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The Man Willie Obiano

Willie Obiano Striking a Pose - at an event with Gov Peter Obi

Willie Obiano Striking a Pose – at an event with Gov Peter Obi

 – By Willie Obiano

Who Chief Willy Obiano is?

I am from Aguleri. My parents are Phillip Obiano and Christy Obiano, my father has passed away but my mother is still alive. I went to primary school at Holy Trinity School, Onitsha, my WASC and HSC at Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha, my first degree in Accounting at University of Lagos and my second degree in MBA marketing (UNILAG).
Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano holds a B.Sc. Second Class Upper in Accounting from Unilag (1979) and an MBA in Marketing also from same university. Chief Willie Obiano is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Chief Willie Obiano was John F. Kennedy Essay Winner 1974 at CKC and holds a national Merit Certificate for outstanding service during his NYSC(National Youth Service Corps) in Benue State, Nigeria in the 1979/80 Service Year. Chief Willie Obiano is the President AMP8 (Advance Management Programme) of Lagos Business School for Ten years running. Chief Willie Obiano is also a 2006 BNV (Building New Ventures) CLASS member of Harvard Business School, Boston USA, also Standard University.

He is the Patron, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (Lagos Mainland District) and National Youth Council of Nigeria, Anambra East Chapter.
He is also Patron of the following Catholic Groups:
1. St. Anthony of Padua.
2. Catholic Artistes and Entertainers Association of Nigeria.
3. Catholic Women Association, Aguleri
4. Priests and Rev. Sisters of Aguleri Origin.
5. Missionary of St. Paul’s Society.
6. Catholic Women’s Organization, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Ifako, Gbagada.
7. National Youth Council of Nigeria, Anambra East Chapter.
8. Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Onitsha Archdiocese.
9. Grand Pillar ST Gerald Catholic Church.

His community, Aguleri, conferred on Chief Willie Obiano and his wife in year 2000, separate chieftaincy titles for distinguished service. Chief Willie Obiano is currently the president of Aguleri Council of Chiefs.

On January 2nd 2011, Chief Willie Obiano and his wife Chief Mrs. E V Obiano were adopted into the cabinet chief, Igwe-in council of the Idigo dynasty of the ancient kingdom of AGULERI. This high Chief investiture made Chief Mrs. E V Obiano, the only female in the hundred and twenty years Idigo dynasty, to be so honoured. They were also conferred as The Otunba Atayese and Erelu Atayese by Oba David Adegboyega Oyewumi (Faseemi ll) Obadu of Ilemeso- Ekiti.

Chief Willie Obiano started his banking career as Officer in First Bank in 1981 from where he moved to Texaco Nigeria Plc as Accountant. Chief Willie Obiano was promoted 4 times in his eight-and-half-year-service at Texaco to become Chief Internal Auditor. Chief Willie Obiano is a specialist in Bunkering, Lube-blending and Refinery Audits. Chief Willie Obiano was part of the team that audited Texaco Refinery in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1989.

Chief Willie Obiano joined Fidelity Bank from Texaco in 1991 as Deputy Manager and head of Audit. Chief Willie Obiano was promoted Manager in 1991, Assistant General Manager in 1993, Deputy General Manager in 2000 and General Manager in 2002 and Executive Director in October, 2003. Between 1991 and 2002, Chief Willie Obiano headed the following Groups, Divisions, at one point or another: Inspection and Audit; Operations and Information Technology; Division Head, Commercial & Consumer Banking; Division Head, Eastern Market. Other areas include Financial Control, Risk Management and Transaction Support, Corporate Finance, and Non Bank Financial Institutions.

Chief Willie Obiano was part of the great team that saw Fidelity Bank through the Bank’s Consolidation process.Chief Willie Obiano is a no nonsense tactician that you cannot miss in a crowd.
As Executive Director of the Mega Fidelity Bank (and No. 2 man), Chief Willie Obiano is in charge of Business Banking (Corporate Banking, Non Bank Financial Institutions, Treasury, (Naira and Foreign Exchange, Oil & Gas, Telecom & Food and Beverages, Transport and Aviation). All the Regional Managers of the bank report through him to the MD/CEO.Chief Willie Obiano has attended numerous banking courses including the following: Credit & Trade Services Course – Citi Bank, New York (1994)
Treasury and Money Market – NatWest, London (1996) Correspondent/Trade Services/
Emerging Market Course – FIM Bank, Malta (2002) Managing Integration Process – Houston Texas 2006.

