Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, today, Saturday, June 25, 2022 addressed the people of Anambra State of his stewardship for the first 100 days in office
First 100 Days in Office: State of the State Briefing to Ndi Anambra by Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR: June 25, 2022
Umunne m Ndi Anambra!
We have just clocked our first 100 days in office since you employed me and Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim to serve you as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively. I am not a fan of the fad about the first 100 days. I prefer to give you comprehensive annual reports and I look forward to the first one in March 2023. However, as a responsive government and as part of our periodic citizens’ engagement, we are providing this briefing on this short term milestone. We will also periodically brief and engage you as our employers, through interactive phone-in radio programmes.
As promised, we hit the ground running from the first minute after swearing-in; working for 8 hours and 45 minutes on that day, starting with a three and a half hours meeting on security. Since then, I go to the office every day and literally working 24/7 to make you proud. To be sure, the last 100 days have been bumpy and challenging as expected, with insecurity and a red treasury being the most portent, as clearly identified in our inaugural address. Since February 2022, the contribution of oil revenue from NNPC to the federation account has been zero and many states have difficulty paying salaries. Thus, with declining revenue in the context of insecurity and a mountain of debt (including over N20 billion in arrears of gratuity to pensioners since 2018) vis-à-vis the sky-high expectations from you (my employers), some fundamental disruptive changes are inevitable. I remind everyone who has tried to commiserate with me that I consciously applied for this job, and there will be no excuses. We thank you, Umunne m, for your continued solidarity and support. Together, Anambra will win!
We have spent the last 100 hundred days addressing some key foundational issues: appointed, swore-in and organized a retreat for a new cabinet within five weeks; launched the campaign to mobilize our people to take back our state from criminals and head-on systematic and comprehensive attack on insecurity to restore law and order; revised 2022 budget and provided unprecedented allocation of 64% for capital/infrastructural development as well as priority for youth development; declared a state of emergency on roads and traffic and preparing to flag-off the construction of over 220 kilometres of roads as the rains subside; getting touts out of our roads and markets; redefining the purpose and character of government focused upon service delivery as well as prudent and transparent fiscal management; ending the phenomenon of schools without teachers and hospitals without doctors by embarking on an ambitious, open and competitive process to recruit thousands of teachers as well as doctors, pharmacists and nurses for our hospitals; cleaning up the mountains of waste on our roads; working to ensure that entry into and exit from Anambra especially at Amansea and bridge-head Onitsha become pleasurable experience; signaling our urban renewal agenda with illustrative ambitious agenda for cleaning and modernizing Okpoko and Onitsha metropolis as well as other urban centres which will take greater vigor after the rainy season; laying the foundation for our everything technology and technology everywhere agenda; restructuring and digitizing our Internal Revenue Service; designing and approving a regime for a GIS and digitization of our land registry; launching a policy of never owing gratuity to new retirees and gradually paying down the backlog for the State civil service and approving same for local governments; etc.
In sum, let me assure you that so far, so bumpy but so good! Most people attest that the grave insecurity is being significantly contained, and we are unrelenting. All eyes are on the ball and we are determined to ensure that despite the daunting challenges, our State will remain on course to a livable and prosperous smart homeland. We remain focused on implementing the Soludo Solution—The People’s Manifesto, with its five driving pillars: Security, Law and Order; Economic Transformation Agenda; Social Agenda; Governance, Rule of Law and Value System; and Environment—towards a clean, green and planned sustainable communities, markets and cities. Below, we summarize some of the initiatives we have begun within the first 100 days under these pillars as follows.
Security, Law and Order
Created a new Ministry of Homeland Affairs (for homeland security) to signal the emergency and utmost priority on homeland security.
Embarked upon massive consultation, mobilization and sensitization of the citizens and critical stakeholders— including security agencies, the clergy, traditional rulers, town unions, youths, civil society organizations, businessmen and women, agitation groups, etc. We worked with South East Bishops to organize prayers; offered amnesty/carrot to repentant outlaws; etc. The people are united in fighting against the lucrative criminal enterprise and its idolatrous energizer which held the entire South senatorial zone plus Ogbaru local government hostage. The criminals masquerading as agitators have been exposed, and the nexus between crime, idolatry and hard drugs has become evident. The narrative is changing and the people are seizing the conversation and initiative.
