Soludo and the paradigm shift
On March 17, Prof. Charles Soludo was administered oath-of-office to become the fifth governor of Anambra state having been returned by the INEC Returning Officer in the Anambra state governorship poll held on November 6 and 9, 2021. By implication, the state has again successfully transited from one democratic government to another. However, as a tradition for desperate politicians, some gladiators despite losing transparently to Soludo are testing their luck as Plan-B at the election tribunal. From the inauguration speech, Soludo has taken full charge and supposedly worked to bring to bear experiences garnered over the years particularly in the financial sector as apex bank helmsman. Observably, the new governor understands that his four-year tenure counts, thus no time to waste let alone get distracted.
Apart from his manifesto, expectations on Soludo are very high that it will take prudence to actualise. The luck Soludo has is that he is used to single-mindedness when on important tasks not minding who will be adversely affected as long as objectivity is on course. Recall that during his tenure as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Soludo initiated the first banks consolidation exercise that swept many bank managing directors, executive directors, top management staff and other personnel out of jobs as a result of the bar raised by CBN leading to mergers to meet up. At the end, stronger and more efficient banks were born. And after his exit, his successors have continued to sustain the momentum. It submits that Soludo is a strong-minded reformer.
Suffice to say that ‘stepping on toes’ is not strange to Soludo albeit in public interests. At that period, those affected threatened, called him names, but he remained undeterred, instead, planning for the next stage. In preparation of the present task, Soludo has beforehand waived his peak academic label of professor and official title of ‘His Excellency’. In other words, the new governor is set to work amid distractions that must come. Listening to his inauguration speech, it is a new dawn for Anambra and all hands must be on deck to support these robust policies to translate to realities.
One of the core expectations from Soludo is to set a gallant template that will promote values and eradicate materialism, not in the state alone but in the entire region. This will possibly, successfully give a clear direction. The degree at which materialism has levitated in the society contributes highly to the collapse of societal values to the extent that humans are now reduced to animals, always killed for money-rituals. Back then, stories of money-rituals were always linked to one ‘Chief’ and ‘Alhaji’ and not rampant. But these days, young persons even below 20s that should focus on education or skill acquisitions, aggressively long for super-luxury stuffs and flamboyant lifestyles. Many have lured, killed schoolmates, job-seekers, girlfriends and innocent kids for money-rituals, and always recurring. This points to a dying society that calls for serious reforms. Hence, there must be a redirection.
Fundamentally, enthroning merit in government through sound-workforce irrespective of biological locations as done in the private sector remains a sine qua non to exploits. This accounts for the high profit records in the banking industry every now and then. Doing things rightly, therefore, shouldn’t be misconstrued as arrogance. As a management professional, it must be understood that Soludo cannot afford to deviate from cultured ethics and proven principles. No bank’s boss places a relative in his bank and assigns vital tasks without requisite qualification and training as seen in our government quarters where nepotism is placed above merit. All the giants in the private sector hunt the best brains. Therefore, there must be a paradigm shift in that direction for outstanding results.
Again, the perception that government is a ‘national cake’ and therefore anything goes, which has thrived for decades remains the reason the dividends of democracy are poorly recorded. Nemo dat quod non habet states that “nobody gives what he doesn’t have”. Governance must run accordingly to achieve expected results. This succumbs to the reason Soludo’s strategy to enthrone professionalism must be welcomed in good faith. The new administration must be supported to radically confront the endemic challenges with fewer distractions. It is time to move away from quack and epileptic-workforce domineering in government to proficient administration for outstanding outputs.
Perceptively, some members of his party may find the new approach unpleasant having worked hard to deliver APGA during the poll. Like I responded during a live programme in Radio FM Lagos that hooked up for my opinion, APGA should look at a bigger picture and see it as a blessing in disguise; an upshot of metamorphosis to mainstream politics. Life is characterised by give and take. By Soludo’s successful inauguration and hopefully, dividends of democracy along the line, the party will likely burst out in no distant time. But this can only be attained through exploits and strictly doing things proficiently. This is where understanding, solidarity is earnestly needed. Anambra people didn’t crave for Soludo for ‘business as usual’ but to overhaul and strengthen the system. This must be noted.
In fact, the cyclical, monumental failures and crawling-nature of the governments over the years have been as a result of impunity and defective engagements; recklessly using appointments to compensate party members, friends and relatives without requisite qualifications thereby making government spaces a dumping ground for the unskillful leading to mismanagement. It is garbage-in, garbage-out (inputs determine the outputs). Nothing else cripples the country faster and until a bold step like Soludo’s action is deployed to correct these colossal errors, it will remain business as usual. Thus, APGA members should count it noble as team players of the long-expected reforms. Unavoidably, members must make necessary sacrifices in the interest of the party and society. To reposition the political party for posterity is certainly superior to controlling just a state. Thus, let the paradigm shift continue.
Umegboro ACIArb, a public affairs analyst and social advocate.