Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Man

By Christian Aburime

“The time is always right to do what is right” Martin Luther King Jr.

Once in the life of a country, community or society, comes a time decision has to be made. A decision that could either take the country, community or society backward or forward.

This is the obvious situation Ndi Anambra will have to face as the Anambra 2021 governorship election approaches!

There has been a continuous agitation by groups, opinion leaders and even some experienced politicians for Soludo to join the race. The clamour has become so deafening that it has taken the form of a movement.

Every curious mind and who is who in Anambra state and beyond are looking the way of Soludo. Even with the unabating clamour and fierce agitation, the man at the center of it, Prof. Cee Cee Soludo has remained calm while the clamour continues. But who exactly is this man called Soludo? Why is everyone rooting for him to contest the 2021 Anambra state governorship election?

Soludo became very prominent to most Nigerians when he became Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

From a very humble beginning, the young Soludo was destined for the top. It was certain even though the heavens may not have displayed terrific lightening and torrential rainfall to herald his birth, he was marked out early in life as a child of distinction and greatness. Who was born to excel, a trailblazer whose life would be characterized by first class accomplishments!

Though he suffered the agony of losing his beloved mother at a very tender age, Providence was nonetheless kind to him.

He began his early life knowing full well he had no option but to carve a niche for himself. He finished his primary and secondary schools with distinction grades. His leadership qualities became manifest very early when he became the Head Boy in his primary school, and the Senior Prefect in his secondary school.

Fondly nicknamed ‘Paragon’ by his secondary school mates (a reference to his exemplary character and intellectual prowess), the young Soludo set an academic record in his secondary school yet to be broken till date.

His exceptionally gifted academic prowess was also to manifest at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he performed the rare feat of obtaining a first class Honours in Economics at the first degree level. Not done, he went on to obtain, in another superlative performance, a masters and doctorate degrees also in economics at the same University.

Honour and Awards are not new to him. At the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, his academic exploits became legendary. His uncommon ingenious intelligent quotient did not escape the eyes of the University Authority. Excellence was his hallmark in school as he virtually swept the stakes and carted home every award that was available at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

He won the Vice Chancellor’s Prize for the University of Nigeria’s Best Graduating Ph.D candidate, (1988/89 session); Faculty Prize for the Best Graduating Ph.D candidate in the Faculty of Social Sciences; Best Graduating student (M.Sc class) 1987; The Faculty Prize for the Best Graduating Candidate in the Faculty of the Social Sciences (B.Sc programme, June 1984). The Departmental Prize for the Best candidate in the Department of Economics (B.Sc programme June 1984) among several other prizes.

Soludo became one of the youngest Professors of our time at the incredible age of 38 in 1998 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – a record breaking achievement by the standards of the University of Nigeria. His meteoric rise in the academia was simply phenomenal. He went through three promotions at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, jumping several classes.

Prof. Soludo also had cumulative 4 years of post-doctoral training in some of the world’s best institutions, including: The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; University of Oxford as Rhodes scholar; University of Cambridge, UK as Smuts Research Fellow and Fellow of the Wolfson College; and University of Warwick as Visiting Scholar. He also attended over a dozen short-term, specialized courses in the UK and USA.

An avid reader and prolific writer cum researcher of international repute, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo has to date published more than 80 scholarly publications, authored more than 15 books and over 250 monographs, conference papers and public lectures. Some of his books are bestsellers in the United States of America and read in many Universities abroad on African Economic Development.

In fact, it is often quoted that Soludo as at 1995 had garnered enough publications to make two professors.

It is also an open secret that the points he made when he was assessed for professorship could easily make three professors. This feat was not only amazing but incredibly awesome!

A self-made man and an accomplished academic, Prof. Soludo made name, money, and fame from extensive international consulting. Even beyond the shores of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo’s ingenuity and academic brilliance were in hot demand and eagerly sought after.

