Our Reporter, Abuja
The Governor of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Soludo Thursday night in Abuja called on Anambra people to develop homeland consciousness and seize the opportunities his government is providing to develop the state to invest.
Soludo was speaking at a town hall meeting with Anambra people, which took place at Bolton White Event Centre in Abuja.
The event was chaired by the the chairman of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company of Nigeria (EEDC), Sir Emeka Offor, who rallied support of the Anambra elite, particularly the National Assembly members from the state, for the governor.
In his address delivered in flawless Igbo language, Governor Soludo stated that the town hall was organised among other things to create the ambience for his government to present to their employers, the Anambra people, what they have been doing so far, and to provide a feedback mechanism to improve their performance. The governor also used the opportunity to sensitise the people of the state (Ndi Anambra) to think home while believing in one Nigeria.
“You have to realise that though we believe in one Nigeria, there is need to build a livable homeland. After the holocaust, the Jews decided to build one of the most prosperous spots in the world. If you annoy any Jew in any part of the world, he/she will return to Israel. And Igbos are often referred to as the Nigerian Jews. God did not make any mistake in making us Nigerians, and Anambra people.”
The governor said an incredible opportunity now exists for investors to create wealth in the state and promised to provide the necessary infrastructure for private investments to flourish. In that regard, he promised to make land available only to serious investors, not land speculators.
Soludo also identified security as a challenge but scored his government high in dealing with matter. According to him before he came to office, about seven local governments in the state, especially around the South, were completely overrun by organised crime. But the governor said the hoodlums have been greatly degraded and now lack the capacity to operate and unleash attacks as an organised group in any part of the state today.
“Yes, the criminals can throw in a sporadic attack here and there occasionally but ultimately we will get them. Yes, you can get up and slap the king. But what happens after is more important.”
The governor also said his government is doing all that is possible in the area of road construction and urban renewal and promised to assist anyone ready to invest or build a manufacturing industry in the state.
Soludo who hinted that he had earlier held similar town hall meetings with Anambra people resident in Lagos, promised to establish a functional governor’s office within the Abuja liaison office and create an Open Day when he would relocate from Awka to Abuja for about two days just to seat, meet and hear the people on how they feel the state could be developed.
Governor Soludo further called for a strategic partnership with Anambra leaders and people irrespective of political affiliations saying the single goal remains the well-being of Anambra.
“I have said before that I do not care which political parties you belong to. Afterall those things (parties) are mere vehicles to get somewhere. In this game, there is only one ball to be played; and the goal is the well-being of Anambra State.”
Soludo also thanked the members of the national assembly from Anambra for raising the motion on the poor state of the Onitsha-Owerri road on the floor of the Assembly but said more is required from them. He, however, promised to have more meetings with them especially before every budget cycle to discuss how the state could get more from the national budget.
The governor also used the opportunity to tell Anambra people how he was doing his best to cut the cost of governance. He said although things were a little messy when he took over, that sanity was gradually returning in the running of the state. Though he said could only speak for himself, he was for instance able to bring down the monthly cost of cleaning of the office facility from N137 million paid by the Obiano government to N11 million; that Innoson remains the official car for Anambra State government; that his shoes are made in Anambra or Aba while his fabrics are hand-woven by Akwete women in Abia State. Soludo also used the opportunity to reiterate his promise that every kobo that comes into state coffers will be judiciously used to serve the people.
Earlier, in responding to the call of the chairman of the occasion, Sir Emeka Offor, all the three senators representing Anambra State, Victor Umeh; Ifeanyi Ubah; and Tony Nwoye, promised to put aside partisan considerations to work with the governor in developing Anambra Sate. But Senator Tony Nwoye who received a rousing applause, advised Governor Soludo to caution his aides in the habit of insulting the Labour Party presidential candidate and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi. According to Nwoye, Obi is the only reason that Igbos are heard in Nigeria today.
The event was attended by the elite of Anambra State in politics, the private sector and entertainment including the former governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, who Soludo thanked for laying the foundation for road revolution in Anambra State, which he said he is improving on today. Also in attendance, was Dr. Alex Otti, the governor of Abia State.