At exactly 2.07p.m. yesterday, the governor-elect of Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 16, 2013 governorship election, Chief Willie Obiano, was administered with the oath of office as the new governor of the state by the state Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi, amidst celebrations.
Before him, however, his running mate in the election, Dr. Nkem Okeke, took the same oath at about 1.55p.m.
The highly elated Obiano, who waved ceaselessly at the party supporters and well wishers who thronged the Dr. Alex Ekwueme Ground, venue of the event, in his acceptance speech, expressed gratitude to the people of the state for reposing confidence in him and his deputy, and pledged that the excellence his predecessor, Dr. Peter Obi, had entrenched in the state in the past eight years would be sustained.
He said his new administration was well prepared to expand the boundaries of the state development and place the state on the map of rapidly advancing states in Nigeria on all parameters of development.
â€œNkem (his deputy) and I are fully aware that after Obiâ€™s glorious reign, the state can only advance to higher glory. As inheritors of this tradition of purposeful leadership, we shall dedicate ourselves to a life of service. Our administration shall be responsible and responsive to your needs, â€œhe said.
Throughout history, societies that had crossed the threshold of development, he noted, had always worked collectively as one, adding that development comes faster when there is a social contract between the leaders and the led. He therefore craved the goodwill and supports of Anambra people to build on the great foundation his administration is inheriting and sustain the progress made so far in the state in the last eight years.
History, the new governor said, had shown that no remarkable human advancement takes place without a price, a reason he stressed, that as industrious people, Anambrarians are naturally poise for the tasking commitment that the long stride to development required.
Obaino paid tribute to the late leader of APGA, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, saying the votes cast in favour of the party during the governorship election which mandate he is about to exercise, was an affirmation of Ojukwuâ€™s life long struggle that Igbo people should uphold the view that they should pursue their own destiny and preserve their heritage through one united political roof.
He also expressed gratitude to the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, for his ceaseless struggle and visionary leadership, adding that he remains a proof that under the right leadership, the famous Igbo spirit that once made the people great during the colonial era could be rekindled.
â€œHis raw energy, charisma and amazing brilliance are the reason we celebrate the result we have today,” he said of Umeh.
The new governor thanked the federal government for providing a conducive and secure environment for the election that brought him on board and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting what he described as the most peaceful, free and fair election in the history of the state.
Obiano also extended the olive branch to Comrade Tony Nwoye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Godwin Ezeemo of Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) and candidates of other parties who contested with him in the election calling on them to join him in the march to make the state a better place.
â€œPlease always remember that the blood that binds us is thicker than the politics that separates us,â€ he said. Before the governorâ€™s inauguration, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, His Grace, Valerie Okeke, had at about 1.36p.m performed the invocation, praying that God should confirm the event and endow Obiano with wisdom, good health, vision and sense of mission to take the state to an unprecedented level of development. He had also prayed that the state would experience peace, love and brotherhood during Obianoâ€™s reign as governor.
The out-gone governor, Obi, had in a very solemn voice said he was grateful that the state had achieved a smooth transition noting that it was the first in the annals of its history since its the creation of the state 23 years ago. He noted that the stateâ€™s first civilian Governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, lost his job as a result of the military intervention led by the late General Sani Abacha in 1993 and could not hand over to a successor, while Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju also failed to properly handover.
Dr. Ngige who came in after Mbadinuju, he said, wasnâ€™t even around the day he took over after regaining his mandate in the electoral tribunal, let alone handing over to him.
President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Inter-Party Relations, Senator Ben Ndi Obi, who incidentally hails from the state, thanked the Anambra people for making the transition from Obi to Obiano successful and wished them well.
He said although Obi had ceased to be governor of the state, he would remain his Honorary Adviser on Finance.The special assistant also said Obi would soon become a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), an indication that he had been penciled down to replace Ms. Stella Oduah, the stateâ€™s ministerial slot who was recently relieved of her position as Minister of Aviation.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, Chairman, South-east Governors’ Forum and Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, former deputy governor, Emeka Sibeudu, APGA’s National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, Chief Emeka Offor, among others.