PRIORITY AREAS OF ATTENTION FOR PROF SOLUDO
It was George Bernard Shaw who said that “we must reform society before we can reform ourselves”. This declaration is the indispensable reality in Nigeria, especially in Anambra State, which has just elected a learned and fearless reformer as Governor. Anambra since Governor Mbadinuju’s masquerade administration in 2003 has followed an upward trajectory in the quality of leadership they produce as governors. However, Anambra State needs drastic measures that will address many issues that are hampering the development of the state.
Undoubtedly, Anambra needs institutionalized reforms and Professor Soludo, whom Anambra voters have rightly chosen, is the best man with reform experience to elect at the moment. Anambra was created from the former state of Anambra, which included the current states of Enugu and Anambra. Enugu State was created by inheriting the capital and institutions of former Anambra State, while present-day Anambra State retained the name. This means that Anambra State started from zero in 1991 when it was established by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida. The Babangida administration’s experimental military diarchy produced Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife as state governor, before Nigeria reverted to full military rule by General Abacha until democracy returned in 1999. From 1999 in 2003, Anambra State was shrouded in waves of darkness. under the administration of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. It was from the administration of Dr Chris Ngige, whom the Supreme Court later sacked after it was illegally declared the winner by INEC, that Anambra’s turnaround began. The government of Mr. Peter Obi truly laid the foundations of the modern state and was the bridge between the putrid past of the state and its future. The administration of Governor Obiano signs on March 17, 2022, to make way for the governor-elect, Professor Charles Soludo.
Among the many issues that belligerently attack any form of development in Anambra State, the revenue syndicates are taking the cake. Overcoming these entrenched parasitic insects that are bleeding Anambra State to death will go a long way in giving the new administration much-needed oxygen to succeed. The cabals behind touts who nearly harass and rob Ndi Anambra in the name of collecting taxes and levies are entrenched members of APGA, the ruling party. If the governor-elect is to make the tremendous positive impact that is expected, he must win this battle from within APGA as a party. He needs to be ruthless about it if necessary and that will send a very strong non-verbal message to everyone and every parasitic interest group in the state. I was happy when I read on the Punch Newspaper of January 23, 2022, that he would be ending all revenue contracts when he takes office on March 17, 2022. We are looking forward to this and will welcome a streamlined electronic collection state government taxes, levies and taxes. functions. This tax reform will not be successfully implemented without the tax cabals fighting back, but I believe the new governor is a long-time reformer, so I believe he is ready and prepared to fight them.
Security is another area that requires immediate and consistent action. Many former state governors started well with securing Anambra but slacked off after a while and it usually gets worse when insecurity returns. Anambra’s security situation is multi-faceted, very deadly and has taken away valuable individuals from the state. Dr. Chike Akunyili, Chief Gab Ofoma, Prof. Obidinma Onyemelukwe and so many others including many ordinary residents of the state.
Unknown gunmen who murder people at will are not a group, but all guns carrying no state actors killing people at will. I believe the first step in getting the security situation under control is to get the Nigerian police back to work, but the unnecessary roadblock that causes movement difficulties and sometimes death must be removed. The reconstruction of the various burnt down police stations should be initiated by the government in collaboration with the community development unions. There is a need to revolutionize the placement of CCTV, CCTV cameras in every nook and cranny of the state, both by government and individuals. Inside various state markets, traders have adopted it as a form of control over criminal activity in their trading vicinity and it is paying off. If people are instructed to deploy CCTV around their properties and the state government covers public spaces, the crime rate will drop and the chances of criminals being caught will increase monumentally.
Infrastructure development is one of the areas where people expect massive attention as most of the roads in Anambra are in very poor condition and many abandoned road projects need to be repaired. Anambra had the best road network and a very secure environment with continued investment, but all of that evaporated in the face of security challenges. The entire Okpoko area in the Ogbaru Local Government Area was originally mapped as part of the port’s industrial development, but the government over the years, especially the military era, did not has not followed its development and people have turned it into a slum. The industrial development of the port has been planned to supply the activities of the port of Onitsha River from where their products will be shipped to the rest of Nigeria and the world at large. The Abada market at the foot of the Nigeria River Bridge should be moved inland, to create more space for Onitsha River Port activities. The Okpoko development and the Abada market land are expected to be reclaimed for their original purposes, which will triple the GDP of Anambra State. How it will be done and where they will be moved are some of the reasons why we have elected Prof. Charles Soludo (Nwamgbafor) Governor of Anambra State.
*** By Obi Ebuka Onochie