Reading through his election manifesto which was not just a campaign to lure the people to vote for him but a social contract with the people, Prof Charles Soludo in the opening statement wrote: “I apply for the job of governor”.
The application formed the basis of him being hired on the 6th of November 2021 amongst the other qualified candidates by ndi Anambra as Mr. Governor of the state. As his voice thundered through the radios and televisions across the length and breadth of the state on his inauguration day, he signalled the beginning of a new dawn. He committed himself to undertake the trans- formation of Anambra and ensure impactful leadership based on merit, pragmatism and honesty. Not being the typical everyday politician, Soludo is not the man with a coated tongue. Whatever is the argument he will not make promises that will not be kept.
He declared that his government and Anambra will only celebrate when our school children receiving quality education that will equip them with the right skills to fit into the new economy he is projecting; he said he will not celebrate until the hospitals are equipped with up to date equipment and the best health care provided for all; until the roads are fixed and transportation made easy; when lives and properties are safe and secured; when Anambra can boast of sufficient food to feed her population and enough for export; he promised to celebrate when our environment is transformed into a clean, green and sustainable environment.
He wants Anambra to be the cleanest smart city in Africa. With these pronouncements, he went straight to work and thus far, it has been 365 days of work and no excuses. In line with his promises, he ensured that the solution team was chosen based on merit. Mr. Governor isn’t the one to tell you what to do, but demands that you justify why you are the best suited for the job you seek. He has no patience for excuses.
He left no one in doubt that he came pre- pared to bring about disruptive changes and to work for the people consequently he hit the ground running.
Empowering the youths is one of his main during skill anyone can possess is knowledge. Remarkably, within 24 hours of the launch of the youth and innovation skills programme over five thousand youths applied to take advantage of the opportunity and the figure is still counting.
Anything worth doing is worth Anything worth doing is worth doing well. It is my sincere hope that these programmes will be able to absorb the youth population that are hungry to take advantage of the opportunity. No one should be left behind.
I also think it’s important at this stage to ensure a follow up on those first batch of youths that graduated from the One Youth, Two Skill scheme so as to monitor their progress and understand their challenges if any. Whatever lessons learnt from the monitoring process can be incorporated into future plans for the programme which by all indices serves as the cornerstone of our future especially if we must create a new generation of productive youths.
On coming into office, Governor Soludo inherited a state bedevilled by in- security where 0.01% of the population held the state down with raw violence, thuggery, pay for hired killings and kidnapping. He took the decision to confront insecurity frontally. Without security there will be no progress and development. No one in his right mind will invest in a state where investments, security of lives and properties are not protected. In 365 days, the government has reduced the incidence of violent crimes in the state. De- spite the occasional last kicks of a dying horse, the security situation is much improved.
The governor is doing his level best to reduce insecurity but the society must vomit their own demons. In the face of lean re- sources, I call on our big citizens to join forces with the state to rebuild the destroyed security infrastructure and get the police and other security agencies back on their feet.
This is not the time to give up or throw our arms up in the air and surrender our state to barbarians, but the time to resist the false narratives being driven and packaged by propagandists from the darkest wombs of history.
Mr. Governor, I know does not like to sound his trumpet and will not want to boast of his accomplishments. Me thinks, you don’t light a candle and hide it under the table. The governor’s men should communicate his achievements and drive them down to the people be- cause if you don’t tell your story, your enemies will tell your stories for you.
Governor Soludo in 365 days in office has done so well even in difficult times. Contrary to the opinion expressed by some detractors, the governor has not taken a kobo as loan despite the approval by the State House of Assembly for him to secure a loan of N100 billion. By sheer economic wizardry, the governor, despite the dire financial situation faced by the state, has been able to put the people first in his development agenda. He has ensured our children are kept in school with the employment of 5000 primary and secondary school teachers. Pensions and salaries are regularly paid to civil servants and pensioners. The ar- rears of gratuities which were inherited are also being cleared.
All the 21 local governments have benefited from ongoing road projects totalling over 260km and still counting. So far he has awarded over N160 billion worth of road projects with the contractors mobilised with be- tween 30-50% down payment.
His urban renewal projects targets waste management, environmental sanitation, clean, green and liveable homeland remains on target. His mission to make Anambra the cleanest smart city in Nigeria is feasible and on course.
He is focused on this agenda. What the governor needs are our prayers and support. As a leader, he understands the responsibility and weight of his office.
Finally, I have observed a disconnect be- tween the government and people in trade and commerce with regards to government policies. Moving forward, this disconnection needs to be addressed. I may not have all the answers but I suppose that a policy that will affect people in trade and commerce needs their input in the planning. Very often, people who are part of policy planning usually will not sabotage the execution of such policies.