The newly sworn-in Governor of Anambra State, Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has raised alarm over the state of the economy of Anambra, which he said was in a “bad shape”
Speaking on Arise News television interview, Soludo said that from the audited account of the state ending December 31, 2021, there is about N300 million to N400 million cash in various banks and over N100 billion debt.
He said: “In terms of finances, there is the detailed audited account which is a public document and anybody can assess it. The audited account up to 31st December 2021 has been published. It contains our assets and liabilities as of the end of the year.
“Everybody knows that the state finances are not robust. We have a debt of N100 and something billion and about 300 million cash. But we will still have reconciliation to make for the period between January and the day we were handed over. There is also contractor debt contingent liabilities. That is the baseline.
“We intend to be publishing our accounts for everybody to see and what our money is used for.”
Soludo also spoke on his embattled predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano, describing him as an honourable man.
According to him, what is rare in Nigeria today is that people don’t keep their words, but Obiano kept his.
He added: “We met in August, September, October and November of 2016 and I accepted his proposal for us to work together politically in 2017. Many people didn’t expect the partnership to work but it did after five years.
“For me, that is historic. It is easy for people to make promises and walk away, but Obiano didn’t.
“He loves Anambra; he loves his people and he did his best to the best of his ability. We are on continuity and we will continue from where he stopped. This is the APGA government and we will continue on the foundation he laid.
“Our job is to make amendments where he didn’t do quite well and continue the trajectory.
“I don’t expect him to pose any problems for us in terms of interference. He is not that kind of fellow who, after leaving office, would still want to impose himself and want to be the one calling the shots.
“So, I don’t envisage that kind of friction and I am eternally grateful to him.
“I saw somebody taking a video of him in the EFCC facility and that is not the way to go. If somebody is accused of something, it has to be investigated and not humiliate him. I’m happy he has been granted bail. If you say he did something, investigate it and not humiliate him”.
On the Ebele Obiano and Bianca Ojukwu incident that took place during his swearing-in, Soludo described it as a comedy that emerged that people are enjoying. “It had no distraction for me whatsoever. I think it was meant to be and it just added comic and for some time, there could even be a song that could emerge from it.
“I didn’t even notice much of what happened as it happened when I was trying to sign the oath of office and oath of allegiance.
“I just turned to that direction and turned back immediately to continue with what I was doing.
“I am rather intensely focused on what we want to deliver to the people every day.
“After the ceremony, I worked for nine hours and the following day I went to Okpoko. When we came back, I worked till 7 pm and on Sunday, we attended the church service after which we visited the Ekwulobia Correctional Centre and interacted with the inmates and inquired about their living conditions. On Monday, I was in the office from morning till night. There is work to be done and it is work, work, work.
“I applied to be the chief servant and I am here to work and not to be bothered about distractions.
“I first applied for the job 13 years ago and finally, the people have hired me and I am ready to work.
“In 2009 when I first applied for the job, I would say reluctantly because I was literarily dragged to contest. After going around the state campaigning and getting the feel of the people, it turned out from being a reluctant person to becoming a passion for me to work for the people. There are problems but they are not insurmountable”, he said.
He explained that his decision to patronize locally made goods was not just about him, noting that.it is the way the world works.
“That is the way to create jobs. The slip-on I’m wearing was made in Ogbunike. The next stage we want to go to is to encourage them and ensure that they are proud of their products by appropriately stamping them ‘Made in Anambra’. They should be proud of what they make by labelling them appropriately.
“Imagine where over 200 million Nigerians patronize locally made products. Since I started wearing the Akwete dress, the makers no longer meet the demand. We will help the women acquire technology to produce more.
“The Made in Anambra is an integral part of our administration. We will wear our clothes, wear our shoes and through that, create more jobs. So it is not a thing made temporary for the show, it is something we deeply believe in”, he added.
On the growing insecurity in the state fueled by unknown gunmen, the governor said discussions with stakeholders were ongoing, adding that he immediately held a security meeting after swearing-in, assuring that he would get the issue cracked.
He added: “The sit-at-home thing will definitely end and we are working with the stakeholders, including IPOB.
“We will engage everybody. It is the people’s power that will prevail at the end of the day. The poor innocent drivers, the market women, keke drivers and artisans, the vulcanizers are the ones suffering and that is why it has to end.
“Our people are usually the loser like the people who would have come to shop in Anambra now go somewhere else on Mondays. We are determined to ensure law and order in this state because, without peace, we can’t get anywhere”.
Earlier on, the anti-graft agency had arrested Obiano on the night of Thursday, March 17, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, following his handover ceremony.
