March 2022 the incumbent governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, will leave office after serving a two-term of four years each as governor of the ‘‘Light of the Nation’’ on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
He has done his best, which in no way, matchs the standard set by his predecessors. However no two leaders are the same.
Anambra State indeed is very unique to Igbo civilization especially when one remembers the significance of Nri culture and the Igbo worldview and therefore deserves the best in all ramifications, as Imo and Abia states have failed in leadership.
Perhaps, the leadership that will emerge in the state after Obiano will not only take the state but the Igbo to the promise land.
On queue for the exalted position are many. The state which has never lacked millionaires and billionaires deserves an ideal and people-oriented leadership, which existed during the tenure of Mr. Peter Obi.
However, all hopes are not lost as the younger ones like Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, the immediate past president and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc., are indicating interest to turn the state around again.
Coming on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ozigbo is already parading an intimidating credential, which is making others to shiver; even still an aspirant.
His background and his blueprint on how to develop Anambra State and the South East Nigeria is a masterpiece.
Already, Ozigbo has identified the problem with the leadership and the Anambra people and has provided solution in his blueprint.
Just like Obi, Ozigbo believes in prudent management of funds as exemplified in his tenure at Transcorp.
His words: “Prudential management of public resources is crucial to good governance.
“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.
“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.”
Recall that Anambra State recently missed out of N43.416 billion ($120.6 million) performance-based grant component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme because of poor governance.
A programme that saw 24 out of the 36 states of Nigeria benefiting. Such opportunities would be difficult to miss under the leadership of Ozigbo, who is versed in the financial world.
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, 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, Ozigbo chose to leave behind his years-long career as a commercial, retail, investment and global banker.
He later delved 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 5,000-capacity conference facility, luxury apartments and the upgrade of existing hotels with additional retail facilities.
As CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Ozigbo 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 in the Government House.
The seat also favours him, as it is allotted to the Anambra South, where he hails.