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Anambra pushes towards one mega city-state



ANAMBRA State will become a model city-state in no time. This is because Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has clearly expressed his mission to bring the State, the Light of the Nation, into a viable mega city-state status.  This laudable initiative is a major component of Prof. Soludo’s plan for greater Anambra State.

  According to him: ”There is no stopping work for a better Anambra State. Our goal is to become the most livable smart megacity. This requires planning, and enforcement of minimum best practices and standards for the ease of transport, communication, recreational facilities, public conveniences, etc. Anambra must be transformed into a mega-urban and industrial city-state with a sustainable mechanism. It is a vision that hopes to exploit the geographical advantage and the unique entrepreneurial capabilities of the people of Anambra State.

  Soludo also maintained that the mega city-state, ”is a vision of a homeland that is the preferred destination in which to live, invest, learn, work, relax and enjoy; a livable city that provides equitable access to the necessities of life such as housing, mobility, food, services, education, and gainful employment. It affords all residents the opportunity to participate in the civic, economic, and cultural life of the city. It is an Anambra that aspires to be the best in every positive way, not only in Nigeria/ Africa but in the world.”

In this instance, Soludo’s vision is akin to Singapore’s mega-city transformation and the United Arab Emirates urbanisation success story.

  Singapore raised from a poor city-state status in 1965, to become a global economic powerhouse, a livable smart city-state. Its small size was considered a major disadvantage, depending on the outside world for food, energy, and water, coupled with a high unemployment rate. Singapore has been called the 20th century’s most successful development story. As an Asian Tiger, it had seen rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators since the 1970s.

  The United Arab Emirates’ urbanisation success story began in the early 1970s from a hot desert, small densely populated area dotted with old mud houses. The meticulous urbanisation policy of Dubai makes the place one of the most sought-after places to visit, live and work given its attractiveness to the renaissance of its rustic settings. Anambra State under the watch of Prof Soludo is set to tread the same path.

  Despite Gov. Soludo’s vision of taking Anambra State to the next level through his urbanisation project, he senses the danger urban degeneration constitutes in Anambra, a major threat to a population of over 5 million people but through urban regeneration projects, assures that when his grand vision is implemented, children born in Anambra will not have the lure to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

  One salient but hidden fact is that more than 80 per cent of the global gross domestic product is generated through the cities. Prof Soludo’s vision is also designed to implement robust clean and green initiatives to fulfill the aim of having Anambra as the cleanest and most environmentally friendly state. In addition, his administration will encourage and incentivize households to plant a minimum number of trees per annum; besides enforcing the master plan of the state drainage system to ensure the systematic discharge and collection points; design and enforce a template of minimum standards for infrastructure and other facilities in cities, markets, and communities among others. 

  Given that more than 60 per cent of the Anambra population lives in urban areas, making Anambra a city-state is a strategic standpoint that will grow the state’s economy and empower the welfare of its citizens.

  Prof Soludo intends to kick start Anambra urbanisation regeneration starting from Okpoko in Ogbaru Local government Area, home to the largest urban slum in Anambra State, as it will be provided with modern basic amenities; with plans for Awka, Nnewi, and Ekwulobia, among others to follow suit. 

  Also embedded in the urbanisation renaissance of the new Anambra is the development of and implementation of the master plan and mass urban road rehabilitation. Soludo’s initiative also includes the creation or rescue of public parks and recreational grounds. The introduction of a new face of sanitation and environmental beautification will give the state a new look among other laudable urban regeneration programmes.

  Prof. Soludo affirmed the Anambra urbanisation project is a huge task, a challenge that requires the collective will of ndi Anambra, he asserts the word of Charles Kettering, “Nothing ever built arose to touch the skies unless some man dreamed that it should, some man believed that it could, and some man willed that it must.” By volunteering himself, Prof Soludo enjoined every Anambarian to do the same to have the Anambra mega city-state of our dream, a global trendsetting place to live, invest, learn, work, relax and enjoy.

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