A Welcome Address by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano at the 3rd Anambra Business Roundtable holding at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia on March 16, 2018
On behalf of the government and people of Anambra State, I welcome you all to the peaceful city of Awka, the capital of Nigeria’s safest state.
Since the inception of my administration, I have looked forward to this day. I have looked forward to the day when the illustrious sons and daughters of this great state would sit down at a roundtable with their fellow businessmen and women as well as accomplished entrepreneurs from all over the world and our friends from the development agencies, to midwife the birth of a new economy in South East Nigeria. And I am happy that the day is finally here.
Ladies and gentlemen, this event comes to set the tone for my second term in office. Coming from a private sector background, I consider it important that my second term in office should begin with a robust dialogue between our Development Partners, members of the private sector, policy formulators and my administration to crossbreed ideas that will give us a stronger, bigger and better Anambra State in the next four years. Indeed anyone who has followed my administration will know that this is not entirely new. In fact, this is in line with our tradition of consulting with key actors and stakeholders on all issues relating to our beloved state. I recall vividly that in the very first month of my administration, I convened an all-important session with the captains of industry in the government house to chart a new industrial direction for Anambra State. We also held a hugely successful Summit with our Development Partners in July last year. So, we have always moved along the trajectory of consultations, dialogue and more consultations.
Ladies and gentlemen, looking back on the past four years, I am proud to say that we have achieved our mission to ‘create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State.’ And that is why we have gathered here today. Indeed, Anambra is finally ready for the world. And you can declare that from the mountain top!
We have re-created the socio-economic environment of the state and attracted five billion dollars of investments. We grew our GDP by one trillion naira at a time Nigeria was recording negative growth in the national economy. We masterfully increased our Internally Generated Revenue without increasing taxes. Indeed, we have successfully laid the foundation for a strong sub-national economy and we are prepared to go all the way to realize our vision to become “the First choice investment destination and the preferred location to site new industries.” But we are aware that we cannot do that alone. No, we can’t!
Ladies and gentlemen, that is why on the eve of my second term inauguration, we have gathered here to envision a new Anambra State; a state that is grounded enough to preserve the ethos and mores of our fathers but dynamic enough to harness the benefits of technology and modern economic principles to carve out a place for itself in a changing world. I am speaking of a state that will point a firm finger at the obstacles that have discouraged development in this hemisphere and announce an end to their reign.
Ladies and gentlemen, on the eve of my inauguration for a second term in office, I am delighted that this event has given us an opportunity to have a robust conversation that will open new corridors of hope for Ndi Anambra. I have no doubt in my mind that this Roundtable shall take a hard look at where we are coming from and tell us what we must do to make Anambra a model state. In holding this optimism, I am reminded of a similar effort we organized on Security a few days after my First Term inauguration and how it helped in turning Anambra State into a reference point in security. I have no doubt that we shall rise from this Roundtable with a blueprint that will position Anambra State as the next economic force on the continent.
While I do not wish to pre-empt conversations here, I would like to sincerely make the following notes.
As we brainstorm for the best formula for the rapid development of Anambra State, my team and I need more supportive partners. We need the re-assuring presence of our development partners that will help us in producing important blueprints for the development of Industrial Clusters in the three senatorial zones of the state to complement our efforts in developing agricultural value chains across Anambra.
We need assistance in our search for a solution to the intractable challenge of electricity in our dear state. It is obvious that whatever vision of greatness we might have for Anambra State will be truncated by the current challenges of electricity generation and supply. So, we need solutions in this regard and we need them quick. While we are seeking partners from the private sector to achieve this, we also need the support of our development partners to bring this aspiration to reality.
Indeed, we need assistance in the area of providing pipe borne water to every household in Anambra State and the technical support of our partners to get our Universal Health Insurance Scheme up and running smoothly.
And finally, we need assistance in our quest to further develop our infrastructure like roads, irrigation projects, storage facilities for our farm produce as well as improved inputs that will boost the yield-per-hectare in our farms.
Ladies and gentlemen, Anambra State is at the door of change. Everyone seated at this Roundtable today is a change agent.
Our progress does not depend on economic forces beyond our control; it depends on us—on the inventiveness of our entrepreneurs, the support of our development partners, the industry of our workers, and the strength of our people.
I wish you fruitful deliberations.
Once again, welcome to Anambra State.