SOLUDO @60: CELEBRATING VISION, INTEGRITY AND PERFORMANCE

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Today, July 28, 2020, marks the 60th birthday of Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR. We thank God for His bountiful blessings upon his life especially the gifts of health, wisdom, and happiness. We are delighted to share the joy of this moment with millions of his admirers around the world.

Chukwuma Soludo (fondly called “Mr. Solution”) is an exceptionally gifted “onye Anambra” whose life has been characterized by excellence, integrity, and performance. Born in Isuofia, Aguata LGA with humble beginnings and early childhood through the vicissitudes of the Nigeria- Biafran Civil War, Soludo has become, as President Obasanjo described him, “one of the leading lights of our nation whose leadership qualities are admirable and his willingness to listen and learn is simply infectious”.

With a Distinction Grade in the West African School Certificate (WASC) at Uga Boys Secondary School, a first class honours in Economics, MSc, PhD in economics at UNN and promoted professor at the age of 38 (met requirements to be professor at 32), Soludo has proved to be a gifted solution provider to the myriad social and economic problems of the world and Nigeria. He lived in Ethiopia, UK, USA and travelled to 45 other countries around the world as consultant to countries and 20 international development and financial institutions before the federal government called him to serve Nigeria. His advice saved many countries and created millions of jobs. Today, we celebrate a man who has earned his place as a global citizen and yet remained a humble village boy as he prefers to call himself.

Soludo served the federal government as Chief Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo and CEO of National Planning commission during which he authored the economic agenda of the government called NEEDS. As CBN governor, he performed what most Nigerians thought was impossible namely, the banking and financial sector revolution. The NEEDS Plan, together with the new banking system that now extends loans to thousands of companies, helped to create over 12 million jobs and Nigerian economy grew at the fastest rate since independence during Soludo’s tenure. The history of banking in Nigeria is now divided into two phases: “before Soludo”, and “after Soludo”. Many of the millionaires and billionaires in Nigeria owe their wealth to Soludo’s ingenuity for creating a banking system that can now finance their businesses. Depositors in banks can now sleep without fear of losing their money. Soludo is also the founder of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) which has over $6 billion investment in infrastructure in over 30 African countries touching the lives of over 100 million Africans. We can go on and on.

For his uncommon transformations, the world has honoured him with scores of awards as the best governor of the central bank in Africa and in the world. Even many years after leaving office, Soludo is still recognized as one of the 100 most influential Africans. In Nigeria, Soludo has received over 100 awards and honours, including the third highest national honour, Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR)— all in recognition of him as a big thinker and excellent doer! It is not by accident that every president has sought to tap from Soludo’s intellect even when he did not belong to their political parties.
We are particularly delighted that while Soludo was transforming Nigeria and the world, he did not forget his roots. Even before he joined government he founded the African Institute for Applied Economics, Enugu— one of the top African think-tanks. Currently, he serves as Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo planning and strategy committee.

We note the thousands of our people that secured jobs in the bigger banks created by Soludo; more thousands of jobs in companies financed by these bigger banks as well as thousands of our small, medium and large companies that can now borrow from the banks— all thanks to Soludo’s ingenuity! We appreciate the hundreds of our people that now have bureau de change and microfinance bank licenses; etc.

Second, we appreciate the construction of CBN branches at Awka, Asaba, Umuahia, and Abakaliki. The CBN South East Regional Centre of Excellence at University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus is a pride of the black man, as well as the regional entrepreneurship development centre, Onitsha. The efforts in facilitating the inclusion of several south east federal roads especially in Anambra in the budget and release of funds for them are appreciated. The numerous contractors and businessmen that were empowered remain grateful.

As a home boy, Soludo is the exemplary village boy with passion to touch lives in his community. Even though he refuses to advertise his numerous charitable causes because he does not believe in what he calls noisy or opportunistic charity, we still know that since age 20, he has been extensively involved in community service and charity. Over 1000 students benefit every year from his scholarships and bursaries (including his adopted primary school with about 900 pupils guaranteed free and qualitative education); micro credit funds for thousands of women and widows; tarring of over 4Km of rural roads; hospital project; empowerment programmes; sports development; etc, etc. Most importantly, in 2017 Soludo resolved the 20 year old crisis in his community and Isuofia is now a united and peaceful community!

With the gift of sound health at his age, we can only say that his best is yet to come. Let us therefore toast and also pray for many more decades of continuing service to humanity. Happy birthday, Cee Cee Soludo (Odenigbo Aguata na Orumba, and Odenjinji Aguleri) –Chairman of Anambra Vision 2070 Committee!!!

By Joe C Anatune

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