Soludo promises to make state, industrial hub in W’Africa

Charles Soludo

. Looks beyond oil to digital transformation

Clara Nwachukwu

One of the priorities of the newly sworn-in Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, is to make the state an industrial hub in Africa.

The Governor, while presenting his Soludo Solution in a live broadcast and message to the people yesterday, also said the “Anambra Vision 2070—a 50-Year Development Plan,” will transit beyond petroleum into the digital world of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

He said both his Solution and the Development Plan envision Anambra as an industrial, technology, and leisure/entertainment hub of West Africa.

Promising to implement both faithfully as part of his social contact with the people, Soludo said his administration’s Plan rests on five key pillars.

These are: law and order (homeland peace and security); economic transformation as Nigeria’s next axis of industrial-tech and leisure; and competitive and progressive social agenda (education, health, youth, women and vulnerable groups).

Others are Governance, rule of law and a rebirth of our value system; and aggressively tackling our existential threat posed by the environment—towards a clean, green, planned and sustainable cities, communities, and markets.

New social order

Soludo, who also promised a transparent and prudent administration free from wastages and frivolities, informed that part of his agenda is to collectively build a new social and economic order that guarantees and defends economic freedom and reward for private enterprise to secure the future of the state.

“Such a new order will, of necessity, entail a massive disruptive change and creative destruction, with short-term pains but guaranteed long-term benefits,” he added.

In terms of economic freedom and toward making the state an industrial hub, he said his government will promote “Made in Anambra” and “Anambra Standards”.

He continued: “If you can produce it in Anambra, I will be your chief marketing officer, provided that your standard meets the “Anambra standard”—which is excellence.

“The Anambra State Government will only patronize Made in Anambra products and services unless such goods or services are not currently made in Anambra, then made in Nigeria, Africa, etc, in that sequence.”

To demonstrate his resolve in this regard, the Governor showed guests at his inauguration and swearing-in ceremony his official vehicle made by Innoson Motors, adding that he will only wear clothes made from traditional Akwete fabric and shoes made by professional cobblers in the state.

“As part of our ‘made in Anambra’, cultural renaissance and healthy living agenda, when you come to the Governor’s Lodge or attend any state government’s function, be sure to be served only ‘Made in Anambra’,” he declared.

Such a new order will, of necessity, entail a massive disruptive change and creative destruction, with short-term pains but guaranteed long-term benefits.

Agriculture revolution

As part of his government’s agricultural revolution, Soludo said: “We want to go back to where M.I. Okpara stopped with the palm revolution and planted millions of palm trees. In some years, we will seek not only to export palm produce but also fresh palm wine from Anambra State.

“We will seek active collaboration with the federal government not only to export manufactured and agricultural products, but also services (especially tech, leisure/entertainment, and skills/talents as we seek an educational system whose products are productive at home and exportable).”

Human capital development

Citing human capital as “Anambra’s greatest resource,” the Governor promised to “grow and mine this resource to its maximum, leveraging on technology.”

“We will soon inaugurate the Anambra Innovation and Technology Advisory Council to drive the emergence of the digital tribe and mainstreaming technology and innovation across all aspects of our lives, our International Investment Council, our Global Friends of Anambra in Development, as well as the Council on the Ease of Doing Business.  

“We will develop pragmatic frameworks for the private sector and communities to: adopt schools, build roads/infrastructure, manage government assets, receive and manage development matching grants; participate in sanitation and securing law and order, etc.

“There is a subtle but powerful revolution underway, raising the bar on our age-old community development model,” he assured.

If you can produce it in Anambra, I will be your chief marketing officer, provided that your standard meets the “Anambra standard”—which is excellence.

Walking the talk

To demonstrate that he intends to make good his promises, Soludo, who assured that his administration will be one of leadership by example further said: “We must rid Onitsha and all our roads and markets of revenue touts and make shopping in Anambra a pleasurable experience.

“Today, I will sign an executive order to suspend all revenue contracts operating in the parks, markets and roads until we put in place a new system within the next four weeks.

“Consequently as from tomorrow, 18th March, 2022, if anyone asks you to pay CASH to him as revenue to the government in the parks, markets and roads, such a person must be a thief.”

He admitted that there will be painful but beneficial reforms. “During the coming months, we shall embark upon bold but difficult reforms and these reforms may be unpopular especially among those benefitting from the existing order.

“For sure, the revenue and park mafia that rake in billions of government revenue into their private pockets won’t be happy. But we commit to doing the right things.”

He therefore pleaded for the understanding, patience and cooperation of the people to turn things around for the better, noting that “The speed of its progress is in part dependent upon both the threats and opportunities inherent in such a system.”

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