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Under Soludo, Anambra’ll witness positive changes  – Mbaji

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Expectations are high among ndi Anambra that the Gov. Chukwuma Soludo administration will bring a new dawn in the state. In this chat with RAY UDEAGBARA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief C.U. Mbaji, Ide Achina urges the citizenry to give him support. Excerpts:

ON the expectations of ndi Anambra under the Soludo administration

  It is said that to whom much is given, much is required. At the November 6 governorship election, ndi Anambra gave the current governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo what I’ll call overwhelming, in fact, resounding victory of 19/21, which implies that he won in 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state. This shows that Anambra people want him; that they recognise those immense potentials in him and that they want another APGA-led government under his leadership. From the 19/21 ratio, you can now calculate and see that he swept the polls.

He secured more votes than those other contenders put together. You can see the margin of victory so high that none of the other governship aspirants contemplated going to court, a replica of his predecessor, former Governor Willie Obiano, who secured 21/21 victory. I don’t believe he won because he’s an academic.

This may be a plus to him though, I believe he won because of all the contenders, ndi Anambra believe he’s the most suitable with potentials, the capacity and experience to steer the ship of the state better than others. Before he’s sworn in as the executive governor, he has taken some actions, outlined what he’ll do, how to go about them and even what his administration’ll look like.

In last discourses, I’ve spoken of his preparations to mount the saddle, his transition committee, his choice of locally, home made goods, Ogbunike shoes, Akwete clothings, Innoson vehicles, etc  in preference to foreign ones, and even locally made drinks like his preference to palm wine and readiness to borrow a leaf from former Eastern Nigeria premier, Chief M. I. Okpara to set up palm plantations.

To show example, remember on his inauguration on 17th March, at Government House, Awka, he’s in locally made clothes, Akwete, in locally made vehicle, Innoson SUV and in homemade shoes from Ogbunike. Soludo left suit, ties and even coming nearer home, to Nigeria, he left Agbada and settled with Akwete clothes made in the South East, in Akwete community in Abia State. This little explanation tells the type of state chief executive we have this time around; that he must be a man of his words, one who doesn’t mince words, and one who says something and stands on it.

  When he said his inauguration would be low key, some thought otherwise. It was, and brief, and immediately after, he went to work. The next day, he went to Okpoko for inspection. Never mind what happened on the day of swearing in, that was a sideline affair but even at that, the governor handled it with maturity and the business of day went on well.

  With this little background, I can then delve into the expectations of ndi Anambra. Sure their expectations are high. In all countries of the world, education, human resources development is key to development.

As an academic, we expect him to stand on the solid foundation laid by the out gone governor, Obiano. I can say without any equivocation that for the past eight years, umu akwukwo Anambra have enjoyed quality education, quality teaching and learning.

Teachers’ve enjoyed good welfare, regular payment of salaries and allowances with those posted to hard-to-reach, remote areas given special incentives. I’m sure that Soludo administration’ll provide more for this all important sector. Another important part of government is the civil service, the engine room of every government. As an experienced person with international connections, Prof Chukwuma Soludo knows the great role the state work force plays for the progress, success of any government.

I believe that the existing cordial relationship between the government and workforce will be maintained under the present Soludo leadership. I believe that in many states where the workers and the government are at loggerheads, we’ve witnessed slow, in fact, stalled progress. In most cases, we see strikes, industrial actions. These negate all works of government.

Ndi Anamba are lucky to have an academic who’s travelled widely, has wealth of experience, the vision, capacity and right focus and one who thinks home and believes in home made goods to be their governor. I agree with former Governor Obiano that the Soludo administration will even do better than his own.

  Of course Anambra citizens expect more quality infrastructure, greater boost in the agric sector, better welfare, better ease of doing business and more growth in entrepreneurship which implies a great boost in power and MEMES.

Ndi Anambra will like to see more industries and with the governor’s international connections, more influx of foreign companies and investors that’ll create more jobs. Small businesses like vulcanizing, generator and tricycle repairs, bricklaying, hairdressing, garri processing, etc play a key role in the growth of any nation’s GDP.

