Obiano: Security Icon West, Central Africa.

Ikenna Aniagboso

The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has won the Security Icon in Governance in West and Central Africa award at the 16th Africa Security Watch Awards in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The governor received the award during an event organized by Security Watch Africa in recognition of efforts by individuals, institutions and governments in Africa towards ensuring the security of lives and property.

Anambra state set the pace yet again during the award ceremony which was themed: Celebration of Africa's best in security, safety and governance, as it swept away five awards in different categories.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr, John Abang won the Best Crime Bursting Police Chief in West Africa award while the Chief Security Officer to Gov. Obiano, Mr Chinedu Aniagboso, a Chief Superintendent of Police, received the Best Executive Protection Security Officer in West and Central Africa award.

The police public relations officer of Anambra state police command, Mr Haruna Mohammed, a Superintendent of Police, received the Most Outstanding Police Public Relations Officer in West Africa award while Mr Williams Oduma, a Chief Superintendent of Police, won the Best Police Operations Officer in Nigeria award. Mr Oduma is the Anambra state police operations officer. To cap it all, the Anambra State Police Command won the award for the Best Crime Bursting Police Command in Nigeria.

Presenting an address titled:Crime Prevention, Control and Fighting in an Emerging Economy – The Anambra Case Study (Global Security Outlook: Challenges, Impediments and Prospects for a Secured Africa) at the award ceremony, Gov Obiano, represented by his Special Adviser on creative security, Air Vice Marshal Ben Chiobi rtd., remarked that Anambra state like most states, had had it's fair share of security challenges. He stated however, that his administration made a choice to take a definite stand against crime, recognizing of course, that no developmental plan can work efficiently without provision of adequate safety and security.

Obiano's commitment to security was a deliberate choice as it was an effort conscientiously made in addition to a presence of mind consistently needled to up the tempo in crime fight.
His first major step was recognizing that every developmental plan of his administration must be anchored on a robust and integrated security system - a system without which every effort would have been either frustrated or whittled down to the point of losing desired impact or worse still, end in futility.

His resolve to articulate ideas and develope a master plan became evident in the organization of Nigeria’s first International Security Conference which was put together shortly after he was sworn in as governor of Anambra state. As confirmed in the address, "our first step was to organize Nigeria’s first International Security Conference and hire an Israeli security expert to facilitate it. Several hours of brainstorming on the peculiarities of the Anambra security scenario led to the drafting of a blueprint that became the famous Anambra Security Architecture".

The blue print was implemented to the letter as the governor upgraded security equipment and facilities in the state. He donated operational vehicles and launched several security operations to combat crime in the state. The progressive efforts eventually led to the launch of a security operation codenamed operation Kpochapu - a joint task force with the Governor's mandate to intensify the fight against crime. Operation Kpochapu has evolved into a digital security and surveillance systems in its second phase. It marked the advancement of Anambra state into a new level of digital security.

On October 11, 2019, the governor shocked Africa with an unprecedented deployment of mobile security surveillance systems in Anambra state. He complemented this with the donation of 111 smart cars and 71 motorbikes to security agencies in the state. This shows the commitment of Gov Obiano in ensuring that the crime- fighting-apparatus in Anambra state is consistently updated to world standards in response to fast evolving crimes.
This rejigging/ updating, provision of modern equipment and operational vehicles, and enhanced incentives for the personnel, has aided immensely in crime fighting in the state and in positioning her(Anambra) as the safest state in Nigeria.

Investments and businesses opportunities have increased going forward. What is more, Anambra has become the fourth largest economy in Nigeria with the lowest poverty rate and a GDP of $11.83bn and a per capita income of $1,615. Today the state is home to the first indigenous Vehicle Manufacturing Company in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Nnewi. Investments in agriculture have grown massively over the years with many sons of Anambra as well as others investing billions of naira in the sector. Examples are Coscharis Farms, Lynden Farms, Stine Rice Mill, Josan farms among many others. The hospitality business has also grown with new, world-standard hotels springing up in the state.

The engagement and empowerment of youths in government and other skill development initiatives have seen to a sharp decline in youth restiveness. Through the Anambra State Business Agency, ASBA, many youths have secured loans to support their businesses thus ensuring rapid growth in youth entrepreneurship. The light-up Anambra project - the installation of street lights across the state to complement the strides in security - on its part, has ensured a considerable extension in business hours in the state. It can be said without doubt, that Anambra is gradually edging towards having a 24 hour economy. All these were achieved because a solid foundation of security and safety was laid.

It is therefore not surprising that Gov Obiano's commitment to safety and security has continued to earn him awards and recognitions. He has won many awards in the past on account of his developmental strides in every sphere of the state's economy and more for his relentless effort in crime fighting. It would be recalled that Gov Obiano won the award as the Best Governor/Premier On Security Architecture in West and Central Africa in Banjul Gambia during the 15th edition of the Africa Security Watch Awards.

Recently, on October 28, 2019 precisely, the Nigeria Police Force honoured Gov Obiano with Best Governor Award in Supporting Security Architecture in recognition of his tremendous support to the Anambra state police command. In October 2018, Obiano won the Presidency award as most outstanding governor on worker's welfare. This buttresses the fact that Gov Obiano does not joke with the renumeration of workers, including security personnel. Since the inception of his administration, Obiano has paid salaries as and when due. In 2016, Obiano won the prestigious Zik prize for leadership award for his stellar performance and visionary leadership just after two years in office. In February of the same year, he was crowned the Sun man of the year by the Sun newspaper awards. Obiano also won the Silverbirds man of the year award in 2016 for tremendous achievements in education, massive infrastructural development and prudent management of resources among many other awards.

There is nothing more reassuring to a people than the knowledge that the person they elected into office has made a choice to protect their lives and property. Apart from the fact that the fundamental concern of every human being is security and safety, it is reassuring and gratifying when a leader does just that. While many nations and states grapple with issues of security, others are proactively making choices to always stay one step ahead of criminals and ensure the safety of lives and property.

Gov Obiano was decided when he chose security as a topmost priority in his government, especially in regard to the current realities in a constantly evolving world, that his people may live safe and live free. This was captured succinctly in his concluding remarks. "The world is united by one anxiety – the challenge of securing lives and property; the challenge of living in a society where our freedoms are not limited by fear. Ladies and gentlemen, humanity today is united by the decreasing boundaries of freedom forced upon us by an increasingly unsafe world. But in Anambra State, we have chosen to live safe and to live free!".



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