Soludo’s Clarion Call to Anambra Businessmen

Governor Charles Soludo’s call to Anambra State indigenes in Lagos and beyond to come back to the state to invest could not have come at a more auspicious time.

This appeal was made at a town hall meeting with the state indigenes on June 23, 2023.

History, I must say truly beckons though not in the mould of his epistle to the Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi.

A culmination of events in our polity has made it imperative for Anambrarians and in extension the Igbo to activate the ‘Aku luo uno’ philosophy. A philosophy that encourages investment in the homeland.

Aside the maltreatment meted out to the Igbo during and after the governorship election of March 18, 2023 in Lagos State, and perceived threats to their place of business, the recent constitutional review that moved railways and power to the concurrent list is more than enough reason to get Anambrarians onboard the ‘Think home’ philosophy promoted by the state governor.

With this review, state governments can now, to a large extent, control the developmental narrative of their respective states. The possibilities are enormous, and it will require a concerted and well heeled investment drive to bring these developmental initiatives to fruition.

Anambra indigenes are renowned for their commercial and trading prowess.

They can be found doing business in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and beyond in their quest for accomplishments. They settle nicely, pay taxes and make immense contributions to the development of their host communities. They have proven over and over again as development catalysts wherever they find themselves. As much as these are admirable attributes; it leads me to what I term as the ‘hubris’ of these noble and industrious people; which is the development of their host communities to the utter neglect of their homeland. This attitude is ingrained in the belief of Ndi Igbo that ‘ebe onye bi ka ona wachi.’ This translates to ‘wherever one live is home and should be made livable and prosperous.’ Investing at home does not necessarily mean that Anambra will cut economic ties with Nigeria. Last time I checked, Anambra is still a state within Nigeria. The push is for Ndi Anambra to have greater investment presence and actualise the much-needed development befitting of a 21st century modern state.

Now, more than ever is the time for Ndi Anambra to look inwards and think home lest we are left behind in the scheme of things. The Nigerian economic and socio-political landscape is undergoing a lot of changes. We are entering the era where the sub-nationals will be more assertive and assume primacy in their developmental priorities. The governor should be given the support required to make Anambra State a livable and prosperous space. On the governor’s part, he must engender and earn the trust, respect and love of his people. If there is no buy-in from the people on this project, it is as good as dead on arrival. This, he must do by avoiding unnecessary controversies that might pit him against Anambrarians. The governor needs to bring stakeholders on board to key in to achieve his goal(s).

One of the most critical things that the governor must do towards achieving success in the think home project is to ensure the security of lives and property. Without security, not much can be achieved in this direction. The governor must fully address the security situation in the state. It is in this regard that it is pertinent that the Federal Government extends to him the required support to arrest the security situation in Anambra specifically and the South-East in general. The security situation in the state is the elephant in the room.

The think-home philosophy is a welcome and laudable project. It will inject the required vigour, energy and resources required to kick start the economy and open a new vista of developmental strides in the state. Investments in manufacturing, industries, agro concerns, transportation and maritime will address unemployment which I think is a critical issue. Every year, thousands of young men and women graduate from the universities and are faced with the stark reality of unemployment due to the dearth of companies to take them in. Most often than not, this leads them to seek the proverbial greener pastures abroad (both local and foreign). Opportunities now abound in the railways and power sector for willing investors. There is the tendency for the infrastructural deficit gap in the state to be closed, as more and more people invest in the state.

On paper, Nigeria is a federation, but, with a suffocating centre that has a hold on the federating states. It won’t be out of place to qualify Nigeria as practising a unitary system of government. But, recent constitutional reforms seem to be addressing some of the anomalies that run contrary to the practice of federalism. In the light of the above, there seems to be a new vigour and go provided by the reforms to re-align, accelerate and extend the frontiers of development in their respective domains