Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra has called on the international community to assist his administration in its bid to build a prosperous and sustainable state.
Soludo made the call when he received a delegation of United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria at the Governor’s Lodge in Awka.
A statement by Mr Christian Aburime, Soludo’s Press Secretary, said the UN team was led by Mr Marthias Schmale.
The governor said the active participatory roles of international collaborators were crucial to the development of the state and the country in general.
Soludo said the UN team’s visit was significant for Anambra and his administration in particular, especially at a time when the the United Nations had not had an office in the entire South East for a long time
He said his administration had a robust plan for Anambra in the areas of security, law and order, economic transformation, human capital, governance, rule of law and value system and environment.
He said the government would benchmark with the rest of the world in transforming Anambra State into a liveable and prosperous state.
“More than half of the indigenous population of Anambra live outside the state; my administration will soon inaugurate the Anambra Education Council, to further engender qualitative and accessible education.
“We will also establish the Strategy Execution and Evaluation, ‘SEE’ office,” he said.
In his response, Schmale said the visit was to familiarise with the Southeast geopolitical zone and erase the perception that they are only interested in the North East.
He said that though they might not be able to make input in terms of financial assistance, they could assist in areas of technical assistance.
“One of their targets is to identify where things are working, learn on it and make sure other countries capitalise on it.”
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Anambra branch, has expressed concern over the rising cases of kidnap, especially of its members in the state.
The body, in a statement made available to journalists in Awka on Wednesday, called on Gov. Chukwuma Soludo and security agencies in Anambra to take more proactive measures to stem the ugly tide.
The statement was signed by Dr Jane Ezeonu and Dr Dubem Awachie, Ag Chairman and Secretary of NMA in Anambra.
The doctors said that no fewer than three of their members had been reported kidnapped in the state from January to June this year.
They said the most recent was on June 25 when a member was kidnapped at Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area on his way from work.
According to the NMA, we regretfully bring to notice, yet another kidnap of a doctor in Anambra.
“On Saturday, June 25, a doctor and member of our association was kidnapped in the evening while returning from work at Nimo, where he works in a private hospital.
“He was kidnapped alongside a friend, a pharmacy student, and were both held in captivity for over 24 hours by their abductors.
“They were only released on the night of June 26.
“The NMA in Anambra deeply appreciates our colleagues, as well as other friends, who rallied round to support the family to facilitate their release,” it stated.
The NMA said medical doctors were law abiding citizens who went about their duties at odd and unholy hours in the bid to maintain the health of the people.
It warned that doctors may not be able to guarantee the provision of unhindered healthcare services to the people if the government did not take urgent measures to ensure their security.
“NMA totally condemns this recurring sad situation which has made life unbearable for the citizens and has contributed significantly to the brain drain in the state.
“We seize this opportunity to once again call on the authorities, particularlythe Anambra government, to step up efforts at surmounting the security challenges in the state.
“We may resort to actions to reverse this ugly trend and safeguard our members,” it stated.
Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra has warned that states may no longer pay their basic bills if they don’t move away from FAAC-based revenue to agriculture driven economy.
Soludo, an erudite economist, said this at a parley in Awka on the occasion of his 100 days in office.
He said the larger Nigerian economy was facing dwindling fortune due to non contribution of the petroleum revenue, noting that the development was having negative effect on revenue accruing to states.
“Since February this year, the share of oil in the revenue that comes to the Federal Government and States is zero, I saw the table, zero contribution from oil.
“What we share now is revenue from customs duties, VAT and company tax and most states can not pay salary because there is no oil money,” he said.
Soludo said his administration was already embarking on an aggressive agriculture-based economy.
He recalled that the old Eastern Region experienced the highest economic prosperity when it was dependent on revenue from only palm oil.
The Economist said Anambra had decided that on a permanent empowerment programme, it would give people palm and or coconut seedlings which they could start harvesting and making money in a maximum period of five years.
“This is why we say we are going back to where Late M.I. Okpara stopped; he built Eastern Nigeria with money from palm oil.
“Cities of Onitsha with the Main Market; Enugu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Port Harcourt, Calabar, Aba and the rest were built with palm; they were well planned with pipe borne water and electricity.
