If the Anambra gubernatorial election is conducted today, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), would likely get over 60% of the votes cast, while the rest 17 candidates from other political parties would share the remaining 40%_*

This allocation of votes was reflected in an online poll conducted by The 247Ureporters – a popular online news media in Anambra. So far, 1,132 people have voted in this online poll.  In another poll conducted a few weeks ago by BVI Channel 1 Media in collaboration with Good Governance Ministry (GGM), Soludo got 53.36% of the votes cast to defeat his closest rival, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who gathered 30.60% of the votes._

_These results are not surprising. Candidates of other political parties have been plagued by so many issues. For instance, Governor Nyesom Wike – one of PDP’s most rugged mobilisers – says he will not be participating in the Anambra elections. Wike was instrumental in mobilising support for Governor Obaseki when he fell out with his former party, the All Progressive Congress (APC).

On the other hand, the APC’s candidate in the Anambra election has issues bothering on alleged certificate forgery, money laundry indictments and disagreements within his party on the process that led to his emergence to contend with._

Clearly, Soludo is the most prepared candidate for this election. This view was re-echoed last week by one of Anambra’s most respected elder stateman and former governor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife.  To this end, Soludo’s value proposition for the Anambra needs to be x-rayed._

Unlike many bogus manifestos we have seen in Nigeria – which have made Nigerians lose faith in political manifestos and promises – Soludo presents a cost for his plan and a realistic argument on how he intends to achieve his plan. He estimates government’s direct investment in this plan to be within the neighbourhood of 200 – 250 billion naira per annuum._

If we compare this estimate with Anambra’s proposed N141.9 billion budget for 2022, it becomes clear that the incoming APGA government needs innovative means to shore up revenue. Apart from making revenue collection more efficient and ICT driven, Soludo proposes other sources of fund for projects – i.e. from Private Pubic Partnership (PPP) models and from Development Finance Institutions (DFI)._

Globally, it has become clear that governments cannot fund infrastructure projects alone. Thus, Soludo proposes the creation of Anambra State Development Fund (ANSDF) – a $200 million fund that will be scaled to $1 billion in order to catalyse bankable infrastructure projects with high growth and economic return potentials._

The professor seems to want to replicate what he did as the founding chairman and vision bearer of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) when he was the governor of Nigeria’s central bank. (Between 2013 and 2017, AFC’s annual infrastructure spending across the continent averaged a record level of US$ 77.2 billion – transforming communities and economies._

Today AFC is one of Africa’s most profitable and respected Funds)._
_Soludo also plans to deploy alternative models and technology – in collaboration with the private sector – in order to build roads._

Partnering with companies under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit system seems to be one of this option._

Currently, the federal government has some of these Road Infrastructure Tax Credit agreements with the Dangote Group and MTN. One wonders why many State governments have not domesticated this model._

Anambra needs economic development but there cannot be economic development without massive industrialisation. Gas and energy are the bed rock of any industrialisation plan. Unfortunately, most industries in the Southeast are not supplied with natural gas from government-owned natural gas pipelines._

The very inefficient supply of gas by gas trucks cannot leapfrog industrialisation in the Southeast. In this regard, Soludo proposes a public – private sector led collaboration in order to ensure that gas pipelines are extended to Anambra State. Obviously, the large array of manufacturing plants in Onitsha and Nnewi could be ready off takers of gas and they can be used to make the business case for this investment in Anambra._

For people willing to invest in Anambra State, Soludo says he will be their chief marketing officer. He promises to create the enabling environment for businesses ready to come to Anambra._

APGA’s manifest plans to attract 2,000 small, medium and large industries to the various industrial parks/clustors it intends to set-up._

Apart from creating jobs for young people, Soludo moots the idea of creating thousands of millionaire entrepreneurs_

He plans to establish a business incubation hub and a 5-billion-naira Venture Capital Fund to incubate and provide additional growth capital for the most promising start-ups and ventures, either by way of grants or direct investments, in Anambra._

The remodelling of the Igbo apprentice system – which has been extensively studied by scholars at Harvard University – presents another avenue for making millionaires and creating jobs, according his plan._

His plan does not leave out the large number of traders in Anambra, who need to be integrated into the global world of business and e-commerce. Soludo’s government intends to partner with repu­table business schools to develop and help these traders to up their game._

On agriculture, he promises to revalitise palm oil production in Anambra. (Today palm oil as a commodity is traded at an average price of $752 per ton). The plan proposes the distribution of millions of high-yielding palm seedlings to farmers. With this, farmers will be able to escape poverty and supply the raw materials required by agro-processing industries in Nigeria._

The plan seems to want to domesticate federal government’s Executive Order 5 by encouraging the ‘’Buy Anambra’’ and ‘’Made in Anambra’’ project. Public procurement will give priority to goods and services produced in Anambra and seek tax-free/export free zone status for the designated industrial clusters within Anambra State_

Obviously, this would effectively increase the dollar earning capacity of businesses within Anambra. It is believed that Anambra’s new cargo airport and conference centre will be enablers for this development._

Soludo proposes novel ideas for the civil service, solid minerals, petroleum, education, women empowerment, health, tourism and the entertainment industry in his State._

He intends to make Anambra state the one-stop destination for investment, tourism, leisure and studying in Nigeria._

On the vexed issue of security, apart from other soft proposals required to engage all stakeholders in the state, Soludo highlights a very important aspect many commentators have missed out in debates bordering on security_

Soludo intends to amend and implement Anambra State’s Security Trust Fund Law, 2010 and amendment Law, 2018 in order to mobilize and deploy funds towards the procurement of necessary equipment and training of personnel involved in providing security in the State._

This makes a lot of sense because the countries we admire as the most secured in the world spend large chunk of resources on security. The thousands of cameras in the street of London cost money to procure._

These are lofty plans. But the professor is known for implementing lofty ideas. These plans have been published online at https://thesoludosolution.info/. Soludo refers to this publication as his social contract with the people of Anambra._

On one occasion, the professor of economics told his audience to disgrace him if he does not implement this social contract when comes into office._

We see a great future for Anambra with Soludo!

 

Christian Aburime

Soludo Media

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