Deconstructing Anambra state to livable homeland: Soludo’s solution
In the face of prevalence of policy somersault and deceleration of development tempo in Nigeria and sub-saharan Africa, “deconstruction of Anambra State” is certainly a fall-out of the mission of the man of the moment in the South-East of Nigeria whose brand of governance is an epitome of leadership transformation. This kind of leadership policy is neither based on donations nor gratifications. Reflecting on the principle of democracy as a government of the people, by the people and for the people, not a charity project but a peoples’ project devoid of ethnic consciousness, clannishness and sectarianism, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Executive Governor of Anambra State argued that “Anambra State must be liberated. The common threat we face today must be overcome by all of us” (Soludo, 2023). This maxim is now afloat in Anambra new political culture provoking convocations and conversations at village squares and Newspapers stands where intriguing questions are asked, interjected and interrogated”, Is Professor Chukwuma Soludo an Itopian, is his vision accomplish-able? Where is his blue-print leading to in a difficult terrain, Nigeria?” But the people are only reflecting on the phenomenon and novelty of Soludo’s state craft that can stand the test of posterity and historicity, not for political gains of the moment.
Crafted in a mission statement is a conceptual and concrete renewal of hope from a visionary leader whose idea of a new Anambra State is encapsulated in five transformational theoretical framework namely: sustainable environment and urban development; public service reform; revised justice system and security architecture; infrastructure and economic transformation; and human capital and social development. With this, a deconstruction process has hit the ground running in Anambra State. The act of re-arranging the order of things for seamless streaming, is the rubric, and dynamics of deconstruction and social engineering in Anambra State today. This act is roundly and philosophically bounded in the matrix and aesthetics of Professor Chukwuma Soludo transformation agenda of reevaluating the environment, security, social justice and human capitals, far from being Utopian.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating but it must be preceded by critical thinking. A critical thinker does not throw away a baby in a bucket of water. His Excellency, C. C. Soludo acknowledges and takes into cognizance the achievements of his predecessors; Chinwoke Mbadinuju foundational projects, Chris Ngige/Peter Obi road network developments and Willie Obiano transformational capital projects. Yet, these are subjects of deconstructions. However, the aesthetics of the current transformation vents the gaps inherent in policy somersaults, idle human capitals and natural resources crying out for exploitation in the sub-national entity.
The deconstruction in process is also tackling the previous problematic policies and inherent gaps in sequenced diachronic and synchronic international best practices and standards. The five pillars for the development of Anambra State constitute, therefore, not only the aesthetics and logic of Governor Soludo’s critical thinking but also his Neo-liberal reconstruction of the socioeconomic space in the context of historical and cultural reality. Reflections upon reflections, his speeches, exhibit the nuances of a great thinker and stoic economic philosopher. The thought that “before you go to bed, ask yourself what changed today”(Soludo, 2023) is an eloquent assertion of Karl Jaspers and Kwame Nkrumah’s idea that ‘thought without action is empty and action without thought is blind”. Like President Nkrumah, the Governor is always guided by his manifesto and the reports of his transition committee. His ideas and the implementation architecture have so endeared him to the literati (teachers and the intelligentsia), the proletariat (working class) and sagacious rural leaders and farmers that his party APGA worn majority seats in the just concluded state Assembly elections.
The transformational leadership, a signpost and spotlight of modern Anambra state is scaling up of private public partnership (propping individuals and private companies for public investment) and eliciting international development institutions for aids and grants in support of major reforms in the civil and public service, justice system and security architecture, all with the vision of making the state a sustainable livable society land marked with mega and smart markets, trading and investment centers. The new vistas to behold is a socio-political space where the dialectics of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, as well as tradition, modern and postmodern is the lubricating oil of all the consortium, institutions and arms of governments that have been galvanized to set in motion the vision of economic, political, social and technological transformation of Anambra State.
Gone were the days of knee-jack approaches to governance but today by the hindsight and foresight of the philosopher king, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Anambra State is gradually being transformed, aided by MOU’s with NNDP and other International investments institutions and empathy for culture, history and tradition of Anambra State in terms of re-investing her entrepreneurial and business values.
Language and nuances of governance go with the aesthetics of blue-print, nor ideas and execution of projects disconnected. Focus, fiscal discipline and responsibility, zero tolerance for political pressures and influence peddling, commitment to manifesto and transition committee report as well as respect for human dignity and freedom are the foundations of Soludo’s governance paradigm. Steering this unique, unparalleled and unprecedented paradigm shift will definitely make Anambra state, whose citizens mostly live in other parts of Nigeria and in diaspora, a liveable and sustainable home through backward integration and international linkages with development partners.
The backward integration programme has Governor Obiano’s 50-year Development Plan (2021-2070) as an enabler and critical foundation for the systematic and dialectical deconstruction of Anambra political economy and cultural history. The development plan elements and critical innovative propositions are subjects of revision, verification and falsification in the spirit of Karl Popper’s scientific theory of falsification and Thomas Khun’s theory of Scientific revolution and paradigm shift. Some leaders would discard his predecessor’s mileages but Soludo’s uncanny scientific and artistic reconstructive mechanism leverages on Obiano’s development plan on economy and social service, governance, law, institutions, environment and infrastructure, identity, value and culture and so on. These developmental variables of the modern Anambra State would sum up to the fact there is no good vision without experience and that there is no wisdom by chance. Hence, transforming the state to a liveable home land means trans-formative backward integration of entrepreneurship, infrastructure, justice system, institutions, human capitals, industry and social values.
Contrary to the alleged Utopian and academic romance of Governance, Soludo refuted the fallacy of the gamblers by instituting a transition ombudsman and documenting their reports categorically because the end justifies the means imperatively. In the transition report documents there are differences and similarities between the new and old documents of the predecessors in trenchant and strident manners due to the reconstructive nuances of the latter to launch Anambra State as a livable homeland and into a Singaporian stead. This could be discerned in the trans-formative propositions; inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, talent hunting and management and “viral and spectre technology” otherwise dubbed “everything technology”. However, the concept of “everything technology” might misconstrue Soludo’s backward integration trajectory which respects the values and culture of Anambra people in the context of a globalized technological culture.
All in all, this leadership philosophy is a deliverable from His Excellency’s name and configuration of his leadership style currently interpreted as Solu-Udo= follow peace, for solutions to problems and progress. He has argued that, “leadership borders on the wisdom to know what is right and the courage to get it done” (Soludo, 2023). This rare and ingenious exercise of replicating the wisdom of the Roman Emperor, Mancus Aurelius and the Guardian intellect of Socrates is an exclusive privilege of few leaders in modern Nigerian history. Logical relations among leadership, governance and development point to the empirical evidence of the nugget of replicating the wisdom in meticulous and theoretical planning as the catalyst of leadership for good governance and development, hence , “underdevelopment persists because the rich has lost empathy for the poor” (Soludo, 2023) even as “some politicians and other people are doing phantom charity; sharing bags of rice to youths which is not empowerment” (Soludo, 2023) Successful leaders have always possessed these dialectical and critical imageries of good governance articulated scientifically and artistically. The man at the helm of affairs in Anambra State believes that concepts, thoughts and knowledge can help people navigate a complex and over-changing reality because history is the “witness of the times, the light of truth, the life of memory, the mistress of life” (Cicero, De Oratore).
Professor Dukor, FNAL is of the Department of Philosophy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
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