In furtherance, I started my professional career with First Bank and was there for 16 months before I joined Texaco Nigeria as a senior accountant. I worked with them for over nine years and I was promoted to Chief internal auditor of the firm in my third year with expertise in auditing of refineries and bunkering.

That is the experience that I took to Fidelity Bank where I worked for 23 years with nine years as Executive Director in-Charge of Business Banking and the number two man. During my time there, banks in Nigeria passed all kinds of turmoil but it was due to the expertise of the team that I worked with that the bank stood strong and today Fidelity Bank is one of the strongest banks in Nigeria. This is the background, experience, profile that I am bringing to bear on the work I am going to do in Anambra State.

I have been a chartered accountant for over 23 years now and I am a fellow of the Institute of Chartered accountants of Nigeria. I am very familiar with the peculiar challenges of Anambra State and I am qualified and prepared to tackle the task ahead. By the way, I was the winner of the John F. Kennedy Prize for Essay Competition in 1979, I was the best Corps Member during my NYSC service year and last year in Houston, I was honoured as Africa’s Distinguished Banker of the Year 2012 by the US-Africa.

This is part of my pedigree and there is no way I can fail Anambrarians. I will bring all this experience to bear on administering the state and serving Anambra people. I have no doubt that Ndi Anambra will give me their votes on November 16.

MOTIVATION AND BLUEPRINT:

I joined the race because I have a desire to serve my people at a higher level. Another reason is that the Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi has done a great job and I am inspired by his achievements.

I wish to ensure that the great job he has done will be sustained and expanded so that Anambra State can take its pride of place in Igbo land and Nigeria as a whole. Another motivation is that I also have a dream for Ndi-Anambra. My dream for Anambra is well captured in my Vision and Mission Statements.

My vision is for Anambra State to become the first choice investment destination and the hub for industrialization and commercial activities in Sub-Saharan Africa. My Mission is to create a socially stable, business-friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State. You will agree with me that Anambra State is probably the most industrially and commercially active state in Nigeria outside Lagos.

I am sure that our success in Anambra will have a ripples effect on neighbouring Igbo states and on Ndigbo as a political entity who deserve a strong economic and industrial base to compete favourably in the larger Nigerian family. So, to answer your question more directly, I am in the race to help in laying the super-structure for the emergence of a better Anambra State and a greater Igbo land and Nigeria.

My plans for Anambra State

That is a very good question. I have just told you my Vision and Mission statements. They are central to my Blueprint for Anambra State which I will quickly share with you now. First of all, for you to understand my plan for Anambra State, you have to understand what we call the 3Cs Paradigm which stands for “Continue, Complete and Commission.” This paradigm emphasizes the need to continue the act of purposeful leadership that Governor Obi has started in Anambra State, complete all outstanding projects, ideas and initiatives going on in the state and quickly commission them and give them the chance to grow.

You will agree with me that one of the greatest obstacles to development in Nigeria is the lack of continuity in the vision of governance. The familiar practice is that when one administration ends the next one throws out everything the predecessor has done and starts from the scratch.

This has led to so many gaps in governance. That should not be so. Governance is a continuum. With the 3Cs paradigm, Governor Obi’s legacy will be preserved and expanded in Anambra State under my administration. On my part, I have also evolved what I call the 10-Pillars of Development for Anambra State. This is at the heart of my governance strategy. There may not be enough time to share the full details of this document with you but I will quickly tell you that the 10-Pillars revolve around Education, Health, Infrastructural Development, Security and Social Welfare, Commerce and Industry, Environment, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Tourism Sports and Youth Development and Administration and Civil Service. The enablers have already been started by Governor Obi’s administration.
Now, let me take you through the pillars in a rush.