In this regard, Small and Medium Enterprises are the key. Here, ASBA and ANSIPPA, crucial business support agencies set up by the immediate past administration should be strengthened to further boost industrialisation and small and medium enterprises by providing startup funds and advice.

Remember, before taking his oat of office, the governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo has launched the online system to collect information on available persons with the competence, experience and passion to work with him through a platform designated for ndi Anambra to express interest in volunteering or seeking a political appointment or career in paid public service positions.

The Talent Data Bank offers a transparent and level playing field for talent search and team selection. Under his leadership, education is necessary since OND and NCE are the minimum qualifications for appointment of commissioners and other appointees disclosed in the expression of interest form for those seeking to serve in his government.

I believe this present administration has no room for segregation, or political and religious inclinations when making appointments. It’s my belief that, it wants the best for the state. As stated in his manifesto and repeated during his campaigns, Governor Soludo is committed to giving everyone who has the requisite competences, capabilities and relevant contributions to the good governance of his administration an opportunity to do so.

Remember the governor’s mission, to transform Anambra State into a livable and prosperous megacity. His goals include attracting problem solvers with passion, competence, capacity and integrity who have interest in joining a team of other selfless public servants to work for the good of Anambra. I understand that 2000 applications were received before the closing date for the application.

This is another innovation in the state administration and it’ll go a long way in fishing out competent heads. In fact, I will not be in a hurry if I describe the governor, Prof Soludo, based on his utterances and actions so far as a distinguished personality that embodies exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, originality and excellence. By whatever way you look at it so far, our new governor is an example of outstanding genius marked by distinction, superiority, excellence and intelligence.

His achievements at the Central Bank where he was the Chief Executive prove his high level of professionalism in getting things done timely without compromising on quality. His passion to always be an agent of positive change and desire to always offer selfless service to humanity were the principles that have continually propelled him in life.

Distinguished by competence, sustained by integrity, hardwork can be painful to those whose professional lives are devoid of purpose, but the resourceful person who has become a reference for competence by continually raising the bar of productivity; it’s just one of the vehicles which have driven his capability, commitment and integrity to national and international reckoning.

Our governor falls into category. In previous dialogue, I stated that our new governor has headed various international economic committees whose findings saved many countries from economic quagmire. In fact, Governor Soludo’s reputation has become a reference statement of competence and resourcefulness while his accomplishments so far are ringing endorsements of value and productivity of vision.

  Before coming to office, he said “the era of indolence, care-free attitudes, converting official hours to personal business and other general lukewarm attitudes to work in the public service are gone.” This statement is vital, and the governor is serious here. Anambra will witness many positive changes in governance. I believe soon, we’ll begin reaping the benefits of good governance. Look at the Talent Hunt Data Bank. Sure this is a complete departure especially in selecting people for political appointments while looking at the overall intended benefits for the state.

Back to our expectations, ndi Anambra’ll need good roads, solid roads with greater attention given to those in rural communities, particularly those leading to agrarian centres for easy evacuation of farm produce. The governor got applause for his decision to clean up Okpoko slump. This, if implemented, will give a new lease of life to millions living there and also beautify Onitsha, our metropolitan, commercial city.

We’re examining the Anambra State’s new government of Prof Soludo, its mode of governance and what the citizens expect, hope for. Ndi Anambra have expectation of a display of excellence in leadership with core values of godliness, integrity, teamwork and safety; a high level of competence and proven skills and genuine commitment to better the welfare of the masses.

 The new state chief executive is on a mission of rebuilding Anambra State. We expect our state to witness great transformation; be attractive to the world as the place to live, do business. The present administration has said it is sustainable ambitious development agenda and we expect as it said that the whole communities will be digitally connected to this agenda.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Okpoko, a sprawling slum in Ogbaru LGA will be the starting point of the great transformation. With the launching of its upgrading programmes, Onitsha, which sadly wears the toga of headquarters of air pollution, will receive a better attention. The present administration believes that the use of data and technology will be a more efficient and effective means of addressing the development imperatives of the state and improving the quality of life of the citizens.

As the new leadership avows, it will use data and technology to create more efficacies in delivering the much needed dividends of democracy, one of the primary goals of any responsible government. Here in the ‘Great Transformation, the talents, time and resources of ndi Anambra are of great necessity. Ndi Anambra needs the actualisation of the oil producing status of the state, the 13% derivation.

