Written By: Barrister Chuks Ezewuzie
Anambra, before now, was a pariah state. Though, a state flowing with milk and honey, Anambra was in a state of anomie, insecurity and stagnation. Those were the days when inhabitants were sleeping in Churches and police stations, which were not even spared by hoodlums. There were alienation and social instability, caused by erosion of standards and values. Armed robbers were writing letters to residents that they would come to rob and actually, they would come as specified.
Fortunately, today, Anambra State under Governor Willie Obiano seems to have internalized a lesson from Israel’s security experience. Arguably, the nation with the greatest security challenges, Israel’s dominance of its environment is not necessarily in the deployment of security infrastructure, but is to be found in the State`s inestimable regard of the citizenry.
For Governor Obiano, the people are indeed, the wealth of the state. It is a conviction held strongly so much so that we see the security issue receiving attention every time. No surprise then that the Obiano administration held a security summit within two weeks of its inception in March 2014. It was obvious that Akpokuedike was set out to secure Ndi Anambra.
In a broadcast to mark his one month in office, he categorically declared quote: ‘….the war against all forms of criminality and lawlessness in Anambra has begun… I am determined to win this war … I say this to kidnappers, armed robbers and vigilante gangsters, in the name of God, give up your crimes or leave Anambra state for good. If you do not, the might of this government will find you. We are determined to rid this state of criminal activities, whatever resources it takes`.
That earnestness has run through in Obiano’s regime, fast–tracking Anambra from a besieged state, a den of kidnappers and criminal`s playground to the safest state in Nigeria. The magic is simple. An extensive security action plan was introduced and continues to be intensively implemented. Starting from the provision of equipment, the police, army, navy, civil defence, Ocha Brigade and community vigilantes have all received logistic support from the State Government as well as mounting of CCTV across the state.
Hundreds of pick–up trucks, smart patrol cars, motorcycles, communication gadgets and other incentives were put at the service of the various security agencies. Above all, in Anambra, security has taken a systematic approach that spans intelligence gathering, synergy of operations and complement of food security. Governor Obiano equally went out of his way to ensure that all the security agents in the state work together. The unity that he fostered among them achieved major results. Instead of fighting, they now see one another as partners in progress.
Again, security in Anambra state finds expression beyond its formal space into other sectors and vice versa. There is wisdom in the saying that a hungry man is an angry man. Thus, Akpokuedike followed up to this when he said, quote: ‘We are well aware that if we replace the guns in the hands of our youths with employment letters and seed monies for small scale businesses, Anambra would be freer from criminals and social miscreants…’. End of quote.Accordingly, Obiano’s administration finds a simultaneous pursuit of crime fighting measures alongside skills acquisition and youth empowerment program.
Indeed, nothing authenticates and illustrates the safety and stability of the Anambra society today better than the rebranding of its image. Anambra state is now the place to travel to, work and live in, assured of peace and social safety valves.
In consequence, the state’s economy has continued to grow; it is currently rated the nation’s fourth largest economy and the state with least rate of unemployment. A more visible index of the confidence in the system is the almost daily opening of new hotels and recreation ventures across the state.
Night life is now reverberated in Awka, thanks to the state’s security architecture. It is clear that the state cannot go back to the dark days of lawlessness and impunity for Governor Obiano has laid the security roadmap and the course to a safer and more secure Anambra.