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‘Soludo’s Mayor of Peace Award well deserved’



Many have been baring their minds on the award of Mayor of Peace won by Governor Soludo from the United Nations Peace and Positive Living Awareness Centre (UN-PEPOLAC). In this discourse, Ide Achina and CEO, Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief, C. U. Ezembaji, sees the award as solely on merit, saying it’s apt and that the cap fits well. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts:

ON WHAT the award connotes signifies

Peace is the hallmark of development. All sectors of the economy are anchored on peace and security. In fact, in an atmosphere devoid of peace, development and progress are mirage. The importance of peace transcends all countries.

If two countries are at war and no solutions, it may spirals into other countries, especially neigbhouring ones. Even in families, the importance of peace cannot be over emphasised. Therefore, peace, unity and mutual co-existence are crucial for life, for humance existence.

Without peace, life will be stressful, dangerous, brutish and of no value as nothing tangible can be achieved. What we shall be seeing or hearing of is devastation, murder, assassination, plunder, destruction, tragedies here and there and life will be worthless.

 You know propagation/maintenance of peace and mutual co-existence among nations is one of the cardinal objectives of this world today and the United Nations that gave Governor Soludo this award.

I think it was the horrors of the first and second world wars that necessitated the establishment of this great world body when nations’ leaders gathered at New York, USA, to proffer ways and means of fostering peace among nations.

In the light of the above, you can agree with me that for such world body, the greatest organisation in the world to decide and award peace ambassador, or mayor of peace to any one or organisation is significant.

For one thing, it underscores the great value it attaches to peace. For another, it shows how valuable and significant the recipient is. No doubt, some factors the U.N. to give the honour to the governor just barely six months this world body in office.

Quickly, let me commend the United Nations Peace and Positive Living Awareness Centre for considering our governor fit for the award and the International Co-ordinator, his Lordship, Bishop Dr. OziomaOzoemena for his efforts in recommending him for the honour.

You should remember the security situation in Anambra State and indeed, the entire South East Geo Political Zone of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and of course, our state, Anambra, when the governor took over the mantle of leadership as the state chief executive.

He immediately inaugurated the 15-man Justice and Peace Committee with members drawn from almost all strata of the society – the academia, the clergy, the business executives, civil society organisations from both Imo and Anambra States with the mandate to examine issues and find ways to achieve lasting peace, and the administration has, since its inception, been working tirelessly, assiduously to achieve this objective.

Here in Nigeria, we have United Nations representatives, the country director and international co-coordinator.

They’re watching closely the happenings in the country and forward their findings to the UN headquarters in New York.

I think the UN Peace and Positive Living Awareness Centre got a positive report and gave this award on merit. We’ve hundreds of governors in West Africa, even in Africa but the world body found Governor Soludo worthy for the honour and bestowed it on him.  Today, this Justice and Peace Committee is on course.

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 This very award at this very time in our country’s history is quite significant. It will wake up, in fact, encourage other state chief executives and indeed political leaders to ponder a bit and acknowledge the value of peace in our life, in our society, in fact, in all spheres of our lives.

As a stakeholder, as an elder, I advise our political leaders not only in the South East but in the entire country and indeed, in African continent, as well to see peace as crucial and critical to human survival and progress. We must eschew rancor and bitterness and imbibe those virtues of love, unity, mutual co-existence for the progress of our countries. See what’s happening in Ukraine now. This prosperous country is almost leveled, reduced to rubbles by shelling and bombing by neighbouring nation, Russia.

The world is now gripped with fear because I understand if the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine is shelled, the result in this modern technology age will  be disastrous and  catastrophic because the causalities will be in tens of millions. Not only Ukraine but Russia and the entire European countries will never be the same again. United Nations should do more to stop the war.

On what will sustain peace and stability in our own State, Anambra:

What is important here is modalities to clear our teeming jobless youths from the streets. Here, creation of job opportunities is the answer, paramount. I’m happy that our governor, an academic, an economist of international repute with wide connections is taking action on this.

His administration’s innovation in agriculture, its introduction of generic agriculture and revival of the age-long M.I. Okpara farm plantations now in progress are good ways to boost employment because I know thousands of our youths will queue into farming.

This government has resuscitated the Anambra State Business Agency (ASBA) and has given a great boost to entrepreneurship and provision of skill acquisition centres, as well as enhancing technical and vocational education. Small Businesses (SMEs) are growing and government has expressed its commitment to giving them a boost.

With the high tempo of industrialisation going on now in the state, I assure you that soon, our youths roaming the streets will be engaged in one form of business or the other. The time of white collar job is long over.

You can see businesses springing up here and there. It’s pertinent to note that these kind of businesses, small and medium enterprises account for over 70% of GDP in advanced economies like U.S., Germany, Britain, France, Japan, to mention but a few and their governments take adequate measures to ensure their sustainability.

Anambra is blessed to have a young, vibrant and intelligent governor who possesses all it takes, including vast experiences and international connections as its state chief executive; one who knows the needs of ndi Anambra and how to get them.

Of course, the quantum of votes he got during the elections showed that ndiAnambrarecognise his worth, what he can do and know that he’ll deliver.

