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Soludo, The Rising Sun

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*BY VALENTINE OBIENYEM*

Just the other day – in the wake of the electoral victory of Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo at the Anambra State Governorship election of November 6 & 9, 2021 — an associate called me on ‘phone to lament the deplorable state of our dear State under incumbent Gov. Willie Obiano over the last seven-and-a-half years. I bade him pass the message to the rising sun as Obiano’s sun has set. Who is the rising sun?

Charles Chukwuma Soludo is the man of the moment! While naturally unhappy that Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, the man I supported and will support all over again for being more qualified, did not win, in the usual spirit of sportsmanship, I join others to routinely congratulate him on his victory. For the avoidance of doubt, Soludo will be Governor for all of us and we stand to collectively gain from his good governance or else we continue to suffer from the adverse effects of the tenure of Gov. Willie Obiano – on record as the worst Governor of this Century so far.

Let the truth be told; it was Charles Soludo and not APGA that won this victory. If the election was based on APGA’s performance or Obiano has gone for another term, the party would have come a distant last. I say this for Obiano not to think the victory has anything to do with him.

People like me sincerely believe that Soludo needs more suggestions on how to rebuild the State than congratulatory messages. Going by the mess Gov. Willie Obiano has plunged Anambra into, what we need is agenda-setting; pointing out to the Governor-Elect, to complement what he already knows, the monumental challenges that should dictate to him enormity of the work before him. The fact is that “AnambraEtipiago” and is lying prostrate, seeking a helping hand to resuscitate her!

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Without a Public Opinion Poll, concerned Anambrarians and friends of Anambra are elated – not necessarily that APGA won – but that Willie Obiano is leaving the public governance for good. Ironically, he is still caught up in the euphoria of his first election into office, perpetual dictation of an Ozo titled man wearing the insignia beyond the ankle because the title came unexpectedly. In a few months, Willie Obiano will be a sad history to recount. He met Anambra State bubbling with life and is about to leave her badly battered! We have a duty to join hands and see him off the stage in the full delusion of being “Akpokuedike” in fact.
Now we have a rising sun, we should remind him that like Hercules, he is expected to perform some difficult task of cleaning the Augean (Obianonian) Stable that accumulated for eight years. As lovers of the State, we shall be offering him our own perspectives on issues towards resuscitating Anambra State. It is a task that must be embarked on immediately; and here are some of the issues:

CLOSENESS TO GOD

First and foremost is to be or remain close to God. Governance is not an easy cross to carry, as we could learn from Peter Obi. As Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi had holy masses at the Lodge daily and would sit for some minutes communing with God after mass. He did not have to run away from the Lodge allegedly being pursued by evil spirits. He did not have to propitiate tin gods and principalities at the lodge as witnessed under Willie Obiano. Governor-elect, Charles Soludo, be close to God, hear as many masses as possible and Almighty God will not abandon you.

THOROUGHLY EXAMINE THE FINANCES OF THE STATE

It is always good for a new leader to start by examining the finances of the State and make clear pronouncements on what he met on the ground. It is not about the person that may think he made your emergence possible, but about managing your future when questions will be asked. We want to know, for example, the status of the over N75 billion bequeathed to Obiano’s administration; the over N100 billion he received as Paris Club refund. Is it true that he met a debt-free State that is now owing over N200 billion Naira? Why the further indebtedness to local contractors in excess of another N200 billion?

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Charles Soludo should scrutinise Obiano’s End of Tenure Report and or hand-over notes, and incorporate relevant details in his inaugural speech. He should insist on Full Disclosure – party affiliation or not. The liar that Willie Obiano is, our rising sun Governor Soludo should watch out for denials and misrepresentations! On roads alone, Soludo should note that there is over N900 billion liabilities on road projects that Willie Obiano flagged off but never did. This is following their example of including unexecuted contracts among liabilities.

DESERVED APPOINTMENTS

The title of my undergraduate project in Philosophy is Confucianism and Good Governance in Nigeria: an Ethical Investigations. For Confucius, as he explained in the “Analects”, a good appointment is one of the hallmarks of great leadership. He states: “Raise the straight and set them over the crooked and the common people will look up to you. Raise the crooked and set them over the straight and the common people will not look up to you”. We call on Soludo to take time between now and his inauguration to seek and vet qualified men and women to work with.

On this, he may have to ask how Mr. Peter Obi did it. One of the reasons Obi achieved so much is that he appointed those that understood what governance is about. It is not about appointing, as Obiano did, men whose only capacity is to heap insults on your perceived enemies or those with the capacity to satisfy man’s salacious appetite. Such persons are without character.

A compact team is always best and not one of the regrettable “innovations” introduced by Gov. Willie Obiano, whereby he appointed over 2,000 aides, whom he paid what would have taken care of more than 10,000 more civil servants. Without knowing it, Obiano has ended up destroying the lives of those young men and women. Rather than seek enduring things to do, he just appointed all manner of people. In some families that are related to him, we have fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters appointed aides, most of who were not based in Anambra State. Obiano simply saw the coffers of the State as a bequest for distributing perquisites. The first fruit of those senseless appointments will confront you as will be “looking you anya ebere to renew the useless appointments.” This cannot be the way to go as it is part of the reason Anambra State is almost comatose.

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ON RETIREES

Governor Soludo needs to demonstrate care and concern for Retirees, especially those that have not received their gratuities since 2017 to date – under Willie Obiano’s tenure. As our new Governor talks about the future of our children, he should extend similar care to those that have served the State public service. The pain without gratuities and pensions can only be imagined. Please look at their plight as Mr. Peter Obi did by clearing arrears of pensions and gratuities of over N35 billion when he was the Governor. We cannot support the perpetuation of rot as instituted by Obiano.

