Soludo: The True Progressive By Paul Nwosu


Anambra State is engaged in a progressive gear of change. The astute governance of Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, reflects this ideological character on all fronts. Under his administration, who we are as Ndi-Anambra and what we stand for have been adroitly situated within the ambit of a vibrant progressivism.

According to the wordbook, “Progressivism as a political movement seeks to advance the human condition through social reforms based on advancement in science, technology and social organization.” A progressive is therefore a reformist who makes bold and sometimes unpleasant changes for the betterment of the society.

This fits into Soludo’s style of governance which he declared, from the onset, would be disruptive in nature. So, he holds aloft the light among the progressives of Nigerian politics in tandem with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s immortal statement: “Show the light and the people will find the way.”

Among the founding fathers of Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of Western Region championed the cause of the progressives through his welfare policies of free education and free health, etc. Latter self-acclaimed progressives who attempted to step into the sage’s shoes ended up paying lip service to the ideology. Among the contemporary politicians, Governor Soludo is the only one that has come to terms with the sacred calling of being a progressive.

As a progressive, Soludo remains a quintessential model as exemplified in his welfarist policies on free education, free antenatal and delivery services for pregnant -women, massive healthcare, youths’ skills impartation and provision of grants for them to take off, training in digital know-how to keep pace with trends in technology, etc. He functions more as a statesman interested in changing the society for good by implanting modern ideas and structures rather than as the ordinary politicians who dole out handouts in the hustling bid to win run-of-the-mill elections.

The ideological front of Soludo’s government is crucially anchored on the philosophy of his political party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) that posits the maxim: “Onye aghana nwanneya (No one must be left behind). The key words underpinning the APGA character of familial bonding are “compassion” and “empathy”.

It is so endearing that Governor Soludo, like politicians in advanced democracies of the world, has brought to bear on his style of governance the ideological philosophy of his APGA party. This is quite exemplary in a country where other political parties lack any ideology to crow about, talk less of allowing their policies in government to be dictated by it. Soludo is thus teaching the rest of our compatriots the essence of party ideology in governance. That government should be the medium for practical implementation of party’s ideology which must have been thought through ab initio. Where we have politically conscious populace, any departure from the party’s ideology often stirs dissent and public anger.

One can then understand why Soludo started work as governor in the Okpoko slum, near Onitsha, in Anambra North even though he hails from Anambra South. The typical Nigerian governor would rather start work from his home zone and enclave rather than far-flung oppressed localities.

Governor Soludo’s major focus points are areas that have been left behind by previous governors, for example, Nzam that had no access road to the local government headquarters, Oba-Ofemili that had never seen a tarred road before, and Olmbanasa that no governor had ever visited etc. These erstwhile neglected places have become topmost governmental priorities, courtesy of Governor Soludo.

It was on Saturday, November 25, 2023 that history was made when a sitting Governor of Anambra State for the very first time visited Olumbanasa in Anambra West Local Government Area, hitherto categorized as one of the unreachable areas of the State. Through the dangerous journey, Governor Soludo demonstrated uncommon courage and unprecedented hands-on leadership that he is the governor of everybody, and not just those whose locations can be conveniently accessed through well-paved roads. The journey was an emotional one for Prof Soludo as he wrote in his personal account: “…my heart brims with emotions so profound they transcend the scope of language.”

Since the creation of the old and new Anambra State in 1976 and 1991 respectively, no governor of the State has set foot on Olumbanasa and similar communities in Ogbaru and Awka North local government areas. The voyage on the River Niger which started at the Marine Jetty, Onitsha lasted for over one hour on the Nigeria Navy speed boats. The Governor’s boat finally moored at Igbedor waterside to meet large numbers of ecstatic locals who thronged the place to catch a glimpse of Prof Soludo. The Governor’s voyage to Olumbanasa is therefore a sign of hope to other communities that have been categorized as the so-called “unreachable” areas. They can now afford to be optimistic that they too could one day play host to the number one citizen of Anambra State – the man who has pledged to bring about, not only physical and attitudinal disruptive change, but also non-discriminatory governance in the true spirit of APGA’s “onye aghana nwanneya”, that is, (Let no one be left behind).

Governor Soludo stresses that progressivism cannot thrive without adherence to law and order, and the citizens’ discharging their civic responsibilities such as the payment of taxes and levies.

Soludo’s progressivism follows the pattern of the first Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew who magically transformed his country and wrote about it in his autobiography From Third World to First. Dr. Mahathir who performed a similar magic in Malaysia is also in the league of progressives inspiring Mr. Governor.

World class all-encompassing progressivism – that is the Soludo way.

Commissioner for Information,
Anambra State

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