements for Anambra Vision 2020. The project will identify specific sectors to focus on, fashion out development measurement frameworks, and determine critical milestones and success factors, among others fundamental. Gov. Obiano stressed that Anambra Vision 2070 Plan is for the security, prosperity and happiness of Ndi Anambra. He charged the team to submit a document that details the overall strategy for sustainable development of the state. The committee has an initial period of nine months to conclude and submit its report to the State government. Coming about 40 days to the “funeral” of Nigeria’s ‘dead’ Vision 20:2020, Gov. Obiano has put Anambra on the global map. It could be recalled that the Nigerian government launched the blueprint of the highly-celebrated Vision 20:2020 in 2009. The target was to build the Nigerian economy to join the league of the 20 topmost world economies by the magic year, 2020. Ironically, the long-term plan failed to yield the desired outcome: Nigeria hit January 1, 2020, as the 28th largest economy in the world in 2019, according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Worse than that, Nigeria became the headquarters of the poorest people on earth. It has the highest number of people living in extreme poverty across the world. An estimated 86.9 million people are said to be living on less than N381 a day with the figure increasing every six months, according to The World Poverty Clock. Beside Vision 20:2020, Nigeria had also launched the Vision 2010 – a 230-page report submitted to government in September 1997. Again, it failed. Anambra Vision 2070, therefore, comes at the most opportune time to restore hope and to inculcate the culture of developmental plan which has painfully become ‘alien’ in Nigeria over the years. The pool of crème de la crème of Anambra indigenes who constitute the Soludo-led 50-Year Development Plan Committee cut across the professions, vocations, occupations and the youth. Achieving the goals of Anambra Vision 2070 requires an enabling environment. The governor has, therefore, created the enabling environment that attracts high net-worth investors. In recent times, notable individuals and corporate bodies have taken advantage of this to invest in the state. Examples include the recent launch of “Anambra Tea”, a unique brand of indigenous beverage known in the market as ‘Ijele Hibiscus Tea’ and ‘Ijele Lemon Tea’, produced with local materials by Obinwugo Farms Limited. In a recent letter of appreciation to Gov. Obiano, the chief executive of Obinwugo Farms Limited, Mr Emeka Obinwugo, an indigene of Umuoji in Idemmili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, lauded the governor for his support to indigenous entrepreneurship. Another milestone is the commissioning of a multi-million Dollar rice processing mill at Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area, built by Nigerian business mogul, Cosmas Maduka, an indigene of Anambra. Constructed by Coscharis Farms, a subsidiary of the Cosharis Group which Maduka controls, the $35 million facility was recently inaugurated at a colourful ceremony in Anambra attended by Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele among other dignitaries.

Conscious of the need for adequate security of lives and property, the state government has deployed advanced technology to support its “Think Home” policy and to create confidence among investors. The recent launch of the second phase of Operation Kpochapu (or Operation Wipe Out Crime), saw the deployment of super smart surveillance cameras from Industrial Video and Control in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, under the supervision of indigenous experts. With critical infrastructure being put in place, such as the rehabilitated and upgraded Onitsha inland water port, the proposed export cargo airport, high quality road network, implementation of the 50-Year Development Plan will not only witness a smooth take-off but achieve the objective. As Igwe Sir Kris Onyekwuluje of Umunya in Oyi local government area observed, the vision 2070 will project Anambra the world best tourist attraction. “Obiano is not just a leader, but a visionary leader with lofty ideas to transform the nation. He is planning for tomorrow which success is determined today. By this Vision, he has projected Anambra to the global map.”

Egbuna wrote from Nnewi.


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