The former governor was later granted bail after spending five days in the EFCC’s detention, although he has not yet perfected his bail conditions as at the tile of filing this report.
Appoints former Mayor of London Chief of Staff, AVM Chiobi security adviser
Professor Charles Soludo has also appointed a former Mayor of London, Mr. Ernest Ezeajuyi as his Chief of Staff.
Also appointed were Air Vice Marshall Ben Chiobi (rtd) as the security adviser to the governor and Mr Richard Madiebo as the executive chairman of Anambra Internal Revenue Service.
The three new appointments bring to six the number of appointments so far made by the governor.
He had earlier appointed the former Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu to continue in the office. Chinedu Nwoye was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and Head of Protocol while Dr. Chukwudi Okoli is the new Accountant General of the state.
Put your words into action, HEDA urges Soludo
Meantime, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, has called on Governor Soludo of Anambra State to walk the talk in his inaugural address, saying the world’s eyes are on him to deliver on his promises.
The Chairman of HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, made the appeal while reacting to the Governor’s address yesterday in a statement in Abuja.
Surajo described the Governor’s address as thoughtful, insightful, and an unequivocal manifestation of a determination to improve the people’s quality of life.
“We have heard so many promises from the governor for his people, however, he must not be like any of his ostrich predecessors and co-governors who promised much but delivered little.”
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‘EMI LO KAN’: How my training, experience, knowledge can rescue Nigeria – Tinubu
The kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent shall take it by force. That’s a saying in the Holy Bible and Tinubu’s grabbing of the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Party, APC, could be described as a forceful takeover.
Or, how else does one interrogate his landslide victory at the June 7/8 primaries of the party and not come to that conclusion? More so, in a field of over 10 aspirants?
Whereas his co-contestants went after delegates, Tinubu, who also goes by the alias of Alakanbi, and the thunderous title of Jagaban ‘Borgu, went after the aspirants themselves; meaning, once he got the aspirants to his corner, the delegates were harvested for him. Whichever way he did it, he did it. Some strategies. Some sagacity.
So, for Tinubu, having fought the first part of the battle of his life by taking the presidential ticket, he is bracing for the second part, which is the presidential election proper.
In this political season, you cannot write anything about Tinubu without mentioning Emi lo Kan, Eleyi or O lu’le…. Or, ‘recruit 50million youths’. Or the story of agbado, cassava and Garri? In fact, it will be a grave injustice and a disservice to Tinubu’s usual romance with theatrics not to mention those. Or, is it about the way he shovels up the flaps of his agbada in a slow-motion-like manner? He is a man of drama.
However, make no mistake, Tinubu is a serious man, a very serious man.
Yes, individuals are given to make slips while speaking. And erroneous attributions or statements not apt or correct in all materials particular are not the franchise of one presidential candidate, as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar have equally fallen, as all mortals do, into the mire. So, they can all be forgiven.
But beyond these niceties and packaging, however, there are issues Tinubu must contend with. How does it appear when Tinubu says he will continue with and build on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari? Or the choice of his running mate, who is also a Muslim like himself? Or his health?
Some answers are provided to some of these questions. At least, in 2019, he told President Buhari some uncomfortable truth about the state of the nation and the way to go. You can only counsel. On his same faith choice, he has been telling Nigerians of other faiths to trust him. It is his choice and whatever arises therefrom, the burden remains his.
To those who discuss his health, it is worth mentioning that one of the greatest American Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR, was wheeled into the White House in 1932, after defeating the Republican incumbent President, Herbert Hoover, by a landslide electoral votes of 472 to 59. According to TIME, GREAT PEOPLE of the 20th CENTURY, FDR “suffered a chill that was misdiagnosed, then the horrifying paralysis of polio”, ensured that he never walked again unaided – with braces or with the aid of a wheelchair. He went on to lead America for an unprecedented four terms. But that was in 1932.
This is 2022/2023. The challenges of today are as humongous as those faced during the Great depression, which FDR pulled America and, indeed, the world through. Again, Nigeria is not America. Nigeria is a country that President Buhari has led for seven years that, against expectations, if truth be told, cannot be said to have fared much better in the areas of insecurity, economy, education, corruption and the like. Tinubu says he’s up to the task.
As usual, we have pieced together his views in recent times regarding what he stands for and what he plans to achieve across some issues, using content in the public domain (in his own words and his speeches) . The opportunity of a fuller interview with the candidate is being explored and would be published later. But we can hold him down to the following statements.
