Connect with us

COVER

Soludo: Visionary man of novel ideas

Published

on

Soludo presenting the Revsed 2022 Budget to the House of Assembly

By Rose Oranye

ONE thing that stands the governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo out anywhere he finds himself is his ability to see things differently and willingness to thread where others are afraid to go.

As the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), he introduced reforms focused on strengthening the financial systems through banking sector consolidation, foreign exchange market stabilisation, interest rates restructuring and the pursuit of stabilisation as against structural adjustment policies for monetary and inflationary controls.

   Soludo boldly asserted that the financial system was characterised by structural and operational weaknesses, suggesting that their catalytic role in promoting private sector led growth could be further enhanced through a more pragmatic reform agenda. The conceptualisation of recapitalisation and consolidation was premised on ‘the Soludo Model’ involving the ‘consolidation’ of banks, which means  a reduction in the number of banks with a simultaneous increase in size and concentration of the remaining entities in the sector. The economic rationale for domestic consolidation in banking was that it makes banking more cost efficient because larger banks can eliminate excess capacity in areas like data processing, personnel, marketing, or overlapping branch networks.

   The reforms, which began in 2004, necessitated by the need to strengthen and  grow the banks and position them to play pivotal roles in driving development across vital sectors of the economy featured the raising of the minimum capital base from N2 billion to N25 billion . As a result, banks consolidated through mergers and acquisitions, which reduced the number of banks from 89 to 25 by 2005, and later to 24. Since then, Nigerians never lost their hard earned money to distressed banks.

You May Also Like:-  Soludo'll create more opportunities – Ezekwesili

    During the peak of the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, he was the first to boldly come out to write against the lockdown in Africa. According to him: “Our thesis is that lockdowns in Africa suffer a time-inconsistency problem, without a credible exit strategy; is unaffordable and could potentially worsen the twin pandemics — health and economic — in Africa. We call for Africa to press the reset button now, mainstream its collective, simple, smart learning-by-doing solutions that could, in the end, be the African solutions for export to the world. COVID-19 won’t be the end of techno-economic disruptions or health pandemics, even in this decade: This is an opportunity to think without the box — to engender greater self-confidence in our capacity to think through our problems, with authentic sustainable solutions…”

   He added that: “Every African society has some local herbs that, to use President Trump’s phrase, “might help”. While the U.K. and others are experimenting with vaccines, you never know if an Africa herb might be the cure. Necessity is the mother of invention, and only those who dare, succeed! With enough education and mobilisation, the infection rate will be drastically reduced without pausing the lives of 1.3 billion people…”

   Even when Nigeria’s  economy was going down, he engaged the then Minister of Finance, Prof Ngozi Okonjo Iweala in topical debates.

   He was equally the first to come out boldly before he even became the stte’s  governor to talk about the folly in every Monday sit- at- home in South Eastated and immediately he was sworn in as Anambra State Governor, he wasted no time in working towards ending the numerous sit-at-homes.

You May Also Like:-  Leadership is about service not a word – Igwe

   In the course of his electioneering, Soludo, made it clear that he would, as governor, encourage the consumption or use of made-in-Anambra goods and services. He went further to commit that he would be the chief marketing officer of such goods that meet Anambra standards.

   On March 17, 2022, Soludo commenced walking his talk in earnest. His official car was produced by Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing. He wore shoes made by indigenous and creative shoemakers in Ogbunike, Oyi Local Council, with  his now signature Akwete. The food and drinks served were all made in Anambra. The good thing here  is that a lot of people are presently dressing in Akwete apparels, meaning that  the “Soludo effect” is working.

   The way and manner he appointed his transition committee members, recruited his cabinet members showed he has a different view about governance, while his  first Executive Council Retreat, which  prepared the minds of participants on the tasks ahead he has a different approach to leadership.

  The governor’s intention to strengthen Anambra markets’ leadership to involve progressive governance so that the unions can become effective partners in the modernisation of the markets made him dissolve the leadership and caretaker committees of some markets and appointed new ones. 

   Unlike others, almost immediately after assumption of office, he convoked a peace building and security dialogue with stakeholders, including security chiefs, religious leaders, community leaders, among others as a way of entrenching a more peaceful and prosperous state. His assurance that his government would always be open to engage with the good, the bad and the ugly, not discriminating against anybody in the meeting said  so much the kind of vision he has for the peace and security of his people.

You May Also Like:-  Anambra election: Ihiala APGA assures Soludo of resounding victory

   While other South Eastern governors seemed  afraid to identify with anything concerning the Indegenous People of Biafra(IPoB) and the dreaded unknown gunmen, Soludo did not only grant  amnesty to unknown gunmen and promised to  seek quick trial for the IPoB leader,  Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, but he personally visited Kanu  in detention and discussed issues regarding killings and other security issues in the zone. He never gave up on the fight  against insecurity in the state despite criticisms, campaigns of calumny and killings  around him. And today, Anambra is gradually returning back to its glory as the safest state in the federation.

    As critics were pondering on his audacity to send a revised budget for Year 2022 to the House of Assembly, which was passed recently, Governor Soludo was able to convince ndi Anambra and the state House of Assembly to approve his N100 Billion loan request.

    One can imagine the uproar that would have followed if someone else (not  Soludo) has in the first few months of his administration, requested a borrowing of N100 billion.

   One thing that is clear from these and more  is that ndi Anambra are aware that they elected a visionary man full of ideas and are ready to trust his every move  to make Anambra better just as he did in previous positions he held.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.