By IfeanyiChukwu Afuba
Is the setting in place for the flourishing of Anambra State under Professor Charles Soludo’s watch? Almost. There are already non – conformists to cope with.
The first steps have been sure – footed rather than tentative. The decisiveness has done much to temper the let’s – wait – and – see attitude that mostly trails transitions. Confidence – building, somewhat intangible, is of course a priority project to embark on.
Developing confidence in the new administration is not merely from a sense of security. Soludo’s robust response to the State’s share of national and regional security threats were timely and decisive. It’s underlying cause of we – either – cripple this – beast – or – it crushes – us brought vigour and solidarity to the campaign.
It was a similar case of restoration in the interventions on the environment, revenue generation system, touts’ terrorism, illegal structures and reduced cost of governance among others.
Nzukora Old Aguata Union echoed voice of enthusiasts of the new scheme of things. In a joint statement, Chairman, Peter Okpala and Secretary, Mike Okafor enthused: “Mr Governor is the first to use Made in Anambra vehicle not only as (his) official vehicle but for all government agencies; the first to wear Made in Anambra clothing and footwear; the first Gov to introduce local drinks and delicacies (at Govt House/Lodge).”
The more ambitious steps on N57b road infrastructure, recruitment of teachers and doctors; oil palm and coconut plantations, entrepreneurship schemes have also been applauded.
But Soludo’s earlier statement on the poor financial health of the State at the inception of his administration was scorned by some citizens. Their response to that update, and repeated, following the Governor’s loan request approval to the House of Assembly, was cynical.
To be sure, Professor Charles Soludo has severally stated that he applied for the job of Governor and was not about to make excuses for the task. Indeed, his comments on the State’s finances should be seen from the prism of openness, an important component of good governance. Briefings on the state of the State are an indication of responsible leadership.
And I see no indictable ground arising from Soludo’s endorsement of Willie Obiano in 2017 for a second term with the “not broken” slogan and the handover records at March 2022.
At the time Soludo made that advocacy for Obiano, Anambra was regarded as leading State in security and private sector investment. She had the lowest poverty rate under Obiano’s economic management. Anambra state schools, pupils and teachers triumphed at various national and international competitions. An agrarian revolution which saw the State exporting vegetables was in progress. Second Republic Vice President, late Alex Ekwueme, Senator Ben Murray Bruce and then Ohaneze President, John Nnia Nwodo were among other eminent Nigerians who approved Obiano’s merit for second tenure.
However, in Obiano’s quest to leave impressive legacies, he over – concentrated on two capital intensive projects at a time. These were the Umueri cargo airport and International Convention Centre, Awka. The development led to neglect of some areas of development in the last two years of the administration. There is no way this deficiency can be hung on Soludo’s neck.
It’s too early in the day for the adversarial politics of this small band of critics.
A verdict on the present administration’s scorecard at this point would be premature and immature.
Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect everyone to applaud the unfolding new dispensation in Anambra State. No programme of development is without it’s pitfalls nor can we stop reckoning with the diversity of perspectives to issues. But there is a difference between insightful criticism and negative mindset.
The naysayers sound like people still habouring grudges over the outcome of the last Governorship election. There is no engaging point on which to anchor their hostility except attitude. I would recommend for them late Waziri Ibrahim’s concept of politics without bitterness.