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Since 1999, no consecutive three years have seen such level of turbulence and crisis in Nigeria’s economic and political life as the last three.  Oil prices collapsed, government revenues came under immense stress, the  exchange rate and inflation are at an all-time high since 1999. Governing a state in Nigeria where you do not have control over much of these macro variables must be extraordinarily challenging. For Governor Willie Obiano, whose third anniversary in office was marked on March 17, it must be time to thank God for His mercies— For survival and progress! In the context of Nigeria’s situation over the last three years and in comparison with other states, or even in comparison with past governors in their first three years, Governor Obiano has without question done very well. However, I must also add that there is still a very long way to go, and I am sure Governor Obiano will be the first to acknowledge this.
I recommend the book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, entitled: Start-Up Nations: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.  Countries/societies that have recently achieved spectacular economic miracles, such as South Korea and Malaysia have three key features. They got some fundamentals right and kept doing them right over an extended period.  Lee Kuan Yew was asked to explain Singapore’s economic miracle, and he retorted that they got a few things right and kept doing them for decades. The second is the adoption of a grand vision and a Grand Plan (broadly owned with elite cohesion around the plan) such that successive governments kept moving within a defined trajectory. Finally, they got longer-tenured governments to cement the vision/plan instead of the four yearly turnovers with policy reversals and false/fresh starts.
Anambra has begun the journey, but Ndi Anambra need extraordinary cohesion, new thinking/orientation, new politics and different actions to accelerate the momentum for the economic miracle of the 21st century. The book, Start-Up Nation, asks a pertinent question: “How is it that Israel – a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources – produce more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?”  Braughtigam, in an article, entitled: “Industrialising in spite of the State” described Nnewi, as the Taiwan of Africa. Despite the plethora of constraints – especially power and infrastructure deficiencies – Nnewi and Anambra entrepreneurs are still on the rise. Innoson Motors – the Nigerian indigenous automobile company– is a toast of that doggedness.
We would need to plan for 20-30 million people in Anambra over the coming decades, as Anambra fuses into one mega commercial/industrial city. At the moment, Anambra has a governor, who understands wealth creation. Security of life and property is the most critical factor for investment and Anambra under Gov. Obiano is one of the safest (if not the safest) states in Nigeria. Anambra is institutionalising change – remember the book entitled “Built to Last”?—There is a medium-term plan and the state has also set up the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) as well as the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) – which has attracted up to $5 billion private investment commitments to the state within two years. Thousands of direct and indirect private sector jobs are being created and this is remarkable at a time of economic recession. With the campaign for Aku Lue Uno, are we about to see significant escalation of start-ups such that in 10-20 years’ time, Anambra will be an island of prosperity, an economic miracle with more start-up companies than most countries?

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