In EDUCATION, let me quickly add that my father was a renowned headmaster and I know the value of education. So, I plan to amend the curriculum of primary, secondary and state-owned tertiary institutions in Anambra State to ensure that our children are adequately equipped with modern knowledge and technical skills that will help them fit into our changing world. This means that we shall introduce basic ICT training at all levels and curricula. I will also introduce a rigorous recruitment exercise and revise teachers’ remuneration to attract the best hands to all levels of education in the state.

In the area of HEALTH, I will construct 10 Medical Emergency/Trauma Centres across the three Senatorial Zones and continue to provide excellent healthcare services across the state by leveraging on the national Health Insurance Scheme to improve technology and subsidize healthcare. I will construct three new General Hospitals and two Specialist Hospitals in the state.

In The ENVIRONMENT, I shall tackle the 750 erosion sites in Anambra State head-on by sourcing large financial and technical support from foreign donor agencies. We shall also set up a Special Task Force on the Environment to tackle air, water and noise pollution and reverse the current 80 per cent deforestation rate in the state to checkmate the occurrence of new erosion sites.

In the area of INFRASTRUCTURE, I will continue the expansion of Awka Capital City Project and build two modern cities. We shall also build 700km of roads, flyovers, pedestrian bridges as well as dualize high-traffic roads in our major cities. In addition, we shall leverage on our cordial relationship with the Federal Government to fast-track the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge and the dredging of Niger and Anambra rivers.

In the area of COMMERCE & INDUSTRY, I will create Anambra State Markets Agency (ASMA) to rehabilitate, construct and regulate all trade activities in the major markets across the state and plough more investment into supporting existing industrial clusters in Onitsha, Nnewi and Ozubulu. I will set up Entrepreneurial Schools to train our businessmen and women in current global best practices in business.

In AGRICULTURE, I will leverage on Federal Government’s existing plan, focusing on the development of the State’s food basin in (Ayamelum, Anambra West, Anambra East and Ogbaru) to ensure Anambra State becomes self-sufficient in all staple foods (rice, cassava, maize and yam) by 2018.

In HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT, I will pursue an aggressive implementation of the master-plan for Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi that has been laid down by the Obi administration and go into a PPP arrangement with reputable developers to build new settlements of 10,000 housing units annually in order to decongest highly populated regions of the state.

For SECURITY & SOCIAL WELFARE, the Governor Obi administration has done very well in this area and I hope to continue the good work by creating an agency to be known as Anambra State Traffic and Safety Agency and introducing capacity building programmes for Community Vigilance Groups to assist the police in keeping our communities safe.

In TOURISM, SPORTS & YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, I will craft policies that will specifically promote private sector investments in hotels, resorts, theme parks and tourist sites in the state and establish 21 Sports Centres across all local governments to provide windows for the discovery of young talents.

For ADMINISTRATION & CIVIL SERVICE, I will revise the compensation and welfare packages of civil servants in the state to ensure optimal service delivery, greater productivity and a better life for our people. In addition, I will introduce a structured and transparent recruitment process and commence annual retreats for all civil servants (level 15 and up) to evaluate performance and enhance improvement.

My core focus will be on agriculture, trade and commerce and industrialization. It is around this core that you have the enablers like transportation, ICT, sea port which is a very important aspect of industrialization with its ripples effects in the economy, finance, and security. We will bring in some elements of CCTV in sensitive areas to help in the investigation of crimes.

With the transparency of the current administration which we shall sustain when we are sworn in and the contacts that we have built over the years, Anambra will experience accelerated growth. I am sure you are aware that during the last banking consolidation which compelled banks to shore up their capital base to N25 billion, Fidelity Bank where I worked as the number two man was able to muster N130 billion when so many banks could not raise N25 billion.

You don’t just raise that kind of money if you don’t have the expertise. I am only using this example to show that there is enough know-how in terms of our ability to source funds for our programmes. We know where to go; it is not like flipping through the newspapers to find who will give you money. We know where to get the funds, how weare going to manage it and what projects to undertake.

