By James Eze
The former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku has tabled a three-point Agenda to the members of the Anambra Council of Elders inaugurated at the weekend by the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano.
Addressing the body of pre-eminent citizens that make up the Council, Chief Anyaoku singled out Security of Lives and Property within the state, the Development of Anambra State and the Development of the Wider South East Zone as some of the basic concerns that the elders should take seriously.
According to him, having been inaugurated, it is expected of the Anambra Council of Elders to ‘deliberate on how the demonstrably impressive progress already achieved through the Governor’s Operation Kpochapu vis-à-vis kidnappers and armed robbers can be sustained and if possible strengthened by upping the role of communities and their leaders as well as the police.’
Chief Anyaoku also advised that the Elders would do well to conduct periodic reviews of the activities of the Anambra State government with a view to improving the conditions of the roads, bridges, agriculture, schools, hospitals, salaries and pension payment within the state and attracting investments from people of the South East zone both at home and in the Diaspora.
His third advise is that Anambra should consider the prospects of coordinating the economic developmet of the wider South East Zone and promoting and encouraging greater participation of the Zone in the affairs of Nigeria as a whole.
The former Secretary General of the Commonwealth commended Governor Obiano for inaugurating the Council, pointing out that it is an acknowledgement of the age-old Igbo proverb which says that what an elder sees from a seating position a young person may not see even when he is standing to his full height.
‘I must say that he has acted as a true African, for in the African traditional context, Ndigbo are not alone in tapping the wisdom and advise of the elderly’ Chief Anyaoku further observed.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Governor Obiano had said that the terms of reference of the Council was to ‘provide a platform for engagement between the government and selected elder statesmen/women from the three senatorial zones of the state and to advise the state government on major matters relating to the resolution of crises as may be referred to the Council by the Governor.’
He also pointed out that the inauguration of the Council was in keeping with his administration’s position on operating a transparent and accountable government would integrate input from critical stakeholders.
According to him, the invaluable advice and support of the Council would be useful in ensuring that his administration stays on course in its good governance agenda.
He therefore assured the Council that his administration would regularly brief it on its achievements and challenges with a view to evolving a responsible and responsive model of governance.
The membership of the council cuts across the three senatorial zones in the state and includes elder statesmen like Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Emeka Anyaoku who is the Chairman of Council, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Dame Virgie Etiaba and frontline nationalist and Zikist, Chief Mbazuluike Amaechi among many other distinguished citizens.