Soludo: Beyond the victory dance
For Charles Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), it is time for victory dance as victory songs rent the air. He had, for several weeks, traversed the length and breadth of Anambra State, soliciting the people’s votes and enunciating value propositions for the state.
Soludo, by his victory, has become the second CBN governor to be elected governor of a state.
The first was Clement Nyong Isong, banker and politician, who was governor of the CBN in 1967 during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon.
Isong was later elected governor of Cross River State (1979–1983) in the Nigerian Second Republic.
The level of confidence reposed in Soludo can be seen in the comment by Okey Ikechukwu, executive director, Development Specs Academy, who said he was going to bring to Anambra a new paradigm, capacity, and international exposure.
“You don’t imagine Soludo would get into anything and wants to do badly. No,” Ikechukwu said.
During the run-up to the election, Peter Obi, a former governor of the state, had advised the people on the imperative of electing the best person for the job.
He said: “We see how a state that was truly the ‘Light of the Nation,’ once referenced as the best in terms of virtually all developmental index, has gone back to its previous notoriety as ‘Home for All’ and is once again referenced for all the bad reasons. If we continue on this trajectory, it will sound the final death knell for our dear state.”
There is no doubt that the Anambra people have heeded the advice by giving their mandate to Professor Soludo, even though Obi may have been campaigning for the candidate of his own party.
Soludo’s manifestos were neither muddled up as have been the case with many politicians’ propositions, which usually fail to see the light of day after the victory song must have been sung.
He presents a cost for his plan and a realistic argument on how he intends to achieve his plan. He estimates the government’s direct investment in his plan to be between N200 and N250 billion per annum.
If this is compared with Anambra’s proposed N141.9 billion budget for 2022, it becomes clear that the incoming Soludo administration needs innovative means to shore up revenue.
Apart from making revenue collection more efficient and ICT-driven, Soludo proposes other sources of funds for projects – i.e. from Private Public Partnership (PPP) initiatives and from Development Finance Institutions (DFIs).
In Nigeria, there is a wide gulf between campaign promises and performance in office. Experience has shown that many politicians and political parties discard their manifestos as soon as they get into office.
Some even begin to deny ever making some promises. Nigerians have also heard some politicians say that they never made any personal promise but their party, and so they were not under any compulsion to fulfill such promises.
It is expected that Soludo will not join that pack and that he will deliver on his 72-page manifesto, which was his mantra as he cruised across the state soliciting for the people’s votes.
He promised to change, develop, boost and transform Anambra State from a dominantly informal commercial state to a formal, productive, and competitive economy.
He said that such a feat would be achieved on the back of rapid industrialization, agriculture, commerce, entertainment/leisure and the creative industry, technology and innovation, solid minerals, and oil and gas.
The governor-elect also plans to work with the Federal Government on state security and provision of adequate logistics and material support to security agencies in the state, support law enforcement agencies in the state with infrastructure, surveillance, and communications tools to enhance their capacity to safeguard lives and property.
The Professor said he would reinforce the capability of the existing security system through employment and equipment of more personnel, training, and retraining of vigilante officers to improve their effectiveness, partner with security agencies towards the eradication of violence, crimes, drug usage, fraud, and all deviant behaviors.
He also promised to ensure more active participation of women at all levels of decision-making and governance at the community, local government, and state government levels.
Part of his manifesto is to strengthen MSME funding programs through the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) aimed at providing funding and capacity-building assistance for vulnerable groups and women.
The creation of specific programs to empower women-owned businesses and enterprises and also seek partnerships and funding from direct investments to support these businesses were all contained in his document.