By Ezra Odogu
Anambra State Governor-Elect and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, in this interview speaks on his election, the task before him and why he must deliver.
The victory is that of Anambra people and also a divine journey whose time has come. For 12 years, I have consistently endured and focussed on the mission. I have served the world, Nigeria, and it is now time to serve my own state.
I am grateful to God, stakeholders and especially ordinary people of Anambra State. I feel humbled by this mandate which is overwhelming as it were despite the issues. The expectation of the people seems to be in the moon.
I thank my governor, leaders of our party and national chairman, party leadership at all level. I appreciate the law agencies, the judiciary, who stood firm through all the process.
We have launched our 72-page manifesto where we outline our contract with people of Anambra State which is partly of continuity, consolidation, transformation agenda to continue to build on the foundation by our governor such as international airport, national convention centre, security and all the good things people of the state enjoy which they entrust in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, government.
The Governor, Wiilie Obiano, himself during the campaign told the people of the state that the person he is supporting will do better than him. That is very rear act of humility on his part and it has also put a lot of pressure on us.
On the day of inauguration people will hear from me amplification, specification of how we are going to implement our manifesto.
We are not coming to learn on the job, we have done quite a bit of this in terms of transformation; we will hit the ground running from day one in terms of our agenda.
We have between now and March to do that, but it is a long process but the good news about the transition is that this is not something happening from the moon, we have people who understand the system.
I understand a few things about how government works and institution bureaucracy among others.
I have been there before, and also this is an APGA government that is continuing. We have a governor in place who s our national leader with all the institution and structure in place. So, we expect a very seamless transition.
Those that are going to constitute transition committee are already in the system. It is just a change of baton of leadership but the structure is basically there. We don’t expect any bombshell kind of thing.
This is APGA government in place, stable, steady and with the personnel, we will just change few things and we are good to go.
I don’t want to be emotional about it but honestly it is really wonderful. When I look back, am just grateful to God for seeing me this far. I said it all through the campaign that as a child from humble beginning, the grace of God has always been upon me even from my mother’s womb till this very moment.
After the 2010 attempt, I had a thanksgiving service despite the fact that I didn’t win. I thanked God that it was not part of his plan for me at that moment. This time around, I believe God saw through our hearts that we want to serve people.
It is this mindset that propelled me at this moment to be thankful to God. I feel elated what I see ahead is the work needed to be done.
I received calls and spoken to a number of them even before the announcement of final result. Some even issued statements before the final result and even voted for us.
I also reached out to some of them by call or text message. I will keep calling them to join us. Like I said when I ran before and didn’t win, I called the winner and congratulated him.
I went to bed around 4 am and woke up to see more than 280 missed calls, so I don’t know who else might have called.
My plan is to reach out to everyone to join us in serving Anambra people. It is about service and the job ahead which we have to involve everyone.
I expect them to play crucial roles in actual government than in transition process. For me, my hand of fellowship is out and I will reach out to them to come up with their own ideas and they will be appreciated because we are stronger together.
My major focus is value, everyone who has something to offer the people of Anambra in solving some of our problems is welcome and will be given opportunity. It is about problem solving, creation of values and value-addition for people.
My relationship with Governor Obiano
It is a relationship that is not just mechanical but founded on deep mutual respect for one another.
All this while, when he talks about me succeeding him, I was touched by one particular thing, he was concerned about the state. He wants someone who will take the state to higher level.
Our population is that of youth. I am focusing on problem solving, if it is all women that will get it done, fine.
For instance, when I was CBN Governor, a lot of assignments that required trust and integrity, i gave them to womenn and they never disappointed.
In Anambra, we don’t discriminate. For example, 92 percent of teachers in our primary schools are women and 87 percent in secondary schools. About 57 percent of all employees in civil service are women. We can’t deliver on the agenda we have without the public sector which is completely dominated by women. So when you look at it from that perspective, we are not including women, they already dominate. It is just for us to maximize their contribution because they are already their.
Youths will also play active role in our government but we are not going to appoint people because they are 20 years, we will put people based on the value they can and want to add.
Age is not the point but what you intend to offer. For instance, the young commissioner we have in the state is not based on age but he happens to be one of the most brilliant people we have around.
Age, gender and tribe will not really matter, principal consideration will be value you are bringing.
For the children in the state?
Those children are part of the reason for this journey. When I look into their eyes I can sense what they are telling me, that their future is in my hand I should not let it perish.
The difference between the children of the poor and that of the rich is opportunity. What brought me this far is because while growing up, the children of the poor and the rich attended same schools but now the children of the rich are in private schools while that of poor are in community school.
For me that is the gap we want to bridge.