Anambra: Soludo And The Heat of The ‘Melting Pot’
By Isaac ORIEKA
The late South African iconic leader, liberation fighter, religious and apostle of racial justice is a moral compass and an exuberant apostle of racial inequality. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, was one of the elder statesmen who used the philosophy of non-violence, equality and justice not only for blacks in South Africa but around the world, speaking the truth to liberate the consciousness of the nation during the oppressive and suppression of the blacks leading to demonstrations of angry crowds as we have in lPOB’s struggle for a Biafran nation and sit at home order used as a strategy of gaining recognition.
But this is not compared to that of South Africa. South-East Nigeria, has been described as a traditional region with deadly violent attacks, not to mention widespread taunts with popular tropes and victimisation by armed non-state actors; state-sponsored violence masterminded by some governors in most cases in the region. Not to mention popular irrelevant groups who are implicitly characterised with anti-human assets.
Professor Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim were sworn in on March 17, 2022.
The fact that democracy is a team sport and good governance cannot be imported from outside but within must not be toiled with. The 6th executive governor of Anambra state inaugurated an 80 member transition committee, in a bid to hit the ground running with Anambra’s finest gift to the world and hot-headed Dr Oby Ezekwesili as a leading member of the panel. He described the panel as an assemblage of wise men and women and that the transition committee is friendly and an APGA government to APGA government, which is almost like a family affair, Bob-Manuel’s appointment including seven others brought the total number of the governor’s aides to 24.
Well said! we hope this will practically manifest in the lives of Anambrarians.
Anambra State is unique with a different dynamic in leadership style, seen mostly in human capital and rich potential in commerce compared to no other State or region in Nigeria. ln commerce, Anambra is the first and the State means so much to Anambrarians, whether you are in the diaspora, within Nigeria or whatever exactly one is looking for and aiming at. To the Ndi lgbo, the State is the business centre of Igbo land, with the largest industrial cluster and markets scattered everywhere in the region and gifted with so many billionaires, more than any other area, except Lagos, Nigeria.
Politically, Anambra is the melting pot of the South East and if there is any civil unrest in the region Nigeria gets disturbed and must find a way to resolve it. ln business, education and politics, the State is endowed immensely which informed the constitution of a committee made of the highest levels of people in academic career and technocrats outside Anambra and beyond Nigeria.
The profound challenges before Soludo, a professor of economics since he was 38 and also the youngest CBN Governor of Nigeria, Central Bank, is weighed with the task of retailing the State out of the life and death stigma in which security is the first order of business in managing the State affairs positively.
Anambra is a State with positive ideas and a political history that has produced iconic personalities like the first president of Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Biafra hero, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, lkemba of Nnewi, former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme and so many others in the State. Therefore, the State is not suffering any leadership gaps.
Soludo’s committee is implicitly large and novel for its inclusiveness in terms of geography, gender and competencies of its members. But observers have noted that even the World Bank cannot afford the services of the calibre of people that have been constituted. Though constructive, where are the traders placed in his committee?
The Anambra State Internal Revenue Service had in the commencement of the Soludo Government said it would begin aggressive enforcement of payment of outstanding tax bills, Richard Madiebo, the new chairman of AIRS said the enforcement would include social bills, signage and waste management.
Governor Soludo left out security because he prefer to deal with the subject matter separately and not at the committee level. And security is a major issue in the State. Will he form a security apparatus that can handle kidnapping, banditry, ritual killing, armed robbery and the like?
Can Soludo be a unity leader? one who must be able to unify all the factions with various interest by using truth, reconciliation and integrity to sustain the quality of life the people desires. It is very hard these days to be objective on issues of politics. Quite clearly, Soludo’s first step as governor appears to have inspired Ndi Anambra and Ndi lgbo generally on social media, whose career as a man has been defined by audacity and he has gained positive reviews locally and the world over.
The composition of his committee and terms of reference are in three folds. One to ascertain, certify the state of affairs. The short to the medium deliverable of 2070.
Two, to propose actionable agenda for the next administration. Three, to assist with a talent hunt to populate the Anambra change database. His imprint in Anambra would be judged based on his ability to mediate on challenges of extraordinary dimensions practically situated in harmonising the contradiction in the party and the state at large. Charles Soludo, would be examined on a criterion of good governance other than that of where he met the Anambra spirit and the point he led it to. The poverty index in Anambra is the lowest in Nigeria not because of leadership or government attitude but diaspora remittances play a great role. So, he should copy the characteristics of Bishop Tutu blessed with the local struggle to help liberate his country.
He should also copy from Dr Chris Ngige, Mr Peter Obi, past governors of the State who employed local political tactics in which the traders and commercial businessmen were all-inclusive to drive the State to a glorious height. He should also note that Babatunde Fashola and the late Lateef Jakande from Omu-Aran in Kwara State, North Central Nigeria, became unquestionably dignified and celebrated governors of their time to date because of their leadership style by grasping the mentality of a mega City before now. As touts and agberos have made Lagos, regrettably govern their enterprise of extortion currently taking more of the revenue from the State.
Anambra, is a State with the capacity of powering up itself by checking the rampant crisis of erosion and human survival with over 90 active erosion sites. With some villages swallowed by angry earth, the inhabitants were displaced and never to return. Can Soludo, regain those communities and others being threatened by the ecological disaster?
His formation of this committee has sparked a campaign of exclusion of the foot soldiers who ensured he get the ticket to become the governor.
His fruitfulness and governance style will define the luxury and security of life of Anambra citizens with the appointment of capable hands to get the job going.
The evidence is not hard to see, that growth and Progress correlate quite positively with leadership, expertise and integration.