By Paul Nwosu
Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, started out as the Governor of Anambra State with the promise of delivering to the people a peaceful, liveable and prosperous homeland. After only one year in office, Mr. Governor has elicited overwhelming support and hope from all sections of the state due to his unprecedented developmental drive. The belief of Ndi-Anambra is that the right man is on the saddle of power with the requisite solutions.
From the day of his swearing-in, Governor Soludo set forth with an ennobling can-do spirit shorn of the trappings of power. His pioneer activity of going to the Okpoko slum on the outskirts of Onitsha city showcased a governor who wanted to see and do things hands-on. He truly came prepared, knowing that the problems were legion and needed his painstaking attention and leadership.
In addressing the multiform problems, Soludo came armed with his manifesto, the report of the 80-member Transition Committee he instituted, and the document of the Anambra-2070 Committee he headed.
Governor Soludo did not mince words in his inaugural speech when he said: I know the lean financial base of the state. I know the limitations imposed upon a subnational state such as Anambra by the peculiar structure of our federation. But heres my promise: I will give it my all. I will work very hard every day, with you, to make Anambra proud. Every kobo of your tax money will be deployed to provide you maximum value.
A global thinker and doer, Soludo banks on the plans, values, passion, and accomplishments of some of Africas liberation-cum-independence leaders such as Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Nnamdi Azikiwe, etc. His template is set on transcending the feats of Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara in the old Eastern Region.
Mr. Governor knew that changing an enshrined old order was fraught with many dangers, as he wrote in his essay, The Purpose and Price of Disruptive Change, thus: Disrupting the existing social order is dangerous. Beneficiaries of the current order are powerful enough to organise and fight back viciously to protect their privileges. On the contrary, the masses who are the ultimate beneficiaries are not organised enough to act as a bulwark against the special interests.
As things stand currently, we are between a rock and a hard place. With the objective to retain power within the context of short electoral cycles, politicians are afraid to undertake the necessary disruptive changes to guarantee long term safety and prosperity for all. On the other hand, the existing trends are totally unsustainable and the system is living on borrowed times. Everyone is sleepwalking to the hard place, and praying that somehow a miracle will happen along the way.
As things have shaped up, Soludo has proven to be that leader who is ready to put his head on the line to lead such productive but dangerous disruptions.
The kind of disruptive change Soludo is bringing to bear on Anambra State is akin to that wrought in Singapore, as Mr. Governor once stated: I recently re-read Lee Kuan Yews book From Third World to First, and cant stop being inspired. The combination of competence and driven by a higher purpose produced such a transformational leadership that orchestrated a miracle in development. In one of his last speeches before his death, Lee Kuan Yew observed that he and his colleagues were prepared that even if they died trying to make Singapore great, they would have been happy to die for a worthy cause.
The courage of Governor Soludo manifested early on when he restored security to the seven local governments in Anambra State, namely Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Orumba North and Orumba South, that had been taken over by the so-called Unknown Gunmen. The security agents were empowered to sack the hoodlums from their evil camps that had the full complement of shrines and cash registers for the payment of humongous ransoms.
With the guaranteeing of security, Soludo went ahead in delivering his politics of development instead of handouts. He initiated the landmark recruitment of 5,000 teachers through a rigorous competitive exercise.
Agriculture now has a new lease of life in Anambra State. The issue of hospitals without doctors is now a thing of the past. The Soludo administration has put ill-assorted touts and illicit tax collectors on the run away from the state. Anambra State is today a vast road construction site. The list is endless.
It is worthy of depiction that the Soludo Solution drive is anchored on Eat-Buy-Use-Made-in-Anambra. He insists that everything must meet the Anambra Standard which is Excellence, with him serving as the Chief Marketing Officer. The Akwete revolution which he initiated is already getting buy-ins from across the country even opposition politicians!
The joy is that after one year in office the global brand that Anambra voters overwhelmingly chose to govern them is admirably conquering the challenges of change as published hereunder from security to the environment.
Sir Paul Nwosu
Commissioner for Information