Anambra Compendium: Another First from a Pacesetter State
By Emeka Ozumba
One of the things that make Anambra State unique will be on display on October 1, 2018. Leading and shining lights of the State and her prominent friends will gather for the public presentation of the Anambra Compendium, a resource rich publication put together to mark the 25th anniversary of the state.His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, the state governor and the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi) will headline the epoch making event. The strictly by invitation event is scheduled to hold at Oma Event Centre, opposite Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka.
Interestingly, the shrinking in size from the old to the new Anambra, has not in any way diminished the giant strides recorded by the state and its people over the past twenty-five years. Created on August 17, 1991 by the President Ibrahim Babangida administration, Anambra State is rich in both human and material resources. With impressive fundamentals, Anambra is the birthplace of Nollywood, which has become the second largest film industry in the world today in terms of output. The state is blessed with natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, kaolin, salt, gypsum, lead, lignite, limestone and iron ore among others. Her citizens have recorded many firsts in many sectors of the national economy. Anambra State of today is still widely acknowledged for its natural endowments and human resources, who are prized assets that stand her out amongst the comity of states in Nigeria. For a people renowned for their industry, creativity, enterprise and resourcefulness, this spectacular compendium aptly captures the life, culture and achievements of people and governments of Anambra State over time.
It is long settled that one cannot attempt any narrative about Anambra State without acknowledging the feats of her great sons and daughters over the years. Since Nigeria’s pre and post-independence history, Ndi Anambra have overcome obvious impediments to be at the forefront of development in different sectors of our national life straddling political, infrastructural, economic, educational, artistic etc. What perhaps appears mind boggling to some is the people’s penchant of delivering excellence in every sphere of human endeavors.
Whereas one need not repeat the many firsts recorded by the state and its citizens over the years, it is worth recounting that the pioneering accomplishments of her sons and daughters like Olaudah Equiano, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Professor Kenneth Dike, and Mercy Eneli to mention but a few, undeniably foreshadow the current accomplishments of Umu-Anambra in different fields across the globe; the most recent being the towering global conquest by youngsters from Regina Pacis Model School Onitsha who triumphed at the world Technovation Challenge at Silicon Valley, United States of America.
The student’s ground breaking App reportedly elicited a rhetorical query from another student who wondered: “Why always Anambra?.” and the teacher’s reply, “Perhaps it is in their stars.” Whether in the stars of Ndi Anambra or not, it is undeniable that something makes the people and the state tick.
One of the best ways of sustaining and preserving the ennobling legacy of the state is in the 800-page Anambra Compendium – a historical compilation of glossy images of the life, culture and achievements of the government and people of Anambra State,
Aptly entitled, ‘ANAMBRA…Light of the Nation: A Compendium 1991-2016,’ the publication by Great Source Investment Limited in conjunction with Anambra State Government adds to the keepsakes in celebrating the state’s twenty-five years. With an incisive foreword written by the midwife of new Anambra, the inimitable Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, the compendium has received rousing reviews and endorsements by doyens of Anambra in government, royalties, captains of industry, arts, finance and the academia,
Snippets of the compendium include chapters highlighting achievements of Anambra people in the spheres of religion, education and medicine. The compendium also records the breathtaking, rich tourism potentials of the State. Three other chapters were devoted to profiles of the ‘icons and beacons’ of Anambra; role models, who have distinguished themselves in the areas of education, entertainment, commerce, enterprise, sports, literature, among others.
According to the Chief Executive of Great Source Investment Limited, publishers of the compendium, High Chief Emeka Okonkwo, “the presentation of Anambra Compendium on October 1, 2018, is strictly by invitation event. Prominent sons and daughters of Anambra will make their voices heard in appreciation of the role of the founding fathers, and everything that defines us as a people and as the Light of the Nation. A lot of work has gone into the production of this first of its kind compendium and I have no doubt that every onye Anambra will be proud to own a copy.” Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc will present the compendium while Professor Pita Ejiofor, former Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University will review the publication.
Okonkwo further explained, that the compendium consists mainly of properly captioned photographs and illustrations and easy to read explanatory notes. The book opens with the history of Ndi Anambra, the political and communities’ governance structure represented by the traditional institutions. This book is yet another first for the high flying Obiano administration, which set out early expanding the frontiers of excellence by crafting a wholesome new vision and mission for the state with a distinctive brand identity, and an inspirational State Anthem that the citizens feel proud always to sing-along with confidence and pride.
Sustenance of the record-breaking exploits of their forebears is always a challenge that confronts every generation, more so, a high achieving state like Anambra. But, it appears that one major goal of the Anambra Compendium is keeping alive an enduring tradition of excellence. Perhaps, for the young ones wondering, ‘how could I ever be one of the greats of Anambra?,’ a cursory flip through the pages of the Anambra Compendium to behold its enriching treasure throve of information on the culture, values and ethos that made the State’s great forebears, will offer the crop of dexterous new generation a life-time of real-life information and motivation to always reach beyond the stars.
Ozumba, a Public Affairs commentator writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra