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First 100 Days in Office: State of the State Briefing to Ndi Anambra by Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR: June 25, 2022

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First 100 Days in Office: State of the State Briefing to Ndi Anambra by Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR: June 25, 2022

Umunne m Ndi Anambra!

We have just clocked our first 100 days in office since you employed me and Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim to serve you as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively. I am not a fan of the fad about the first 100 days. I prefer to give you comprehensive annual reports and I look forward to the first one in March 2023. However, as a responsive government and as part of our periodic citizens’ engagement, we are providing this briefing on this short term milestone. We will also periodically brief and engage you as our employers, through interactive phone-in radio programmes.

As promised, we hit the ground running from the first minute after swearing-in; working for 8 hours and 45 minutes on that day, starting with a three and a half hours meeting on security. Since then, I go to the office every day and literally working 24/7 to make you proud. To be sure, the last 100 days have been bumpy and challenging as expected, with insecurity and a red treasury being the most portent, as clearly identified in our inaugural address. Since February 2022, the contribution of oil revenue from NNPC to the federation account has been zero and many states have difficulty paying salaries. Thus, with declining revenue in the context of insecurity and a mountain of debt (including over N20 billion in arrears of gratuity to pensioners since 2018) vis-à-vis the sky-high expectations from you (my employers), some fundamental disruptive changes are inevitable. I remind everyone who has tried to commiserate with me that I consciously applied for this job, and there will be no excuses. We thank you, Umunne m, for your continued solidarity and support. Together, Anambra will win!

We have spent the last 100 hundred days addressing some key foundational issues: appointed, swore-in and organized a retreat for a new cabinet within five weeks; launched the campaign to mobilize our people to take back our state from criminals and head-on systematic and comprehensive attack on insecurity to restore law and order; revised 2022 budget and provided unprecedented allocation of 64% for capital/infrastructural development as well as priority for youth development; declared a state of emergency on roads and traffic and preparing to flag-off the construction of over 220 kilometres of roads as the rains subside; getting touts out of our roads and markets; redefining the purpose and character of government focused upon service delivery as well as prudent and transparent fiscal management; ending the phenomenon of schools without teachers and hospitals without doctors by embarking on an ambitious, open and competitive process to recruit thousands of teachers as well as doctors, pharmacists and nurses for our hospitals; cleaning up the mountains of waste on our roads; working to ensure that entry into and exit from Anambra especially at Amansea and bridge-head Onitsha become pleasurable experience; signaling our urban renewal agenda with illustrative ambitious agenda for cleaning and modernizing Okpoko and Onitsha metropolis as well as other urban centres which will take greater vigor after the rainy season; laying the foundation for our everything technology and technology everywhere agenda; restructuring and digitizing our Internal Revenue Service; designing and approving a regime for a GIS and digitization of our land registry; launching a policy of never owing gratuity to new retirees and gradually paying down the backlog for the State civil service and approving same for local governments; etc.

In sum, let me assure you that so far, so bumpy but so good! Most people attest that the grave insecurity is being significantly contained, and we are unrelenting. All eyes are on the ball and we are determined to ensure that despite the daunting challenges, our State will remain on course to a livable and prosperous smart homeland. We remain focused on implementing the Soludo Solution—The People’s Manifesto, with its five driving pillars: Security, Law and Order; Economic Transformation Agenda; Social Agenda; Governance, Rule of Law and Value System; and Environment—towards a clean, green and planned sustainable communities, markets and cities. Below, we summarize some of the initiatives we have begun within the first 100 days under these pillars as follows.

Security, Law and Order

Created a new Ministry of Homeland Affairs (for homeland security) to signal the emergency and utmost priority on homeland security.

Embarked upon massive consultation, mobilization and sensitization of the citizens and critical stakeholders— including security agencies, the clergy, traditional rulers, town unions, youths, civil society organizations, businessmen and women, agitation groups, etc. We worked with South East Bishops to organize prayers; offered amnesty/carrot to repentant outlaws; etc. The people are united in fighting against the lucrative criminal enterprise and its idolatrous energizer which held the entire South senatorial zone plus Ogbaru local government hostage. The criminals masquerading as agitators have been exposed, and the nexus between crime, idolatry and hard drugs has become evident. The narrative is changing and the people are seizing the conversation and initiative.