ON MONTHLY STIPENDS FOR UNSPECIFIED PURPOSES

Our rising sun should be interested to know that some people in this State are paid N20 million each month for doing nothing of value to the State. During your campaign, they were visible or tried to be visible in order to impress when in actual fact they are strengthening the foundations that will ensure further N20 million monthly for doing nothing. Stay on the side of the people, step on such leprous toes and ignore their distractions in the January of your governorship. Some of these people have already made enough money such that one is at a loss why such funds should be remitted to them. If they have not discussed it with you, be assured that they will come up with it. Resist them, and commit the money to rehabilitate our schools, hospitals, and other people-oriented projects.

REPLICATION OF INCOMPETENTS

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We can only explain Obiano’s penchant of going after those that are incompetent as born on the theory that incompetent begets its like. Just take a look at some of the men he elevated to the state and federal houses and you will only weep for Anambra State. Shall we continue on this trajectory? A good for thought for Soludo.

ON THE THREE FLY-OVERS: Our new Governor should kindly re-evaluate the need for the three fly-overs on the Amawbia-Amansea Dual Carriage-Way. Since those fly-overs were completed at the overinflated cost of 18 billion Naira, they have always been barricaded against big vehicles but knocked off several times. If the fly-overs are more dangerous than helpful as they are now, then try and see what you can do about them to avoid stories that touch the heart. Raising/Strengthening or demolishing them are options.

ON LIGHT-UP ANAMBRA PROJECT

This is one of the most useless projects executed by Willie Obiano. People may see light on the streets without knowing at what cost. One was reliably informed that money for diesel and maintenance of the generators gulp billions of Naira every month. That is unsustainable. It will pay the new Governor to examine the matter right away and tell Anambra people the economy of keeping those useless projects running. Lightning up the State is good, but it is absurd when such is done with the aid of generators and diesel – clear evidence of incestuous reasoning fuelled by transactional considerations.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE: This is another misplaced project. The sun that is already joyously set indicated he will build a 10,000-capacity Conference Centre, we challenge him to tell us a conference Anambra will possible host (how many times in a year) that will attract such a number. Please look for what to convert that place into. Since Obiano has refused to complete the Shopping Mall at Awka, kindly consider turning the place into a Shopping Malls to earn money for the state. You will regret ever allowing the Conference Centre to stay when you discover
that the government will be compelled to spend million on its maintenance every month even when it will not generate anything for the state. If Anambra were Obiano’s private business, would he embark on such a senseless project?

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MONTHLY SECURITY VOTE: With N1.25 billion as security vote monthly, Willie Obiano collects more than any other Governor, including those of Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and the Delta States. However, the sad reality is that apart from the North-East geo-political zone, Anambra State is the most unsecured State in Nigeria.

NEPOTISM

In his doctrine of the “Higher Man”, Confucius stated that the higher man is Catholic, not partisan. May our rising sun, Soludo always remember this and treat the entire State as one and not after Willie Obiano who jettisoned equity and fairness in everything he did. A person in charge must be exemplary in behaviour; not be fixated on tribe and place of birth. For Confucius, “While the gentleman cherishes benign rule, the small man cherishes his native land”. Governor Soludo, it is human to have Isuofia in mind, but it must be done fairly; not where, for example, Obiano did not do a single road in your town and yet did over 30 in Aguleri. The sad aspect is that he owes contractors that did the roads and Soludo is expected to pay them. This is sickness rather than fairness.

Apart from completing Agulu Lake Hotel, he did not do anything in Agulu, a town that made him Governor. Instead, he relocated the Court in Agulu and imposed caretaker on the town when it was absolutely unnecessary. Governor Soludo must avoid such pettiness.

MORALITY: Leaders are not saints by there are minimum standards of decency required of them. We are told that Obiano loves risqué stories and tells them beyond compare. We read of how in public, after drinking himself to stupor he did the unimaginable. Governor Soludo, if our advice is that you should not follow in Obiano’s footsteps in any aspect of life, this one will not be different.

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PRESUMED MOUs, BILLIONS OF DOLLARSINVESTMENTS, AND VEGETABLE EXPORTS

It is about time Governor Soludo pronounced these and similar nonsense as what they are so that the people will not ask how far he has harnessed these so-called initiatives. A State cannot be governed by lies.

OUR ROADS: As soon as he is sworn in, Governor Soludo should declare a state of emergency on Anambra roads, which are nothing to write home about. He should use Isuofia roads to know what it is like in other parts of the State.

WATER

Our new Governor should kindly break the jinx Obiano would have broken if he had followed up on what Obi did in that sector.

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AIRPORT

Now that politics is over and we know the airport is 56% completed, Governor Soludo should embark on its completion and obtain the necessary approvals before genuine commissioning. It has been said that Obiano has requested Soludo to change the name of the airport after him? The new Governor should treat that ridiculous request as wishful thinking.

Though there are many things to say and many pieces of advice to offer, we shall stop here for now. In due course, more will follow. We do so because we do not want to witness another Obiano in Anambra State nor wish such a calamity for any other State. Willie Obiano succeeded in making Anambra a butt of dinner jollity by some of the things he does. Governor Soludo, you must restore our pride by reversing his ways.

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Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States

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The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

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“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”

 

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CRIME

Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life

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Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

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While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

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Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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CRIME

Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks

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The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

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DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

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ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

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  • Source: Independent

 

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