STRATEGIES FOR EXECUTING THIS VISION IN THE COMING ELECTION?
Well, I think it would be unwise to unveil my strategy on the pages of the newspapers. That is my secret weapon. I will not give it away like that. You can only know my strategy by observing its implementation. You do not give your opponents a chance to steal or copy what will stand you out as a candidate. What is in evidence at the moment is that the people are already excited because they are emotional about our party, APGA.

If you ask me, I will tell you that Anambra people are already sufficiently motivated by the achievements of Governor Obi. The evidence of what Governor Obi did to fix the state is everywhere, so, Anambrarians are just waiting for the D-Day to cast their votes for APGA, a party their great leader Eze Igbo Gburugburu, late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu built and identified with until his death.

So, there is the Ojukwu factor and the emotion that it evokes in our people who would like to honour him by voting for the party he built.

But beyond the massive transformation of Anambra State by the Obi-led government, beyond the fact that Anambrarians would like to honour our leader, Ojukwu, is also the fact of our pedigree (My Deputy and I). We have a trademark of integrity, excellence, strength of character and contacts that will take the state to the next level in its march to development.

The truth is that Anambrarians know who we are; they know our ticket is one that will deliver the expected results and the people being politically discerning people know that we are the best choice.

So, as I have said elsewhere, we are going to win this election on the basis of first; the performance of APGA government in Anambra State which is one of the best in the country. And we are also going to win on the basis of our experience, expertise and acceptability to the people. We are well prepared academically and professionally and we have all the contacts to make Anambra the epicentre of excellence and the pride of the entire South Eastern Nigeria. We are competent, strong and tested technocrats who know how to manage the process and improve upon the formidable foundation Governor Obi has laid. So, Anambra people should be rest assured that this tag team will deliver.

ON THE QUESTION OF MY NOT BEING A GREEN HORN AND HAVE NOT BEEN KNOWN TO HAVE HELD ANY POLITICAL OFFICE IN THE PAST?

Holding any political office in the past is not the only qualification for running a state. When Governor Peter Obi came on board, he was considered an outsider by some people, but you can see that he has delivered more than most of the so-called experienced hands. There are many unknown people that have come into a political race such as this and left a mark in leadership. US President Barack Obama was once also dismissed as a green horn. His opponents know better today.

What our people must understand is that we are actually talking about leadership here, not politics. Leadership is a far more complex art than mere politics and in leadership what is more important is slightly different.

As far as this race is concerned, my deputy and I have the right background, the professional competence, ability to drive the process, proven track record, the academic qualifications, the knowledge of how and where to access funds for our projects and all. So, being a green horn does not count, what matters is the substance you carry.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT I GOT THE TICKET BECAUSE I AM THE POLITICAL GODSON OF GOVERNOR PETER OBI?

Well, on a lighter note, I am older than the governor, so I cannot be his godson. But on a serious note, I have heard such comments and my response to it is to let them know who I am; that I am a tested technocrat with proven track record in established places both nationally and internationally. Without sounding immodest, I have come a long way and the question of being anybody’s godson does not arise. I am my own man.

I know what to do. I am very competent, confident and tested. The question you are asking would be relevant if I were a nobody with no intellect and no pedigree but I am very well established. So, that view is totally wrong. I rose to the highest level in banking and should not be seen as nobody. As we say in Igbo language, I am an ”Ijele” (A big masquerade).

CONSIDERING THE ARRAY OF OPPONENTS AM RUNNING WITH AND THEIR FINANCIAL MUSCLES AND CONTACTS, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN COPE?

I know that Anambra people are very discerning. They know who we are and what we can do, they know where I attended primary, secondary and other schools. They know my parents and my pedigree. I believe I don’t have any competition. Besides, it takes more than money to win the support and approval of NdiAnambra.

Our people are not desperate and poor. Anambra has a large population of wealthy and proud people that money cannot buy. And with Governor Obi’s solid legacy, this race shall be more about issues than financial muscles. What NdiAnambra would like to know is who will continue the good work that Governor Obi has started and who has the vision to create something new. When they think about this question, they will remember me and my running mate. That’s why they will vote for us.

