By Fr Dr Innocent Nwafor
I join in congratulating you, the governor-elect of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo. I began to hear about Prof. Charles Soludo at the time he became the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. He became the person who reconsolidated the banking system in Nigeria, at a time that many mushroom banks liquidated the monetary assets of many of their customers, bringing many to bankruptcy.
This deed gained him the name, ‚”Soludo Solution“, for which he enjoys a lot of respect from Nigeria and beyond. My optimism is that he is going to, again, apply ”Soludo Solution“ to the many economic, environmental, youth-restiveneess and other existential challenges to fix Anamba to enable it to truly reflect as the light of the nation.
There is no doubt that Prof Charles Soludo helped Governor Willy Obiano to win his second term at a time that APGA government had lost a huge credibility in Anambra State. The one thing that stood tall on the score-card of APGA at the time of governor Willie Obiano’s bid for second term was his positive record on security.
Nothing more. Thanks to God, more have been added, especially the Anambra International Commercial and Cargo Airport. To God be the glory and kudos to Governor Obiano and his team to that effect. But now we are not concerned about Obiano but Prof. Charles Soludo.
Dear Prof. Soludo, once again, congratulations. As I congratulate you, I wish to share with you some of the conversations we had as you were campaining for this election which you have now won. Take this as a feed-back from one who so much cherishes you and wants you to truly succeed and to make an unquestionable difference in your administation come March next year.
1.In all my conversations, my friends and I believe that you are eminently qualified for the job of leading Anambra State to a greater height as you have done in many other areas of your endeavour. We all agreed that you have a clear articulation of what governance, especially in Anambra State, is all about.
2.Some of my friends see you as Egbene(Okeokpa)-eji-eje-mba. Ichapulu achapu! That is to say, you are a good representation of an Igbo personhood, like the Okonkwo figure of Chunua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. In your political contest with other contestants, although one could hear the kikirikii of the main nerves in your muscles, you were able to throw down the Amalinze, the cat with a national might. You are bright, intelligent and dynamic.
There is no office, be it in Abuja or any part of the world, that you cannot enter with confidence to attract something good for Anambra State. Indeed, if Nigeria had a culture of harnessing their leaders from their best elevens, you should be among the first few options just as our former Governor, Mr Peter Obi.
We will never pant for breath, scratch our head nor piece into our underwear whenever you stand up to speak on any national or international issues. Because you will always deliver. We know you can always communicate meaningfully, logically and confidently.
3.We agreed also that you have the capacity to deliver on your previous promise of ”making Anambra State the Dubai of Nigeria“; now modified to making Anambra State ”a Mega city that every Anambra citizen should be proud of“. Your own words. On these words we are going to hold you accountable in the next four years, beginning from March, 2022.
4.We agreed also that since he is often calling himself a village boy, Charlie, nwa Mgbafo from Isuofia, who has not only motivated but adopted many children to help them get the best of education, you will truly make village children in all the towns in Anambra State, those in public but also those in private school, to be proud of a one-time village boy like them. Many will want too to acomplish their dreams before their 30th birthday like you.
5.We agreed that since he often hinges his political aspiration on God’s divine will, that he stands a good chance of tapping from the deep resources of his family and Catholic spirituality. For this we also committed whoever emerges as the winner to Our Lady Queen of Nigeria for help.
Now that you are the one, we hope that the woman selling fish and pepper and those who rejected monetary inducement in Ebenebe to sell their conscience during election will have every reason to be proud for the unflinching convinction in the choice they made.
6.A friend in one of our conversations said that APGA won the election, not necessarily on the strength of their recognition of the party’s fulfilment of their promises to Ndi Anambra, but principally as a collective statement against the impunities that the ruling APC government at the national level has been unleashing on Nigerian citizens.
But we have also the following fears
1.Your predecessor to-be, Governor Obiano, had a magnificient credential showcased to all Anambrarians prior to his election. We were very hopeful that being a banker of repute, Anambra would be far ahead of other states in Nigeria by the time he builds on the impressive progress made by his predecessor, Mr Peter Obi.
