By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—FORMER governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Charles Soludo, has tasked the people of Anambra State to always remember to invest in their home state, even as he observed that it was not possible for all of them to return to their state and reside permanently.
Delivering a lecture as part of activities to mark the 3rd anniversary of Governor Willie Obiano’s administration in Awka, Soludo, who is an indigene of the state, said the state had a strong economic base and the human and natural resources and assets to accelerate the momentum of transformation.
According to him, Anambra had the potentials to become an industrial/commercial hub and a true 21st century economic miracle, adding that as an emerging global tribe, Ndigbo and Anambra must think global, but also act local.
He said: “A noteworthy feature of Anambra State at the moment is that it is a net exporter of capital. A large proportion of its most talented/skilled indigenes live outside of the state, while a larger proportion of investible capital is deployed outside of the state.
“Poverty incidence in Anambra used to be the lowest mainly because of remittances by its Diaspora. The skyline of Anambra is adorned with thousands of four-storey buildings whose collateral value is insignificant (largely dead or dormant assets).
“Access to bank credit is relatively low. For example, Anambra has the fourth largest bank deposit (after Lagos, Abuja, and Rivers) but the size of bank loans granted to businesses in Anambra is a very small proportion of the deposits. This trend needs to change.
“As a global tribe, we cannot be insular in orientation nor withdraw from the world. Igbo cannot all come home; it is neither wise nor feasible. Like the Jews, Anambra will probably continue to have more than 50 per cent of its indigenes outside of the homeland.”
“Given our entrepreneurial drive and high population density, our people will continue to need Nigeria, ECOWAS, Africa and the rest of the world to maximize our prosperity.
“But while we must feel at home everywhere, there is only one home that will never change—the homeland! Having an identity is not inconsistent with a global or national outlook.”
Citing an example with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Soludo said there were probably few who would question Obasanjo’s patriotism as a Nigerian, “but that has not made him to wear Igbo dress or our red cap to prove that he is detribalized.”.
He said further: “Both Ota Farm and the Presidential Library and Home are all in his home state—Ogun. He did not settle in Lagos or Abuja to prove that he loves Nigeria. Of course, by our Constitution, you are first identified by your ‘state of origin’ before anything else. We must not feel shy to campaign for and mobilize a new consciousness towards an “Anambra My Only Permanent Home” philosophy. God did not make a mistake to make us Ndi Anambra!”
He also recalled that while apologizing for the deportation of some Anambra indigenes from Lagos, former Governor Fashola challenged Igbo by asking why they were running away from their own state, arguing that Igbo should turn such provocation into a positive anger and a challenge to build a prosperous homeland.
Speaking further, Soludo asked Anambra indigenes living outside of the state: how much tax or financial contributions do you make to your state in a year— the state/government that preserves and improves your permanent home address?”