The governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, recently visited Lagos to promote investment.
In a town hall with Anambra residents, Soludo suggested that they think about moving their investments back home as part of the “think home” movement.
They were informed by Soludo that Anambra State was open to business and investment and that doing so would be in their own best interests.
The Governor continued by listing some of the accomplishments of his young administration as well as his intentions to improve the state and how everyone must work together to make those plans a reality.
He urged them to give it serious thought and do everything in their power to help the state advance.
“I ask myself this same question every day. Additionally, we owe it to Anambra State to leave it in better shape than we found it. If you don’t have a livable and successful nation, your host (Lagos) won’t respect you, Governor Soludo said.
Just a few days after the call, two Anambra natives, radio host Ifeanyi Orakwue (also known as Huge Man) and comedian I Go Tuk (also known as Ogbuefi Main Market), released podcasts criticizing the governor for making such a call.
In his podcast, Ogbuefi Main Market berated Soludo over the state’s poor roads, saying that if Soludo must advise Anambra residents in Lagos to return home, he must first restore the state’s poor roads since investors will need roadways to enter the state and transport their goods around.
Orakwue lamented the state’s high degree of insecurity and asserted that no state had the right to request investments if it could not guarantee the safety of its citizens and commercial enterprises.
He continued by claiming that security issues have completely killed off Anambra’s nightlife.
Orakwue mentioned the streets in Onitsha, where he resides, and related how lately, at around 6 o’clock in the evening, he had to rush his daughter to the hospital. However, he was startled to see that when he left the hospital and returned home, all the streets were already completely deserted and the stores had closed.
Even on his estate at 3-3, Nkwelle Ezunaka, where troops were in charge of security, he claimed that when he returned at around 7 o’clock the gate had already been closed.
He claimed that his research revealed the level of insecurity in the community as the reason for the decision, adding that Onitsha’s businesses had already closed by 6 p.m., and he questioned whether Soludo wanted Anambra natives who were enjoying Lagos’ lovely atmosphere to leave and return home.
Both Ogbuefi Main Market and Orakwue advised Anambra residents to continue conducting business in Lagos until Soludo fixed Anambra State and made it ready to accept the amount of investment Soludo was seeking instead of listening to the governor or following his advice.
In the past week, the responses of both men to the governor’s request have sparked controversy. While some have criticized them for undermining the state’s image, others have taken their side and said that their stance was appropriate.
In response to the demand made by both men, Mr. Ejimofor Opara, the media and publicity secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), stated in a podcast posted on Facebook that no society was completely free of crime, noting that even Lagos has its fair share while Anambra natives have continued to invest in the state.
In response to the Ogbuefi Main Market in particular, Opara stated that he had just visited Lagos and had taken the time to see several regions where Igbo natives were living in squalid areas that lacked roads and were mainly flooded, yet still managed to stay in the place.
He questioned why anyone would want to stop marketing Anambra because of the roads.
Chris Aburime, the Governor’s chief press secretary, also criticized Orakwue and Ogbuefi harshly, saying that Soludo’s visit to Lagos was a serious matter that shouldn’t be lowered to the level of humor.
This was serious business, not a jamboree, he said. The task was clear-cut and straightforward.
“He came to Lagos in search of collaborators in his mission to create a secure, prosperous, and habitable Anambra State that everyone can be proud of.
“At the very least, since heavens help those who help themselves first, Anambra’s own sons and daughters must be sought out first as investors to work alongside the governor in the process of creating the state.
Beyond mere political pandering, Governor Soludo is a strongman who wants to completely change Anambra State and leave it better than he found it.
“He does not have the luxury of time. He would therefore do whatever to gain support wherever it might be found.
On the other hand, some natives of the state claimed that, despite Soludo’s assurances to the contrary, the degree of insecurity in the state was high and required attention and that they found nothing wrong with what Orakwue and Ogbuefi said.
Businessman and public affairs analyst Mr. Ifeanyi Okolo said: “Can they contest that roads in Anambra are not poor given the noise they are making and the way they are treating Ogbuefi Main Market? The state government should endeavor to implement the suggestions the two experts gave in order to improve the state.
“In the case of Orakwue, he described taking his child to the hospital and how all the stores had closed at 7 pm due to insecurity.
Do you anticipate that he will fabricate facts to appease the state administration, such as saying that people remain out till midnight when this is untrue? They ought to follow both men’s recommendations instead.
Governor Soludo, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to be unaware of the issues listed by both Orakwue and Ogbuefi.
Even though he had made more progress in the areas of insecurity and road building, he had promised that more would be made.
In a speech to stakeholders for Anambra State in Lagos, Soludo declared: “On the chaotic condition of Onitsha, my government is resolved to resurrect Onitsha by restoring it to its former glory as the largest commercial hub in the South-East and beyond.
With regard to security-related concerns, my administration has significantly decreased the threat of murder and kidnapping to the bare minimum thanks to the security architecture put in place by my government.
I applaud the security forces, including the Army, Navy, Police, States Vigilante Group, and other paramilitary organizations, for their tenacious efforts in helping to contribute to the victories so far.
The governor assured the crowd that compared to the impunity that prevailed before we took office, peace and order had been significantly restored in the state.