His innovations in governance, like the introduction of coconut and palm plantains, modernisation of parks and markets management and complete automation and digitalisation of IGR administration, as well as the establishment of new ministries (that of Homeland affairs is one) and restructure of some are cases in point.

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These innovations are today yielding results. Please note that this administration’s model is possible because peace is returning to the state, few sporadic incidents here and there not withstanding. Remember one important slogan of Soludo administration: “If you see something, say something”.

This is critical to the sustainability of good governance. Unfortunately, many do not understand it. Soludo’s administration is there working, but we, ndiAnambra are part of it as government can’t do everything alone.

If you detect, see anything that’ll pull back the wheel of progress, report immediately to government officials. By this simple act, you can albeit calamity that would if left, be detrimental to the state, you and I.

So, as I said earlier, putting more people into the productive sector of the economy will curb youth restiveness, bring peace and development to Anambra State and government is succeeding in this direction.

So, efforts must be made towards boosting the private sector. In advanced countries, it constitutes the greatest employer of labour. See the state transport sector, the buses, shuttle and keke operators. More than a thousand youths are in this sector.

I’m happy that government is mediating to settle the rift between it and these operates in connection with what they will be paying to it monthly. I’m happy that the deputy governor is alive to his responsibilities even when the governor is in Abuja on a working visit, finding ways to bring development to our State.

With what’s seen in the state today, I strongly believe that this administration is desirous of making every Anambra youth successful and productive. We have at the helm of affairs in Anambra, a man with pedigree and contact to reposition the State.

On the present administration’s governance structureand whatputs ndi Anambra in high spirit

With peace gradually returning to the state and youths being engaged, I’ll say that the state citizenry are in high spirit and with high expectations. Take note that the administration’s aggressive drive for IGR is purely for the good of the state.

Transformation of Anambra to a liveable and prosperous mega city (conducive for all citizens) needs adequate funding and the depleting monthly allocation is a far cry of what is needed today under high inflation and prohibitive costs of goods.

 This government has re-activated the monthly sanitation exercise. Hitherto, people showed luke-warm attitude to this. We’ve seen its great fight against environmental degradation, the onslaught on Okpoko slum now fully cleared, its attack on the hitherto-avoided Sakamori by previous regimes.

 Even the clearing of illegal structures and shanties is yet another battle against environmental problem as clearance of these shanties pave way for the establishment of beautiful cities.

Onitsha today is regaining its former glory. Under this leadership, you see stronger synergy between government and the private sector; an administration that is a driver of policies for socio-economic development.

We see in this administration a true spirit of seriousness in engaging the youths in meaningful ventures and discouraging them from engaging in crime. From the government activities, our youths will realise their potentials.

In addition to creating employment opportunities, this government has opened up social and political space for them.

They play active roles in this administration as commissioners, special assistants, heads of non ministerial departments. In fact, this very governor is determined to ride out the storm and rebuild Anambra. The present administration is glued to the usage of technology in governance. In education, it has recorded lofty standard, transforming some community schools to “smart schools”.

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Our governor has restored people’s confidence in governance. On assumption of office, he commenced development drive in all sectors. His administration has flagged-off over 70km of roads in just six months as he promised when he declared state of emergency on Anambra roads.

His administration has shown unflinching determination and devotion with infrastructural facilities massively scaled up. His leadership is passionate about human capital development and to actualise this dream, it has launched Human Capital Development Council. His government has been articulating robust programmes and implementing them with quality results.

I can say that it is leading a crusade for poverty alleviation in Anambra. This government has enthroned fresh ideas. I believe ndiAnambra are proud of this administration whose leadership represents our state with equilibrium, wisdom and respect.

You know the administration’s five key development pillars upon which its achievements are anchored- security, law and order, economic transformation agenda, social agenda, and rule of law/value system. They’re well articulated and programmed to achieve quality results.

 The governor’s purposeful six months in office is commendable. In fact, by the end of his first tenure, Anambra will rank high among its contemporaries.

Governor Soludo’s selfless disposition, courage and resilience in pushing through his socio-economic, agenda is quite commendable. This administration’s efforts to open up more windows of employment for the youth are unprecedented. As you know, a quantum leap in skills among youths is the thresholds that can effectively propel a country to full economic development.

No doubt, the policies of this administration will usher in a strong and virile Anambra through participatory democracy and inclusive governance.

Soludo’s leadership has not only brought scholarship to bear on governance, but has introduced so many innovations that every segment of the society, including the locals at the grassroots are benefiting thereby changing the narrative of the history of rural dwellers.

Right from inception, Soludo administration has been working tireless, creating the enabling environment to boost investment confidence in the state, and finding sustainable solution towards ending poverty.

In this regime, we’re witnessing concerted efforts to diversify the economy away from oil, from monthly allocations. The administration believers that education is key to socio-economic development and that teachers hold the key for a better future for Nigeria.

That’s why he immediately on assumption of duty, employed over 4,000 teachers soon to be posted to fill any gap in this sector and embarked on the rehabilitation of all dilapidated community schools. By every index of development, one will say that the government is performing. I commend the governor’s steadfastness of purpose and strong political will.

If this high tempo of development in the state is sustained, I’m sure more awards will be coming the way of the governor. This time, all hands must be on deck to give the administration adequate support.

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