Five Years After, Soludo Goes Back To The Platform

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By: Mazi Ejimofor Opara

Public speaking is not the forte of many leaders, it is not even all Professors that do well at it. I have met a few great Speakers and a whole lot more who lull their audience to nodding imaginary balls whenever they mount the rostrum.

In Nigeria, and indeed, globally, I am confident to tell my readers that Prof.
Soludo is one public Speaker whose presentation evokes more of deep reasoning than emotions. He is that man policy makers look out for, knowing well that every moment he appears in public to speak, he speaks to facts, espouses a lot of data and leaves no one in doubt about his unique ability to convey knowledge seamlessly.

In 2019 when he was at the Platform — an annual symposium where speakers from different walks life are assembled to speak to a predominantly young audience of largely Nigerians — I was curious to hear what Soludo would say, so I stayed glued to my television together with a group of young progressives who were seeking his second coming to public service (I will explain this much later).

The eminent Professor of Economics took to the stage to remind young Nigerians that the world had moved into an era where they are required to think “without the box” if they must claim the next century. He further prophecied that the charge of this new era is, “innovate, compete or die”. I am sure most of his audience, like me, left that day with increased reason and insight than fleeting emotions and dramatic excitement.

Soludo’s 2019 presentation was laced with some first-hand examples of his “first missionary journey” experience as a public office holder appointed to chart a new course for an ailing economy, as it then was the case. In this first outing, the National Planning Commission was birthed followed closely by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The NEEDS document was developed and a record breaking banking consolidation and recapitalisation process was conceived and midwifed into existence in less than 18 months. The country also witnessed the launch of the Financial Systems Strategy (FSS 2020) document which redefined all that was known about Nigerian financial institutions, binging to life 25 strong commercial banks, some of which grew into multinational companies with branches across Africa, Europe and America.

Soludo again, is billed to be on the platform, this time as the State Governor of a thriving subnational that has witnessed immense transformation under 27 months of his fiscally responsible leadership. He is coming to speak to a waiting audience of young Nigerians on a predetermined topic. However, I wager that Gov. Soludo would tweak his topic as was the experience in 2019, and will speak from an uncommon perspective that will leave policy makers in awe, his audience in deep thought and the stage electrified.

I am eagerly waiting for punchlines. See you after the 12th of June!

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