Declared zero tolerance for criminality and drug abuse, and declared war on all criminals in Anambra State. No forest, bush or house can accommodate criminals in Anambra and government is determined to do sustained battle with them. It took some years for criminality to take deep root in parts of the State and we have a longer-term perspective on sustainable solutions.

Cohesive operational team with the State Security Council, and enhanced operational capabilities. We remain grateful to the various security agencies for the massive support and professionalism

Created Anambra State Vigilante Central Strike Force to complement the security forces to keep our forests and homeland free of the criminals.

Put several mechanical arsenal and vehicles to work.

A lot of programmes are underway through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Youth Development, the ICT Agency and other government institutions under the youth empowerment and preventive security approach.

Establishment and inauguration of the Truth, Justice and Peace Committee to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the agitation and violence in Anambra/South East; seek a restorative justice approach for truth-telling or real facts; for the healing of the victims of the violence, accounting for responsibility and accountability of the actors, conditional mercy for the repentant perpetrators, restitution for certain losses and rehabilitation of the perpetrators, for the overall aim of restoration of peace and justice as well as the promotion of development in the State/region.

Declared zero tolerance for touting (Agbero) which has endeared the government to transport owners, operators and stake holders. More programmes and projects will be unveiled in due course particularly to retrain and empower the former touts.

Citizen participation has been emboldened. We have created an avenue for connecting with the people by the provision of seven phone lines for citizens to reach the security managers of the state. There is a flood of actionable intelligence and the security forces are prompt with response.

The 6 p.m. to 6 a.m curfew on motorcycles (okada), tricycles (keke), and shuttle buses in 8 Local Government areas is a short term security measure that will be lifted in no distant time.

Work is ongoing to restructure and strengthen the community security architecture and deployment of technology in security.

Declared emergency on traffic management and the Anambra Road Traffic Management Agency (ARTMA) is being strengthened to deliver.

Economic Transformation Agenda

Works and Infrastructure

A new framework for a combination of Direct Labour Model and Outsourcing (contracting) model in the provision of roads/infrastructure as well as concessioning, public private partnership, public- community partnership, as well as rural community infrastructure development model are being worked out.

Direct Labour Intervention has been successfully deployed to rebuild the washout section of Onitsha – Enugu Federal Highway opposite Chisco Park at Onitsha as well as the Amansea section of the Enugu – Onitsha Federal High way (entry section of Anambra), at a highly cost effective rate.

Engineering design and procurement process completed and contractors soon to move to site to deal with two dangerous portions of two federal high ways which experience massive flooding each year, drowning unsuspecting commuters. These are the Ekwulobia- Nnobi federal road (Igboukwu/Isuofia boundary) and the Ogbunike – Ogidi section of the Enugu – Onitsha Road (old road).

De-silting of 1km of the Obodoukwu road, Okpoko to Idemili River end of the Sakamori storm water discharge. The exercise is still on-going and will soon move on to the Fegge/Nwangene end of the discharge drain.

Hydrological studies and hydraulic designs of storm water discharge channels as well as engineering designs almost completed for over 220 Kilometres of roads scattered all over Anambra state and these roads will all be flagged off for construction before the dry season commences.

Power and Water Resources

In the light of the Administration’s goal to attain universal electricity access for Ndi Anambra, the government reconstituted and reinvigorated the Anambra State Power Committee, which also has the EEDC as a member. The Committee recently finished a Retreat and is finalizing details of the plans and programmes (including the legal/regulatory framework) to align all the stakeholders in the electricity market in Anambra and ensure optimal performance and delivery of government’s target.

Rehabilitation of the water facilities at the Jerome Udorji Secretariat for civil servants. The Secretariat has not had water running in the offices for over eight years.

Completion of the Urban Water generation at Amuko-Uruagu, Nnewi.

Achievement of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status for Aguata LGA. This is the second local government, after Anambra East LGA to achieve such a status.

Agriculture

Successfully launched new Agro-economic transformation along the Oil-palm and coconut value chains, with the target of planting one million trees per annum. Over 30 Communities, institutions and investors have been profiled to plant over 2.5 Million seedlings, in partnership with the State government. This is designed to re-start from where Dr. M.I. Okpara stopped and to maximize our potentials in these highly profitable agro value chains – to create jobs, wealth and revenue to government.

