By Christian ABURIME
Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo says population will determine who gets what from the state government.
Governor Soludo who made this remark while meeting with President-Generals (PGs) of the 179 communities in the state, called on them to mobilize their Communities to participate in the forthcoming national census
The interaction was held at the ASATU Hall, Government House Awka.
According to Governor Soludo, “one of the criterion for sharing resources in our proposed community government will be based on the size of each community.
“Population size will be an important ingredient for partaking in sharing of government resources.
“Mobilize your people to ensure that there is maximum participation in the forthcoming population census. It’s for the interest of your own community.
“This Christmas, there’s huge task for each and everyone of you. Mobilize your people, set up structures and maximize the population of your community.
“Anambra has been invaded by non-indigenes but so long as they are residents, take inventories to ensure they are counted and registered.
“Try to educate youths who are causing nuisance. We lost out on boosting our population size during the last census because of our ignorance,” Governor Soludo noted.
“My Deputy, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim and i appreciate you for your votes and all your support since we assumed office, especially during the flood crises and how you helped us distribute palm and coconut seedlings among communities in the state,” he said.
Governor Soludo who pointed out that Public Community Private Partnership (PCPP) initiative will be the model of his government towards community development. He referred to the Neni Model who developed their communities without Government assistance.
“When you have this kind of partnership, the people will do wonders. PCPP is at the heart of our administration!
“Crude oil came and the oil palm which the eastern economy our people boasts of disappeared. We pursued oil money and now our society is decaying.
“The resources of Anambra is in private hands. Government just has 2% of the total income at it’s disposal.
“If we can mobilize and motivate our people, there’s no limit of what we can achieve.
“Lagos state is projecting about N1.1Trillion for year 2023, that’s approximately N100 billion a month for IGR.
“This is made possible due to the effective enforcement of taxes,” he said.
“We came in at a time of very difficult circumstances. Our state of finances is poor and insecurity was on the increase.
“We need to pay pensions and salaries; under those circumstances and the people’s expectations are very high, expecting that we pull out a magic wand overnight provided they don’t pay anything.
“98% of people abroad live on paycheck to paycheck. Over there you pay bills for virtually everything.
“We are trying to re-establish the social contract with the people. We know the people don’t trust government because they have been lying to the people and those in government are stealing public funds.
“We promised ndi Anambra that every penny entrusted in our hands will be accounted for and we have tried to do that.
“All pensioners under my watch have received their gratuities as and when due.
“We have tried to cut down all manner of waste and boycott all boycottables so as to be able to conserve resources to give the people value. We have achieved this successfully on facility management.
“Appointments we are giving is not like before because the state cannot afford it. What value are you bringing to the people? We ask this question before paying appointees with tax payers money.
“Instead of appointing thousands of appointees and paying them hundreds of millions of naira every month, we chose to employ teachers to teach our children in schools
“I was paying for 39 PTA Teachers in my community for the past 6 years.
“In hospitals, we are employing doctors, nurses and consultants.
“In agriculture, we want to revive the palm and coconut economic revolution that would yield dividends in the next 5/6 years. We want to take advantage of all the resources that we have.
“In security, we have come and declared war on criminals. They had the capability to take on any government but in our resolve, we are determined to totally get rid of them in the state.
“They have already taken territory, collecting taxes from the people when we came in.
“We must take back our state and I want to thank everyone who has participated in this. If you secure the community, you secure the state.
“In manufacturing, Ogboji donated 200 hectares of land for the construction of a Pharmaceutical Park.
“Akwihedi, Uga and Awka North are the locations projected for construction of industrial parks. Industrialization will be at the heart of our future.
The Governor continued, “we are encouraging communities to take ownership. We are working very hard to finalize a law to establish a proper community government at the fourth tier of government, recognized by law that will have their own budget and revenue.
“A lawyer made me realize that Town Unions are a voluntary association. And the constitution guarantees freedom of association. You cannot tell anyone not to set up an association and there are so many factions in various communities.
“Anambra must be a liveable and prosperous homeland.
“The commissioner informed me we have already awarded 243.7KM of roads for construction and we are now pushing up for execution. The contractors signed a 20 year guarantee for these roads including federal roads. We have spent over a billion naira on federal roads because the ones we have are completely gone.
“The State House of Assembly has approved the government can take loans but till now, we haven’t borrowed a dime for all the projects we are undertaking.
“I don’t want to build political roads. I don’t want to award political contracts. I don’t want to be the politician that speaks from two sides. All the roads we flagged off must be completed.
“Our mission is to rebuild the trust between the government and the people and the first step is to stop lying to the people.
“It’s so deep that the people don’t trust the government. If you tell them to pay tax, they find it difficult to do so.
“By the time we must have spent 2 years in office, we shall deliver at least 250km of roads to the people.
“We are also going to embark on massive desilting, it’s a revolution that would happen next year. We urge you to assist us in actualizing this.
“We can’t repeat the same thing and expect the same results. We are imbibing new partnerships with our communities. I’m very happy with the PGs we have. You all are the foundation.
“We are thinking about how we will devolve resources to communities in a structured manner so that resources will flow efficiently.
“Before we pass these laws, ensure you enforce it as a law in your respective communities. In my village, if water flows from your house to roads, you shall be fined N5000 because the waters is causing massive erosion.
“Many places are sinking down, roads are breaking. If we can control this, erosion will reduce and it’s you people that will do this.
“From time to time, we shall be meeting to interact and exchange ideas. In our next meeting, TC Chairmen will also be available so that there can be a peer review mechanism because each local government have their own peculiar problems.
Professor Soludo added, “the election next year is very consequential because people belong to various political parties. For next year’s election, I am much more concerned about the future of Ndigbo,” he stated.
Governor Soludo indicated that a few weeks ago, he wrote a piece that generated so much controversy. He further stated that what he wrote is what he believes and what he knows but prays and wish that he is wrong.
“I told my brother from my heart, I wish he would win. It’s my desire that my brother wins, emotionally I will be happy.
“But my head and facts on the ground tell me the journey is a difficult one.
“As an Igbo son, I worry for my people. I followed the history of Nigerian politics. I have been involved in politics since 1980.
“Ndigbo have always succeeded in politics when they come together under one political party. We don’t have the voting strength to win elections, especially with the way Nigeria is politically structured.
“If we have structured conversation with the NorthWest and SouthWest, the two zones with greater voting strength, that would be a huge starting point for Ndigbo.
“Democracy is about strategy, organization and building alliances,” Soludo concluded.
The National President of ASATU, BarristerTitus Akpudo in his speech welcomed Mr Governor in the name of ASATU.
Describing it as a very remarkable day because the Governor stopped by to say hello to them.
“Acknowledging your numerous works in the state and your efforts to restore security is not unnoticed.
“Your moves in youth empowerment and employment of 5000 teachers in the state won’t fail to be commended,” he said.
The ASATU President also notified the Governor that his Deputy is also working and coordinating them together.
“Everything about governance is community! We pray a personality such as Soludo continue to exist in our society.
“We are supporting every policy the Government is introducing.
“In preparations towards the festive period, we are sensitizing the people in a public campaign tagged “operation guard your neighborhood”
“The Governor has very good plans for communities and we are excited that today, the Governor will provide us direction on security, protection of government properties in our communities and direction towards the forthcoming general elections.
“This is the first time in the history of ASATU we raised money to help flood displaced persons, bought trailers of foodstuffs to provide to IDP Camps.
“We plead with the Governor to assist us in building our communities and mainstream the “Aku luo uno” initiative that would drive development in our state,” he concluded.
The Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, Commissioner for LGA, Mr Tony-collins Nwabunwanne, ASATU Executives among others attended the event.