  While we expect more job opportunities to be created, Governor Soludo, prior to his inauguration had highlighted the need for more employment windows. He said “a significant part of our economy is powered by artisans, keke operators, vulcanizers, hairdressers, bricklayers, women frying akara and all those who depend upon daily toil and sweat to feed their children. Here the governor, an international recognised economist is quite right. In fact, the volume of businesses performed by this sector counts for about 70% of any nations GDP. This is why in advanced economics, governments pay great attention to this level of business. Ndi Anambra will want ASBA and ANSIPPA to be revitalised, if possible totally overhauled to boost efficiency.

This level of businesses will turn around the economic lives of the people. We need more skill acquisition centers, more funding for the state polytechnic at Mgbakwu and more attention to the power sector. All these will encourage the growth of entrepreneurship and job creation. Expectations are quite high like opening up a vista of more economic activities, boost the tourism of the state, to reposition the state and make it the envy of other states in the federation, to take it to glorious heights.

  The present governor has shown great seriousness immediately he took the mantle of leadership. He took some major decisions that highlighted some economics, political and security reforms. One of them is enforcement of made in Anambra products and this took immediate effect. To ensure this, his administration will inaugurate “The Anambra Innovation and Advisory Council”.

  As he said, as part of our made in Anambra Cultural renaissance, a healthy living agenda, only made in Anambra will be served in Governors Lodge or any government function. To authenticate this, the few people who witnessed his swearing in at Government House, Awka, can attest to the fact that nothing imported was served to the public. I am sure Soludo administration’ll place Anambra State on a pedestal for greater heights. In fact, our tomorrow will be brighter. Anambra will be a leading economic hub in the South East with leading 63 active markets.

On the role of ndi Anambra in Soludo

  As the state expects a lot from the new governor, so does he expect from us. He wants support, loyalty, criticisms but constructive ones. No one is perfect. Governments all over the world are criticised but constructively. The youth must shun all acts capable of inciting violence, youth restiveness, thuggery, cultism, etc.

They must be peaceful and allow the new government take off. Youths are the future hope of any nation. They should be co-operative with this administration. In all circumstances, they must abhor any form of violent acts. They must guard government properties, infrastructures, support its programmes and policies.

They must live strong, be firm, engage in business ventures to contribute their quota to nation building. For parents, it’s our responsibility to look after our children/wards, direct them properly, show them the path to follow in life. So we parents have vital role to play to ensure that our children, the youth become responsible persons in life; that they’re asset to the nation and not liability. It’s equally the joint responsibility of all, both young and old, to be supportive to the government.

Election is over, a new government has emerged. It’s the duty of every onye Anambra irrespective of religion, political leaning or even cultural background to brush aside politics and give unflinching support to the governor and his APGA-led administration.

  The important of taxes and levies for the execution of government programmes cannot be over emphasised. We must therefore see payment of taxes as a civic duty that’ll enable government carry on with its development projects.

  The current governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo has well articulated people-oriented programmes and policies, robust ones as that. His leadership will launch Anambra State on the path of sustainable development. With his pedigree and integrity, I can attest to the fact that he’s well equipped and prepared to deliver on his manifesto. He has come for a total turnaround of the state economy. Just immediately he was sworn in, he hit the ground running. Remember the next day, he embarked on an official visit to the Okpoko slump.

  The governor was an economic adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman and member of the 25 Federal Government Technical committees under the Obasanjo administration, former governor of the nations Apex Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and one of the ten members of the International Monetary and Advisory Committee.

  An international scholar, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo possesses all it takes to move Anambra State forward. With his noble attributes of assiduity, resilience, right focus and selflessness, Anambra’ll witness efficient service delivery in all sectors and enjoy good welfare. His regime will bring multi-sectoral development, curb infrastructural decay and social inequality and accelerate plans for technological advancement. The inter play of supply and demand will work out to equate prices and business activities will flourish.

  I pray that the Almighty God gives him good health and the strength of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon in his arduous task of steering the ship of Anambra, Light of the Nation, to greatness.

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