Created 14 task teams to aggressively drive the agro-transformation agenda of this new government at all levels

The reactivation of the Ministry of Agriculture E-platform for data gathering, hosting and dissemination, to enable R&D, tech-driven monitoring and evaluation

Restoration of the image of Anambra State as a responsible, trustworthy recipient of development programmes by World Bank, African Development Bank, UN, JAPAN, FGN etc by paying Counterpart funding

Adoption and Declaration of Regenerative Agricultural Systems as a state policy.

Transport

Embarking on the decongestion/removal of obstructions along our major roads (Amansea to Head Bridge, Upper Iweka to Amorka & Awka to Ekwulobia, etc), market encroachments/trading activities on the roads & sustenance of free flow of traffic. To achieve this, we have completed the cycle of Public Service Announcement and Town Hall meetings with Transport Unions/Associations.
Identification/Assessment of public parks in the State.

Central Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Teams at Zonal levels have been constituted.

Culture, Entertainment & Tourism

Hosted a high-profile research team from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture for the possible enlistment of the Ogbunike Cave at the UNICEF World Heritage Site.

Three designs from notable Architectural firms have been shortlisted for further consideration for the building of a world class Entertainment and Leisure Park, at Agulu Lake. The designs will be presented to the Executive Council.

Anambra State Executive Council (ANSEC) has given approval for the deployment of Anambra Tourism System Statistics, a globally approved strategy which will provide automated/digital monitoring and regulation of the Tourism and Hotel Industry among other sectors. This will boost and standardize Hospitality, Hotel and other related businesses.

Lands

The Evaluation and Service Delivery Committee is a new innovation introduced under the present administration. The Committee is charged with the responsibility to, among other things; ensure expeditious action and quick service delivery in every documentation process within the time frame stated in the Ministry’s Timeline for Execution of tasks. The Committee also ensures strict compliance with the time limit assigned to every department/unit in the Timeline for efficiency and quick service delivery.

Land Disputes Resolution Committee has been set up to review land disputes

Issued public notice directing holders of Certificate of Occupancy issued on or before the 31st day of December, 2018 to pay up their outstanding ground rents. The Ministry also intends to announce the proposed revocation of the Right of Occupancy of those who fail to pay within a particular time.

The implementation of Geographic Information Service (GIS) to enhance effective land administration and increase revenue has been approved by Anambra State Executive Council.

The launching of Land Transparency Initiative and Setting up Partnership Forum with Private Sector Investors and Operators in Land and Property Sectors is ongoing.

Begun to engage with host communities on acquisition of 1000 – 2000 acres of land for the building of the World Class Entertainment Resort akin to Disney World.

A trial run on Implementing Fast Track Mortgage Transaction Acceleration Programme, in the Ministry of land has commenced.

The Anambra State Land Reform Committee has been constituted. The Committee is to review the procedures, parameters and purposes for land acquisition, allocation and revocation.

Technology—ICT

Anambra Digital Tribe; Initiative ready for launch and activities will commence within the next 90 days.

Standardization of Internet Assets; the process of hosting all MDAs under the same domain has begun. All Government assets will gradually be migrated to the Internet domain name anambrastate.gov.ng as we finalize our Cloud Strategy.

The Anambra Cloud; a public cloud service just finalized. It will consolidate the numerous cloud providers being used by MDAs today.

State Digital Assets SOPs; Released the Digital asset SOP based on the naming convention approved by Mr Governor, which is currently being adopted by all MDAs.

Last-Mile High-speed fiber optic internet provision; In line with the Manifesto of providing high speed broadband, the State is in final negotiations with a PPP partner which would ensure a dig-once policy and the laying of fiber-optic cable in ducts. This project will attract thousands of direct and indirect jobs, as well as help launch Anambra fully into the global economy.

Public WiFi Proof of Concept; the concept and proposal for a public Wi-Fi for the state is being finalized and upon deployment would ensure that select Public areas would be powered with Wifi.

NITDA’s Planned Innovation Centre; the National Information Technology Development Agency ( NITDA) has expressed interest in launching an Innovation Centre in Awka – the First of its kind in the South Eastern Part of the Country. Land will be allocated for the project shortly.

Baseline Study of e-government in Anambra State; the ICT Agency undertook the study, which showed the state of e-government infrastructure in the state. This will serve as a basis for the development of our Civil service into a Digital workforce.

