I was plying my business in the marketing communications industry in Lagos when Prof Chukwuma Soludo blew into national and international spotlights in 2004 . From my observatory, I noticed the remarkable contributions he made to the second tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’ s administration. True, he was one of the poster boys of that administration.
I was impressed by his passion in championing the reform agenda of the Obasanjo’s presidency. Since then I believe, like many others, that he has a lot to offer our country especially our state, Anambra. I will come back to that.
When Soludo joined APGA, I also observed in him the same commitment, hard work and passion earlier mentioned. Coincidentally, and through the benevolence of His Excellency Governor Willie Obiano, I was appointed to work in one of the Agencies of the government. This time, I observed Soludo from very close quarters. I saw him give his all to our party – APGA and I am delighted he is a BOT member of the party today.
Typical of him, he worked very hard to contribute to the success we secured for the second tenure of his Excellency. I noted the problem solving approach he brought to issues by applying ingenious and local antecedents to bear on challenges many thought were insurmountable. This is in sharp contrast to falsehoods being peddled by those who envy his prodigious intellect that he is arrogant. The Soludo I know and believe in is down to earth, rooted in Igbo culture but is confident, self assured and very inspirational in his leadership style.
As I said earlier, Soludo’ s indelible footprints were what first attracted me to him. While in National Planning he bestowed to a grateful nation the NEEDS and SEEDS which were the anvils on which the reform agenda of that administration and the States’ government was predicated. He also reorganised and repositioned the Federal Office of Statistics for greater effectiveness to meet the country’s need for reliable data.
His tenure at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was stellar. He changed the banking industry for good with the attendant expansion of the economy. The reforms he undertook in the financial system were spot on and could only be championed by a leader who has self-belief, courage and passion. Among the reform was the banking consolidation which many thought impossible at the time. His clarity in communicating the change and eliciting the buy-in of industry operators through workshops on mergers, acquisitions, integration of organizational culture etc were spectacular. Many say that his background as university lecturer has always put him in good stead in marketing his reforms.
One unsung achievement of Soludo was the revamp of the MINT. Before he came on board, Nigeria printed her currencies abroad. Soludo found this bizarre and unacceptable. It was a very daunting task but he changed the sordid situation to the benefit of Nigeria. He did more which I will discuss in subsequent write ups.
With strong and solid banks, the economy buoyed. It was much easier to get funding from the consolidated banks. When the world was caught in a debilitating financial meltdown in 2008, Nigeria was immune. That was the Soludo magic. That is what we now gleefully call the SOLUDO SOLUTION. And for Anambra, that is the Soludo’s African Dubai- Taiwan therapy.
I was therefore not surprised that Governor Willie Obiano chose Soludo to lead the committee he has set up to plan for the future of Anambra state in the next 50 years. Obiano’s wisdom in this regard will be remembered and appreciated by generations yet unborn because Soludo and his crack team from what I see are poised to deliver.
Indeed, there is no doubt that a post covid-19 pandemic Anambra state needs a Governor who has the capacity for disruptive ideas and actions. This is what even Soludo’s foes agree he has demonstrated time and time again. He is an enemy to the common, to the stereotype, to the Orthodoxy and to the cut and paste. Recently he has rendered his voice to policy makers in Africa on the bold and confident approach to tame covid- 19 pandemic within the African context. The narrative has since changed and Africa is matching onwards with renewed vigour to claim victory.
The foregoing are why we are demanding for Soludo using our platform – Anambra Demands for Soludo (ADS). Today, we are happy to announce that men, women, youths, politicians from all political divides, the rich and the poor have joined us in the clarion call on Soludo to run for Anambra governor in 2021 under APGA. Our flagship project – football has gained traction in some towns in Anambra State and many more were eager to start before the covid-19 hit us.The reception has been massive everywhere we go and it is our hope that Prof Cee Cee Soludo will listen to the voice of the people… which is the voice of God.
Emecheta writes from Awka, Anambra State.