The Address on Umueri Airport City Project: A Template for Leadership in Nigeria

  • O. Jason Osai
  • Sam B. Kalagbor


In one of the episodes of his incisive and critically acclaimed public affairs commentary series, Common Sense, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce of Bayelsa State conducted a performance evaluation of governors in Nigeria in which he placed Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State at the top bracket. Bruce concluded the episode with the recommendation that other State governments should emulate Anambra by striving for self-sufficiency towards departing from what has been referred to as babiyala syndrome of Nigeria federalism. By uncanny coincidence on April 11, 2017, as the sun let its light shine in a peculiar display of its kaleidoscopic effulgence from the centre of our solar system, Governor Obiano prayed that God should bless the shining light that Anambra people bear as he addressed the State on the proposed Umueri Airport City Project. The paper subjected the words, inferences and essence of the address to critical analysis from various perspectives of leadership, good governance and development studies; it discussed leadership and its capacity to motivate people towards striving for excellence and, ultimately, the achievement of collective goals. In concluding, the paper held that the address is: (1) pivotal in the affairs of Anambra State especially given the realities of the current economic recession; (2) a powerful wakeup call on the people of the State urging them to let the light of their entrepreneurial and can-do spirit shine towards economic emancipation of the people and the State; and (3) a template that governors of other States, especially those who are obviously not performing effectively, should adopt and adapt towards efficiency and effectiveness in leadership and governance at the subnational level of Nigeria.

Key Words: Can-do spirit, self-sufficiency, economic diversification, Build- Operate-Manage-and-Transfer, babiyala federalism


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057