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Anambra 2021: Interrogating the  Soludo Personage

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By James Egbuna

Who is Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo is a rhetorical question.He is no masquerade that needs unmasking.His achievements and accomplishments announce him loudly.He has name- recognition.

Is he bottled in narrow prisms through which Anambrarians view him? NO! Therefore, John Ruskin’s timeless thought: “When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package” is not applicable to Soludo for he proudly takes his place in the gathering of Umunna (kinsmen)and and feels the pulse of his people.

Essentially, his life trajectory is an open book,widely read far and near.

Infact, there is no missing piece of puzzle in narrations and commentaries around his personage.

Here is serving you Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo uncensored as Anambra’s 2021 governorship beckons on him.

The cap fits him.It is tailor made because he won’t be coming to learn on the job, he is already imbued with the know-how, the nitty-gritty of management of people and resources by the virtue of his public sector experience, his academic erudition and vast knowledge of the primary kernel of governance especially as it applies to the peculiarity of Anambra.

With the permission of Anambra’s electorates, Professor Soludo, as the next governor, will be bringing his wealth of experience garnered over a period of years spanning over three decades to bear on the governance of that state.

Soludo won’t be scouting for proposals after election; he probably already has a master plan in his kitty.

The man who was hailed as “the Paragon” by admirers during his secondary school days due to his academic wizardry comes prepared, armed with innovative ideas as to how to take Anambra, in a quantum leap, to the next phase of socio- economic and infrastructural revolution.

As John Mason would say, “you cant travel the road to success without a puncture or two” ,  Soludo is a homeboy who tasted the vagaries of life at formative stages.Like any other child growing up in the post civil war East Central state, today’s South east geopolitical zone, he experienced vicissitudes and obsufucations.

Life was not rosy and it even became grimmer for him following the death of his mother when the young Soludo needed her most.

Thus, from ground zero, Soludo struggled to make meaning out of life,rising like Phoenix to a photogenic achievements and accomplishments.

Born 28 July 1960, Professor Soludo is a native of Isuofia in Aguata LGA, Anambra State.

On completing his secondary school education with a Distinction grade, he proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he studied Economics. He graduated with a first-class degree in 1984.
Afterwards, he went on to obtain his Master’s degree (MSc) in Economics in 1987, and a doctorate (PhD) in Economics in 1989, from the same University, graduating as the best student on all levels of his study.
Upon graduation, he won the departmental and faculty prizes for the best graduating student. These were followed by the best graduating masters degree student prize and the vice-chancellor’s prize for the university’s best graduating PhD student when he finished his doctorate programme.

In 1998, Charles Soludo became a professor of economics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and in 1999, he became a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA.

Professor Charles Soludo was a visiting research fellow at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Warwick— all in the UK.
He lectured on multi-country macro-econometric modelling, techniques of computable general equilibrium modelling, survey methodology, panel data econometrics, money and banking, public finance and fiscal policy, mathematical economics, international economics and finance, macroeconomics etc. Also, Charles Soludo has authored, co-edited, and co-authored about 14 books,  scores of journal articles and hundreds of technical and conference papers. Prof Soludo lived in Ethiopia, UK, and the USA and traveled to 45 other countries as itinerant scholar and consultant to 20 international organisations including: the World Bank, IMF, European Union, AfDB, USAID, UK-DFID, UNDP, UNCTAD, etc.

Because gold fish has no hiding place, in 2003, the love for fatherland spurned Soludo into answering a national call as the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo had no problem fishing him out to serve in his government as Economic Advier and Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission of Nigeria.

Soludo’s superlative performance as Economic Adviser and Chairman of the National Planning Commission was to be a catalyst for elevation to a higher calling.Thus in May 2004,President Obasanjo appointed him into the exalted office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as well as Chairman of its Governing Board.

Over a decade after leaving office as CBN Governor, Professor Soludo is still hailed as the man who brought sanity to the banking sector through the clinical  consolidation of the Nigerian banking system in 2005, during which he presided over the consolidation of the country’s 89 banks into 25 as part of a drive to create a new banking system to power new prosperity in Nigeria.

