By Emmanuel Obe/Punch
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday officially inaugurated the exploitation of crude oil by the Orient Petroleum Resources Ltd in the state.
The event formally ushered Anambra into the league of oil producing states in the country.
During the event, each of the three former governors made speeches that were clearly intended to draw attention to their individual contributions to the oil exploration project.
One of the former governors, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, told the gathering that he set up the committee that established Orient Petroleum, appointed its first board and secured a licence for it to exploit oil in 2002.
While Mbadinuju insisted that he deserved to be given the credit for conceiving the vision, his successor, Dr. Chris Ngige, who was at the ceremony, said, “My administration invited investors from far and wide when we made public the shares of Orient Petroleum and it was chaired by Chief Emeka Anyaoku at Tourist Garden Hotel Awka.
“On that day we made a draft of N100m and promised to make available substantial amount of money when all the paper works had been concluded.
“But I must add that the revenue accruing from oil should be used judiciously and to provide social security for the people of Anambra State and host communities.
“I call it wonderful. It is a great day for Anambra State and the beginning of a long journey towards transformation of our state. Oil can be a blessing and can also be a curse. But let it be only blessing to our dear state.
“Anambra should utilise such a great achievement effectively, such that in the next six to eight years it will not need a kobo to run the recurrent expenditure of the state.”
Another former governor of the state, Mrs. Virgy Etiaba, thanked God for the realisation of the project and said she did not relent in her efforts to sustain it during her three-month tenure.
In his speech, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, said Orient Petroleum would jump start aggressive and strategic socio-economic development of the state.
“I pray that the production of oil would also create a friendly environment in our state and I urge those involved in this to see it as a challenge in liberating the economic status of the state from what it is now to higher level. That is why I say it is wonderful,” he said.