By Rose Oranye and Chinwendu Uzoatu
NDỊ Anambra have been urged to utilise the opportunity provided by the Christmas and New Year holidays to visit home for family reunions and community development as well as to explore vast investment opportunities.
A concerned citizen of the state and Managing Director of the defunct Anambra Newspapers & Printing Corporation(ANPC), Sir Chuka Nnabuife gave the advice while interacting with journalists in Awka yesterday.
The fellow of Nigerian Guild of Editors (FNGE) spoke as veteran, craving to rein in erring younger colleagues against the background of a wave of publications and messages in various social media platforms, deterring people from traveling to parts of Anambra and Imo states because of insecurity.
Nnabuife, who condemned the attitude of such campaigners, maintained that the deliberate manipulation of social space and taint of portraying Anambra as a ‘war zone’ to discourage people from homecoming is satanic and will not help the state.
According to him, the Yuletide is the biggest opportunity that ndị Anambra and ndị Igbo return, en mass, to their homelands, do family reunions, discourse and initiate plans for the development of their communities. Sons and daughters in diaspora also utilise the opportunity of homecoming to see things for themselves and identify where to invest or who to help.
“This is a season that we shouldn’t play politics with. We shouldn’t play politics with opportunities. Our people say that “opportunity comes but once”. We need not lose this opportunity. We can’t have it better given the realities of our time…
“What you will understand is that Anambra is radically progressing in the line of security of lives and properties. Recall that there was a time when at least, seven local governments in the South, North of the state were almost unaccessible. That was when the government of Soludo came on board”,
“At a point, it got up to the terror of ‘unknown gunmen’ spread to Anambra Central, with such places as Nnobi, Obosi, Nkpor and Oba in Idemmili witnessing attacks and deadly operations. But now, apart from one or maybe two local governments, such as Ihiala and parts of Nnewi South where you still have hiccups of such situations, the unknown gunmen factor has actually ebbed, conspicuously”,
“But may I ask, is there any place that is more challenged and intense, in terms of security than the Central Africa region, say Congo DR or places like Angola yet we still see people, big corporations, investors moving there to do business? They rush into the countries to invest in their mining industries and other ventures”,
“We have Gaza boiling today. We have Israel which has been combustive for over 60 years. It’s still boiling today but you see investments heading there. Go to Palestine, go to Israel, Russia and Ukraine people are doing business. So why would somebody try to deter people from investing in Anambra State currently?
“Moreover, this is the best opportunity anybody can have because the current Anambra State government under Prof. Chukwuma Soludo is one of the most purposeful and focused to have. The governor has made it very clear that he has an intent to attract our people in diaspora to come home and invest and reap profitably. Hence his ‘Solution is Here’ government makes ease of doing business a priority”,
“Government has also mapped out business zones, while supporting facilities are being developed with zeal and unprecedented speed. This is therefore, the best time that somebody should come and key in… and all citizens should support…
“But why will somebody, a citizen for that matter, be engaged in such a destablising campaign and telling people not to come into Anambra? Is it all about politics? I don’t believe in playing politics with our collective patrimony. I don’t believe in playing politics with opportunities that will help me, my society, my children and grandchildren. I don’t believe in playing politics with truth. We don’t need that kind of macabre rhetoric and ogre of bad reportage about Anambra.”
He praised the state government for what the innovative way of resolving communal clashes in the state which the Boundary Commission, led by the deputy governor, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim is doing by emphasising the settling of such crisis through roundtable talks. Such deployment of arbitration and negotiations against the hitherto resort to violence, Nnabuife reasoned, is a smart way of making the society better, peaceful and more conducive for business.
Chief Nnabuife, while reacting to the rash of media reports that alleged that Governor Soludo said he would not pay the severance allowance to political appointees who served in Anambra Government 2014 through 2022, under former Governor, Dr. Willie M. Obiano, said that he was one of the political appointees of the period who was addressed by the governor at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, on Sunday, December 17 but he was annoyed that most of the reports he read on the event misrepresented the facts or the exact opposite of what the governor said.
According to Sir Nnabuife, Prof. Soludo didn’t say he will not pay the former appointees. Rather, he gave them a scorecard of what he has done in office so far, which the appointees applauded because it was in line with the promises he made to them during his campaign for the post. Gov. Soludo added that he met a backlog of pensions and gratuities from 2018 he has to settle first before getting to the severance allowances that were only due as at March 17, 2022.
“The governor told them that he will regularly, engage all of them that are former state government appointees. He also noted, as a good politician would, that if any person was reallying or participating in the former appointees’ forum on the hope that he or she would twist the state government to get money and use it to go and work for another political party, apart from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), he will not encourage that.
“And I perfectly understand Gov. Soludo, on that because, if you probe the new aggregation deeply, you would notice some things that indicate t some people could be trying to bring people together, get money to strengthen their new political interests that may not be the APGA which originally brought them to their appointments.
“Gov. Soludo told them that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) remains the political bastion of Anambra State and will still be. Hence anyone of the erstwhile appointees that still craves to enjoy the goodies he or she was enjoying when in office, should, unambiguously, identify with APGA, from his ward to the local government and state levels.
He was unequivocal. I don’t think there’s anything more plausible than the lucid explanation the governor gave on the matter while assuring that as the state’s economy improves, he will pay the severance allowances.
“But go and read what some people are writing in social media. Does it not clearly indicate that some came with an intent to skew the report or that their hands are sullied to deliberately do the disinformation. I can’t call it misinformation. It’s a terrible manipulation of the situation that doesn’t help everyone of us and our state”, Nnabuife observed.
He urged journalists to take it easy to avoid destroying the house they built, noting that the reason why Anambra is among the top five states in Nigeria is clearly, because of the efforts of the state’s government. Hence the need to encourage the Prof Soludo’s transformational government to do more because one good turn deserves another.