By Christian ABURIME
In March this year when the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, marked his first year in office, his chief guest, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made news with some remarks he made at the event in Awka.
Reminiscing in his speech, President Obasanjo in his characteristic outspokenness disclosed that he was at one time against the ambition of Professor Soludo becoming just a Governor but was reserving him for some bigger international assignments or at least at the Federal level. Why? Hear the former president:
“In the course of my experience with Chukwuma, I had mapped out for him something greater in my mind until one day he came to me and said he was going to contest for governor of Anambra State. I did not disguise my anger and I said no because I see him as someone at national or international assignments.”
“I made him my chief economic adviser. I was very happy with him and I sent him to the CBN he performed creditably well. From what I have heard and what I have seen, you have not disappointed me and I believe you have not disappointed the people of Anambra State.”
Indeed, no other personality could have vouched for the excellent leadership qualities of Governor Soludo than President Obasanjo himself. And today, no people could confirm the achievements of their state governor better than Ndi Anambra themselves. Despite being deemed worthy of higher ambitions than being a state governor, Prof. Soludo chose to stoop low to conquer. It is a testament of his uncanny humility, love of Anambra State and sense of selfless service that he aspired to be governor, so he can touch lives from his own roots, rather than taking his stellar gifts to the larger world.
And so far, as the governor gracefully clocks another year in his life, he has given, and is still giving, the best of himself to Anambra State in terms of good governance.
The daunting challenges he met in office notwithstanding, the revered Professor of Economics and tested technocrat armed himself with a sublime vision for Anambra State: to transform it into a livable, prosperous smart mega city-state, an Africa’s axis of sustainable prosperity, where Ndi Anambra and all-comers are welcome to live in, work, invest and enjoy. His vision is hinged on five policy pillars, which are Security, Law and Order, Infrastructure and Economic Transformation, Human Capital and Social Agenda, Governance and Value System, and Sustainable Environment.
Running with these vision-driven policy pillars, Governor Soludo has been making verifiable impact. In the area of security, law and order, the Soludo administration has prioritized the restoration of law and order with profound judicial reforms, as well as taken critical measures in the security of lives and property of Ndi Anambra.
Although random security breaches do occur once in a while, the rampant menace of insecurity he met last year has reduced drastically now. Robust security architecture has been strengthened in collaboration with gallant joint security forces, including the state vigilante service. Today, no stone is being left unturned to keep Anambra State safe and secure as much as unrepentant criminals still want to dare the law.
To boost economic transformation and infrastructure, over 300 kilometers of roads are in various stages of completion across the state, with many more on the way. Also, there is a functioning MOU with the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company for a 24hrs supply of electricity in the state, just as those who are interested in setting up Independent Power Plants in the state are welcome to do so.
On transportation, traffic chaos in urban centres are being sorted out, while the government is also working towards the introduction of rail services, both light and sky rails. In the health and education sectors, serious human capital investments have been made with the employment of 5,000 teachers and over 300 medical personnel to end the pathetic eras of schools without teachers and hospitals without doctors and nurses.
Agricultural renaissance is also going on in the state, with the government introducing new regenerative agriculture practices and distributing hundreds of thousands of oil palm and coconut seedlings to farmers and individuals order to combat poverty and improve disposable incomes for many households.
The system of governance in Anambra has been reformed with the civil service, public sector service and IGR now being done in line with best practices. Urban renewal efforts are ongoing in key cities of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, while the twin-menace of gully erosion and flooding in the state is being kept under control.
And lately, Governor Soludo, passionately restless to accelerate the transformation of Anambra State, has been embarking on town hall meetings with Ndi Anambra outside the state in order to drive home the much-needed investments towards the homeland development.
Thus he has held such town hall meetings with Anambra-born businessmen and women, including professionals in Lagos and Abuja, with more to come.
There is no doubt that, in the hallowed halls of governance today, Governor Soludo’s presence shines like a guiding star, illuminating the path of progress and prosperity for his beloved Anambra State.
A leader of unwavering dedication, he embodies the virtues of integrity, wisdom, and empathy, resonating deeply with the hearts of the people he serves. Through turbulent tides and triumphant moments alike, his steady hand is navigating Anambra to unprecedented frontiers, leaving an indelible mark upon its tapestry. Only sinister cynics would deny this.
The canvas of Anambra’s landscape is being painted with strokes of innovation under his watchful gaze. A beacon of progress, the governor is ushering in an era of technological advancement too, fostering an environment where entrepreneurship and industry can flourish. With an eye towards sustainable development, he is kindling the flame of eco-consciousness, restoring the natural splendour of the state with tree planting and other urban renewal initiatives.
But it is not just through infrastructure and other concrete developmental actions that the governor’s leadership shines; it is also in the compassionate touch with which he tends to the needs of the most vulnerable. It would be recalled that he recently came out of the National Economic Council meeting in State House, Abuja, to announce the need for his fellow state governors to make sacrifices, by reducing their convoys of cars for example, in sensitivity to the current economic hardship Nigerians are going through.
His heart beats in rhythm with the aspirations of the marginalized, and his policies stand tall as guardians of social justice, ensuring that no one is left behind in the pursuit of progress. A true servant of the people, he listens to their voices, their hopes, and their dreams, shaping policies that resonate with the collective heartbeat of Anambra.
His open-door policy beckons every citizen to partake in the journey of governance, nurturing a sense of belonging and shared responsibility.
Today, as Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo marks his birthday, it is with hearts brimming with joy and admiration that we pay homage to a leader ahead of his time, an exceptional visionary, an ardent lover of Anambra State, a humanist and a pan-Nigerian patriot.
As the gentle zephyrs carry our words of felicitation to him, may the years ahead be graced with boundless inspiration, courage, and wisdom, and may his legacy forever inspire those who walk the path of leadership.
Happy Birthday sir, dear Mr Governor – you remain a beacon of hope for Anambra and beyond!.