By Paul Nwosu
Edited by Ononye VC
Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo is principally interested in what he terms “politics of development” as opposed to “politics of handouts”. There ought to be no argument over the fact that politics geared toward development ought to trump the facetious politics built on handing out freebies. The solid stance on development that is quite different from the fleeting nature of ill-assorted politicians bribing voters with handouts, which is usually common when elections are afoot, can be seen as marking Governor Soludo out as one leader who has his finger on the pulse of the progress of the people.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which is synonymous with Anambra State, is in good standing with the drive of development initiated by Governor Soludo. Through the drive of Soludo in developmental leadership, ndị Anambra are in fine fettle with the understanding of what it takes to reap the real dividends of democracy through their teeming support of APGA, the party that has consistently put smiles on their faces for over a decade. The reality today is that Governor Soludo has turned the entirety of Anambra State into vast construction sites.
It was therefore a sight to behold on Thursday, February 9, as Governor Soludo led multitudes of APGA supporters to flag off the construction of the 11.37-km Atani–Ozubulu road complete with a bridge to boot. The assurance is that the road will be completed within 18 months.
Governor Soludo said these words at the august occasion: “What we have come for is to fulfil the promise we made during the campaigns. The first project we embarked was in Ogbaru. But I must make this point: You people should join to protect government infrastructure in your locality. One of the roads we awarded, the contractor mobilised to site but was disturbed and pursued away by youths. Even at that, it will still be done. You people told me that this road is strategic for Atani; that is why we are already on it. We want to do the road once and for all because Ogbaru deserves nothing but the best. We are making a commitment to complete this road. For Ogwuikpele, Osamalla and the rest from where food is being evacuated, we will still get down there.”
Mr Governor stressed his appreciation to the people for voting for him and urged them to continue to support him by voting for all APGA candidates.
The stone-base road is being built with enough thickness and height to survive flooding and sundry woes of the terrain. It is built to last for more than twenty years.
It had always been in the plans of Governor Soludo to link Atani with Ozubulu, and in his determination to go the distance he, on the same day, flagged off the construction of the 6.05-km Ozubulu–Ihembosi–Ukpor road.
Saluting the people of Ekwusigo for mobilising votes for him, Governor Soludo said: “I heard your cry when the entire place was flooded. And we decided to hearken to your plea, in line with the APGA mantra. I enquired from the stakeholders of Ekwusigo the most strategic road, and everybody confirmed the same location. In response, we mobilised for it. I thank you for voting for us during the last governorship election. We won in 9 wards out of the 12 wards in Ekwusigo. As for the contractors, what we want are quality roads. Remember that it is guaranteed to last for a minimum of 20 years.”
Giving pride of place to his politics of development, Governor Soludo continued thusly: “Because we have a road crisis in the state, work is ongoing in all the 21 local governments of the state, notwithstanding the dearth of resources. We are doing a lot in education, health, youth empowerment and so on. The youths are the future—whatever you can do to empower them is desirable and will go a long way. You people said that Ekwusigo had always won election in favour of APGA, and this coming election should not be an exception.”
Through the many road contracts undertaken by Governor Soludo, APGA has been given a new lease of life as the party to beat in the coming elections. At Nnobi in Idemili South LGA, Soludo beamed with satisfaction over the comprehensive work being done at the Afor Nnobi–Awka Etiti–Ichida–Igboukwu road rehabilitation. For Mr Governor, it is solid work handled by a solid indigenous contractor, Igwe Sir Ben Emeka, the traditional ruler of Umueri.
“As you are all aware,” he said, “the Afor Nnobi–Awka Etiti–Ichida–Igboukwu road was impassable. It is a federal road. We solicited intervention from the Federal Government, but nothing has been done as of today. As Christmas approached last year, we were determined to ensure our people will not suffer and decided to use state funds to rehabilitate the road.”
Governor Soludo recalled his visit to Umuoji, Ojoto, and Oba, where he flagged off Africa’s largest open drug market and undertook reconstruction work on Mmili John’s and Inland doors’ roads.
According to Governor Soludo, “I was elected under Nigeria’s third largest political party. I feel the power of the APGA insignia whenever I wear it. Anambra is APGA territory because nke a bụ nke anyị. Without APGA, none of the state’s developmental projects could be realised.”
Governor Soludo’s development politics is not a hundred-metre dash but a marathon that involves, amongst many others, inspection and rehabilitation/construction of Amansea–Ebenebe–Ugbenu–Awba Ofemili–Umuerum–Omor Road Phase 1; flag-off and revalidation of the construction of Community Road at Mbaukwu from St Lawrence Anglican Church to Ngene Mmiri Shrine to Iyi Utuko Stream to Ogado Village; inspection of the construction of Oye-Agu Abagana–Uruegbu Nimo Road with spur on Nimo Road; construction of Igwe Ezechi Okoye Road at Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area; inspection of the construction of some selected roads in Awka Club (Abakaliki Road), Regina Caeli, Millennium Industry-INEC; flag-off construction of the Umuogbu Awka Flood Control Infrastructure and a 3.872-km road network; flag-off of Savinovo–Umuofor–Bright Street–Nkwo–Umuhu–Ubahuezike Road (Lots 1 & 2); inspection of the construction of Ugwuagba Obosi–Awada Obosi Road; inspection of the construction of Umueze Anam–Mmiata-Nzam Road (Section 2: Mmiata-Nzam) with a bridge, etc. The list is indeed endless.
With Governor Soludo’s politics of development, Anambra and APGA are sure winners, to the jubilation of the people.