GovTech preliminary strategy; The state participated in a World Bank subnational Government GovTech Maturity Index survey and based on the preliminary results of this survey and the baseline study, the state has designed a first draft gov-tech strategy which advises the government on the relevant infrastructure to put in place, for a transition to e-government.

The Social Agenda

Education

Completed Phase 2 of screening of over 40,000 candidates who applied for teaching job in the primary and secondary schools. The next phase of interviews for the last 6,000 candidates will soon commence.
Reviewing the state of our tertiary institutions with view to aligning them to global best practices and responsive to needs of the State and Nigeria..
Launched “operation bring back our school/Adopt a School Programme” to support Government effort in improving our Educational system.
Students successfully completed their WAEC exams despite the insecurity challenges

Health

Ground breaking ceremony of Coordinated Wholesale Center, Oba has been achieved. The project was jinxed for six years. When completed, it will be the largest drug distribution hub in West Africa.

Introduced and activated drug revolving fund in the State hospitals.

Achieved a rapid response to measles outbreak in 13 LGAs. Currently the outbreak has been contained in 12 LGAs out of the initial 13

Fixing of the State ambulances to aid emergency responses with a toll free number boldly displayed

Massive recruitment of health workers in our General hospitals

Activation of Endoscopy unit at General Hospital, Onitsha.

Activation of dental units in General hospitals, Enugwu-Ukwu, Umueri and Ekwulobia.

Optimization of laboratory department of general hospital Agulu and general hospital Nnobi with haematology analyzers.

Introduction of Anambra State hospital Inspection team.

Zero Malaria Initiative: In collaboration with the Malaria Consortium flagged off the distribution of 3.8 million Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN).

In collaboration with the State government, the Global Fund is building a new Oxygen plant at Onitsha.

Women and Social Welfare

The Ministry has rescued a total of 13 Children from agents of human trafficking.

The Ministry has been able to establish for the first time, a situation room for Sexual Gender Based Violence and Data collection in the State.

D: Governance, Rule of Law and Value System

Governance

Transition from the former administration has been superbly managed without rifts and rancour and the new administration is geared toward moving the state to our destined heights.

Rearranged and realigned the MDA’s to be more precise and functional, and created two new ministries (Ministry of Homeland Affairs and Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources) to meet the immediate needs of Ndi Anambra.

New administration is mainstreaming the culture of efficient service delivery; fiscal prudence and transparent financial management. Emphasis is on value for money in every expenditure as per our contract with Ndi Anambra. A new Code of Conduct, among others, forbids public office holders from making public donations. An example of the orientation towards prudence and value for money is that the new Administration has re-negotiated the contracts for Facility Management (cleaning services for government offices) down from N137 million per month to N11 million per month, with a savings of N126 million per month or N1.512 billion per annum. With the savings in one month, we have fixed the dreaded Amansea road with its nightmarish logjam, the washout portion of federal road at Onitsha, and still have change to intervene in one other terrible spot. That’s the new normal for our administration: cutting waste and delivering service to the people!

Maintained the policy of the past administration on “Community Choose Your Project” in which communities receive grants from the State government to execute a project or projects of priority to the community. Our administration has launched a new phase and increased the grant from N20 million to N25 million per community.

Launched a policy that no retiree from the State civil Service will be owed gratuity under our administration and have paid retirees from March to date. We have also begun, albeit gradually, to pay gratuity to pensioners who retired since 2018 and there is hope and joy in the land. We have also approved the same policy for local governments.

New administration is determined to ensure that local government funds are deployed to address developmental issues at the grassroots.

Budget & Economic Planning

Submitted the 2022 revised budget to the State House of Assembly tailored to meet our ambitious infrastructural and other capital development, especially roads.

Updating the social register which is a social protection net for the poor and elderly in our state. It was last updated in 2017.

UNDP/UN System is back to Anambra and an office space has been given to them with other logistics support to enhance their functionality.

Ongoing engagement to implement the Ease of Doing Business programme in Anambra with support from the Office of the Vice President

Ongoing Development of Economic and Social Database with the Statistical Office

Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS)

Completely digitalized our revenue collection to remove leakages and widen the bracket to meet our set targets (ANSIDD has been replaced with ASIN which ensures a dynamic Biometric Data collation structure).

