By Joe Anatune
If colourful politician and wordsmith, Dr. K. O Mbadiwe were alive today, he would have dubbed the Soludo Promoters Forum inauguration coming up in Isuofia, January 1, 2021 as “Operation Earthquake.”
However, Casmir Igbokwe, the Akulu, Isuofia-born ace journalist and media administrator, and his crack team, are purposefully shy of such flamboyance. Igbokwe and his Local Organising Committee (LOC) are focused on the ways, means and the ultimate prize. They know that organisation with its mobilisation and networking variables are critical success factors, so, they have rather adopted a more active theme for the event – “Operation Maximum Mobilisation.”
Obviously, there is no doubt that with a fine parade of Casmir as coordinator, the host/convener, the lion-hearted Emeka Madonna Okafor to Barr. Leo Chiegboka, Prof Okey Ikeanyibe, Andy Okafor, Ichie Uche Muobuike, Obinna Oforjama and Engr. Chidibere Chukwuneme as Facilitators, we are assured of a remarkable outing and a swell time as we look forward to sharing ideas in furtherance of Soludo’s “One Anambra, One Big City” grand vision that seeks to make Anambra become the best livable city in Africa on the anvil of robust technological connectivity.
Yes, the expectations are high and the joy is palpable as you move from Umueze to Ozalla, Isiaku, Ezioka, Okpoko and to Akulu villages. If you put your ears on the ground, you can hear their enchanting tongues, feel their unassuming and dignified swaggers and see their expectant and happy faces.
Many outside Isuofia are gearing up to join the Elites of Isuofia in what many think as a crucial push to urge and encourage Prof. Chukwuma Soludo to join the race for the 2021 Anambra State governorship election. Igbo Ukwu is coming with their group, Arc. ECK Okafor, Leon Mezue, Prof. Joe Ogbuefi, Dr. Chima Okoli, Charles Muoka, Chike Nwegbe, Bigger Ibekwe, Hon Polly Onyeka, Chief John Nwankwo, Chief AJC Orizu, Prof Frank Collins Okafor, Mike Uzuagu, Emeka Okoli…… the list is long. They are coming in solidarity to this event that will be chaired by Sir Uche Obiakor, a successful but humble Umueze Isuofia born pharmacist cum business mogul.
The import of this event is not lost on discerning analysts. Why?
One directional location that all keke and okada operators from Ekwulobia and adjoining towns have on their finger tips is Amoji Primary School, once you request to be taken to Isuofia. This was not so before. This primary school, which is one of the best in its class in Anambra has been turned around since Soludo adopted it. The population subsequently spiked, nearing a thousand pupils, because of the huge quest for good foundational education which the school offers. The school has become a unity school of sorts with pupils from Ikenga, Ekwulobia, Igbo Ukwu, Umuona, etc and with a fine mix of federal character. Insightful Soludo, unknown to many, is building the men and women of the future who will sustain and deepen his vision of the Anambra Smart Megacity, based on his belief that it is men and women that build cities, so he is building them first.
Aside from Amoji Primary School, Soludo’s footprints will stare you in the face everywhere you go in Isuofia, from health infrastructure to road infrastructure and to social investment; the last he seems uncomfortable of public discourse. But ask the rural women or perhaps the churches and you will get a deluge of their effusive praises of his impact in their lives and activities.
The massive healthcare infrastructure will definitely change the landscape of Isuofia nay Anambra State when operational and help reverse the homogeneous foreign exchange being frittered away in foreign medical tourism.
There is more to Soludo’s imprints in Isuofia, which you can’t put a finger on because it is intangible. One of this is mentoring. In a once predominantly business/trading dominated community, Soludo has consistently been mentoring both the young and old on the philosophy that education is the instrument that takes the children of the poor and lowly from the vice grips of poverty to the commanding heights of the society. He spends ample time preaching this and putting his resources in furtherance, even from a relatively young age when he organised extramural classes during long vacations. Progress is massive in this regard and today, Isuofia is slowly but steadily giving their neighbours Nanka, a run for their money in producing professionals of various disciplines.
Soludo, notwithstanding that he has visited or lived in many great capitals of the world, remains strongly connected to his roots, where he is at home with his folks: his age grade, umunna, the local churches, the old, the young, name them. He is a peace maker that brokered a truce in Isuofia and restored peace and harmony after 18 years of strife. In short, Soludo is part of Isuofia and Isuofia is part of him. They know him inside-out.
Come New Year day, the Elites of Isuofia will announce to the world, that they are with the rest of Anambra in urging and encouraging him to come home and serve in a most uncertain time. They know him; his capacity, prodigious intellect and most importantly, caring heart for all and sundry.
Uche Muobuike, amiable, flamboyant, dogged but imbued with a kind heart and one of the Facilitators whispered to me that he will, like late Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings charged a Ghanaian Boxer, tell Soludo on that day, ” GO SOLUDO, DIE, MAN, DIE”
Search me, this “prophet” indeed has honour in his home. Let us say “Happy New Year” in Isuofia. Come on, let’s go witness “Operation Maximum Mobilisation.”
*Joe Anatune is the Lead Facilitator/Strategist of Soludo Promoters Forum and writes from Awa.