By Christian Aburime
As the world awakes to this happy dawn of a New Year, one is filled with an overwhelming sense of hope and excitement for the future of Anambra State.
Despite challenges that might have been and may yet come, there are robust reasons to hope for the best in 2024.
This is not as a routine New Year resolution but an affirmation of intent and purpose by the vision-driven administration of Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR
Twenty months ago, Governor Soludo embarked on a transformative journey, a collective odyssey to reclaim the promise of our great state.
It inherited a landscape pockmarked by challenges, where insecurity lurked in the shadows and opportunity seemed a distant mirage. Yet, with a clear vision, steadfast commitment and a steely resolve, Governor Soludo began to rebuild. Brick by brick, he laid the foundation for a brighter future.
Today, Anambra is on the rise, a tribute to an audacious vision and the tireless spirit of Governor Chukwuma Soludo. We are no longer defined by the stumbles of the past, but by the soaring strides of the present.
From reclaiming our streets from the grip of fear to nurturing the minds of our future generation, this government has touched every facet of our existence with the transformative brush of progress.
For aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned investors alike, Anambra has rolled out the welcome mat. This State is now the number 1 when it comes to Ease of Doing Business among the 17 southern states in Nigeria, just as we are among top 5 states nationwide rated on fiscal sustainability.
All this is a clarion call that echoes across the nation that Anambra is open for business!
Our classrooms, once echoing with the hollow whispers of neglect, now resound with the joyous symphony of learning. Thousands of quality teachers have been hired and are still being recruited. Education is no longer a privilege, but a free birthright, and the shackles of fees and levies have been cast aside Governor Soludo.
Our students, like radiant stars, are lighting up the national stage, consistently outshining their peers in JAMB and NECO. Under the leadership of Governor Soludo, Anambra is fast becoming a breeding ground for brilliance, and the world is taking notice.
The shadows that once shrouded our streets have receded, replaced by the golden rays of safety and security. The local government areas that were once cowering under the grip of the so-called unknown criminals are now basking in the warm embrace of peace.
Despite some challenges, Anambra remains one of the safest states in Nigeria today, a witness to the courage of Governor Chukwuma Soludo
Aside isolated one or two incidents of criminals wanting to test the security strength of the State and met their waterloo, it is heartening to state that Ndi Anambra and visitors spent their last Christmas holidays in peace and joy.
Beyond security, this administration remains a government of concrete action. Over 400 kilometers of roads are under construction, with some completed and to be commissioned, all becoming arteries pulsating with the lifeblood of socio-economic progress for our people.
Two flyovers stand sentinel, tributes to Governor Soludo’s commitment to infrastructure development. The Soludo government is strategically connecting the hitherto neglected parts of our state, weaving a network of inclusive roads that ensures no community is left behind across all 21 Local Government Areas.
Also, just as power supply is steadily improving in our state, our government is making progress on waste management/de-silting of drainages, traffic management, anti-touting, law and order.
What’s more, the 32-year-old jinx of being a state without a befitting Government House is being broken as Governor Soludo is building a dignified government house and governor’s lodge at Awka.
This government is also investing in the health and well-being of our people. Our hospitals, once echoing with the groans of the neglected, are now abuzz with the hum of new life and renewed hope.
The Governor has recruited nearly 1,000 doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers, injecting expertise and compassion into the veins of our medical system.
Pregnant women, no longer burdened by financial anxieties, now receive free antenatal and delivery services.
To support our healthcare, the Oba Open Drug Market (Africa’s biggest open drug market) is under construction, and the Pharmaceutical Industrial Park, Ogboji is under development.
The future of Anambra, like a budding flower, rests in the hands of our youth. The government is nurturing their potential, cultivating their skills, and igniting their entrepreneurial spirit. The One Youth, Two Skills programme, like a magic trick, is transforming 5,000 young people from job seekers to job creators, equipping them with the tools and the seed capital to blossom.
The Solution Innovation District, our digital dreamhouse, is buzzing with creativity, a haven for tech wizards and aspiring innovators. Over 20,000 young minds have been illuminated by the light of digital skills, and thousands more are eager to follow.
This is not just a programme; it is a revolution, a transfer of power from the present to the future, from experience to ingenuity.
As a government that genuinely cares for the poor and the commoners, Governor Soludo has continued to extend a compassionate hand to the vulnerable and the marginalised. The poor and the elderly now find solace in the outstretched arms of this government, receiving assistance that eases their burdens and rekindles hope.
Even our civil servants and pensioners can heave a sigh of relief and smile to the bank. As we step on this virgin territory of 2024, the scent of a new era hangs heavy in the air.
The 2024 budget of N410 Billion that was signed into law last year by Governor Soludo is not just a collection of numbers; it is a declaration of intent, a roadmap to a future that shimmers with the promise of prosperity and progress.
We are changing gear, accelerating our journey towards the Anambra of our dreams: a livable and prosperous smart megacity.
Yes, this government will be investing heavily in infrastructure, including transportation, water, and energy. Governor Soludo will continue to support education, healthcare, and youth empowerment. And the government will keep protecting the environment and building a sustainable future.
Governor Soludo has promised that three new cities will be rising on the horizon – Awka 2.0, a gleaming demonstration of our entrepreneurial spirit; Onitsha 2.0, a thriving hub of commerce reborn, and a new Industrial City, a beacon of industry and innovation.
In this New Year, the Soludo government is building new arteries of a thriving economy – modern highways that weave through our landscape, and a revitalized mass transit system that pulsates with the rhythm of everyday life.
A new electricity market will illuminate our homes and businesses. Our security operations will be fortified with the armour of high technology, a shield against threats both seen and unseen.
And in every home and office, taps will run once more, quenching the thirst of our people. Our students, the architects of our future, will find their classrooms transformed into better sanctuaries of learning.
Their teachers, empowered and supported, will guide them on a journey of knowledge and self-discovery.
In healthcare, the government is building a future where wellness is woven into the fabric of our daily lives.
Governor Soludo has also assured that Sports, the great equaliser, will find its rightful place in Anambra, with our state football team taking the field in 2024.
In agriculture and food security, our regenerative agricultural transformation is thriving. In the past year, the Soludo government distributed 1,100,000 hybrid coconut and palm seedlings to over 100,000 households in our drive towards zero poverty, neo agro-industrialisation, and a green and environmentally sustainable state.
From this year 2024 forward, the government will be distributing at least one million seedlings per annum as we target 500,000 households. Specifically in this year alone, another 100,000 households or more will receive 10 or more seedlings of coconut, palm, ukwa, pawpaw, soursop, etc per household.
Now, all this anticipated transformation, this symphony of progress, is not going to be the handiwork of one man or only government. It will be the collective melody of a people united.
We, the people of Anambra, are the builders, the dreamers, the architects of our shared destiny. That is why our Internally Generated Revenue is not merely a statistic; it is the lifeblood of our aspirations.
When each of us contributes, when we pay our taxes not as a burden, but as an investment in our collective future, the Anambra of our dreams becomes a reality within reach.
Of course, there will be challenges. But let us embrace this New Year with the indomitable spirit of the onye Anambra.
Let us roar our defiance against poverty, against mediocrity, against any obstacle that dares to stand in our path.
Under the dynamic leadership of Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, Anambra is rising and changing gear, we will be together unstoppable.
Happy New Year, Ndi Anambra!