Anambra Governor, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo has stressed that population will be a decisive factor in sharing resources from the State Government.
He made this remark while meeting with PGs of 179 communities in the state at ASATU Hall, Government House Awka.
“One of the criteria for sharing resources in our proposed community government will be based on the size of each community.
“Population size will be an important ingredient for partaking in sharing government resources.
“Mobilize your people to ensure there’s maximum participation in the forthcoming population census. It’s for the interest of your own community.
“Idemmili North for example, Obosi is one ward but the population of voters there is greater than some local government in the state.
“This Christmas, there’s huge task for each and everyone of you. Mobilize your people, set up structures and maximize the population of your community.
“Anambra has been invaded by non-indigenes but so long as they are residents, take inventories to ensure they are counted and registered.
“Try to educate youths who are causing a nuisance. We lost out on boosting our population size during the last census because of our ignorance,”Soludo noted.
Governor Soludo recalled the first time he dialogued with ASATU along with his immediate predecessor Chief Obiano, they promised to support him with their votes
“I and my Deputy, Dr. Ibezim thank you for your votes and all your support since we assumed office especially during the flood crises and how you helped us distribute palm and coconut seedlings amongst the communities in the state,” he said.
Governor Soludo who pointed out that Public Community private partnership (PCPP) will be the model of his government towards community development, referred to the Neni Model who developed their communities without Government assistance.
“The social contract between the government and the people is to surrender part of their own income to do those things individuals can’t do for themselves.
“Enugu, Port-Harcourt, Onitsha were all built up with pipe borne water and electricity running with taxes paid by peasant farmers.
“When you have this kind of partnership, the people will do wonders. PCPP is at the heart of our administration!
“Crude oil came and the oil palm, eastern economy our people boasts of disappeared. We pursued oil money and now our society is decaying.
“The resources of Anambra is in private hands. Government just has 2% of the total income at it’s disposal.
“If we can mobilize and motivate our people, there’s no limit of what we can achieve.
“Lagos state is projecting about N1.1Trillion for year 2023, that’s approximately N100 billion a month for IGR.
“This is made possible due to the effective enforcement of taxes,” he said.
“We came in at a time of very difficult circumstances. Our state of finances is poor and insecurity was on the increase.
“We need to pay pensions and salaries; under those circumstances and the people’s expectations are very high, expecting we pull out a magic wand overnight provided they don’t pay anything.
“98% of people abroad live on paycheck to paycheck. Over there you pay bills for virtually everything.
“We are trying to reestablish the social contract with the people. We know the people don’t trust government because they have been lying to the people and those in government are stealing public funds.
“We promised ndi Anambra that every penny entrusted in our hands will be accounted for and we have tried to do that.
“All pensioners under my watch have received their gratuities as at when due.
“We have tried to cut down all manners of waste and boycott all bycottables so as to be able to conserve resources to give the people value. We have achieved this successfully on facility management
“Appointments we are giving is not like before because the state cannot afford it. What value are you bringing to the people? We ask this question before paying appointees with tax payers money.
“Instead of appointing thousands of appointees and paying them hundreds of millions of naira every month, we choose to employ teachers to teach our children in schools
“I was paying for 39 PTA Teachers in my community for the past 6 years.
“In hospitals, we are employing doctors, nurses and consultants.
“In agriculture, we want to revive the palm and coconut economic revolution that would yield dividends in the next 5/6 years. We want to take advantage of all the resources that we have.
“In security, we have come and declared war on criminals. They had the capability to take on any government but in our resolve, we are determined to totally get rid of them in the state.
“They have already taken territory, collecting taxes from the people when we came in.
“We must take back our state and I want to thank everyone who have participated in this. If you secure the community, you secure the state.
“In manufacturing, Ogboji donated 200 hectares of land for the construction of a Pharmaceutical Park.
“Akwihedi, Uga and Awka North are the locations projected for construction of industrial parks. Industrialization will be at the heart of our future.
“We are encouraging communities to take ownership. We are working very hard to finalize a law to establish a proper community government at the fourth tier of government, recognized by law that will have their own budget and revenue.
