The task of building a modern, prosperous and progressive state is never a one-man adventure. There has to be an aggregation of concerted efforts by diverse stakeholders. Quality, inspiring leadership driven by sublime vision is imperative, and so also is a supportive citizenry with distinctive contributions. With the foregoing in mind, Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, was recently in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital, to engage Ndi Anambra residents there in a Townhall Meeting. The venue of the Townhall meeting was filled up to the brim and graced by key Ndi-Anambra businessmen and women as well as some members of the State Executive Council.
For Governor Soludo, this wasn’t a jamboree but a serious business. The mission was simple and unambiguous. He came to Lagos to seek partners in progress in the quest to build a prosperous, livable and secured Anambra State that all can be proud of. At least, if it is true that heavens help those who first help themselves, Anambra’s own sons and daughters must be sought out first as investors to join hands with the governor in the task of state building. Beyond political pandering, Governor Soludo is a leader in a hurry to transform Anambra State for good and leave it better than he met it. He has no luxury of time to waste. So, he would stop at nothing to enlist support wherever it could be found. After all, he presides over a state bursting with immense potential, yearning to be unleashed for greatness. This has spurred the governor to be relentless over a year of coming to the office to lay a solid foundation that will turn the state into Africa’s axis of sustainable prosperity and a livable and prosperous homeland.
From the onset, the governor’s strategy of priming the state for the serious business of development and investment has been hinged on critical policy pillars of Security, Law and Order; Infrastructure and Economic Transformation; Human Capital and Social Agenda; Governance and Value System; and Sustainable Environment. In all these key areas, sundry seminal achievements have been recorded. For instance, the Soludo administration has restored law and order with profound judicial reforms, as well as drastically reduced the menace of insecurity with the security architecture put in place in collaboration with the State’s joint security forces. To boost economic transformation, over 300 kilometres of roads are in various stages of completion across the state, with more to come. 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 also welcome to do so.
On transportation, traffic chaos in urban centres is being straightened out, while the government is also working towards the introduction of rail services, both light and sky rails. In health and education, copious human capital investments have been made with the recent 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. Food security is also getting a boost with the new regenerative agriculture practices and seedling distributions of Coconut and palm oil across the entire state to boost the people’s economic status and reduce poverty. The governance system 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 the key cities of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, while the twin menace of gully erosion and flooding in the state is being kept under control.
A lot more has been achieved that space here won’t allow, but Governor Soludo now has his eyes fixed on impacting the future of Anambra State even far better than ever. So, in the next 33 months, the administration will be on a syndicated acceleration mode along its five pivotal policy pillars. Generally, the governor promised that there will be concerted efforts at improving the ease of doing business in Anambra State through reinforcement of the Anambra Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) as a one-stop investment centre for enquiries, investment advisory, information on regulations and so on. The land will be readily available through the industrial cities that are being initiated at the moment, as long as interested persons fulfil the expected requirements. Also, all infrastructure modernization initiatives will be sustained and accelerated, as the state government will work with the Federal Government and other South East governments for the development of functional Southeast seaport and gas pipeline infrastructure for the Southeast.
In the area of law, order and security, the Soludo government will be deepening the security architecture and partnering with the judiciary and legislature for reviewing of laws and speedy dispensation of justice. In terms of infrastructure for economic transformation, there will be aggressive construction of at least additional 100km of roads across the state and intensification of more efficient mass transportation by developing inter-city and intra-city transport systems, including water transport and sky train. Of course, developmental work will also continue faster at the state airport. The government will be establishing more industrial cities and export processing zones along with export emporiums, warehouses and the largest shopping mall in Africa. The provision of 24-hour electricity supply to at least four major cities such as Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, and Ekwulobia will be a priority, along with better urban water schemes to guarantee water supply to Awka, Onitsha and Obizi.
As part of its lofty ambitions to build Anambra State as a modern, smart and connected city-state, the government will also be mainstreaming and developing the Solution Innovation District as our own Silicon Valley with the mantra of technology everywhere towards democratising digital skills. What is more, in order to make the state the ultimate destination for residents and visitors alike, the new Awka Fun City, Anambra Country Club, Awka and Agulu Leisure Park Phase One will be built in the near future. Human capital and social agenda development will get more critical attention. There will be upgrading of infrastructure in schools and hospitals as well as recruitment of specialized teachers. The government will be launching and implementing a Ward-based Cooperative Intervention Programme, Continuous Youth Skills Enhancement/Empowerment alongside mainstreaming sports as an economy.
Of course, the environment will not be left out of the Soludo administration’s future accelerated impact. There will be continued greater urban regeneration and modernisation of major cities such as Ekwulobia, Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and others with millions of tree planting and other renewal initiatives that will make Anambra State the cleanest and most planned city in Nigeria. Chaotic, filthy shanties will be transformed into slick beauties, and new enchanting spectacles will be made out of Ochanja Roundabout Water Fountain, Ekwueme Square, Amansea Roundabout, Creek Road/Zik Road/Port Harcourt Road, Awka Road at Borromeo, and Club Road, among others. Now, with all the solid foundations laid for an enabling environment and many more planned accelerated developmental milestones to come in the next 33 months, Anambra State is loading and ready for business, with many investment options open to all.
Governor Soludo’s strident clarion call from the recent Townhall Meeting in Lagos is going out to all Ndi Anambra in Diaspora. From Lagos to Abuja, Ibadan to Kano, Port Harco Johannesburg, London to New York, Dubai to Hong Kong, and everywhere in the world, it is time to answer the urgent, sacred call: think home, come home and invest in your homeland. North, south, east or West, the charity would always begin at home. And at this sensitive time when Ndigbo is facing certain challenges in their various host communities of residence and business, it is in the best interest of Ndi Anambra to imbibe the ‘homeland consciousness’ and invest in their own roots. It is not enough to only come home for Christmas/New Year festivities, burials and weddings. As Governor Soludo rightly emphasized at the Townhall Meeting, there is a critical need to change Anambra State from being a departure lounge to a destination. Indeed, Anambra State sons and daughters are most enterprising and can be found virtually everywhere in Nigeria and the world, investing in their host economies.
But when push comes to shove, will Ndi Anambra have a livable and prosperous homeland to fall back upon? The sum of it all is that Anambra State today stands at the precipice of greatness, with Governor Charles Soludo leading the charge towards a prosperous and secure future. His over one year in office has already laid a solid foundation for development, and his visionary plans for the future promise even greater achievements ahead. But to fully realize the potential of Anambra State, the collective efforts of its indigenes, both at home and abroad, are crucial. Therefore, the time is ripe for Ndi Anambra to channel their expertise, resources, taxes and entrepreneurial spirit towards the prosperity of Anambra State as they have done in their current host societies. Together, all hands must be on the plough with Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo to pave the way for a prosperous and secure state that future generations will be proud of. Indeed, the Solution is here and Anambra will continue to win!
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