Economists and other financial experts agree that the 2005 bank consolidation exercise was the elixir that continue to boost the Nigeria economy, ensuring that country’s commercial banks now have the asset base to fund manufacturing, agriculture, trade and the services. Unltimately creating millions of jobs and stabilsing the economy.

Essentially, experts opine that without the much needed Soludo bank revolution, multinationals and major economic players especially in the oil and gas sector, wouldn’t have been in existence, as so many banks wouldn’t have the capacity to fund such.

Global Trade Review in 2007 had averred: “Nigeria’s banking sector consolidation programme was necessitated by the pervasive weaknesses and uncertainty of the banking system and the need to re-engineer and fast-track a system that will engender confidence and power a new economy”
A grateful nation never forgets the patriotism and expertise of it’s own.This explains why Professor Soludo was awarded the third highest national honour (CFR) in 2006 and again fished out by the current President and saddled with the task of reinventing  the economy.
Notedly, on 16 September 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as a member of a newly formed 8-member Economic Advisory Council (EAC), that will be reporting directly to the President.

Professor Soludo is a valuable  asset and catalyst for quality governance.He has proved so beyond doubt.Anambra needs him to supply oxygen to the socio- economic and industrial development of the state ignited by Chris Ngige, given quick acceleration by Peter Obi and expanded by Willie Obiàno.

Thankfully, indications are that he may offer himself once again, as he did in 2010 under the PDP and 2014 under APGA, to serve his dear state as governor.

Though the two previous attempts at the Anambra governorship, owing largely to pervasive intrigues, did not come to fruition, the general consensus in today’s Anambra is that for the state to continue on the tracks of uninterrupted development, Professor Soludo is the man whom the cap fits.

Egbuna wrote from Onitsha, Anambra State.

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APC: Oshiomhole bows, says he accepts dissolution of NWC in good faith

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Former National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiohmole, says he has accepted the decision of National Executive Committee (NEC) to dissolve the National Working Committee (NWC).

The NWC was dissolved on Thursday following the recommendation of President Muhammadu Buhari. Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, was thereafter appointed the Chairman of the party’s caretaker committee.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Saturday, Oshiomhole said he had also directed his lawyers to withdraw his appeal pending at the supreme court. He was challenging his suspension as the party’s National Chairman.

According to the former governor of Edo State, he had no regrets for the role he played in the party. He also highlighted his achievements as party chairman.

“The APC under my chairmanship has done its best and the results are there. Of course we have now been dissolved and I have accepted that dissolution in good faith,” Oshiomhole said.

“I’m not going into the question of legality or illegality. The bottom-line is that the president who invited me to lead the party and who mobilised all the support for my emergence as chairman also presided over the meeting where the NWC has now been dissolved.

“Mr President graciously invited me to run for the office of chairmanship of the party in 2018 precisely about two years ago. The president told me then that if we do not reform the APC, we can as well forget about the party.

“You know that reforms are challenging and it will entail taking difficult decisions. Mine has been a life of trouble and I accepted this and I believe I did my best.

“I’m happy that at the end of the day, 2019 elections have come and gone thanks to Nigerian people, our president had more votes in 2019 than we had in 2015. We have more members in the senate and house of representatives.”

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BreakingNews: Senator Abiola Ajimobi Burial Set for Sunday

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Burial arrangements for His Excellency Senator Abiola Ajimobi

Details of the funeral ceremony of His Excellency Senator Abiola Ajimobi have been released by the family.

In close consultation with the governments of Lagos and Oyo States, the date for the burial ceremony has been announced. Barring any changes, his body will be interred at the Senator Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi Central Mosque at Oke Ado, Ibadan at 12noon on Sunday the 28th of June 2020 after the traditional Muslim prayers.

To ensure that strict COVID-19 protocols are adhered to and in light of the current circumstances of our national health challenges, the family appeals to the public to observe strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in their participation. Furthermore, details of the live media coverage of the funeral ceremony will be made public by tomorrow.