“A lawyer made me realize that Town Unions are a voluntary association. And the constitution guarantees freedom of association. You cannot tell anyone not to set up an association and there are so many factions in various communities.
“Anambra must be a liveable and prosperous homeland.
“The commissioner informed me we have already awarded 243.7KM of roads for construction and we are now pushing up for execution. The contractors signed a 20 year guarantee for these roads including federal roads. We have spent over a billion naira on federal roads because the ones we have are completely gone.
“The State House of Assembly has approved the government can take loans but till now, we haven’t borrowed a dime for all the projects we are undertaking.
“I don’t want to build political roads. I don’t want to award political contracts. I don’t want to be the politician that speaks from two sides. All the roads we flagged off must be completed.
“Our mission is to rebuild the trust between the government and the people and the first step is to stop lying to the people.
“It’s so deep that the people don’t trust the government. If you tell them to pay tax, they find it difficult to do so.
“By the time we have spent 1 year in office, we shall deliver at least 250km of roads to the people.
“We are also going to embark on massive desilting, it’s a revolution that would happen next year. We urge you to assist us in actualizing this.
“We can’t repeat the same thing and expect the same results. We are imbibing new partnerships with our communities. I’m very happy with the PGs we have. You all are the foundation.
“We are thinking about how we will devolve resources to communities in a structured manner so resources will flow efficiently.
“Before we pass these laws, ensure you enforce it as a law in your respective communities. In my village, if water flows from your house to roads, you shall be fined N5000 because the waters is causing massive erosion.
“Many places are sinking down, roads are breaking. If we can control this, erosion will reduce and it’s you people that will do this.
“From time to time, we shall be meeting to interact and exchange ideas. In our next meeting, TC Chairmen will also be available so there can be a peer review mechanism because each local government has their own peculiar problems.
“The election next year is very consequential because people belong to various political parties. For next year’s election, I am much more concerned about the future of Ndigbo,” he stated.
Governor Soludo indicated a few weeks ago, he wrote a piece that generated so much controversy. He further stated that what he wrote is what he believes and what he knows but prays and wish that he is wrong.
“I told my brother from my heart, I wish he would win. It’s my desire that my brother wins, emotionally I will be happy.
“But my head and facts on the ground tell me the journey is a difficult one.
“As an Igbo son, I worry for my people. I followed the history of Nigerian politics. I have been involved in politics since 1980.
“Ndigbo have always succeeded in politics when they come together under one political party. We don’t have the voting strength to win elections especially with the way Nigeria is politically structured.
“If we have structured conversation with the NorthWest and SouthWest, the two zones with greater voting strength, that would be a huge starting point for Ndigbo.
“Democracy is about strategy, organization and building alliances,” Soludo concluded.
The National President of ASATU, Hon. Barr. Titus Akpudo in his speech welcomed Mr Governor in the name of ASATU.
Describing it as a very remarkable day because the Governor stopped by to say hello to them.
“Acknowledging your numerous works in the state and your efforts to restore security is not unnoticed.
“Your moves in youth empowerment and employment of 5000 teachers in the state won’t fail to be commended,” he said.
The ASATU President also notified the Governor that his Deputy is also working and coordinating them together.
“Everything about governance is community! We pray a personality such as Soludo continue to exist in our society.
“We are supporting every policy the Government is introducing.
“In preparations towards the festive period, we are sensitizing the people in a public campaign tagged “operation guard your neighborhood”
“The Governor has very good plans for communities and we are excited that today, the Governor will provide us direction on security, protection of government properties in our communities and direction towards the forthcoming general elections.
“This is the first time in the history of ASATU we raised money to help flood displaced persons, bought trailers of foodstuffs to provide to IDP Camps.
“We plead with the Governor to assist us in building our communities and mainstream the “Aku luo uno” initiative that would drive development in our state,” he concluded.
The SSG, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, Commissioner for LGA, Mr Tonycollins Nwabunwanne, ASATU Executives among others attended the event.