“But all these were abandoned with the discovery of crude oil and revenue from it, but there is enormous room to maximise our potential in Palm production.
“Malaysia came to Eastern Nigeria to collect samples of palm but today, their export of palm is far more than Nigeria is exporting in crude oil and today, we go to Malaysia to get improved seedlings that mature between 4-5 years.
“A household that gets about 30 or 40 seedlings is out of poverty permanently; so the government wants to plant about one million seedlings every year for the next 10 years and if we achieve that, it will give us more revenue than FAAC and IGR,” he said.
Soludo said the state would not borrow for consumption but would continue to take salary as given, noting that local government and state civil servant retirees were owed N14 billion and N7.6 billion in gratuity.
“We will also ensure that pensioners who retired since 2018 are paid their gratuities.”
Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra says the All Progressives Grand Alliance remains the most formidable political party in Anambra and third in Nigeria as the country inches closer to the 2023 general elections.
Soludo, who stated this while addressing party faithful at the Governor’s Lodge Amawbia, Awka South Local Government Area, said some of those who left the party after losing in the recent APGA primary elections had not made the best decision.
He said APGA would contest strongly for all positions it had candidate and that in Anambra, their target was House of Assembly, 30 seats; House of Representatives,11 seats and Senate three seats.
According to him, “elections are not done on WhatsApp or the Internet, you have to be on ground, APGA is on ground here and everywhere, how can a party that does not have a councilor want to compete with us?
“We are strong and we are growing stronger, stand real chance in Abia, we will compete in all places vigorously,
“It is sad that the people that left had to leave, why would one leave a party he had laboured to build; it is not good to labour in vain; however, they are not contesting election. The election in Anambra is between APGA and other political patties.
“We shall campaign when it starts and by the time we enter January next year, we will know those that are still contesting.
“Our victory will be resounding this time but we will not take anything for granted, Anambra people will see,” he said.
He said the APGA government was determined to deliver value-based governance to the people of Anambra in face of dwindling revenue.
Soludo said about 220 km of road had been designed for construction and that all the 21 Local Government Areas in the state would witness massive road activities soon after the rains were over.
“We are determined to cut cost to the bones, we have renegotiated some contracts and saved money with which we are fixing some roads.
“We have used N20 million saved from there to fix the Chisco Part area of the Bridge Head-Upper Iweka expressway in Onitsha, but the approval that was presented to me by FERMA for that same job is about N200 million, but by this week it will be done,” he said.
Soludo ssid the task demanded belt tightening on the part of the government and people and thanked all for their understanding.
He further assured the leadership and members of APGA of enhanced welfare.
Gov Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra said the delay in commencement of road construction and repairs in the state was due to the delay in the passage of its revised budget by the State House of Assembly.
Soludo said this at a news conference on the occasion of his 100 days in office in Awka on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Soludo presented a revised budget of N170 billion to the State House of Assembly with 64 per cent of the total budget devoted to capital expenditure.
He said the people of Anambra were waiting to begin work on state roads, ensuring that activities would commence in the sector as soon as the budget was passed.
The governor, who said he was not an enthusiast of 100 days in office fashion, described the journey so far as “so far, so bumpy but so good”.
He said about 220 km of strategic roads across the state had been earmarked for construction and would all be inaugurated for effective take off after the rains were over.
Soludo said Anambra was enjoying massive goodwill in the international community with the return of United Nations Development Programme and other international development partners returning to the state.
He said the expected progress was being retardated by the unfortunate insecurity situation which he described as “a lucrative criminal enterprise” under the guise of agitation.
The governor reiterated that his administration was determined to recover Anambra for its people, noting that no bush, no forest or house would be comfortable for them to inhabit or carry out their nefarious activities.
He said his administration might not be able to maintain the generous appointment attitude of previous government due to dwindling funding but would recruit when very necessary
He pledged to ensure massive recruitment to fill the manpower gap in the education and health sectors.
According to him, recruitment and appointments will be made for the manpower needs of the state and for value.
Soludo thanked the people of Anambra and leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for their support and promised not to let them down ()