In the near future, details of a larger funeral gathering will be announced where a lot more of his well wishers will have the opportunity to pay him their respect.

Signed

Bolaji Tunji
SA Media
26 June 2020

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$2.8 BILLION AKK PIPELINE PROJECT: BUHARI STRIKES AGAIN!

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By Femi Adesina

Something good is already happening. Something marvelous is in store, as Federal Government kickstarts the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) National Gas Pipeline Project next Tuesday. It’s another humongous signature milestone by President Muhammadu Buhari, which will leave his footprints inexorably on the sands of time.

Roads. Bridges. Rail. Airports. Social Investment. And many others. Buhari is doing great things, which will pedestal him in the pantheon of great Nigerian leaders. And now, he has struck again. He is kicking off the AKK pipeline project, which will carry gas between the southern and northern parts of the country. The project will eventually extend to North Africa.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) initially announced tenders for the project in July 2013. A project proposal was submitted to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission in June 2017, and the Federal Executive Council granted approval in December 2017. I tell you, this President Buhari has the heart of a lion.

If the intention was to continue to run the NNPC as an automated teller machine (ATM), as we have seen before in this country, will such staggering project ever be approved, not to talk of taking off? And some people are still asking for Change, when it is right before their very eyes.

The 614 kilometers-long national gas pipeline is Phase One of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP) project, to be done on build and transfer public-private-partnership. It will transport 3,500 million metric standard cubic feet per day of dehydrated gas from several gas gathering projects located in southern Nigeria.

The project will be in three phases. Phase One is 200 kilometers-long, between Ajaokuta and Abuja, at a projected cost of $855 million.

Phase Two is 193 kilometers-long, between Abuja and Kaduna, to cost an estimated $835 million, while Phase Three is 221 kilometers-long, between Kaduna and Kano, at an approximate cost of $1.2 billion.
The project will eventually reach North Africa in subsequent phases.

What will AKK pipeline project do for Nigeria? Great and wonderful things. It will create steady and guaranteed gas supply network between the North and South, and will enhance power generation capacity. The industrial sector will be strengthened, local usage of gas will be promoted and increased, and the country’s revenue generation boosted through export of natural gas.

Nigeria is ranked the 7th most endowed natural gas country in the world. She sits on about 180 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits, which can be utilized as gas to power, gas to petrochemicals, liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), among others.

Over the years, Nigeria has exploited its oil resources more, to the detriment of gas, which incidentally fetches more revenue, but is also more expensive to prospect.
One big advantage the average Nigerian can look forward to is the evolvement of compressed natural gas (CNG), which is still at pilot stage in the country.

While presenting his performance report to the Federal Executive Council recently, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, spoke extensively about CNG, and what it can do for Nigeria as an alternative to petrol.
He listed the challenges of the oil and gas sector to include; under-recovery, crude theft, insecurity, high cost of production, very low LPG penetration, refineries shutdown, long contracting cycle, among others.

Sylva stressed that the oil and gas sector remains critical to the Nigerian economy, even as we strive to diversify. He identified CNG and LPG penetration as priority.
Said the Minister: “The switch to CNG will help reduce the burden of petrol subsidy on the finances of the country, and government should encourage Nigerians to use CNG as fuel for transportation.”

CNG began as a pilot project in the country in 2006, but target for conversion workshops was not met till 2015. About 4,000 vehicles run on CNG in Benin, Edo State, and it’s about 50% cheaper than petrol.
Vehicles running on CNG, statistics show, save about N1,143 daily, compared with petrol. This amounts to over N30, 000 monthly. The cost of converting the car can thus be recovered within six months.

Gas is cleaner energy, cheaper than petrol, and more friendly to the environment. Global warming will, therefore, be slowed down.

More than 175,000 vehicles run on CNG in America today, and 23 million worldwide. Nigeria will join the number, and boost productivity.

The Buhari signature projects will remain landmarks in Nigeria. Help me count them: Roads, rail, bridges, airports, agriculture, AKK… and may more.

Surely, we will always remember this President for good.

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