By Nze Nwabueze Akabogu (JP)
In a matter of few weeks from now and precisely on 17th March 2022, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo will be sworn-in as the Sixth democratically elected Executive Governor of Anambra State under the current democratic dispensation in the country. Professor Soludo will be assuming the mantle of leadership in the State against the backdrop of high expectations of Ndi Anambra based on his campaign promises that he would turn the State into an Eldorado or “Japan of Africa”. The expectations of Ndi Anambra were equally based on Professor Soludo’s pedigree and antecedents as an internationally acclaimed economic icon or guru with legendary accomplishments in various areas of his international assignments.
The incoming Anambra State Chief Executive Professor Soludo, is already enjoying an unprecedented massive support, deep affection and out pouring of goodwill from Ndi Anambra across the political spectrum and therefore he could not afford to betray the sacred mandate and trust of the people as was clearly demonstrated during the recently concluded Gubernatorial Election when Ndi Anambra overwhelmingly voted for him as their preferred choice in the keenly contested election. Professor Soludo who is currently basking in the euphoria of his decisive victory at the polls is expected to hit the ground running as soon as he assumes office on 17th March, 2022 as the State new helmsman even as he had already released his action plan or mission statement for the smooth take-off of his incoming administration in the State. It was indeed cheering news and heartwarming that Professor Soludo had assured Ndi Anambra of his massive infrastructural development plan in all sectors which had never been witnessed in the history of the State in his first term in office. He had also outlined the State policy imperatives, call it mission statement, or direction of his incoming administration geared towards the achievement of egalitarian society in Anambra State. Professor Soludo had equally sent a clear signal that his new administration would adopt entirely a new approach to governance even as he had jettisoned the highly revered title of “His Excellency” and rather would simply be addressed as “Mr. Governor”.
As the Anambra State new Chief Executive Professor Soludo is set to assume office in March 2022 it has become imperative and absolutely necessary that Ndi Anambra should set an agenda as a guide for the incoming administration which is clearly captured in the following areas that would promote or engender good governance in the State:
- Road Infrastructure: It is a common knowledge that virtually all the roads across the State are presently in a terrible State of disrepair and dilapidated as a result of very poor quality in the construction of the roads and lack of maintenance culture. It is equally regrettable that the construction of the State roads were often awarded to seeming incompetent contractors who usually take advantage of non-diligent supervision by the authorities in the State Ministry of Works and Housing to perform very shoddy jobs on the roads. The incoming Soludo Administration must as a matter of absolute necessity and in the overall public interest urgently embark on the total rehabilitation of these State roads which have become deathtraps for Ndi Anambra for many years now with the attendant loss of valuable lives and properties of the people which obviously were preventable. The incoming Administration must hence forth adopt a new policy of transparency, accountability and due process in the award of road contracts to qualified and competent contactors with proven experience and expertise in road construction as well as evidence of acquiring adequate and modern equipments for road construction. Furthermore, there must be a clause in the contract agreements which will stipulate a minimum of ten years life span for newly constructed roads before any maintenance job could be embarked on such roads. This new policy would obviously offer Ndi Anambra value for their hard earned money expended on the road projects. In the same vein strict and regular supervision must be carried out by officials of the relevant authorities during the road construction to ensure strict compliance with the terms of the contract agreement.
- Flyover Bridges within Awka Capital Territory: The lofty idea of the construction of three flyover bridges within the Awka capital Territory was originally conceived by the outgoing Obiano Administration with the main objective of creating semblance of a modern state capital and also enhancing the aesthetic beauty of the capital city as well as to facilitate easy flow of traffic on the ever busy Enugu-Onitsha expressway. Regrettably however, the three flyover bridges had turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing and have now constituted a great nuisance value for the people, even as Ndi Anambra on daily basis suffer untold hardship due to the perennial gridlock always experienced on the flyover bridges especially during the rush hours. It is an incontrovertible fact that the flyover bridges were poorly designed and executed and had failed to meet the acceptable engineering standards despite the huge resources of tax payers’ money expended on the faulty project. The incoming Soludo administration is advised to quickly take a second look at the original design of the three flyover bridges with a view to rectifying the obvious technical lapses or anomalies in the construction of this all-important project.
Similarly the in-coming, “Mr. Governor” Soludo is hereby enjoined to take an urgent action to construct pedestrian flyover bridge at the ever busy Regina Caeli Junction along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway which sadly had claimed many lives consequent upon the frequent road accidents witnessed at this rather notorious road junction in recent times. There had been many incidents whereby pedestrians while attempting to cross the ever busy expressway were often involved in fatal accidents at this particular road Junction due to the failure of the outgoing administration to construct pedestrian flyover as earlier promised. This obvious failure on the part of the outgoing administration to fulfill its promise and carry out its obligation to the people is indeed the height of insensitivity on the part of the outgoing administration. The incoming Soludo administration must rise to the occasion and immediately embark on the construction of pedestrian flyover bridges not only at Regina Caeli road junction but also at other strategic road junctions within the Capital territory as well as in other urban centres in the State in order to reduce or eliminate entirely the frequent road mishaps or accidents involving pedestrians at road junctions across the State.
- Blockade of Amawbia-Awka Old Road: For more than one year now, the Enugu-Onitsha old road where both the Police and Prison Headquarters are presently located at Amawbia had been blocked by the Police High Command in the State presumably on the ground of national security concerns. This unfortunate situation had caused untold hardship and terrible stress to Ndi Anambra and motorists alike who daily ply the road for their businesses and other social activities. The road diversion from Amawbia to Awka through Amawbia village road has become a deathtrap and nightmare for commuters as they suffer terrible hardship and trauma while daily plying the dilapidated road. This writer had sometime in the recent past called on the State government to urgently relocate both the Police and Prison Headquarters to a more conducive environment away from the city centre of the capital. It has become imperative therefore for the incoming Soludo administration to take immediate action to re-open the blocked road in the interest of the suffering masses even as the rains would soon be with us when the road diversion from Amawbia to Awka might become almost impassable. The reason for the continuous blockade or closure of the only highway linking the entire state is no longer tenable even as the security challenges occasioned by the sudden upsurge in criminal activities by the so-called gunmen in the buildup to the recent concluded gubernational election in the State which obviously were politically motivated had since disappeared or drastically reduced to the barest minimum. Ndi Anambra are today enjoying relative peace as was always the case prior to the recent insecurity challenges that literally enveloped the State.
- Expansion of Awka Capital Territory: The incoming Soludo Administration should urgently resuscitate the original master plan for Awka capital city which regrettably had turned into a slum city with no basic social amenities that befit a capital city such as, motorable access roads, pipe borne water, regular power supply, leisure parks etc. The new Awka capital city should be moved towards the adjoining communities such as Mgbakwu, Isu-Aniocha,Igbariam, Ebenebe axis as well as other communities in Ayamelum LGA where large expanses of land could be effectively utilized for the socio-economic development of the State. The present Awka capital city is hopelessly inadequate and incapable of accommodating modern industrial cum infrastructural developments as envisioned by Professor Soludo and his incoming administration and therefore, a new Capital Territory has become a must and imperative for the rapid socio-economic development of the new Anambra State of Soludo’s (Solution) dream.
- Anambra State Internally generated Revenue: The current system of collection of internally generated revenue for the State is beset with monumental fraud even as the system urgently requires total overhaul in order to block many leakages which had become conduit pipe for siphoning off public funds with impunity by unscrupulous and unpatriotic elements within the rotten system who had become notorious for large scale fraud and financial malpractices. It was reported that these criminal elements posing as revenue collectors enjoy the backing and support of certain highly placed individuals in government. With the tremendous business activities and entrepreneurial spirit of Ndi-Anambra, the State is greatly endowed and capable of generating huge revenues which could place the state above many other states in the country in internally generated revenue framework and become self reliant and survive even without the monthly Federal allocations if properly harnessed by the incoming Soludo administration.