He consulted for the best and famous international organizations the entire world can boast of; such as the International Monetary Fund, (IMF); The World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Organisation of Africa Unity, now Africa Union (AU); The United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP); International Labour Organization, (ILO): EU, OECD, USAUD, ADFB, COMESA and ECOWAS. The list is endless. Indeed, there was virtually no international organization that Prof. Charles Soludo did not consult for.

Everywhere he goes, he not only attracts respect, he literally commands it. His influence, charm and wide acceptability both at home and abroad are easily discernible. His mastery of economics especially in the area of macro-economics and fiscal policy and the practical applications of these disciplines earned him a 14-month consultancy appointment by three-pan African institutions to represent them in a major work with the World Bank. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Development Bank and the Africa Consortium nominated him to be the African expert to represent them in a major project titled: “Can African claim the 21st Century?” : A major book that charts the way forward for African economics development in the 21st century which is now a best seller and widely read in most universities across the world

Extensively travelled man, Prof. Soludo has lived in Ethiopia, England and the United States, and has also visited more than 45 countries in all the continents of the world as an international consultant

Prof. Soludo’s pedigree and versatility as an Economist was recognized back home when in 2003, he was appointed The Economic Adviser to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo; and Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission.

As Coordinator of the Drafting of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), Prof. Soludo broke a record in drafting, consulting, publishing and launching the Federal Government’s comprehensive reformer programme within 7 months during Obasanjo’s government – the fastest of any such home- grown, extensively consultative and participatory programme in any federation.

Like the genius that he is, every year heralds its own landmark on a scale never imagined before. Prof. Soludo’s resourcefulness, foresightedness, sincerity of purpose, exemplary leadership qualities, dedication and commitment to service became the compelling attributes when he was appointed as Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria by former President Obasanjo. Soludo’s appointment was generally applauded by Nigerians as one of the most decisive, bold and courageous step by the Obasanjo’s government by putting the right person, in the right place, at the right time

Prof. Soludo’s credentials as a revolutionary reformer became manifest just within six months during which he took the mantle of leadership as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

On assumption of office, he immediately embarked on revolutionarizing the banking sector with the 13-point agenda articulated in his famous July 6, 2004 speech to the Bankers’ Committee which literally changed the history of the Nigerian financial landscape in the banking sector. It is on record that there is no policy change that is so fundamental and so far reaching than the banking reforms Soludo introduced in 2004. These courageous reforms largely contributed in keeping the Banks alive and depositors’ funds safe as well as safe-guarding the Nigerian economy from the global financial meltdown.

Prof. Soludo did not stop at the banking reforms, he also simultaneously embarked upon the reforms of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company.

In spite of these monumental achievements, Prof. Soludo remains a study in humility, a good listener and a phenomenon of sort. A man with a large heart who has made service to mankind the centrepiece of his life. In his immediate community, his philanthropic gesture especially in human capital development, speaks volumes of this virtuous trait

His charismatic aura, organizational skills, interpersonal relationship coupled with other enviable qualities have paid off positively to make him one of the most outstanding world-acclaimed economists in the history of mankind

And just of recent, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as a member of his Economic Advisory council. Soludo’s membership of that economic team drew lot of commendations for the Buhari’s administration by Nigerians across board.

The Anambra state government under the dynamic leadership of Governor Willy Obiano also recently appointed Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo as the Chairman, Anambra VISION 2070.

In 2006, the Federal Government of Nigeria conferred on Soludo the nation’s third highest national honour ( Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR) in recognition of accomplished performance. He has also been decorated with scores of awards, including being awarded the African and Global Central Bank Governor of the year, 2006, by the ‘Banker’ ( Financial Times); and the Financial Times of London also described him as “a great reformer”

As the Anambra 2021 gubernatorial election approaches, Ndi Anambra absolutely have a ready-made choice in the person of Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, who can conveniently succeed Gov. Obiano without blemishes or controversies and continue Obiano’s good work in Anambra state!

To all Ndi Anambra, Cometh the hour, Cometh the man! *”This is the time to do what is right”* as the late Africa-American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. said many years ago!

  • Mr Aburime writes from Ewu, Edo State.

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