Anambra, Soludo and the solution

By Dr Uche Ifediba

If, going by the huge amounts he has invested in human resources development, you think that Governor Soludo spends all the state fund on education and giving employment to the citizens, then wait and see what he is doing in the modern city transformation and infrastructural sector. On coming to office, he promptly declared a state of emergency on roads in the state, and with the spirit of providing ‚ÄėSolution‚Äô he quickly followed it up with matching action. He flagged off the construction of hundreds of kilometers of roads across all the Local Government Areas of the state and most of them have been completed.

One unique thing about his projects is that they are evenly and fairly distributed to all parts of the state. No community needs to lobby or have influential personalities before their area could attract government projects. With Governor Soludo, every community is important, every area strategic. He builds bridges and flyovers, and constructs new roads while widening and dualising some of the existing ones.

Several streets in Onitsha, the commercial nerve center of the state, have, through better road construction and lighting, been transformed into facilities befitting of a modern city. Needless to mention, Awka – the State caital – has witnessed greater infrastructural augmentation in the last two years than ever before. It is fast assuming the prestigious status of the capital of a bubbling smart mega city that Anambra is on transit to. So far, the state has become a huge construction site as massive road work simultaneously goes on in every part of it. While constructing durable roads, this government also makes unprecedented strides in erosion control.

You may be surprised that since its creation in 1991, Anambra State has not got a permanent government house or a secretariat except the make-shift arrangements that all the past governors had managed with. Perhaps because of the gigantic nature of those projects and the huge cost involved, they had all shied away from them. All the same, the present government‚Äôs vision and mission cannot be realised by evading such big and vital projects. Thus, the multipurpose ‚ÄėSolution‚Äô had, once again, to be applied with decisive certainty.

Before clocking two years in office, Governor Soludo had embarked on holistic housing infractural development of the government house and government lodge including the expansion of commissioners‚Äô quarters as well as making impressive progress in housing for the judiciary, and so on. It appears that Governor Soludo has come to lay the foundation of Anambra state after about thirty two years of its creation. Looking at the massive structures put in place in these areas, many people continue to wonder how the funds for these and other numerous projects are generated. The huge success actually lies in the ‚ÄėSolution‚Äô, which to me, is the judicious deployment of state resources for problem solving and prevention purposes with expert managerial prudence and zero corruption.

The health sector is not left out in the development and transformation spree. The government has announced that it will build one strong general Hospital per Local Government Area, and the work has commenced, while it has built and equipped Eye Care centres in some of the existing ones. The governor has also declared free antenatal care and free delivery to all pregnant mothers in the state. He has embarked on the renovation of three general hospitals in the state ‚Äď Ekwulobia, Enugwu-Ukwu and Umueri General Hospitals.

The human face of this government is also glaring, particularly considering the immediate measures it took to cushion the hardship brought by the recent subsidy removal in the country. Governor Soludo, among other things, removed tax payment from business owners with less than a hundred thousand Naira operating capital. He also reduced the taxes payable by transport operators like keke, bus and truck drivers. Moreover, he ordered that okada riders should not be required to pay any form of tax. With all these cuts on internally generated revenue (IGR), one would naturally expect a slowdown in the implementation of his vibrant policies. Rather, work goes on, nevertheless, indefatigably. The numerous achievements mentioned above would have sufficed for a less ambitious leader, but not for the economics professor. Instead of relaxing, he came up with yet another staggering proposal: to build a railway that would traverse the entire state.

Kudos to the able Governor also for always selecting the best brains to work with. Most of his polical appointees are determined and exceptional. Looking at what his commissioners like the Honourable Commissioner for Housing, Barr Pauly Onyeka, Hon Commissioner for works, Engr Okoma, Hon. Commissioner for health, Dr Afam Obidike and the Hon. Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh are doing, you cannot but marvel at the governor’s penchant for the superlative.

Anambrarians can’t wait to see what the state would be transformed into by the end of Gov. Soludo’s second term in office. For it has become very clear that this governor is not a propaganda man; he wins the heart of the people not by deceiving them but by rendering services that meet their needs and often exceed their expectations. Having successfully headed the Central Bank of Nigeria, and now being a different kind of governor, Prof. Soludo has approached leadership in ways that inspire public confidence.

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