• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

The ‘Soludo Solution’ and expectations of Anambra people: one year after

Anambra ends 14-year-old dispute with group over defunct water corporation, others

Professor Chukwuma Soludo, governor of Anambra State, recently marked his one year in office. Opinions are divided on whether or not he delivered his campaign promises within the period.

In his inaugural address on March 17, 2022, at the swearing-in ceremony in Awka, the state capital, the erudite scholar had said: “Now is the time to work, and there is no minute or kobo to waste in fanfare.”

Beaming with smiles, the professor of economics was sagacious with choice of words: “I applied for this job; my party, (the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA) shortlisted me, and you—umunne m Ndi Anambra— interviewed and employed me as your chief servant, with Dr Onyekachukwu Gilbert Ibezim as my deputy.

“I come to this job prepared to serve you. For 12 years since 2009 when I first indicated interest to serve you, I persevered through the turbulent politics and here we are. Once again, I present to you the Soludo Solution—our contract with the people which we intend to vigorously implement subject to resource availability.

“Our contract with Anambra people derives from three seminal documents: (a) “Anambra Vision 2070—a 50-Year Development Plan” which I chaired the drafting; (b) “The Soludo Solution: A People’s Manifesto for a Greater Anambra”; and (c) “The Transition Committee (Combined) Report”—which built upon the first two. In sum, this is an agenda for an itinerant tribe in search of a livable and prosperous homeland. Driven by the philosophy of One Anambra, One People, One Agenda, our goal is to build Anambra into a livable and prosperous smart megacity.”

Soludo also said: “God ordained this moment and we are grateful to Him and to you all for the privilege to serve you. Dr Ibezim and I will work hard every day to make you proud. I ask millions of Ndi Anambra all over the world who have prayed for today to simply say a one-minute prayer to commit this journey and Anambra State unto the hands of the Almighty God. Anambra will win.”

At his one-year anniversary in office, Soludo renewed his commitment to cascade development to the Anambra hinterlands.

Giving an account of what he was able to achieve within the time frame, the governor said that the administration has already declared a state of emergency on deplorable road conditions, and embarked on infrastructural and economic transformation, including transportation, land, power infrastructure and technology.

Within the first nine months, the government awarded 261 kilometres of roads to all 21 local governments, with cement stabilisation and stone bases guaranteed to last for 20 years and also paid contractors a mobilisation fee of 30-50 per cent.

Soludo said that his administration was doing more with less, patronising what was manufactured in the state, facilitating business and mobilising private capital, and forming strategic alliances with international partners, among others.

Read also: We’re yet to receive an apology from the British government- LP

He assured me that the second year would be a journey to build a smart mega city and consolidation process.

“We will continue to focus on the solution agenda’s five pillars. We are determined to deliver on everything we promised in our manifesto. Our vision is for Anambra to become a new axis of prosperity.

“On security, law and order; kidnapping for ransom, banditry, and communal disputes were rampant when we arrived, but we all agreed with ndi Anambra that we will reclaim our homeland. Anambra is currently far safer than it was a year ago,” he said.

He also said that his administration had ended an era of schools without teachers by recruiting 5000 people through an open-source application portal for transparency to boost the education sector.

In terms of health, the administration has upgraded three general hospitals in Ekwulobia, Enugwu Ukwu, and Umuleri, including dental units, hired 244 medical personnel, and activated a Ministry of Health taskforce.
According to him, “Our health is our most valuable asset.”

The governor has also launched Solution Innovation District (SID) with the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft and Wootlab to train 20,000 youths.

Performing the function recently, Soludo stressed that knowledge and skills were enduring forms of power. He pointed out that the power of skills transcends space and time and is not constrained by any boundaries because it follows an individual anywhere he or she goes.

These initiatives depict his talking the work and marching words with actions so far, knowing that time was not on his side to garner support for himself and for his party APGA which is fast losing the people’s appeal.

While some laud what they call the governor’s “aggressive” development of rural infrastructure, many more commend the governor for his expertise in delivering his novel works that have launched Anambra into a foreseeable future of greatness in socio-economic development.

Some others describe the governor’s performance in one year as a remarkable standout, because of how he is taking every sector together, especially areas such as Okpoko Masterplan that appeared to have been written off by successive administrations.

Speaking, Chairman of Anambra State Market Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Humphrey Anwuna said Governor Soludo has proved his mettle in living up to his campaign promises.

“Prof. Soludo has shown that he is a man of his word, because not a few doubted how Anambra State would truly become another model of Dubai, given our limited financial resources.

“But like someone in a hurry to deliver, the governor did not wait even one second before rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work.

“This time, not working for TV cameras but working where nobody may see for now until Anambra begins to reap the fruits. For instance, only Prof. Soludo has laid a genuine effort to forge true partnerships with traders in the development agenda of the state to leverage 99 per cent of the state’s finances that are in private for maximum overall benefit.

“The governor has also started designing contemporary markets with contemporary fire protection systems so that visitors from other states and other parts of the world can be proud of our marketplaces apart from putting machinery in place to decongest traffic around markets,” he said.

Lending his voice, a frontline industrial chemical manufacturer, Godwin Okafor said Soludo has delivered in the area of rural infrastructure more than all his predecessors put together.

According to him, “Manufacturers will first benefit as it will help us site more factories in rural areas to help open up places not put into consideration by successive administrations.”

Similarly, the traditional ruler of Abacha, in Idemili North Council of Anambra State, Igwe Godwin Odiegwu said Gov. Soludo has surpassed his predecessors’ achievements by hitting the ground running from the first day, beginning from Okpoko.

Odiegwu said: “We commend the governor for developmental achievements recorded within a short space of time in office, particularly in youth development through the one-youth-two-skills initiative. Soludo had toured the state to take stock of places that need urgent attention for infrastructure development and, then, swung into action. That is commendable.

As a community, we reassure the governor of our support, and we urge residents of Anambra to give him maximum support so that he can surpass the achievements of his predecessors,” he said.

Proudly achieving so much, the governor marked his one-year anniversary in Awka on March 25 with many dignitaries including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; former governors, Peter Obi and Chukwuemeka Ezeife, amongst others.

However, time will tell if the governor will be able to sustain his “Soludo Solution” agenda to secure the second-term ambition.