By Ikechukwu Odu
A Human rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, has advised the governor-elect of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, on the eight formative policy directions which would guarantee the success of his administration.
In a statement made available to Vanguard by the chairman, Board of Trustees, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and other principal officers of the group on Friday, it advised Prof. Soludo, to form sizeable cabinet, re-organise state revenues and eliminate touting/roadside militancy in the state.
The group which insisted that Prof. Soludo must gets things started on the right footings in order to succeed, equally advised the governor-elect to flush out those it called “hired Internet warriors,” who specialize in causing disaffection amongst the citizens of the state.
It also called on the governor-elect to sanitize and re-organise markets and parks to boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
The statement reads “The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law-InterSociety had monitored democracy and good governance process in Anambra State in the past ten years and found that democratic leaders such as elected or INEC proclaimed Governors failed woefully or succeeded remarkably in their leadership positions depending on how prepared or otherwise they were before taking over or at the formative stages of their Governments. It has further been found that leaders who failed to get on the right track formatively end up failing woefully. Formative stages of democratic leaders/leaderships include direction or directions through which such leaders wish to go or direct their governance; otherwise called “policy directions”.
That is to say that the moment a democratic Government misses a right governance track, it is failure all through till the end. It is therefore correct to formatively advise a Governor/Government before its coming on board than to do so after it had taken over or run out of the right governance track. In the context of “nobody is perfect”, such Government having properly got on tracked, will continue to survive and achieve remarkably till the end on the basis of constructive criticisms, suggestions and commendations.
“Flush Out Hired ‘Internet Warriors’ In Their Thousands: One of the major reasons why the outgoing Government of Anambra State failed woefully in its outgoing eight years governance is the use of hired and paid internet warriors, derogatorily called “e-rats”.
Their number also helped to swell the number of the over-bloated cabinet size of the Government which had been operating with not less than 3000, if not 4000 aides among them are those slotted to Christian leaders and leaders of the Traditional Institutions. Our findings have revealed that many, if not most of them have been responsible for roadside and street revenue touting and other social menaces running riot on the State in the outgoing eight years. They have also been responsible for the inability of the outgoing State Government to allow constructive criticisms and make amends where and when necessary. The incoming Soludo Government is therefore called upon to flush out and retire them permanently.
“Form A Sizeable Cabinet And Reduce Costs: This area does not require many explanations. This is because the incoming Governor is an expert in same even though nobody knows it all.
“Use Savings From Governance Cuts On Civil Servants, Ors: The essence of cutting the costs of governance is to re-channel same into areas that are most appropriate and one of such areas is the welfare of the State active and retired Civil Servants in the State and Local Government Systems including review and reasonable increment in their remunerations such as salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities, among others. The improved pay welfare for the State’s active workers must go hand in hand with improved service deliveries including dedication and commitment to the assigned duties and compulsory in-service and out-service trainings and re-trainings, etc.
“Sanitize And Reorganize Markets And Parks: As far as Anambra State is presently concerned, two major grassroots of stability for any incoming Governor are Markets and Parks. They are also the main revenue avenues of the State. From what we have seen since 2021, it will be rancorous and slavish for the incoming Governor Soludo to inherit the Markets and Parks “as they are” because they are not what they ought to be so as to be inherited. Therefore, the Anambra Markets and Parks “as they are” cannot be smoothly, legitimately and popularly inherited without total sanitization and reorganization including fresh and proper elections into the Markets. As a matter of fact, the State’s Markets and Parks are presently in the hands of friends and cronies and loyalists of the top political appointees of the outgoing Government of Anambra State.
Reorganize State Revenues And Eliminate Touting And Roadside Militancy
These, if bottled up and nipped in the bud are capable of soaring the Soludo’s formative popularity. All over the State, it is militant extortion (blue collar) and coded extortion (white collar) and over 95% of them have been traced to Government appointees, State and Federal legislators, LGAs’ TC Chairmen and troublesome private individuals. Yet in the end, over 85% of the militantly collected revenues end up in private pockets. The personnel of the Nigerian Navy, Police and Army as well as Paramilitaries are also running riot on Anambra Road and Street users by molesting and extorting them at will and with impunity. The incoming Governor Soludo must expertly end these especially those involving revenue and toll collections; by using direct and ‘digital and digitalized revenue methods”.
Fix Failed State And Urban Street Roads And Drainages
No fewer than 85% of the State Roads and urban streets have failed and become a nightmare; likewise drainages. Not less than 70% of the previously awarded roads scattered across the State have also been abandoned. Therefore, Soludo’s popularity will soar legitimately further if constructive palliative measures are put in place to remedy the sorry state of road network in the State and one of the strategies to be used in tackling the State’s drainage and debris blockage is to send the long idle Local Government Transition Chairmen back to work and if possible, be made to spend night inside drainages until they are cleared and their debris evacuated.
Evacuate Mountains Of Refuse Dumps
All strategic nooks and crannies in the State’s urban areas are not dotted with mountains of refuse dumps. For instance, apart from a mountain of refuse dump that has become an eyesore at the right size of the Service Lane along Ogbogwu/Tools and Allied Markets’ Junction toward the Onitsha Niger Bridgehead, the major waterway from Borromeo Roundabout to Niger Bridgehead has now been filled with debris and converted to scene for open defecation and urination. The contractors handling debris evacuation across the State must be given a matching order to sleep at all the dumping sites until mountains of refuse dumps are cleared and evacuated.
Merge And Upgrade Public Primary And Nursery Schools
For too long, the middle class parents and guardians and the low income others across Anambra State have been gnashing their teeth over the chronic monopolization of the Nursery and Primary School System by private school owners in the State and unchecked commercialization and extortion therein as well as poor supervision and lack of policy turnaround by relevant Government Ministries or bodies. The private school owners have cashed in on Government neglects in the Primary School sub sector and its inability to merge and upgrade the Public Primary and Nursery Schools.
The poor monitoring and lack of decisive policy direction coupled with bribery and corruption have led to situation of over-commercialization by private school owners-whereby money spent in training two pupils in nursery and primary schools can comfortably train three adults in a Federal University. In many of the State’s private nursery and primary schools, it takes N250, 000 to N300, 000 per term to pay for school fees and related others of four pupils belonging to their parents. This further translates to N750, 000-N900, 000 per section and more than N7m from Nursery to Primary School-which can train at least five to six adults in a Federal University. Scores of parents and guardians have died as a result while others have been hit by blood pressure and stress related terminal illnesses. The incoming Government of Soludo stands the chance of garnering silent ‘majority support and popularity’ if these can be reversed and tackled headlong.”