By Alozie Alozie
Before the coming of Willie Obiano as governor, during the glorious reign of Peter Obi, Anambra State lived up to its slogan ‘Light of the Nation’. Fast forward to today, seven years since Obiano first took the oath of office, the case is different.
A comparative analysis of Anambra State during the time of Peter Obi and the last seven years of Willie Obiano will clearly show that while Anambra State had more money in its coffers and executed more projects during the time of Peter Obi due to prudent management, the same cannot be said of Willie Obiano.
Recently, Anambra State missed out of N43.416bn ($120.6m), the performance-based grant component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme. A programme that saw 24 out of the 36 states benefiting. This is an unfortunate situation.
One of the major problem in Nigeria today has been that of government’s wastefulness and one of the characteristics that have endeared me to Valentine Ozigbo, is his prudence in management as we saw during his time as CEO of Transcorp Plc.
Valentine has always noted that “Prudential management of public resources is crucial to good governance” In his words, “If we can cut waste and direct these funds to areas wherein they would be more impactful and valuable, we would be on the right track to development.”
“We need to fix our schools, roads, health sectors, and create social safety nets for our people and to achieve these, public funds must be channelled to the right projects,” the press has quoted Ozigbo.
“Funding government officials and their lifestyle with a significant percentage of the public budget is an imbalance in public spending that is not for the good of the majority.
“We must entrench competence as a staple in governance. We must seek ways to synergise and embed the spirit of collaboration in our system.
“We must learn to collaborate with the private sector and development financial institutions actively. The right mix will ensure we spend less and achieve more.
“For businesses to thrive, we must provide the right environment and infrastructure to aid competitiveness in the business space,” Ozigbo has said.
For Anambra to achieve greatness as a true business hub, an industrial area, it needs a prudent government and not a wasteful one and no one fits this better than Valentine Ozigbo.
Mr Valentine Ozigbo has at least 16 years of professional banking experience working in some of the biggest banks in Nigeria. He was Head of Commercial Banking at Diamond Bank Plc for five years between 1995 and 2000, before proceeding to United Bank for Africa where he worked for a year (from 2000 to 2001) as a Business Manager.
Between 2001 and 2003, Mr Ozigbo was the Acting Regional Director of FSB International Bank. He later left this role and returned to United Bank for Africa in 2004, where he worked for four years as Head of International Banking.
In 2008, he left United Bank for Africa for Keystone Bank for the last leg of his nearly two-decades-long career in the banking industry. He served as the General Manager of the bank’s Global Transaction operation.
In 2011, Mr Ozigbo chose to leave behind his years-long career as a commercial, retail, investment and global banker. His next move was to delve into the hospitality business as the CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, the parent company of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja and Transcorp Hotels, Calabar.
Ozigbo served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc from October 2011 to December 2018.
In this role, he provided strategic direction and drove the execution of key strategic goals of the company and its projects under management which included business expansion, merger and acquisition opportunities, business improvements, upgrade and renovations.
He was also responsible for developing five new projects worth over $500 million including two hotels in Lagos and Port Harcourt, a 5000-capacity conference facility, luxury apartments and the upgrade of existing hotels with additional retail facilities.
As CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Val oversaw the hotel’s expansion to other cities across Nigeria and consolidated its status as the leading hotel in the country. Under him, the company announced an N8 billion initial public offering (IPO) in 2014, which was a huge success.
A world-class accountant and globally celebrated champion of good corporate governance, Ozigbo stands most qualified to step into the seat of governor and fix the multi-dimensional mess Chief Willie Obiano will be leaving behind on March 2022.