A message to youths
We are working hard for youths to change the dynamics, to change the story of Nigeria, to be bold enough to start new initiatives, to change the story of huge potential to reality, to imagine that we are one of the most brilliant and most committed individuals in this country. We are youths. I’m here not for me alone but for you, for tomorrow that you represent. You, youths have represented us well. We feel your anger when you are angry. I don’t blame you.
The promises of the past have failed to realise that you build a future from kindergarten to high school, to the university and all of that needs serious reforms. I disagree with excuses that we cannot help it. We can help it. We must develop the can-do attitude. Youths must change the story; the story of potential to reality. Banditry, tribalism, poverty has no tribal mark. We, as a nation, can feed ourselves by being creative, visionary and committed. We cannot continue the lamentation of the past.
Push, we must push. We must be ready. Youths are the reason why I’m contesting. I want to be president for the youths. Enough of excuses. Enough of bitterness. Enough of disunity. We are going to mix the energy of the youth and wisdom of the old to avoid a dangerous agitation, so that Nigeria is handled carefully. We can promote unity and common destiny and common patrimony in a better and more creative way. What we’ve done in Lagos can be brought to bear in Nigeria.
Perseverance, great understanding is a common bond flowing in our veins as Fulani and Yoruba. Once you create peace, you create investment friendliness and you create a destination for investment
Austerity and inflation
Let’s pay attention to the issue of austerity and inflation.
It is only the state that must constrain itself on a balanced budget. It is only the local government that must restrict itself and balance the budget.
Sovereignty is that of Nigeria and it is only the federal government that has that sovereign power and must use it for the benefit and development, quality of life of Nigerians. That’s why it is sovereign.
APC and President Buhari’s reign
President Muhamamdu Buhari has already laid a solid foundation in security, economy, and anti-corruption. We will build upon this for the salvation of our people.
We formed this party to give the people of this land the progressive good governance they deserve so that they may live as well and as peacefully as any people on the face of this earth. This corrective journey began with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. At this convention, we must take the next step toward the proper and necessary direction.
In 2015, the All Progressives Congress won the election to halt the drift in our nation’s governance, redirect our path, and make clear our national priorities. We dedicated this party to the guiding principle that government must be for the benefit of each and every Nigerian before it is for the benefit of any single one of us. No one is above legal rule or regulation. Within this context, the APC under President Muhammadu Buhari has governed with patriotic and disciplined commitment these past seven years.
The Buhari government has championed needed reforms, ranging from an innovative petroleum industry law to measures that are aimed at improving power and electricity generation for all Nigerians. Government has invested heavily in building modern airports and railway networks and roads. Every Naira is better managed than in prior administrations. The Buhari government has done more with much less than its PDP predecessors did. Despite economic difficulties wrought by protracted global recession, the APC-led government has progressed in diversifying the economy, improving food security through intense investment in the agricultural sector.
The successive PDP administrations did next to nothing with the plenty they had. What they did with our nation’s abundance is no secret. But what they did not do was even a greater embarrassment. They left abandoned infrastructure projects all across the nation. The APC completed them. They allowed ISWAP/ Boko Haram to erect strongholds. The Buhari government has been compelled to wage great war against these threats because of the decade of neglect by the PDP.
The PDP should have uprooted this evil when it was but a seed. The APC-led government is now left to contend with the dangerous tree it has become. Yet, as surely as I can state my name, the next APC government shall uproot this evil such that, never again, shall it try to take hold in this land.
Blunt counsel to Mr. President
Forecasters are predicting a global recession within the next 12-18 months (Pre Covid-19). I render these observations not to frighten anyone but because they ring true. Wisdom requires that we accept reality instead of obscuring it under the cloak of wishful thinking. We must build policies that interact with the world as it is, and not with the world as it should be.
We must recognize these harsh economic tidings as advance warnings to the wise. Hence we must think deeper and work harder for our people in Nigeria. I would be a most wicked friend (to Buhari) if I knew a storm was approaching yet convinced you to ready your family for an outdoor picnic under the tallest tree. The truth is always a more valuable guardian than fantasy.
Working for the people
Wages stagnate while prices are on a ceaseless march upward…. We must amend our basic ideas about the economy. We must divorce ourselves from our fixation with GDP rates and similar statistics. These things were initially intended to be indicators, suggestive measurements. However, we have misinterpreted these road maps by treating them as if they were the destination itself. This has caused us to distort the organic relationship between the people and the economy. This dominant train of thought has made the people servants to the dictates of abstract economic theories. In a more effective system, the economy would be fashioned to serve the concrete needs and legitimate aspirations of the people.
