Soludo And New Anambra (4): Opposition’s Clueless Politics

Governor Soludo
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By Law Mefor

The petty and lazy tactics of the opposition in Anambra State are characterised by the deception of the promise of a single term and propaganda. They are not adept at interpreting the time signs. They are merely fishing, setting off numerous fuses, which signify nothing in real sense.

William Shakespeare said as much in his classicus, Julius Caesar: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

Some moments are now or never. Any action taken before or after will not yield the desired results if the signs are ignored. This metaphorical expression informs us that the secret to success in life, especially in political contests, is seeing that a tide, or simply men’s motivation, exists and that it is a man’s responsibility to notice and take advantage of an opportunity only when it presents itself.

Many politicians in Anambra State who aspire to be governors don’t seem to comprehend this natural order of things, as seen by their choice to challenge an incumbent who is well-liked by the masses, extremely effective, and diligent in their work. They were not even informed about how Soludo became governor and how he waited for the ideal moment to run despite the pressure to run against Willie Obiano, the incumbent at the time, who was to seek a second term.

Rather, Soludo helped his predecessor thrive by providing support and free consulting. For instance, Soludo presided over the Anambra Vision 2070 Committee, which the administration of Willie Obiano established to draft Anambra State’s future plan. That is wisdom, and it paid off handsomely. One kind deed begets another, and the outgoing Obiano, in gratitude, supported Soludo to succeed him.

Just two years into Soludo’s first tenure, some politicians are already vying for his position. They are fighting a losing battle even though they know they have no chance as more pretenders than contenders. They are just distracting the hardworking governor. Though it is within their constitutional rights, they have the difficult task of coming up with what to say to Ndi Anambra to persuade them to vote against Professor Chukwuma Soludo, whose impressive two-year performance record surprised everyone and compelled some opposition leaders, including Chris Ngige, a former Anambra State governor, to commend Soludo for his excellent performance.

Unlike the typical palliative governance promoted by the media and propaganda, where actual and supposed achievements of governments are plastered on billboards at every turn in a state, Soludo took a different tack to governance. In March, Soludo’s government celebrated its second anniversary. His scorecard, which condenses 100 significant accomplishments, includes everything from legacy infrastructural development, such as high-grade roads, to social reengineering, youth empowerment, and training.

The opposition is unable to puncture the prudent and responsible administration of Soludo despite the state’s limited resources, as demonstrated by the 100 tangible accomplishments in two years without taking out a loan. The truth is that, other than the Soludo administration, no government in Nigeria, state or federal, has NOT borrowed money in the previous two to four years. Yet he has outperformed the majority of them, who have taken out loans and held office for longer.

Politicians in the opposition have attempted to inform Ndi Anambra that Soludo, the creative and forward-thinking governor, is underperforming. It failed to impress the public. Now, they fumble around for something to cling to. Thus, the opposition latched onto the short section of Ochanga Road that failed due to the asphalt’s dampness during the severe downpour that occurred less than two weeks after the asphalt was laid. This is a common occurrence in road construction, even in advanced cities. Yet, it was a source of media frenzy for the lazy opposition politicians and their Internet warriors.

The politicians in opposition cannot deny the current road revolution in Anambra State. Over the past two years, there has been a steady building of over 400 km of new roads across Anambra, with an average of 28 to 30 km being finished each month during the dry season, when road asphalting is at its optimum. The roads are of excellent quality and are built using stone bases, a technology uncommon in Anambra’s road building history due to its endurance despite its expensive cost. Apart from this, there are other projects to maintain roads, manage erosion, and build a flyover in Ekwulobia, one of the state’s largest cities. In the upcoming months, several additional road projects will also be awarded in the second phase of the road revolution.

In the upcoming years, Governor Soludo will set an unprecedented record in the southeast for road infrastructure, given the pace at which he is constructing new roads and repairing those that already exist. The Second Niger Bridge was constructed by Messrs. Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd. (JBN) using prestressed concrete technology, which is the model for the upcoming Ekwulobia Flyover in Anambra.

Good security, which eluded the state prior to Soludo’s ascendancy, now permits the opposition and other citizens to move freely within the state. Unknown gunmen (UGM) wreaked havoc throughout the state and laid siege to eight local governments when Soludo took power in March 2022. These local governments have been freed by the Soludo administration, and Anambra is now fairly safe again.

Massive urban regeneration projects are ongoing in the state of Anambra as a result of the Soludo administration’s near-total reconstruction of the state. The major cities of Anambra, like many other cities in Nigeria, have not adhered to a carefully considered and staged master plan. The master plans for the Anambra Intercity Railway Network and the three brand-new cities of Anambra Mixed-Use Industrial City, Onitsha 2.0, and Awka 2.0 are currently in very advanced stages of development. The present renovation of the current cities in the state of Anambra will, in terms of staged physical growth, emerge as a fully new city-state when these brand-new cities emerge. The upcoming Awka Fun City and a 5-star hotel will further cement Anambra’s status as a top-of-the-range travel destination for national and international conferences, tourism, and businesses.

The human capital development and social programmes that have been implemented in the past two years have also been outstanding. Currently, the state offers free child delivery services to more than 1,000 Anambra women each month and provides free prenatal care, including medicine, to more than 5,000 pregnant women each month. There are plans to build more primary healthcare facilities and general hospitals to fully make health care delivery in the state top-notch.

The state’s public primary and junior secondary education is now free. The Soludo-led administration hired 5,000 teachers last year to improve the quality of education in Anambra; an additional 5,000 teachers were recently interviewed and will be added to the state’s educational system.

Additionally, the state’s One-Youth-2-Skills scheme has offered youths a large financial empowerment initiative that the federal government has also copied. Following their training in the state’s One-Youth-2-Skills Programme, 5,000 young people were given startups worth 2 billion naira last year. In 2024, another group of 10,000 young people will receive empowerment to launch their own businesses. As an economics professor, Soludo understands that a state’s or nation’s human capital is its most valuable resource and is making huge investments in it.

In addition, the state is currently engaged in an agricultural revolution centred on the palm kernel and coconut industries, with the goal of lifting millions out of poverty.

Above all, Soludo has unparalleled financial intelligence. The Soludo-led administration has accomplished all of its goals over the past two years without borrowing, including the timely payment of salaries and pensions, significant infrastructure development, and the settlement of inherited debts. This is true even though Anambra’s IGR and federal allocation are actually average for Anambra State.

Anambra is drastically changing, and politicians with no other business but politics, power grabs, and state capture are creating negative energy to try and sabotage this new Anambra.

The buzz, instructively, originates from Anambra South, the home of the governor, Soludo. The catchphrase of those vying for governor from Anambra South is “I will serve only one term.” They now chant this refrain because they know that eventually power rotation—which was fought for and implemented by honourable people like Dr. Alex Ekwueme, may his memory be blessed—will win out. In light of this, the politicians from Anambra South who aspire to be governors have discovered that they are up against a strong current and must contend with Soludo’s indisputable record of accomplishments and formidable reputation.

Incidentally, voters in Anambra are arguably the most sophisticated in the nation. Apart from their long-standing loyalty to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), they are equally aware of the American adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As the Anambra people have never changed a winning team, it remains to be seen how such desperate politicians will make the river flow up the hill.

Dr. Law Mefor, an Abuja-based forensic and social psychologist, is a fellow of The Abuja School of Social and Political Thought;; Twitter: @Drlawsonmefor.

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