Obiano promised Ndi-Anambra that his administration would turn Anambra State around with his 4Cs: Continue, Complete, Commision and Commence. Unfortunately, go round Anambra State, a state known for a good network of roads and see the deplorable state of roads, flagged off by ex-Governor Peter Obi, that were never continued, let alone completed.
Our fear is that your promises might go the way of Governor Obiano. It is very painful when a leader tells lies, thereby destroying the values that hold society together. A long time ago, some students told me that if you trust the words of politicians, you will land in doom. Should Ndi-Anambra believe you and trust your words? Our society needs people, especially elders, who should be exemplary in the way they keep their words. Okenye anaghi abusa aso na ana, lacha kwaya, says an Igbo adage.
2.Our fear is that you may begin new projects without completing already commissioned ones in order to make name for yourself instead of making name for Ndi-Anambra. There is nothing wrong with embarking on magnificient projects, but the big questions are: are they of utmost priority to Ndi-Anambra? Have the people been consulted to find out their immediate needs?
3.Dear Governor-Elect, we are worried that enough women are not given chance in the governance of the state so that they can contribute that feminine qualities that are needed in the family and public life. We are afraid that nothing concrete is being done in improving the learning environment in the nursery schools – having enough space, playing ground, learning materials.
We are afraid that nothing will be done to improve the salary of teachers in private schools. We are arguing that private school owners are just helping the state in her primary function of training her citizens. Therefore, the well-being of the teachers and the quality of their teaching activities should be the concern of the state. Afterall, the children trained in those schools will become useful to the state if they do well and deficit to the state if they do badly.
4.Our fear is that nobody remembers old people who had no opportunity to have worked in the civil service and, as such, had no entitlement to receive pension in their old age. Will you do anything for them to put a smile on their faces?
5.We are afraid that the government will not do anything to know how many of their young people are jobless or involved in smoking hard drugs; nor will it be grassroots-oriented enough to deal with those who engage in selling other people’s landed property in the villages and use the money gotten from the sale to engage lawyers to defend them in the law-court. Thus the need for a functional local, town union and village government that will ”smell like the sheep they tend“.
6.We are afraid that you may make yourself unaccessible by not speaking to Ndi Anambra regularly on the situation of things in the state. Will you continue with the sychophantic gingles consistently aired on the state owned media platforms? Or will you instead use those platforms to educate the masses on the values the state stands for and seeks to achieve? For instance, is it possible for your government to mark out a day in a month to chat with Anambrarians, wherein the progress of work in the state like roads under construction, investments attracted into the state, schools refurbished and equipped, etc., are pictorially displayed? We believe that this will really make our people to be part of the government since Igbo people are democratic in nature. Our people want to feel na ha so na ihe ana eme. Our people detest any form of exclusion by the government.
7.Finally, we are afraid that your intimidating academic credentials and unrivalled success records in public office could make you proud a little bit and as such make you to look down on people who may not have succeeded as yourself or are not intellectually gifted like you. We are worried that if this is not checked, it might affect the quality of a collobarative spirit, as well as team work needed in the government house in order to peacefully and collectively achieve the dream of MAKING ANAMBRA A MEGA CITY THAT EVERY ANAMBRA CITIZEN WOULD BE PROUD OF.
A Request to Prof. Charlie Nwa Mgbafor, the governor-elect of Anambra State
8.Because you are a teacher by profession, is it possible to educate us once in a month or thereabouts on topical issues and values that could help to build the human society? As you know, we are not only challenged to rebuild the physical and economic condition of Anambra State, but also the attitudinal life style and negative orientations about life among our young people.
Could we have a televised live conversation where some people are given the freedom to chat with you and ask questions on the issue under discussion? Put in another way, are you going to make yourself available to Ndi-Anambra so that the citizens can feel carried along, like in a big family where there is the possibility of conversing with one another in a friendly and family atmosphere? Will your governance be sufficiently near to the people?
9.Your simple, perhaps Akwaete-designer brand is gaining our attention. Could it be a beginning to reminding Anambrarians to be proud of made-at-home products?
Fr. Dr. Innocent Nwafor wrote in from Austira