Governor Soludo’s Early Signs of Responsive Leadership

By Okechukwu Anarado

Governance is about an obligation to improve the sociopolitical and economic cause of a people in a geopolitical space. It is about taking responsibility for a people’s wellbeing. Less than three weeks after Prof Chuwuma Soludo took over the reins of office as Anambra State governor, signs of his eagerness to get the wheels of governance grinding unrestrainedly are obvious.

He has not hesitated to critically interrogate sensitive issues hindering smooth socioeconomic advancement of the state. He lost no time in deploying huge governmental energies in combating the seemingly intractable metropolitan slum that Okpoko in Ogbaru Local Council has assumed over the years.

He has embarked on crucial reappraisal and reconditioning of the consciousness of the people towards insecurity in the state and the South East, which has hitherto been delicately woven around Nnamdi Kanu’s sustained detention.  Soludo would not yield to the vile trepidations that readily tip the balance of power in favour of the unconscionable group(s) who in the guise of fighting for a popular cause heinously harm the people and the state.

He would rather exert legitimate authority, power and influences as potent instruments for reinventing a civilised polity that will embrace and grow his design for a livable and prosperous smart megacity he desires for Anambra State.

So, Soludo is seen not only to be in-charge, but to have confidently and effectively taken charge in response to the daunting challenges of leadership, particularly as they affect decision taking. And he deftly does this with due diligence by consulting relevant stake holders; hence his prompt convocation of a Peace Building and Security Summit on 2nd of April, 2022,

where Traditional Rulers, Presidents-General of towns, religious leaders, youth and women leaders, and other opinion leaders, in one clear voice condemned the inverse victimhood the citizens and the state continue to suffer upon the activities of unknown gun men whose insistence on Monday-sit-at-home has caused repulsive mayhem across the South East. The reason the prayers in Churches and places of worship across the length and breadth of Anambra on Monday, 4th of April, 2022, marking the end of the Monday-sit-at-home, compelled jubilation amongst Ndi-Anambra who had lost so much on such wasted Mondays.

Soludo foreshadowed these bold initiatives during his campaigns and in his Inaugural Address. The increasing environmental degradation that threatens Okpoko and Onitsha urban which expeditiously became of pilot interest in the governor’s resolve to bring sanity to human habitations in Anambra State was prominent in his campaign.

While Mr. Governor, with his team dutifully led by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim, is effectively confronting the refuse hips and slum impressions at Okpoko/Onitsha axis, he would not wait to constructively engage those willfully pronouncing doom on majority of Ndi-Anambra in the guise of rights demand.

We recall that in the early days of his campaign, he was a direct target of the vile acts of unknown gunmen. These and other such anomalies were crucial issues that Soludo addressed during his campaign for the office he now occupies. The solutions might not just be one-off. The people of Anambra therefore encourage their Governor to be persistent in pursuit of their greater good.

When, on the day he assumed office, Soludo said, “Today, I come with a sober heart, conscious of the enormity of responsibilities on our shoulders and the challenges ahead,” he vowed to “Build Anambra into a livable and prosperous smart-city” that would provide a suitable homeland for an itinerant people (who Ndi-Anambra are!) across the globe.

This consciousness and the confidence in his resolve encouraged the citizens to believe his further declaration to “embark upon bold but difficult reforms…[which]…may be unpopular especially among those benefitting from the existing order.” And in anticipation of the revulsions consequent upon the “massive disruptive change and creative destruction with short-term pains but guaranteed long-term benefits,” he acknowledged that “the revenue and park mafia that rake in billions of government revenue into their private pockets won’t be happy.” This might just be the next fierce battle that Soludo will fight and win for the people to be further enamoured with him.

Ndi-Anambra and visitors to the state eagerly look up to the Governor for liberation from the stranglehold of these people who, in constituting public nuisance, often cause immeasurable and irredeemable embarrassment to the State Government.

Soludo’s administrative structure is demonstrably yielding positive result in containing the traditional intrigues, manoeuvres and manipulations of groups that usually hijack operations of government for their selfish ends. The perpetrators, who have ceased to enjoy unfettered access to power, must now be working out more positive ways of investing in the abounding economic opportunities in the state.

Conscious of the possibility of anger, frustration and hurt as likely elements that might have driven some people to the fringe of rebelling against society, Soludo constituted the Truth, Justice and Peace Committee, with Professor Chidi Odinkalu, a human right activist, as the Chairman, and Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu as the Secretary.

This committee exemplifies the human face of Soludo’s administration. It is expected to pry into time, events, circumstances and people’s dispositions in a dedicated effort to unravel what brought us the current degradation that does not truly tell who we are. The Committee, with six weeks life, is expected to make recommendations on way forward.

Soludo’s devotion to Igbo cause is never in doubt. He has repeatedly lent strong voice in support of Nigeria’s restructuring as a panacea for sustainable bottom-up economic growth and development across the states and geopolitical zones.

This advocacy is designed to bring out the best of Igbos’ ingenuity in grooming economies, particularly their homeland economy. Little wonder his determination to constructively engage whatever would impede his envisioned development target as Anambra State governor.

Following Prof. Chukwuma Soludo’s bold responsiveness to issues concerning the wellbeing of the people and the state, particularly in respect of security and safety, it has become evident that the choice the people made in overwhelmingly electing him their governor was most apposite. Surely, Ndi-Anambra will not hesitate to say “Amen” to Soludo’s prayer: “By His grace, Anambra will win!”

Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu