• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Letter to Professor Soludo

I need N250bn to fix Anambra – Soludo

In the last week of October, I assured ‘my people’, that the Anambra gubernatorial election would hold as scheduled on 6th November 2021 and that there would be no security breaches. It appeared that some of them had forgotten that I was (and am still) a Spirit because, they queried the audacity of that declaration. I also told them that ‘I am a Soludoist’. Three days to the election, I told everybody who bothered to listen, why Soludo was (and is still) the best, encouraged them to go out and vote and to eschew Uba and Ubah. Thankfully, my prophesies came to become. As far as I am concerned, the election is over; it has been won and lost and we are awaiting a new dawn come March, 2022. The heroes of November 6 are the 5% registered voters who went out to vote despite the intimidating show of force( 33000 policemen, 10,000 soldiers and other uniformed and non-uniformed persons) and the activities of some known and unknown elements, monitored their votes and rejected the more alluring ‘sensitive election materials’( N&K) from above.

It is noteworthy that no candidate in the recent times has faced the type of judicial hurdle that Soludo faced and still faces, in an effort to serve the people. Court injunctions were flying all over the place, court cases were instituted by known politicians (this is not an unknown matter) across the geopolitical zones of Nigeria(it was a federal Character affair!) and lawyers were (and are still) smiling to the banks.

As at last count, 10 candidates and parties are in the tribunal to challenge the Soludonisation of Anambra State and Andy Uba is still doing ‘I no go gree’ in the courts. To what effect? Surely, it cannot be in the interest of Anambra State! I wonder why people who were rejected at the polls should not take their defeat in peace, lick their wounds quietly, restock and prepare for the next time. Several MOG (men of God) also jumped into the fray, chanting ‘Thus says the Lord’: Soludo would be humiliated, the election would not hold, the outcome would be a surprise and the winner would be an unknown element. However, God had warned us earlier: do not listen to them; I have not spoken to them.. I have not sent them (Jeremiah, 23:16&21). I believe it is over and I do not expect the Mathemagics of Imo State this time around. I have therefore decided to write this letter on little-little matters to our incoming governor.

My dear Prof;

Congratulations on your well-deserved victory in the November 6 gubernatorial election, which you were predicted to win and which you won convincingly. I sincerely want you to succeed and I know that you will succeed. Beyond being a Soludoist, (due to your antecedents) I have many other reasons for wanting you to succeed: we are neighbours, (from my ancestral compound to yours is a trekkable distance) and thus I can brag ‘he is my brother’; we both belong to the banking and academic fraternity (though both of us are on sabbatical from banking while you are on sabbatical from the academia), I am a full-fledged onye- Anambra and just like you, I am red-capped onye-Igbo.

As several Soludoist organisations continue to celebrate the victory, and as intense lobbying continues, openly and discretely, I believe that it is time to stop the partying, review the ‘where we are’ and prepare for the task ahead, (where we should be and how to get there), which is a SERIOUS one. Anambra is an A-state, from which many people of political, academic and entrepreneurial timbers have emerged.

Ndi-Anambra are scattered all over the local and global diaspora, making waves while the state, despite being the safest and ranking high in BudgIT fiscal management index, is still very far from where it ought to be. Furthermore, the state appears to have lost its voice because we have not been heard on several agenda-setting debates on local, national and even global issues of the day. More so, the man coming now is Soludo, a brand that requires little introduction across the globe. You have a well-crafted and appealing manifesto, (The Soludo Solution: A Peoples Manifesto for a Greater Anambra) aimed at turning Anambra into a Megacity, (not mega-state) where we will all live, learn, work, invest retire and enjoy happily. I have no doubt that you have the capacity to operationalise this vision.

Read also: Court nullifies Andy Uba’s participation in Anambra election

The expectations are high, not necessarily because you promised so much but because you are Soludo! And we the academics and technocrats are among the highly expectant ones, not necessarily because of your antecedents but because you are one of us. Our people say that nobody’s mind (thoughts, ideas) is enough for him and that is why consultation is a key feature of governance. Consequently, I have decided to write you this letter on some little-little matters. It will not be a technical affair, because you and your strategists have taken care of the technical issues. If you need more technical inputs, kindly look at the philosophical and strategic position paper by my brother, Dr Greg Ezeilo( Victory Untrammelled… and the hand held at Bay)

I will start from one of the smallest matters. In the days of old, we knew you as Professor CC Soludo, CFR. However, in the recent past, the name has undergone some related diversification, and is now enough to fill one small textbook. You are now Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, Charlie Nwa Mgbafor, Odenjiji Agulere, Odenigbo Aguata, Dikeudo Isuofia et al. My brother, Nze Basil Osuokwu(Obassey), one of your friends and a core Soludoist always reminds us of these titles anytime he speaks of you, which is very often. There is a need to streamline your name by undertaking some form of ‘conSoludotion’( as done to the banks in 2004) so that we will not spend all the time introducing you and so that it will be easy for Google to capture. I stand by Prof CC Soludo, CFR, Governor of Anambra State. I know that you know that executive is already embedded in the Governorship!

You need to review the programmes of your predecessor and ‘sponsor’, the Working Willie, and Akpokuodike Global (you see why I advised that you should streamline your name before some people baptise you as Charlie Nwa-Mgbafor Worldwide). In doing this, you should think of issues that arose in the course of his administration, (for instance, did he work for all?), policies, especially those that are contentious (if any), abandoned and/or bogus projects. Issues or perceived issues should be explained while policies and projects are aligned so that we have not just continuity but strategic continuity.

You know your manifesto very well and even if you were woken up by 2 am, you would reel them off WIE (With Immediate Effect). But as you were campaigning online and offline, you made many promises and declarations. These campaign promises were expected to be drawn from your manifesto but at times, they were emergent, especially when responding to impromptu questions and comments. So, I suggest that ‘your people’( Anatune, Aburime et al) should tabulate all these campaign promises, align them with the manifesto so that your strategic team will start designing a template/action plan to address all of them. Any issues that have been overtaken by events must be clarified rather than just abandoned.

Since the days of OkwadikeEzeife the Harvard trained economist and former ‘Super Permsec’ as the Governor of Anambra State(1992/1993) the Aku-Luo-Uno ( Think Home) paradigm has been consciously canvassed. Our people are now ready for that paradigm shift because they have better understood the concept and because of certain, mostly painful, experiences. In the recent past, I have delivered lectures on that concept to Anambra communities in Lagos (Association of Anambra State Development Unions) and Delta State( Ogbako Ndi Anambra), among others. My research on ‘Entrepreneurship in a Changing Environment, Lessons from Experience and interface with our entrepreneurial class in the process affirms that Aku-Luo-Uno is an idea, which time has come. Since our people are ready, it behoves on your government to make the environment READY for that inward movement. Roads and lights come in for priority mention. Your manifesto touches on some of these themes but these must be consciously tied to Aku-Luo Uno. Seamless and stress-free acquisition of land for industry, farming, commerce and residence, fiscal incentives and streamlined levies and all such pull factors should be prioritised. Some of these diaspora elements should be involved in designing practical Aku-Luo Uno policies and programmes.

Before the election, the security atmosphere in Anambra was scarry. The UGM, IPOB and the contentions GTMs (Ghost Town Mondays), which was akin to shooting oneself at the foot, the declaration MASSOB and other unimaginable security challenges, held the state and its people by the juggler. There is some quiet now, which supports the hypothesis that the pre-November 6 anarchy was politically motivated and orchestrated. However, the confusion over GTMs still persist and there are still security breaches here and there. This should be given immediate serious, attention.

Many people worked for your success and your expected sterling performance would make them happy. But as is usual in Nigerian politics, there will be need for some form of settlement. However, you should not ignore competence. Reward people but in the process, do no harm to the state and to the Soludo brand. Relatedly, you do not have godfathers as such, but you know the principalities and powers around you, including those with caps as tall as mine. You may not make a U-Turn on your promises and pledges but do not prioritise their satisfaction or place it as a first line charge as Mbadinuju did. Undertake a strategic review of these under-the-table agreements in the interest of your name and the state.

I know that like many people of your calibre, you already have a core team of apostles, who understand you, including your body language; whom you will tell go and they go,( Matthew,8:9) to whom you assign responsibilities and go to sleep. It is however imperative that you broaden the team by infusing new blood to cover all the dimensions of governance. These dimensions include bureaucratic, political, strategic and operational. The bureaucratic is imperative as you have not been a member of the Anambra civil service. There is need to carry them along so that they share the vision and want what you want (leadership), as against doing what you want(management). You may even combine the two concepts by going into the practice of leadagement.

Your communication/media team is a very formidable one and they should move from showcasing Soludo the man, to showcasing the activities and attainments of Soludo, the governor. I suggest a weekly summary of verifiable activities( probably through social media) and monthly press briefing on achievements and challenges, especially vis-à-vis your manifesto and election promises. Furthermore, in the new dispensation, Anambra State must have a clear and assertive voice in local, national and even international affairs. When issues that concern Anambra, Nd’Igbo, the South, Nigeria and the globe are mentioned, we must no longer be MIA( missing in action)! And you must speak with conviction supported by facts rather than keeping quiet for fear of being white-listed or falling out of favour.

You must collaborate strategically with other Igbo, Southern and Nigerian governors especially on the issue of restructuring and workability of Nigeria, the position of Nd’Igbo in Nigeria and the protection of our people who are scattered like restless ants across the country. Wike, who takes special joy in rattling others, have shown that some of these cases can be softly handled through the courts. We need motorable hinterland roads that link Anambra with all the states in the South East (aside the federal roads). Taking half a day to get to Aba, Owerri or Enuguis far from ideal. These cannot be done if there were no interstate collaboration.

My dear Prof, failure is NOT an option. Mediocrity is NOT an option. I know that you have the capacity to make a difference and you MUST make a difference. Many people and groups are looking up to you. Some even want to see how big grammar will transform to good governance and performance. We in the academia are glad that one of us is in state governance, like Prof Ambrose Alli of old and Profs Ayade and Zullum of today. However, talking of Ayade, I pray that we do not have budget themes that require consultancy services to interpret and understand, the latest being 2022 Budget of Conjugated Agglutination.

Once more, congratulations. Your success is my success and I look forward to the celebrations of performance that will come during and after your tenure.

And… Merry Christmas to all men of goodwill and may the child-Jesus surprise us with unquantifiable joy and peace.