By Obi Ebuka Onochie
It was George Bernard Shaw who said that “we must reform society before we can reform ourselves.” This statement is the much needed reality in Nigeria particularly Anambra state that just elected an erudite and fearless reformist as the governor. Anambra since after the charade administration of Gov. Mbadinuju in 2003 has been on an ascending trajectory in the quality of leadership they produce as governors. However, Anambra state needs drastic steps that will address many problems hobbling the development of the state.
Without question, Anambra needs an institutionalized reforms and Prof. Soludo who Anambra voters rightly chose is the best man with reforming experience to be elected at the moment. Anambra was created from old Anambra state which comprised of present Enugu and Anambra states. Enugu state was created inheriting the capital city and the institutions of Old Anambra state while present Anambra state kept the name. This means Anambra state started from the scratch in 1991 when it was created by the military government of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. The experimental Military diarchy by the Babangida administration produced Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife as the governor of the state before Nigeria returned to full military government by Gen. Abacha until the return to democracy in 1999. From 1999 to 2003 Anambra state was enveloped in billows of darkness under the administration of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. It was from Dr. Chris Ngige’s administration which the Supreme Court later sacked having been illegally declared the winner by the INEC that Anambra’s turn around began. Mr. Peter Obi’s government really laid the foundation of the modern state and was the bridge between the putrid past of the state and its future. Gov. Obiano’s administration is signing off on the 17th of March 2022 to give way for Governor elect, Prof. Charles Soludo to come in.
Among many problems belligerently assaulting any form of development in Anambra state, revenue syndicates take the cake. Overcoming these entrenched parasitical bugs bleeding Anambra state to death will go a long way to giving the new administration a much needed oxygen to succeed. The cabals behind the touts harassing and almost robbing Ndi Anambra in the name of tax and levies collection are entrenched members of APGA, the ruling party. If governor elect wants to bring the formidable positive impact he is expected to, he has to win this battle from inside APGA as a party. He has to be ruthless about it if need be and that will send a very strong non-verbal message to everybody and all vested parasitic interest groups in the state. I was happy when I read on Punch Newspaper of 23rd January, 2022 that he will terminate all revenue contracts on assumption of office on 17th March, 2022. We are looking forward to that and will welcome a streamlined electronic collection of state government taxes, levies and duties. This revenue reform will not successfully be implemented without the revenue cabals fighting back but I believe the incoming governor has been a long time reformer, so I believe he is ready and prepared to combat them.
Security is another area that requires immediate and consistent action. Many past governors of the state started well with securing Anambra but loosen up after sometime and it usually gets worse when insecurity returns. Anambra security situation is multi-faceted, very lethal and has taken away some valuable individuals from the state. Dr. Chike Akunnyili, Chief Gab Ofoma, Prof. Obidinma Onyemelukwe and so many others including numerous ordinary residents of the state. The unknown gunmen murdering people at will are not one group but all the gun carrying non state actors killing people at will. I believe that the first step to taking grip of the security situation is to restore Nigerian Police to work but the unnecessary roadblock causing movement hardship and sometimes death should be discarded. The rebuilding of burnt various police stations should be initiated by the government in conjunction with community development unions. There is need to revolutionize the placing of Close-circuit television, CCTV cameras in every nook and cranny of the state by both the government and the individuals. Inside various markets in the state, the traders have adopted it as form of check on criminal activities around their vicinities of trading and it’s paying off. If the people are enjoined to deploy CCTV in and around their properties and the state government covers the public spaces, crime rate will drop and the chances of criminals being caught will increase monumentally.
Development of Infrastructure is one of the areas people are expecting a massive attention as most roads in Anambra are in terrible shape and there are many abandoned road projects that should be fixed. Anambra used to have the best road network and a much secured environment with investments coming in continuously, but all of that have evaporated in the face of security challenge. The whole of Okpoko area in Ogbaru Local Government Area was originally mapped out as part of Harbour Industrial Layout but the government over the years especially the military era did not follow up with its development and people turned it into a slum dwelling. Harbor industrial layout was planned to feed the activities of Onitsha River port from where their products will be shipped to the rest of Nigeria and world at large. The Abada market at the foot of River Nigeria Bridge should be moved to hinterland to create more space for the activities of Onitsha River port. Both Okpoko layout and the Abada market land should be recovered for their original purposes which will triple the GDP of Anambra state. How it will be done and where they will be relocated are some of the reasons we elected Prof. Charles Soludo (Nwamgbafor) the governor of Anambra state.
Obi Ebuka Onochie writers from Awka, Anambra State.
Photo: Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, incoming Governor of Anambra State.
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