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Soludo brings governance down to grassroots – Ezembaji



A cross section of ndi Anambra have been baring their minds on the progress made so far by the Governor Soludo administration since its inception four and half months ago. Some describe the administration as serious, dynamic and purposeful. The MD/Chief Executive Officer, Lake Petroleum Ltd and Ide Achina, Chief C.U. Ezembaji in a chat with RAY UDEAGBARA noted that from what’s on ground, in the state, Soludo will surely deliver: Excerpts:

ON THE achievements made so far by the Soludo administration that’s earned it the admiration of many

I can say right away that a lot has been achieved within barely four  months this administration came on board. This administration has brought governance down to the grassroots. It has redefined governance. In fact, I will say that it has brought to bear scholarship on governance.

If we itemise the progress seen so far since its inception on March 17, this year, I’ll say that the achievements, both tangible and intangible are enumerable. For example, it immediately on arrival, created the Ministry of Homeland Affairs to protect the state and that of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

 As you know, Anambra is now an oil producing state. Creation of the Ministry of Homeland Affairs signals the emergence of timely priority placed on homeland security. We have seen massive consultation, mobilisation and sensitisation of citizens and critical stakeholders, including security agencies, the clergy, the traditional rulers, the youths, town unions and various society organisations, as well as business men and women and agitation groups.

Soludo’s leadership worked with South East Bishops to organise prayers, offered amnesty to repentant outlaws. You now see unity among ndi Anambra in fighting kidnappers, assassins, armed robbers, which have held the South Senatorial District hostage for quite some time now. Soludo’s leadership has declared zero tolerance for criminality and drug abuse. It has taken the war against criminals to their dens in Anambra State. In fact, his administration has evolved concrete strategic fight against criminals and is winning. Most of these criminals are on the run today.

This government is out to place a cohesive operational team with the State Security Council to boost operational capabilities. You hear of the Anambra State Vigilante Central Strike Force to complement security forces to free our forests and homeland from the grips of criminals. It has successfully deployed direct labour intervention to rebuild that dilapidated section of Onitsha-Enugu Federal highway, opposite Chisco Park at Upper Iweka, Onitsha and the Amansea section of the Enugu-Onitsha road.

 We’ve seen engineering design and procurement process of the two federal highways that experience massive flooding every year, drowning unsuspecting commuters. In furtherance to this, the administration has completed plans to work soon on the dilapidated Ekwulobia-Nnobi Federal Road (the Igboukwu-Isuofia boundary) and the Ogbunike-Ogidi section of the Enugu-Onitsha Road (old road). Okpoko in Onitsha has been a problem to previous administrations.

The governor  has embarked on silting of the notorious almost impassable Obodoukwu road, Okpoko to Idemili River end of Sakamori storm water discharge. This has defied successive administrations because the cost of its drainage is quite enormous. Same drainage work is going on at the Fegge/Nwangene end of the discharge drain. It has embarked on the hydrological studies and hydraulic designs of storm water discharge channels as well as engineering designs, almost completed for over 300 kilometers of road scattered all over Anambra State.

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In power and water resources, there has be reinvigoration of the Anambra State Power Committee which  also has the EEDC as a member recently finished a retreat and is finalising details of the plans and programmes to align all the  stakeholders in the electricity market in Anambra State and ensure optimal performance and delivery of government targets.

 This government has rehabilitated water facilitates at the Jerome Udorji Secretariat for civil servants. Civil servants there had not had water for over eight years. Today, they enjoy water supply. Another facility brought by the Soludo leadership is the achievement of Open Defecation Free Status for Aguata LGA, the second local government with Anambra East LGA to achieve such a status.

  In the agricultural sector, we’ve witnessed successful launch of new agro economic transformation along the oil palm and coconut value chains with the enviable target of planting one million seedlings annually. Over 30 communities, institutions and investors have been profiled to plant over 2.5 mln seedlings in partnership with the state government.

This is to revive the M.1 Okpara agric model of the 60s and early 70s to maximise our potentials in the highly profitable agro value chains to create jobs for our youths, create wealth and revenue to government for its developmental programmes. And to ensure success of its agricultural innovations, this government has created task teams to aggressively derive the agro transformation agenda of government.

We have also witnessed the reactivation of the Ministry of Agriculture E-Platform for successful data gathering, dissemination and evaluation as well as the restoration of the Anambra State image as a responsible and trustworthy recipient of development programmes by World Organisations as the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB), United Nations, Federal Government of Nigeria, etc by paying counterpart funding. The Soludo administration has also adopted and declared regenerative agriculture system as a state policy.

  I’m sure ndi Anambra will enjoy a better tomorrow. The governor knows what to do and how to go about it in the governance of Anambra State. He has prepared before coming and we are witnessing signals of better things to come.

  This administration went to work from day one, the very day it was inaugurated and up till today, it has not rested on its oars. Various developmental programems are going on in all spheres of governance. One remarkable feature of this very government is its cognizance of the grassroots.

