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Soludo brings real homemade solutions

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THE new governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, lived up to his billing as a worldwide reputable technocrat on his inauguration day. Nothing crystallises this repute more than his blueprint for the task ahead. From conceptualising his social contract with Anambra people from a syllogism of three seminal documents: Anambra Vision 2070 and The Soludo Solution, as well as The Transition Committee (Combined) Report, it is clear that by pitching their tent with the most scholarly among the 18 contestants that vied for the election, Anambra voters made the most rational choice on November 16, 2021.

  While the first proposition which is conceived from a 50-year rolling plan he chaired its drafting committee during the previous administration combines with the second that he subtitled a people’s manifesto to lead to the third, which is the finding of the Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili-led 150-member Transition Committee appointed by Prof. Soludo, that among other things examined feasibility status of all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as their footnote.

In all, not only does the dialectical foundation of the three documents pass every test of epistemological validity and concordance with traditional Aristotelian logic, they also show the governor has his tools ready, setting forth at dawn on the job of rocketing Anambra to global economic hub. But there is even another bull’s eye in the governor’s vision for the state: going after a home charge or problem with homemade prospects or solutions in his “agenda for an itinerant tribe in search of a livable and prosperous homeland driven by the philosophy of One Anambra-One People-One Agenda goal of transforming the state into a sustainable smart megacity.”

  The governor has a lucid compass for Anambra’s journey into next four years, saying “our detailed plan rests on five key pillars: law and order (homeland peace and security); economic transformation as Nigeria’s next axis of industrial-tech and leisure; competitive and progressive social agenda (education, health, youth, women and vulnerable groups); Governance, rule of law and a rebirth of our value system; and aggressively tackling our existential threat posed by the environment — towards a clean, green, planned and sustainable cities, communities, and markets.”

This shows vision that has clue, its projections right and preparations adequately elucidated on foresight and existential organisational skills that will spike Anambra State to the next level.

  If a governor promises to run “a humane and progressive government” that “shall strive to deliver the difficult change with a human face” to bring the world to Anambra and take Anambra to the world, then he is surely banking on homemade solutions to deliver his vision. From this, we can see the governor made it clear, very early, that Anambra and business are weaved together into the centerpiece. But it will not be business as usual, since the governor is in no doubt that “over the next two years, many will complain that ‘it is not the way we do it’” but he warned “we can’t repeat the same thing and expect a different result.”

That is why he was sure that “during the coming months, we shall embark upon bold but difficult reforms.” And here lies his clincher where others had settled for clichés. “Made in Anambra” and “Anambra Standards” are monikers of the agenda that underpins the governor’s strategy. Hence, he said “if you can produce it in Anambra, I will be your chief marketing officer, provided that your standard meets the Anambra standard — which is excellence.”

That’s why if everyone joins the state government in patronising made-in-Anambra products and services before made-in-Nigeria and then, Africa in that sequence, from automobiles to textiles such as Akwete and foot wears made in Ogbunike-Nkwelle Ezunaka and Onitsha while light refreshments being served in events are abacha from Umunze, ukwa from Isuofia, Anambra rice with ofe akwu, nkwu enu from Awgbu, ngwo from Awa and Oba, and malt and bottled water from Onitsha, it is not only evocative but big bold statements along the governor’s economic reengineering of Anambra State.

And he wasted no time to put words into action by selecting his automobile fleet from made-in-Anambra global brand, Innoson Venture Motors (IVM). But not a few ndi Anambra will also like to bring ofe onugbu Awka and Nimo into the new culinary orientation to sustain current market for bitter leaf exporters in the state.

  If the governor is recommending Nnewi, Neni, and Adazi Ani models as community development strategy, it follows he strongly believes that solutions to Anambra’s road infrastructural deficit lie right within the state.

  The proposal to conduct local government elections also scores the bull’s eye, because not only has this not taken place in the state for a very long time but the governor is keying into the people’s mood in his projection that “we must make the best of a bad system, by unleashing the potential of governance at the lower levels. Over the next two years, we shall review/amend the relevant legislations, reform and strengthen the system for efficiency, restructure/strengthen Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) and conduct local government elections.

We will collaborate and coordinate actively with LGAs to ensure synergy and complementarities. Let the revolution get to the grassroots. We shall reinvigorate and mainstream public-community-private partnership (PCPP) – as a veritable framework for service delivery and development.”

  The governor’s vision to get Anambra “back to where M.I. Okpara stopped with the palm revolution and plant millions of palm trees” also attests to his faith in homegrown recipes for rediscovering the state in just same way as growing and mining Anambra’s trove of human capital to leverage on technology through Anambra Innovation and Technology Advisory Council (AITAC) that will “drive the emergence of the digital tribe and mainstreaming technology and innovation across all aspects of our lives, our International Investment Council, our Global Friends of Anambra in Development as well as Council on Ease of Doing Business.”

  Indeed, Souldo’s speech also holds him out as a man of faith who believes that faithfully exploring homemade recipes will launch Anambra on world map of development. Hence, he projects that “a new servant leadership and a new homeland consciousness by the people will get us there despite the huge challenges.

For example, to effectively implement our ambitious agenda, we need annual investment levels of 25-30 per cent of state gross domestic product (GDP) that is about $2.58–$3.09 billion. At current levels, public sector investment is less than $100 million per annum. The gap seems daunting, but we are undaunted.”

  But in his preference for all-hands-on-deck approach, he also challenges everyone to “pay your fair share of tax and sanitation and other levies and try us. If I paid my 2021 tax to Anambra (over N10 million), the keke drivers pay over N90,000 per annum; the women selling pepper and hawkers who pay N200 per day average at least N50,000 per annum; etc,” internally generated revenue now barely 0.5 per cent of state’s GDP may get new boost. 

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