By Clifford Ndujihe, Deputy Political Editor
TO cap an eight-month long celebration of the 25th anniversary of Anambra State, the state government has sanctioned a book detailing the history, founders, icons, cultural heritage and other features of the state.
To be presented soon, the book titled: ‘’Anambra Light of the Nation: A Compendium,” is designed to celebrate the state’s rich history/cultural heritage, enterprising spirit and exploits of it’s people, arts and craft, food and lifestyle, as well as it’s iconic personalities, past and present leaders and traditional institutions.
Presentation of the book is part of the Anambra at 25 celebration, which began on Friday August 24, 2016 with a press conference by Governor Willie Obiano State Executive Chamber at the Anambra State Government House, Awka and lighting of the three flyover bridges along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Awka. Thereafter, there was dinner/gala night on Saturday August 25 and a lecture: “Think Nigeria, Invest in Anambra – Aku Luo Uno,” delivered by His Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, on October 3, 2016 among others.
Why we sanctioned the book – Deputy governor
Speaking on the book, the Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke, who chairs the Anambra @25 committee, said: ‘’Twenty five years in the life of a people or state is a remarkable milestone. As a people, Ndi Anambra have overtime, proven to be special breeds who have excelled in whatever field they find themselves.
‘’We are particularly known to be industrious, resilient, creative, courageous and hardworking. All these are evident in the ingenuity of our people and the outstanding successes they have recorded both at home and in the Diaspora.
‘’So, we thought that documenting these great exploits of our people and Anambra’s history in a book form would invoke a sense of pride in Ndi Anambra for generations to come because a people without history will most likely face a blurry future.
‘’So, as part of our 25 years anniversary, we thought it wise to take a bold step in recording these success stories of our state, as an entity, as well as the glorious impacts of our people in shaping the history and socio-political economy of Nigeria.
‘’We also intend to use the Compendium to showcase our rich cultural heritage, God-given natural endowments and unique tourism potentials. As you know, tourism everywhere in the world is a big revenue earner, therefore, highlighting our numerous tourism potentials in this manner would help in drawing the attention of the world, especially potential investors to this sector in our state. In essence, the Anambra state compendium will tell you all you need to know about Anambra and Ndi Anambra.’’
Anambra is land of several firsts – Okonkwo
Speaking in like manner, Chief Emeka Okonkwo, co-ordinator of Anambra @25, said: “ Our dear state, Anambra is the land of several firsts in different fields and its people have contributed in many ways in shaping the history of Nigeria. One of the greatest problems we have is that the history of Anambra and the numerous great exploits of our people are not well documented for people, especially the future generation, to appreciate.
“Take for instance, the great strides of pioneer transporters such as Ekenedilichukwu or the unequalled business acumen of the late billionaire, Sir. Louis Odimegwu Ojukwu and several others whose lives were tales of integrity, hard work, enterprise and unblemished characters that are worthy of emulation.”
He continued: ‘’The compendium would be an “authentic referral material on Anambra that is devoid of partisan politics as it seeks to give a factual and accurate information of Anambra’s 179 communities, early civilization, government structures, past and present leaders, traditional festivals and religions. The book would also highlight our beacons, who have placed Anambra on the global map as well as our icons that have made Anambra proud at the national stage.”
Synopsis of the book
A synopsis of a section of the book , ‘Our Enterprises’, read in part: “Anambra state is easily the state with the highest number of billionaires in Nigeria…this is not surprising considering the well known commercial, industrial and enterprising nature of Ndi Anambra.
“Right from the colonial era, Ndi Anambra have continued to excel in industries, trade and commerce. The achievements and exploits of Ndi Anambra’s forebears such as Sir. Louis Philip Odimegwu Ojukwu are legendary.”
The business section of the book contains profiles of notable industries in the state and their promoters.
Why Anambra needs documented comprehensive history – Duru
Dr. (Mrs) Njideka Duru of the Centre For Preservation of Indigenous History, harped on why Anambra deserved a documented comprehensive history.
“Among the Igbo, there is a strong attachment to Anambra… In the build up to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, for example, apart from a handful of individuals from neighbouring states, most of the personalities that called the shots from the eastern flank were from the present day Anambra. There were for instance, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Akwaeke Nwafor Orizu, both at different times, President of the country and Senate President, respectively.
“They also had younger contemporaries such as late M.C.K Ajuluchukwu, Mbazuilike Amaechi, Igwe Osita Agwuna and Dr.Okechukwu Ikejiani. These people at the time, helped to sustain the fire of Nigeria’s nationalism.
“Even after independence, when the ship of the Nigerian state left no room for the Igbo, the task of charting the path for self-actualization of the people through the instrumentality of the Peoples Republic of Biafra, fell on General Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, again from Nnewi, Anambra State. Also, at the height of the civil war, when the federal authorities were looking for an administrator for the East Central state, they settled for late Ukpabi Asika, from Onitsha, Anambra state.”
Indeed, the state is replete with men and women, who have excelled in diverse fields including entertainment, literature, science, administration, law, sports, military, entrepreneurship among others.
The deputy governor said that documenting the lives and times of these great men and women would inspire the spirit of excellence, enterprise, hard work and ingenuity in the current generation and those to come.