The governor–elect of Anambra State and former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has been speaking at different fora about the type of leadership he is going to provide for the state. Most political analysts are picking every dot and every idea he seems to be expressing about his post- inauguration leadership style.
Inauguration of elected or even appointed officials in Nigeria for the most part is a jamboree and an exaggerated celebration of individuals and the positions they are to occupy. Most times, little attention is paid by the individual to the duties ahead. Hangers-on and political jobbers seemingly have a field day with the preparations and ceremonies that are often carnival-like. Most often, the funds for all the celebrations are not personal funds and even in cases where they are, there is always an effort to get ‘returns’ on investments through future business deals with those involved.
Soludo has been doing a lot of talking and in what seems to be a road less travelled, he has declared that he did not want any ceremonies post-inauguration because it is a work day and he intends to go straight to work, especially in one slum of Anambra. In his words, “I have made a wish that not even a kobo of Anambra people’s money be spent on that swearing-in ceremony. I do not wish any event, dancers or players and all that. I just want to show up for work, like every first day of work. Though it is going to be a Friday, which is a weekend, I’m going to work for over eight hours”.
This declaration to many Nigerians is very surreal and people are looking forward to seeing its fruition with bated breath. But for those who have followed his recent actions and utterances, Anambra might be set for some surprises and a seeming return to normalcy in governance. To start with, the governor-elect has been voicing out his disapproval with political ‘big men and rent seekers’ who, truth be told, are the unappointed and unelected ‘parasites’ on the Nigerian governance structures. Most of them regard themselves as king-makers and influential controllers of the levers of leadership at different levels of governance. They are the highest consumers but least productive in the system all over the country.
With Soludo fulfilling his promise of paradigm shift in Anambra, the state would be a beacon for other statesin the future. Indeed, we too are very expectant but we are scared of the usual post-election euphoria and excitement. He has been saying everything the people on the streets want to hear; a focused government style, an investment in local production to boost the South East economy, a cabinet that would be peopled by experts in their fields, a repositioning of the infrastructural facilities and identification of the real functional sectors of the Anambra economy and so on.
He has indicated an interest in dressing in the traditional Igbo Akwete cloth that is produced in the Akwaete area of Abia State as a means of promoting the only indigenous textile company in the region; he has said his official vehicle would be the Innoson cars made by an Anambra company. We too are excited at these low hanging fruits that say and mean much if he remains faithful to his pre-inauguration promises. Yet, we are skeptical because most times these are roads that lead to mere populist agenda and ‘I want to say what you want to hear’ kind of narrative by politicians globally.
We hope that Prof. Soludo realises the great expectations, not for perfection but for a real shift from the unpleasant and unproductive norm. He has sought this office over the years, he has made promises, he is involved in the Anambra 2050 Economic Plan and we wish he sits on the saddle to captain Anambra to a desired economic buoyancy and functional political engagement. It is not everyday that a person with his pedigree succeeds in winning governorship election in a Nigerian state. We await a stellar performance beyond rhetoric to match a global expectation of excellence, if not perfection.
- The Nation Editorial