Our economy must be redefined to be an efficient yet moral social construct with the primary goal of optimizing the long-term welfare of the people through the sustained, productive and full employment of labour, land, capital and natural resources. To pull the nation from poverty, the government must play a decisive role. It must at times direct and even develop markets and opportunities. This is nothing novel. I am only restating what the established economies did when they were young and assumed their trajectories toward growth. We must do more than simply work for the people. Government must “work for the people in a way that enables them to better work for themselves.
Affordable and reliable power will drive the industrialization that shall provide jobs in our cities and produce needed goods for all our people. In a more poetic rendering, it will take our people out of the dark ages and bring the nation into the light of a better day.
I believe we will work to increase electricity generation, transmission and distribution by more than 50 percent. We require serious and bold reforms to achieve this. What is happening to our gas pipelines? Whatever we have to invest now for our future is a task that must be done boldly. Put experts together for a more constructive reform to improve generation, transmission and distribution by any means necessary. We cannot afford to be too legalistic about this.
We must commit ourselves to a national highway system linking our major cities and towns, our centres of commerce, with each other. This will save lives, spur commerce, cut costs and bring Nigerians closer together. Water catchment and retention systems in strategic locations should also be introduced to end the destructive cycles of flood and drought affecting many areas. In working to transform the face of our economy, the government must also enact policies that encourage industrialization and modern agricultural practices.
We must applaud President Buhari for the historic innovations made in the agricultural sector. We must further encourage him to do even more. Government funded social security for the aged and government backed affordable housing and mortgage facilities are things we must continue to explore in an aggressive manner. Our goal is nothing less than enabling people to enjoy lives free of penury and lack.
His experience to lead
I step forward because I can help lead our nation to become what it ought to be.
I do not say this as a boast. I claim not to be special nor great. My training, experiences, and acquired knowledge are what is special and uniquely suited for this moment. I am merely a conduit, a servant of a cause much larger than myself . Now is a time for progressive vision and singular purpose. There is a general agreement that 2023 will be an encounter with destiny, when our nation shall need a certain type of leader to realise a better Nigeria. My experience in office and the knowledge gained through hard work, tough trials and patient undertaking have prepared me for this hour. I am a man of purpose with a serious mission. My vow is to use all that I know and all of my abilities to the benefit of the nation and its people. I do not step forward because I think this nomination is my due. I step forward because I can help lead our nation to become what it ought to be.
A daring-do mentality
Do we dare reform our national economy such that prosperity grows as poverty vanishes? Yes, we dare.
Do we dare provide meaningful education and jobs for our youths so that they may strive for a better future? Yes, we dare. Our teeming youth population is our nation’s greatest asset. We will create jobs for our youth from the Zamfara and Osun gold deposits to the vast agricultural lands across the country. We will create new opportunities in the FINTECH sector, the creative and entertainment industries, digital skills and other areas.
Do we dare feed our nation and provide the farmer a solid income for his toil? Yes, we dare.
Do we dare construct a society where the vulnerable, the weak, the disadvantaged and the elderly are attended to and loved? Yes, for we must care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Do we dare muster our collective strength to conquer terrorism, kidnapping, and violent evil of any form? Yes, we dare.
Security and competition between terrorists and governments for recruitment of youths
We are under-policed and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits to recruit from the youths who are unemployed. 33% unemployed? Recruit 50 million youths into the army and take away from the recruitment source (of terrorist’s). What will they eat? Cassava, agbado, corn in the morning, yam in the afternoon and all these are grown here and you create demand and consumption for over 5million army of bootcamps. Don’t call these (criminals and terrorists) illiterate. Anyone who can own a gun, handle a gun, cork a gun, service it, clean the chamber and shoot, is technically competent to repair a tractor in the farm. We can create jobs here. (So, recruit our youths and get them engaged in farming)
2023 Elections: LASG takes PVC sensitization campaign to LASU, LASUED
…. urges students to participate in nation building
As the 2023 general elections draw closer, the Lagos State Government has taken its on- going residents sensitization programme on Permanent Voters Card (PVC) registration and collection to the Lagos State University, Ojo and Lagos State University of Education, Ijanikin, where the students were urged to join hands with government in building a new Nigeria.
The State government noted that registration and collection of Permanent Voters Card is a guaranteed license for participating in the nation’s electoral process, urging them to go out and register for their PVCs or pick them up from the INEC office if they have registered before.
The Special Adviser to governor Sanwo-Olu on Education, Tokunbo Wahab who led top government officials to LASU yesterday to sensitize the students , stressed the need for more students’ participation in the electoral process and task of nation building.
According to him, since youths/ students represent about 53.5% of the total population of the country, there is the need to carry them along and give them adequate orientation and enlightenment on leadership role and the need to participate in the electoral process towards choosing a God fearing leader that is committed to infrastructure development and good governance.
