Anambra Guber: Soludo And Need For Evidence-based Choices

In recent times, Nigerians have been made to deal with misfits who have nothing to offer other than occupying leadership positions across the country. More often than not, these so-called leaders get themselves elevated after scuttling the will of the people.

However, Anambra State has been fortunate with good leaders. After the terrible reign of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, during which he plunged the state into socio-economic chaos, came Dr. Chris Ngige.

In his brief stint as the governor, Ngige laid the foundation of a new Anambra. He put his life on the line, fought against the powers that be (those holding the state down) and liberated Anambra from their clutches. Ngige succeeded in laying a solid foundation for the infrastructural development and economic growth of the state.

Mr. Peter Obi and his successor, Chief Willie Obiano built on the already laid foundation and turned Anambra state into a beautiful bride wanted by every eligible suitor. They have taken Anambra from a notorious state to one of the best in Nigeria by every parameter.


Ironically, some of those that held the state hostage from 1999 to 2003 are campaigning to become the governor of Anambra. What is their mission? One is wont to ask. To take us back to Egypt? God forbid!

Like Lagos State, Anambra has benefited from continuity in political leadership and governance. If a political party has been throwing up good leaders over time, why change it? All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, as a political party has not disappointed Ndị Anambra. It has given them good leaders who are doing their best to reposition the state and making it the number one in the country.

Today, APGA is giving us Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, a man with track records of excellent performances, to succeed the incumbent governor, Obiano.

Soludo was born on 28th July 1960. He hails from Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. He is happily married with children.

Education

After his secondary school education, Soludo proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he graduated with a first class degree in Economics. He also got his Postgraduate and Doctorate degrees in Economics from the same university, winning on both occasions the prize for the best graduating student.

Professor Soludo had cumulative four years of Postdoctoral training in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions including The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; the University of Cambridge, UK as Smuts Research Fellow and Fellow of the Wolfson College; the UN Economic Commission for Africa as a Post-Doctoral Fellow; the University of Warwick as a Visiting Scholar and Visiting Research Scholar at Center for African Economies, the University of Oxford (with funding by the Rhodes Committee). He also attended over a dozen specialized courses and has had extensive research, teaching and consultancy work in different areas of Economics.

Career

He has worked at the World Bank both as a short and long-term consultant since 1993 and also at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa. He was a consultant at UNCTAD; European Union (EU); Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); United Nations (UN) New York; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); African Development Bank (ADB); Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); African Union (AU); International Development Research Council (IDRC) Canada; Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA); Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); among others.

Soludo has served as Senior Technical Advisor/Consultant as well as a Visiting Scholar at the IMF since 1994, and also taught IMF’s Financial Programming and Policy Course to senior staff of Central Banks in West Africa and other developing regions.

He has served as a member of the Technical Committees that drafted economic and trade policies for the Federal Government of Nigeria and Executive Director of the African Institute for Applied Economics (AlAE).

Public Service

President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Soludo first as Chief Economic Adviser/CEO, National Planning Commission, and later as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The goal was for him to fix the Nigerian macroeconomy and as the CBN Governor, to particularly ensure price and financial stability. Soludo, as a Pan-Africanist who was in haste to put Nigeria’s economy and financial system on the world map, did his job with first class grades. He promoted excellence and productivity throughout Nigeria.

Achievements

While in National Planning, Soludo bestowed on Nigeria the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy NEEDS and States Economic Empowerment Development Strategy SEEDS, which were the anvils upon which the reformation agenda of that administration and the state governments were predicated. He also reorganised and repositioned the Federal Office of Statistics for greater effectiveness to meet the country’s need for reliable data.


The NEEDS reform programme, together with his globally acclaimed banking consolidation, created unprecedented employment and prosperity in Nigeria from 2003- 2009. It is estimated that about 12.8 million jobs were created for Nigerian youths during his tenure as the CBN Governor.

He pioneered the collaborative planning framework in the Nigerian federation by initiating and assisting state governments in designing their State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS).

Soludo refocused the Central Bank as an effective monetary authority and successfully implemented a fundamental restructuring which led to an unprecedented consolidation of the Nigerian banking system. On account of this, the Nigerian banking system was then rated the fastest growing in Africa and one of the fastest-growing in the world.

He also engineered the technological revolution in banking services leading to the explosion in ATM services and electronic banking (transition to the cashless economy). This has in no small measure, saved traders and other Nigerians the hassles and risks of carrying cash about for transactions.

With strong and solid banks, the economy buoyed and it became much easier to get funding from the consolidated banks. When the world was caught in a debilitating financial meltdown in 2008, Nigeria was immune.

Professor Soludo also championed the establishment of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a continental, private-sector-driven investment bank and promoted the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020), the blueprint to grow Nigeria’s financial system to become Africa’s financial hub and to drive the Nigerian economy into the global league of top 20 economies by 2020.

Another major achievement of Soludo was the revamp of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited. Before he came on board, Nigeria printed her currencies abroad. Soludo found this bizarre and unacceptable. It was a very daunting task but he changed the sordid situation to the benefit of Nigeria.

Therefore, it is not an accident that 2003- 2009 (the period that Soludo was in charge) remains Nigeria’s golden economic era since independence. That was seven years of sustained 7- 8% annual economic growth rates, and everyone was better off.

For his rich resume and stellar performances in previous positions he has held, Governor Obiano appointed Soludo to lead the committee he set up to plan for the future of Anambra state in the next 50 years.

For his achievements also, Professor Soludo is a recipient of scores of awards and recognitions from civil society organisations, NGOs, private sectors, religious groups, the Press, professional associations, student unions, universities among others.

As states in Nigeria grapple with the paucity of funds due to the debilitating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Anambra state needs a man like Soludo who has been tried, tested and confirmed to turn things around for better.

We need a governor who has vast experience in crafting and implementing policies and programmes that will ensure jobs creation and economic prosperity. Oil price is down and the Covid-19 pandemic is ravaging. We need the Soludo solution to consolidate Obiano’s achievements and take the state to the next level.

Anambra needs a governor who has the capacity to translate novel economic ideas into actions. This was what Soludo did as a CBN governor. If Obasanjo could trust Soludo in 2003, if the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, the African Development Bank, AfDB, and other international organizations could trust him to deliver, why not Ndi Anambra? Soludo has nothing again to prove because he has demonstrated over time, his capacity and ability to deliver.

Soludo will enable an Anambra economy that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the youths, not only employment in government. He has done it for Nigeria and Africa; let us give him the opportunity to do it for Anambra. He has the magic wand. Soludo is the solution.

Source:- Vanguard

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