HOW WILL YOU TACKLE KIDNAPPING? THE PRESENT GOVERNOR HAS GONE AHEAD TO ENSURE THAT THE BUILDINGS OF CONFIRMED CONVICTS ARE DEMOLISHED. IS THAT A GOOD STRATEGY?

Governor Obi has tackled all aspects of security in Anambra State and not just kidnapping. Kidnapping is a serious concern but there are also other crucial threats to security in our society which I am prepared to tackle head-on. What Obi has done is a very effective way of dealing with the menace of kidnapping. It sends a strong warning that people should not aid and abet crimes wilfully. If somebody is kidnapped and kept in your house, your house will be destroyed. So, it serves as a sort of a deterrent.

But we will go further to encourage the neighbours of kidnappers to come out and fight the menace by reporting any suspicious movements in their neighbourhoods. Let me also point out that kidnapping is not peculiar to Anambra State. It is a familiar menace all over the world but we have the solution. Over the years, Governor Obi’s regime has created a tactical approach to crime prevention and control which involves a harmonious co-operation between the police and the Vigilante Groups.

We shall explore further enhancements of this model for improved results. I will also ensure that the Police in Anambra State is active and effective and above all, on top of their responsibility. We will support the police in terms of their equipment and mobility. I will personally ensure that we equip the police to be at their best in combating crimes.

ASSUMING YOU WIN AND TAKE OVER THE REINS OF POWER IN ANAMBRA STATE, WHAT SHALL WE EXPECT FROM YOU IN THE NEXT 8 YEARS?

When I assume position as governor, we shall run Anambra in a way that after eight years Anambra state would have started the real journey in terms of industrialization, all the roads in the state would have been completed; so subsequent governors will not be talking about building roads rather they will be concentrating on something different. The Health Sector in the state would have been developed to a point where it would no longer make sense to send the sick to India or Europe for treatment and the educational standards and facilities in the state would be such that youngsters are naturally drawn to classrooms.

In eight years’ time, the rate of unemployment would have been drastically reduced through our rapid industrializing efforts and through the proliferation of ICT Parks, hotels and tourism and also through the glamorization of the agricultural sector. Agriculture is said to be the largest employer of labour in most economies.

Anambra has a lot of arable lands for mechanized farming. Once we glamourize agriculture by providing modern farming machines, youngsters will find it attractive and be drawn into it. That in itself will have a significant impact on crime and security in the state. I plan to leave Anambra better than I meet it. Anambra will certainly be a better place when we are done with the changes we hope to bring.

IF YOU WIN GOD WILLING, YOU ARE GOING TO WORK AS A MINORITY PARTY, ARE YOU NOT BOTHERED? AGAIN, GOVERNOR OBI IS ACCUSED OF FLIRTING WITH THE PDP, WILL YOU DO THE SAME?

For your information, the strategy that Governor Obi has adopted is a winning strategy. Most of the developments he has attracted to the state has been because of this approach and for me, I will even be closer to the Presidency because we need all the goodwill and patronage to be able to achieve what we intend to do for Ndi Anambra.

You can’t afford to be aloof when you are hungry for the development of the state. We will utilise every opportunity that we can get to provide the best for our people. The truth is that the Federal Government is very influential and if you are not cooperative, they may decide to frustrate you by not doing even what they ought to do for you. They may refuse to execute or slow down the Federal Government projects in your state.

But if you harness the relationship well, you will gain. More importantly, my administration will be all inclusive. I will be the governor of all Anambrarians and not for a particular segment or party. So, when I win, I will quickly reach out to all my brothers in other parties like Andy Ubah, Chris Ngige, Ezeemo, Nwoye and Ifeanyi Uba and others and bring them to the fold so that together, we will develop our state to a point where everybody will be happy and proud to live in it. My vision is to make Anambra the number one destination for investment and commercial activities. We will provide business friendly environment and attract Anambrarians, Nigerians and foreigners to come and invest in the state. Anybody that has something to bring to the table, we are ready to partner with them.

Chief Willie Obiano is married with a beautiful daughter and a young son. More about Chief Willie Obiano would be revealed as we go into the campaign.

Do you have a story or an article to publish? Please email us at [email protected].

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