When a particular Journalist at a media parley asked Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who was then the announced Governor-elect of Anambra State in the early hours of Wednesday, November 10, 2021 after the November 6 election, “What significant shift should we expect from you?”, the now incumbent governor and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) responded to the question thus: “You are asking me to give my inauguration day address and that will not happen for now, but I can tell you that our 72-page manifesto outlines our contract with the people of Anambra State, which is part of continuity, consolidation and transformation agenda to continue to build on the foundation laid by our forebears including Governor Willie Obiano who has given us an airport and relative improved security and the people trust him. The governor very humbly told the people during the campaign that the person he is supporting as his successor will do better than him, that is a very rare act of magnanimity and humility but that also places a lot of pressure on me. In the days ahead, we will get down on the transition process and we are not coming to learn on the job; we will hit the ground running from day one”.
Against the backdrop of his choice of words in his reply to the Journalist as excerpted in the foregoing, there is no denying the fact that one of the takeaways is “We will hit the ground running from day one”. Again, one may not be wrong to say that not few people that heard him on the day of the parley might had doubtingly dismissed his assertion with mere wave of the hands as they would have classified him in the same category with typical politicians who are wont to make promises they hardly keep.
Ostensibly demonstrating the fact that he is not a typical politician that make promises he can hardly keep, the governor has hit the ground running as his administration few days ago placed restriction on movement for waste evacuation in Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of the state to allow for massive waste evacuation and desilting of drainages. Mr. Arinzechukwu Awogu, the Chairman, Ogbaru local council who said this in a statement in Awka on Thursday urged residents of the area to comply with the directive.
Awogu said the restriction would take place from April 2 to April 4 from 7 a.m. and 6p.m daily, and added that the clean-up was in line with the promise by the governor to address the environmental challenges in Okpoko, Idemili and Sakamori LGAs of the state.
To this end, he urged various groups including religious organizations, market organizations, town unions, youth organizations and landlord associations to spread the message and ensure compliance.
“The Anambra government will embark on a massive and intensive waste evacuation and de-silting of drainages in Ogbaru starting from Saturday, April 2 to Monday April 4.
”Gov. Chukwuma Soludo has approved lockdown in Ogbaru LGA from 7.00a.m to 6.00p.m on each day of the exercise to guarantee success of the clean-up.
“The citizenry is implored to cooperate with the government special committee led by the deputy governor Onyekachukwu Ibezim by minimizing vehicular movement.
“We are also advised to drop refuse in the receptacles and waste bins and desist from dropping wastes in drainages, volunteer services are also invited from residents to ensure the success of the exercise,” he said.
Awogu said the massive waste evacuation would address the problems of flooding, environmental hazard, public health issues and poor waste management in the area.
Unarguably pleased and delighted with the pragmatic efforts the governor has taken just few weeks after his inauguration, residents of Onitsha North and South heaved sighof relief as the governor was seen to have fulfilled one of his promises, which is that of desilting and evacuating mountain-like dumped wastes in the areas.
The residents witnessed the paradigm shift in governance in the state when the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim monitored the commencement of the exercise in the areas.
As gathered, various sizes of refuse dump sites were seen at various strategic points and junctions around Onitsha including the popular Ochanja roundabout and Awka road by Inland town axis, which not only threatened the health of the residents and road users, but also restricted them from accessing other parts of the town through the routes.
Nevertheless, the intervention of the Professor Chukwuma Soludo led administration in the areas is gradually restoring healthy environment and free access to other parts of Onitsha for the residents and road users.
Some residents that commented about the development, during the exercise, expressed happiness on the government’s intervention, and described Professor Chukwuma Soludo and his Deputy, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim as God sent to the state, even as they promised to key into the state government’s environmental sanitation initiative.
Addressing the residents, the Deputy Governor urged them to partner the Soludo administration in the move towards providing safe and healthy environment for the citizenry by keeping their surroundings clean and desist from dumping refuse in wrong places.
To anyone that has been watching the governor’s since his inauguration, it would not be in doubt to such person that the people of Anambra made an excellent choice by voting the former governor of the CBN to be the new governor of the state. Without any scintilla of exaggeration he would surely leave the state cleaner than he met it. It would be recalled that during my recent travel to Anambra State that I witnessed the clean-up going on as Soludo started work immediately after he ascends office. For the 3 days evaluation I personally carried out in Onitsha, that is when I traveled to witness his swearing-in, Upper Iweka was in a mess, and I was surprised to see that. So let us encourage him and his team with the good work.