Tuesday, March 6, 2018 9:27 am
In terms of land size, Anambra is unarguably not one of the biggest states in Nigeria. But what the state lacked in terms of territory has been more than made up for in terms of its natural endowments, the industry, creativity and enterprise of its people. Indeed, Anambra, as it is today is an attestation to the truth in the claim that human resource is the most crucial factor in socio-economic and political development of a community, state and a nation.
It is a fact that Anambra people, or Ndi Anambra as they like to be called, have been at the forefront of development in various areas of national life in Nigeria’s pre and post- independence history. And the creation of the new Anambra by the military administration of President Ibrahim Babangida on 27 May, 1991, which entailed the excision of some of the territories of the old Anambra has not in any way diminished the development strides being recorded by the state.
The new Anambra has taken a giant leap in all aspects of development – political, infrastructural, economic, educational, urbanization in the past 25 years, a feat lucidly captured in a must have 800- page photo history compilation: ANAMBRA…Light of the Nation: A COMPENDIUM 1991-2016, published by Great Source Investment Limited in conjunction with Anambra State Government.
The Compendium was published to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of creation of new Anambra. It consists mainly of photographs and illustrations, accompanied by captions and small blocks of text, as opposed to long prose, thus making for easy, breezy reading. Well chronicled in the all glossy book are the historic achievements of the Government and people of Anambra State in the over a quarter of century of its creation. But even more than that, the Compendium is a very rich book about Anambra, its people and culture as noted by former President Ibrahim Babangida who wrote the foreword.
The former military ruler confessed that going through the book has afforded him the opportunity of knowing the reason behind the gravitas usually displayed by the average Anambra person: “I now know what some of my friends mean when they say ‘I am proud to be Onye Anambra.’ Everyone from Anambra State and indeed, all the stakeholders should be proud of Anambra State.”
Many who will read the 12-chapter book, will most likely come up with similar verdict, going by the throve of information it offers.
The Compendium opens with the history of Ndi Anambra, followed by a periscope of the existing political and communities’ governance structure by the traditional institutions in the state. Also highlighted are the achievements of Anambra people in the spheres of religion, education and Medicare. This was followed by the breathtaking, rich tourism potentials of the State, while three chapters of the book were devoted to highlighting the ‘icons and beacons’ – Ndi Anambra who have become role models and famous locally and internationally as a result of their remarkable feats in the areas of education, entertainment, commerce, enterprise, sports, literature, among others.
Also reflected in the Compendium is how Ndi Anambra cooperate to support the upliftment of one another, economically and socially through associations formed at different levels. The compilation concluded with the highlights of the Anambra at 25 Celebrations which was the impetus for the Compendium.
The publishers say the Compendium “projects the commercial, industrial and entrepreneurial potentials of the State marking her out as an engine-room of industrialization in Nigeria. It further showcases the rich multi-faceted culture of Anambra State and her natural and archaeological sites that make the State one of the preferred tourist destinations in Africa.” This is an apt encapsulation of the intendments of the Compendium.
In their bid to come out with comprehensive and all-embracing work, the publishers spent a year going around every nook and cranny of Anambra State documenting important historical, archaeological, industrial, commercial and tourist sites and locations.
In so doing, the publishers have succeeded in providing Nigerians and indeed, the world with important historical document on the kingship system, the evolvement of Christianity, enduring nature of traditional religion, and the business, political exploits of Anambra people as signposted by Nigeria’s first president and nationalist, late Chief Nnamdi Azikwe to Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, unarguable, the nation’s first multibillionaire who at his death was reported to be worth over $40 billion.
Those lucky enough to get a copy of this Compendium will get to know that some seeming ‘legends’ associated with the legendary businessman, including claims that the British Government requested for the use of his fleet of trucks at the outbreak of the World War II and that Sir Ojukwu’s Rolls Royce was once used to ferry Queen Elizabeth II during her state visit to Nigeria were indeed true.
Similar vignettes of elegantly couched basic information are also available on ‘beacons’ of Anambra like Oludah Equino, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Professor Kenneth Dike, Mrs Enell Mercy and many others who were pioneers in their various fields of endeavours not just in Afrca, but in the continent
Like the compass to the soul of Anambra it was intended to be, the Compendium detailed the traditional rulers of each town in Anambra, their component villages, popular festivals and tourism potentials.
Tourists and tourism companies will also find very useful, the comprehensive list of festivals across the 179 communities in Anambra State while culture enthusiasts will be excited by the information on the unique naming, marriage, rite of passage and chieftaincy customs.
Enticing images and history of beautiful tourism sites like the Ogbunike Cave, Obu Gad; Agwuve Trinity Tree, Ikenga Virgin Forest, Okpu Ana Natural Spring, Ukpor will no doubt be another attraction for tourist practitioners to acquire the book as a prime marketing tool.
The Compendium is a periscope of all that is beautiful in Anambra. But readers will also find on its pages snippets of information on the evolution of Christianity, education, transportation among others in Nigeria. The content of the Compendium is substantial, well-researched, well-written, informative with unique blend of eye-catching images that will make for a captivating, exciting reading experience for all.