Some say he is arrogant.
Some say he is defiant.
Some say he is autocratic.
Yet others say he is stubborn.
His first shocker to Anambrarians was on the very day he was elected when he forbade Anambrarians from addressing him as “His Excellency” but simply as Charly Nwa Mgbafor.
This stunned most Anambrarians. TV
Charly gini?, you could hear many people ask?
As if this was not enough shock, the governor cancelled his public swearing-in ceremony. Not that he refused to be sworn-in as governor, but that he rejected the ‘traditional’ pomp and pageantry that characterized a governor’s swearing-in ceremony in Nigeria.
The organizers of the swearing-in ceremony had come up with an initial budget of N800 million to cover various expenses for the event, subject to upward review.
- Transportation arrangements for invited dignitaries across Nigeria and overseas.
- Hotel accommodation – bed and board for special government guests.
- Food and drinks for estimated two million people.
- Cultural troupes and top musical celebrities.
- Canopies and seats.
- Security operatives, name it.
They submitted the budget to then Governor Obiano, and waited for a prompt approval of the “modest budget, as it used to be. In the meantime, they were salivating at the millions of naira each of them would make from the traditionally padded budget.
Then a bombshell! Soludo got wind of the whopping N800 million and reportedly shouted in astonishment. He opted to self-sponsor a low-key swearing ceremony, devoid of fanfare. The event organizers and political godfathers were shocked.
“This is not the tradition.”
Correct. It is not the tradition, neither in Anambra or Enugu State or anywhere from the time of Zik, Okpara and co.
Navy Captain (later Commodore) Joseph Abulu did it, not minding that he was a military governor.
Chukwuemeka Ezeife did it.
Chinwoke Madinuju did it
Chris Ngige did it
Peter Obi did it.
Virgy Etiaba did it
Willie Obiano did it.
Why must Soludo be different? Why would he break such a long-standing tradition?
Tradition indeed. Tradition when Anambra State government treasury is in red and there is no money even to pay civil servants.
The governor went ahead to make history in the annals of Anambra State governorship inauguration by personally sponsoring a simple low-key swearing-in ceremony inside the government house, with abacha and ngwo palm wine for refreshments. What a stubborn governor!
The ceremony had scarcely come to an end when the governor’s convoy lined up at the event arena. As guests were wondering what the set-up was all about, Soludo rushed into his waiting car and off the convoy went, leaving people to .guess where he might have gone to. What type of stubborn governor is this?, some people asked.
Few minutes later, information filtered in that the governor was already at Okpoko, making some wondering if the governor went there to look for some fresh fish which you find in abundance in Okpoko.
It least occurred to them that Soludo decided to start his work as governor with the rehabilitation of Okpoko, referred to as “the biggest urban slum in the South East” .
The governor had directed the State Ministry of works to assemble caterpillars, bull dozers and trucks for the historic visit.
That same day, the liberation of Okpoko from decades of filth, disease and abandonment commenced. “Our government is for those who are left behind. For the less privileged. For the poor and the vulnerable”, the governor declared at Okpoko. Not for social wining and dining.
The governor was at Okpoko every day for nearly one week to ensure that all the mapped out projects took off according to plan. Everything by direct labour. Some contractors who had been milling around the governor at Okpoko, hoping to secure some of the projects went home angry and distraught. It ws no longer business as usual.
A few days after, the governor came up with another clincher. He announced government’s plan to employ thousands of new teachers into the State primary school system.
The bureaucrats and godfathers might have sensed another gold mine opportunity, hoping Soludo would use this opportunity to compensate them. But the stubborn governor came up with a another bad news.
All applications were to be made online by each applicant. That way, every qualified applicant can have a chance without ‘IM’ – ima mmadu.
The godfathers were bewildered.
“This method is not the tradition in Anambra State.”
They were right. The tradition is for the State government to share employment quotas to top government functionaries and political godfathers who will in turn send the names of their applicants.
‘Tradition my foot’
There are so many Charles nwa Mgbafors out there who need to be protected against this social malaise.
Today, you find so many qualified umu Mgbafors and umu Mgboyes in the State civil service. Which has never happened before. What a stubborn governor.
The same stubbornness took him to Nzam in Anambra West LGA
The same stubbornness took him to Awba-Ofemmili in Awka North
The same stubbornness took him to Olumbanasa.
These are places that no governor had ever visited in history. Soludo went there and gave them roads, gave them water, and other amenities for the first time. All by direct labour.
The bureaucrats and godfathers are angry. The tradition is for the government to hire professional contractors to build those roads and amenities, at the rate of one kilometer of road for one year to allow for upward variations in contract cost. But this stubborn governor would not respect tradition.
Well, for me, if being stubborn means doing what is good and proper and in the interest of the greater majority of Anambrarians, for goodness sake, let Soludo remain stubborn.
Let us see how his stubbornness will not see him through.