All its policies take adequate care of the locals, the rural dwellers. It is tackling the issue of development in all fronts, engaging in concrete strategic fight against criminals, battling touts to a standstill, demolishing illegal structures to “reclaim the state”, and clearing all markets of obstructions.

I have spoken of free flow of traffic at the Eke Awka, same is obtainable at Onitsha and Nnewi, as well as Ekwulobia. In fact, I will state here that this massive decongestion process of the present leadership is a prelude to achieving its cardinal objective of transformation of Anambra to a mega smart city where every onye Anambra will be free, secured and enjoy high standard of living.

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    On role of the youth to catapult the Soludo’s administration to greater heights

  Yes, the youth have great role to play and their role here is critical to the success of this government. Let us begin from the government; Governor Soludo’s team, ranging from his Chief of Staff to S.As and commissioners. Most of them are youths. Even the governor himself is a young man in his early 60’s.

 His birthday messages showed that he is 62. So Anambra cabinet is mostly of young, vibrant and energetic persons; those who value their names and wish to protect and preserve them. Then to this very topic, the skill acquisition centres set up by government at various LGAs are for the youth.

The entrepreneurship centres/studies organised by governments at all levels are equally for the youth. Even the massive innovation witnessed in the agric sector today is meant for the young ones, male and female. You can see youths are gradually taking up their rightful position in our society, in government. After all, it is said that they are the leaders of tomorrow, the hope of every country.

 Their roles to make things happen are great. Our youth must shun restiveness, drug abuse, indulging in yahoo yahoo and cybercrime. They must abhor pursuit of ego mbute or engage in igbu ozu;  very bad and notorious slangs. They must be strong, firm, resilient and be ready and willing to work, to be productive to contribute their quota to nation building.

They must understand that success in life needs hard work, courage and determination; that ego mbute which is receiving someone’s money you didn’t work for is ruinous as it attracts serious curses to the fraudsters. One basic principle that brings success in any business is honesty to your customers, to your staff, to all you deal with. They must take possession of government property, protect them from vandalisation.

They must cast aside the erroneous idea that government business is no man’s business. The era of white collar job is over. I’ll love to see young Nigerian engineers in shorts and shirts (no tie) and at building sites personally turning, mixing cement and concretes and building houses or roads or bridges just as the white men do. And they must be obedient to their parents and avoid bad company.

Things are changing for the better in Anambra. To the best of my understanding, the present Soludo administration is pragmatic, dynamic and purposeful and it is committed to working assiduously to entrench quality service delivery in all sectors of the economy and enthrone good governance to the people. When its policies are fully implemented, many windows of employment will open to our jobless youths. The government’s preference for locally made goods will boost industrialisation, especially small businesses and our youths will fit it.

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The Ogbunike shoe manufacturing industry which the governor is patronising will grow and hundreds of Anambra youths will be engaged there; same with the massive innovation in the agric sector which will accommodate thousands of our youths and in other cottage industries. In fact, what we’re seeing today in Anambra is total revolutionalisation of the process of governance in schools, in ministries, in boards and in the rural areas, using automation and digitalisation where necessary.

 On what ndi Anambra expects from such leadership that has completely changed the system of governance for the better

  A lot is expected and as I said earlier, signs of greater tomorrow are feasible in all aspects of governance in the state. This administration is on course to reposition all aspects of governance with youths playing the centre stage. A seasoned intellectual and economic guru, Governor Soluodo as I hinted earlier, has successfully redefined governance.

His leadership since its inception is consistently developing seamless policies in line with its five pillars of development namely, Security, law and order, economic transformation agenda, social agenda, governance, rule of law and value system.

It’s working tirelessly to expand the frontiers of development in Anambra State. A man of pedigree and contact, the governor is desirous of making every Anambra youth successful and productive. In fact, his government is government of solution.

Nothing slows down societal growth than insecurity. Anambra citizens are happy with the manner this government is tackling this cankerworm, facing insecurity frontally, dislodging all dens of criminals with the combined team of the army, the navy, the air force, police and Civil Defence, as well as special vigilante forces set up to tackle this menace.

 Ndi Anambra expect programmes to accelerate plans for technological advancement and quickly diversify the economy away from oil, as well as embark on massive human development programme.

 They will want this administration to unlock all available business opportunities for our youths and implement reforms to improve production, as well as work towards improving power supply, the pivot around which the industrialisation efforts of all sectors revolve. As a renowned economist of international repute, we expect his leadership to support robust fiscal policy and create a viable economic base as well as boost job opportunities through SMEs.

Also, there’s need to redirect our natural resources to priority areas. As education is key to development and progress and as an academic himself, I’ve no doubt that Soludo’s leadership’ll place premium on quality of teachers and as one with zero tolerance for corruption, curb corruption and eliminate waste.

Technical skill acquisition is the antidote to solving the nation’s unemployment problem, so efforts must be geared towards establishing quality vocational and technical education and improving existing technical educational institution in the state like the state polytechnic in Mgbakwu. Efforts must also be intensified to accelerate shift from mono cultural economy. Oil is a wasting asset and it is fast diminishing.