New Digital structure would ensure long term and user friendly channels and we have commenced pilot schemes on the use of POS , USSD, Web and App channels and the payments into Banks and Bank ordered agents which ensures that those within the informal sector especially, can make payments seamlessly.

Commenced wide scale engagements with the various markets and Transport Unions to ensure that the leakages are plugged.

Local Government, Chieftaincy and community Affairs

PwC reviewed the operations of the local government and submitted report for government action

Resolved 15 community disputes which include re-instating 4 President General through the rule of law; resolved 11 community crises and successfully conducted 15 Town Union Elections

As part of Government’s resolve to put an end to lingering leadership crisis in our communities, the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has continued to engage with key stakeholders in the communities with a view to resolving the crises

Government has also ensured that communities are allowed to elect their own leaders thereby reducing the appointment of caretaker committees

E: Environment: Towards a Clean, Green and Planned sustainable communities, markets and cities

Environment

Embarked upon the clearing/cleaning of mountainous waste dumps in Onitsha, Okpoko, Awka, Nkpor, etc which had impeded flow of traffic, undermined commercial activities and constituted health hazard.

De-silted over one kilometre of drainage preventing the impending flood that faced the residents of Okpoko and environs.

Revised and launched a framework for the collection and evacuation of solid waste within our state, and selected waste management contractors for the 31 zones specified in the State.

Launched the tree planting campaign designed to make Anambra the greenest State in the country.

Conclusion

Umunne m, Ndi Anambra!
We still have a very long way to go. It is not time to celebrate anything. We are just warming up. In March 2023, we shall present you with the first annual report. For now, we are keeping awake to ensure your safety and lay the foundation for your prosperity. We are working hard and the Monday Sit at Home will soon be history. Our children will have their full week of studies and our businesses will be on full charge again.

The road ahead will be bumpy and every citizen has a duty to contribute to building a livable and prosperous homeland in the context of dwindling resources. You will be called upon to bear some sacrifices. To my supporters and party members, it would mean that the State can longer afford many political appointments. A nimble but effective government will be required. Ndi Anambra at home and abroad are called upon to pay their taxes to Anambra State government. We can’t build those roads to your local governments and communities with bare hands. Our Covenant with you is that your tax money must work for you. For those who made a living by collecting revenue on behalf of government through various “revenue windows”, we regret that those can no longer work as the government is determined to collect every kobo due to it through digital processes. Yes, oil money is out but we must survive and prosper. For those in government, it means that the State can’t afford any waste of any sort. Only expenditures that are absolutely imperative will be undertaken in our quest to ensure that every penny is devoted to give maximum value to Ndi Anambra. With the spirit of sacrifice and patriotism by all, Anambra will surely win.

Let me again specially thank and appreciate all our citizens and stakeholders for their massive solidarity and support— the clergy, traditional rulers, town unions, youths and women organizations, market unions, transporters, CSOs and professional groups, captains of industry, members of the media, etc. We appreciate the communities embarking on various development programmes without waiting for government. We thank those investors who, in spite of the insecurity, are still betting on Anambra. You will surely reap the huge benefits. I must not fail to thank in a special way the security agencies as well as our vigilante, and all the donors and supporters who have contributed to the war against criminality in Anambra. May the God of Anambra bless you all. We remember all the victims of the crass criminality and pray that God will grant their souls eternal rest. They died but we must not let them die in vain. In particular, let me thank the members of the international community for their solidarity, goodwill and support. We will soon receive many of you in our State, and we will later have the opportunity to document and appreciate your various contributions. Anambra is ready, as a case study, to showcase your exemplary contributions to our country and humanity.

On my part, I continue to pledge my commitment of absolute dedication and exemplary service to you. As I adorn our locally made Akwete dress and wear the Anambra made shoes, eat Anambra foods and enjoy her drinks as well as drive the Anambra made cars, I signal my readiness as the chief promoter and marketer of everything produced in Anambra. In time, we will take the made in Anambra to Africa and the world. God did not make a mistake to make us Ndi Anambra. Let’s take back our state and make her livable and prosperous. Of course, we are Ndi Anambra, and we can! Let’s get back to work!

God bless Anambra!

God bless Nigeria!!

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Disclaimer: Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Charity Reporters or any employee thereof.

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