Declared zero tolerance for criminality and drug abuse, and declared war on all criminals in Anambra State. No forest, bush or house can accommodate criminals in Anambra and government is determined to do sustained battle with them. It took some years for criminality to take deep root in parts of the State and we have a longer-term perspective on sustainable solutions.
Cohesive operational team with the State Security Council, and enhanced operational capabilities. We remain grateful to the various security agencies for the massive support and professionalism
Created Anambra State Vigilante Central Strike Force to complement the security forces to keep our forests and homeland free of the criminals.
Put several mechanical arsenal and vehicles to work
A lot of programmes are underway through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Youth Development, the ICT Agency and other government institutions under the youth empowerment and preventive security approach.
Establishment and inauguration of the Truth, Justice and Peace Committee to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the agitation and violence in Anambra/South East; seek a restorative justice approach for truth-telling or real facts; for the healing of the victims of the violence, accounting for responsibility and accountability of the actors, conditional mercy for the repentant perpetrators, restitution for certain losses and rehabilitation of the perpetrators, for the overall aim of restoration of peace and justice as well as the promotion of development in the State/region.
Declared zero tolerance for touting (Agbero) which has endeared the government to transport owners, operators and stake holders. More programmes and projects will be unveiled in due course particularly to retrain and empower the former touts.
Citizen participation has been emboldened. We have created an avenue for connecting with the people by the provision of seven phone lines for citizens to reach the security managers of the state. There is a flood of actionable intelligence and the security forces are prompt with response.
The 6 p.m. to 6 a.m curfew on motorcycles (okada), tricycles (keke), and shuttle buses in 8 Local Government areas is a short term security measure that will be lifted in no distant time.
Work is ongoing to restructure and strengthen the community security architecture and deployment of technology in security.
Declared emergency on traffic management and the Anambra Road Traffic Management Agency (ARTMA) is being strengthened to deliver.
Economic Transformation Agenda
Works and Infrastructure
A new framework for a combination of Direct Labour Model and Outsourcing (contracting) model in the provision of roads/infrastructure as well as concessioning, public private partnership, public- community partnership, as well as rural community infrastructure development model are being worked out.
Direct Labour Intervention has been successfully deployed to rebuild the washout section of Onitsha – Enugu Federal Highway opposite Chisco Park at Onitsha as well as the Amansea section of the Enugu – Onitsha Federal High way (entry section of Anambra), at a highly cost effective rate.
Engineering design and procurement process completed and contractors soon to move to site to deal with two dangerous portions of two federal high ways which experience massive flooding each year, drowning unsuspecting commuters. These are the Ekwulobia- Nnobi federal road (Igboukwu/Isuofia boundary) and the Ogbunike – Ogidi section of the Enugu – Onitsha Road (old road).
De-silting of 1km of the Obodoukwu road, Okpoko to Idemili River end of the Sakamori storm water discharge. The exercise is still on-going and will soon move on to the Fegge/Nwangene end of the discharge drain.
Hydrological studies and hydraulic designs of storm water discharge channels as well as engineering designs almost completed for over 220 Kilometres of roads scattered all over Anambra state and these roads will all be flagged off for construction before the dry season commences.
Power and Water Resources
In the light of the Administration’s goal to attain universal electricity access for Ndi Anambra, the government reconstituted and reinvigorated the Anambra State Power Committee, which also has the EEDC as a member. The Committee recently finished a Retreat and is finalizing details of the plans and programmes (including the legal/regulatory framework) to align all the stakeholders in the electricity market in Anambra and ensure optimal performance and delivery of government’s target.
Rehabilitation of the water facilities at the Jerome Udorji Secretariat for civil servants. The Secretariat has not had water running in the offices for over eight years.
Completion of the Urban Water generation at Amuko-Uruagu, Nnewi.
Achievement of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status for Aguata LGA. This is the second local government, after Anambra East LGA to achieve.