By Chekwube Nzomiwu

As an indigene of Anambra State, I watched our Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo deliver his two years scorecard at the International Conference Centre Awka, before an audience, comprising South East governors, the crème de la crème of the state’s elite and other dignitaries. Frankly speaking, I must admit the fact that his speech was well couched and masterfully presented.

While I commend him for presenting his scorecard, which is anyway customary with political office holders everywhere, including the western world, let me point out that he is not the one to assess himself in actual fact, but the people. Be that as it may, one thing that struck me about the speech was the preponderance of futuristic language, rather than saying exactly what has been accomplished in the past two years. The speech was saturated with expressions such as ‘our target’, ‘we are looking forward’, ‘master plan’, among others.

Ironically, one of his guests at the event, Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, commissioned three roads in his first 100 days in office. Today, seven local government areas in Abia state are enjoying uninterrupted electricity supply as a result of an independently owned power generating company inaugurated in less than one year of the Otti administration.       

But, beyond the razzmatazz of Soludo’s scorecard, there are some explanations he owes Anambra people about his stewardship in the past two years, which were conspicuously missing in the speech. In the course of the delivery of his scorecard, Soludo told Anambra people that he has not received any salary since he assumed office as Governor on March 17, 2022. He also said his wife has no official car but uses cars he bought as an ordinary individual before becoming governor.

I am not so bothered about the issue of his wife not having an official car. After all, nobody forced him to decide that the office of the first lady should not exist in his administration. But, it is his statutory right as a public servant to receive salary at the end of every month. If our dear Governor has not been receiving salary for the past two years, his “austere” life notwithstanding, I wonder how he has been surviving all this while, especially this time of economic hardship.        

Professor Soludo owes the people of Anambra State an explanation on his means of livelihood to forestall any form of speculation. I am aware that he has not publicly declared his assets since he became Governor of Anambra State. Even as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Professor of Economics refused to declare his assets publicly.

The burden is on him now to either explain to the people how he has been surviving without salary in the past two years or publicly declare his assets to douse the anxiety of our people. Nobody will be proud to come from a state that starved its Governor to death.  

Besides, we would not want a repeat of what happened in Imo State under Goveror Rochas Okorocha who claimed that he did not receive salaries, only for the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) to charge him to court for N2.9 billion fraud. The Federal High Court later struck out the case on the grounds that the charge was based on unlawful, null and void investigation.

I am happy that Soludo admitted in his speech that Anambra State has the potential to become a smart mega city. Please, let me add that Anambra is one of the states that has the potential to operate without allocation from the federation account. Its immense commercial and industrial capabilities can yield billions of naira in internally generated revenue.

In the past, revenue from Onitsha alone, paid the salaries of civil servants working under the East Central States, comprising the five South East states as we have them today.  Onitsha is the biggest commercial city in the South East and South South regions today. The market is patronised by people from neighbouring West African countries.  Nnewi is a commercial and industrial hub. I thank Soludo for patronising the Motor Manufacturing Company in Nnewi.

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There are big markets scattered across towns in Anambra, such as Awka, Ekwulobia, Nkpor, Obosi and Ogbunike.

The point being made therefore is that paying the salary of the Governor should not be a problem for a state like Anambra. If Soludo chose not to receive his salary, it is purely his headache which he shouldn’t have bothered us about during his two years anniversary. We expect to hear from him if Anambra has become the Dubai-Taiwan, which he promised to make it while campaigning for the office of Governor.

If it is true that he has completed 240 kms of roads (10 kms per month) like he said, we expect him to take local journalists in Anambra on a tour of the roads completed and not just announcing it to the elite, most of whom do not reside in the state. If the local journalists are too common for him, he should invite his friends from Channels and Arise Television, including Seun Okinbaloye, Chamberlain Usoh, Rueben Abati and Rufai Useni, as well as print editors, and show them the 240 kms of roads he constructed in Anambra State.

Soludo should show the people what he has done. He should know that the governorship election coming up in Anambra State next year is a referendum on his government. I expect our Governor, as a professor, to think beyond superficial programmes like his Anambra Silicon Valley, Solution Innovation District, Code Anambra, Solution Wifi, fiber optic network and so on and so forth. If there is the enabling environment, the private sector can take up some of these things.

For us to develop Anambra, we must look inwards. Silicon Valley, a region in San Francisco, United States of America, is the home of Standford University and several state university campuses. The academic presence has helped fuel a rich research and development (R&D) synergy throughout the Valley. You cannot make Anambra Silicon Valley, when the state owned university, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Igbariam, suffers neglect. I have not heard that Governor Soludo offered research grant to the university. You cannot make Anambra Silicon Valley without electricity and adequate security.

Your Excellency, let us be more realistic. If the fund accruing to the state under your administration is “minuscule compared to previous administrations,” why are you talking about building a 10-storey hotel in Awka when Agulu Lake Resort is underutilised? Why are you contemplating a capital intensive rail project in the state when the bulk of community roads in Anambra are in a dilapidated state?   How are you going to pay compensation to the owners of the 5000 houses that you intend to destroy while constructing the railway?

I applaud your achievements in the health sector, which you announced to us, such as the employment of over 1000 health workers, rehabilitation of health centres and ongoing construction of five new general hospitals. Like you observed, women from neighbouring states are now trooping to Anambra state to deliver free of charge for both normal delivery and caesarian session. However, we must be careful to avoid making Anambra the hub of baby factories in South East.

Before I conclude, I must give credit to our Governor for employing 5000 teachers. However, as ambitious as the recruitment may seem, public schools in Anambra are still understaffed and facing inadequate subject teachers. I have heard about principals who are forced to teach some subjects in addition to their administrative work, owing to shortage of teachers. Hence, a lot more needs to be done.


• Nzomiwu writes from Awka, Anambra State.