By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
There is palpable fear amongst the serious commentariat in addressing relevant issues because most of the viral news attributed to esteemed personages may have been cooked up by the feeble minds of the fake news industry. Anambra State Governor-elect, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, has had many words put in his mouth by these fake news manufacturers.
It’s therefore interesting seeing Prof Soludo while interacting with the members of his transition committee laughing off one of the fibs that quoted him as saying that he would not spend more than N20 million for his swearing-in ceremony.
Soludo cleared the matter thusly: “I have made a wish that not even One Kobo of Anambra people’s money will be spent on the swearing-in ceremony. It is a wish, and I mean it. What are we spending money on? Just a few people coming to the inauguration and witnessing it, then I will open office and get down to work immediately. I do not wish any event, dancers or players and all that. I just want to show up for work, like every first workday. Though it is going to be a Friday, which is the weekend, I’m going to work for over eight hours that day. No ceremony, no event, no party, nothing. Not even 10 Kobo will be spent. So the people who are saying N20million has been budgeted should go and tell us where they will get that money. It is going to be work, work, work, and that is what we epitomize.”
These words definitely would not sound well to the ears of the idlers and loafers littering the political landscape. Free-loaders may of course get up in arms, but it does a world of good that the work ethic of the quintessential Anambra person is being given pride of place by the Governor-elect.
Leo-Stan Ekeh, the CEO of the trailblazing Zinox Computers who is not from Anambra State once reportedly said: “The wealth, energy and knowledge per square metre in Anambra does not exist in any other part of Africa.”
It needs to be reiterated always that it is work that drives successful societies and civilisations. Productivity matters, and any leader that does not drive it has crucially missed the essence and fallen in love with the accident of base consumption.
Soludo goes to the kernel of the matter as he prioritizes his strategy of promoting indigenous brands such as Innoson Motors and the Akwete cloth.
I believe it was during his campaign tours, while at Chief Cletus Ibeto’s house in Nnewi, that Soludo made the promise that he would use only Innoson Motors as his official cars. On a lighter note, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, CEO of Innoson, asked those around to please take note of what Soludo had said!
Seriously, one would have thought that it was one of those political campaign promises that would be put on one side once power is captured. It stands Soludo in good grace that he is living up to his words this way: “I said it even during the campaigns, and I meant it, that if I win, the official car of the Governor of Anambra State will be Innoson Motors.”
It’s cool by me seeing Soludo, aka Charlie nwa Mgbafor, clad in his smart Akwete dress, stressing that it was not a coincidence that he has been wearing Akwete, and adding for good measure that his intention is to make a statement with the dressing.
According to Soludo, “My Akwete dress is not just a dress; it’s a statement. I want to make a statement with it. You know, in the entire Southeast, this is the only textile product alive, and it’s handmade by the women of Akwaete in Abia State. Igboland is one and we must protect it. We want to bring back the zeal of patronizing our own. The dresses I will wear are those made in our place here. We must protect the things that are made in our place. Something is about to happen in Igboland, and together we will get there.”
The personal example of the leader goes a long way in paving the path of constructive development. As Chinua Achebe famously said in The Trouble with Nigeria, “The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”
Anambra stands as the pivotal state of the Southeast, being the home of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Alex Ekwueme, Cyprian Iwene Tansi, Cardinal Arinze, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie etc. It is incumbent on Anambra State to drive development from the teeming geo-political zone to the broad national plain.
The Soludo example in Anambra State should uplift a nationwide attention to development, for as the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, wrote in “Developmentalism and Nigeria’s Governance” in Businessday of June 7, 2016, “It is a mark of vacuity in our national politics that even ethnic and sectional organisations like Afenifere, Ohaneze and Arewa People’s Congress which claim that their raison d’etre is the wellbeing of their peoples have no development agendas which address the challenges of hunger, poverty and ignorance among their peoples. None has a blueprint for job creation, security, agricultural production, industrial growth, quality education or anything in their respective regions.”
Anambra State comes tops with 139 marks in the admission to Nigeria’s Unity Schools. The educated workforce is available. Anambra is one vast market intervolving entrepreneurship and workable commerce. The Made-in-Anambra work ethic suits Prof Soludo like his Akwete cloth.
It is with bated breath that the world waits for Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo to assume duties as Anambra State Governor on March 17 in this year of Our Lord.