The sensitization programme which was at the instance of the Office of the Special Adviser on Education (OSAE) in conjunction with the Students Union Governments (SUG) of both the Lagos State University (LASU) and Lagos State University of Education ( LASUED) Ijanikin Campus have large turn- out of students who turned the sensitization programme into a carnival like across all Faculties and Departments of the Universities.
Wahab who commended the Managements of the two institutions, (LASU and LASUED) for maintaining absolute peace on their campuses, promised that the State government would not relent in implementing policies that would prioritize the welfare of both students and staff of all the State owned institutions, while he commended them for not joining the on- going Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike in appreciation of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s sustainable educational development policies in the State.
The Special Adviser charged the students to take advantage of bringing registration centres to their campuses to register and collect their PVCs, noting that their PVC is the major weapon with which they can fight hunger and poverty while it could be used as well to sustain good governance.
In her remarks, the Ag. Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University of Education, LASUED, Ijanikin Campus, Professor Bidemi Bilikis Lafiaji-Okuneye stated that the sensitization of students for PVC collection is a welcome development as it would give them the opportunity to perform their civic responsibility as citizens o the country.
Professor Lafiaji-Okuneye commended INEC for bringing registration centres to the two campuses, which she noted would help students to have easy access to registration.
In the same way, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on students Affairs and Tertiary Education Matters, Mr Omotayo Sanya Olu said the sensitization programme is one of the Governor Sanwo-Olu administration’s efforts at carrying the youths along in crucial matters that have direct effect on their developments.
Sanyaolu who urged the students to make effective use of the exercise to register and obtain their PVCs reminded that with their PVCs, they have been given the power to decide who should be their leaders.
While assuring that the All Progressives Party in Lagos State under Samwo-Olu would continue to place youths at the centre of its development programmes, urged them to continue to support the State government and keep campuses peaceful for improved and better development.
In his response, President of LASU Students’ Union, Adeoye Moses, a 400 Level student of Theatre Arts Department, commended students of LASU for coming out in large number to register for their PVC, adding that LASU students were always at alert when it comes to progressive development, adding that the SUG under his care would ensure that his colleagues fully participate in all future elections in the country to bring about good government.
He commended the State Government for upgrading LASU infrastructure and creating enabling environment for research Developments, noting that LASU under Sanwo-Olu has remained one of the best in the country in academic and moral excellences.
INEC deadline: Sanwo-Olu okays 4 work-free days for Lagos workers to get PVCs
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Monday, approved a four work free days for workers in the state for them to get their Permanent Voters Card, PVCs against the July 31 deadline for the procurement of PVC, by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The directive was contained in a statement by the Head of Service, Mr Hekeem Muri-Okunola.
According to Muri-Okunola, the work free days begin from July 26, till Friday July 29, before the deadline given by INEC for prospective voters to get registered ends.
The statement which was titled, ‘Collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) directed the Accounting Officers to ensure compliance, adding that workers are expected to bring along their PVC while returning for work.
“It is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in the Electoral process of her country, therefore, all Public Servants are encouraged to partake in the upcoming Year 2023 General Elections.
“Consequently, it is notified for general information that all Public Servants who are yet to register for or collect their PVC from designated INEC centres are advised do so before the deadline date of 30th July 2022.
“To this end, Mr Governor has graciously approved a Work Free Day for Public Servants to enable them process/collect their PVCs from their respective Local Governments/ Local Council Development Areas. Officers are expected to return back to work with their Voter’s Card after this exercise.
“Accordingly, Accounting Officers are hereby, enjoined to excuse their officers in the respective Grade Levels on the designated dates.”
The designated dates, according to the Head of Service are; Tuesday 26- Grade Levels concerned are 01, 03, 07 and 15.
For Wednesday, July 27, the Grade Levels affected are 02, 04, 08 and 13. Thursday, July 28, Grade Levels 05, 09, 12 and 17 while Friday, July 29, is dedicated for Grade Levels 06, 10, 14 and 16.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Lagos State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje had earlier, disclosed that statistics showed that the state currently had about seven million registered voters.
According to him, if the number of new registrants so far in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, is added to those in the register of voters before in the state, the number will be about seven million.
“In Lagos state as at Monday (July 18), those who registered online are 640, 560 but many of them have not completed registration. Those who have completed the registration exercise are 451,156.
“The total number of registered voters in Lagos state before the commencement of the ongoing CVR is 6,570,291, and if we add the new registrants, we have about seven million registered voters,” Agbaje said.
He, however, said the ongoing CVR had not ended and the commission was still capturing more people before deadline on July 31.
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