Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State says his last 100 days in office have been “bumpy” and challenging due to the rising ‘insecurity and red treasury’ he inherited from his predecessor, Willie Obiano.
Mr Soludo, who disclosed this on Saturday during a ceremony to mark his 100 days in office, vowed to end the Monday sit-at-home order declared by outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra.
“To be sure, the last 100 days have been bumpy and challenging as expected, with insecurity and a red treasury being the most portent, as clearly identified in our inaugural address,” he said.
“Thus, with declining revenue in the context of insecurity and a mountain of debt including over N20 billion in arrears of gratuity to pensioners since 2018 vis-à-vis the sky-high expectations from you, some fundamental disruptive changes are inevitable,” Mr Soludo added.
The governor, however, asked people who were pitying him for the situation to withdraw their pity, explaining that he “consciously applied for this job, and there will be no excuses.”
The Monday sit-at-home order by IPOB, which has wrecked the the Anambra economy and the disrupt the people’s social life, will soon be history, the governor said.
“Our children will have their full week of studies and our businesses will be in full charge again,” he said.
“We have declared zero tolerance for touting which has endeared the government to transport owners, operators and stakeholders.
“More programmes and projects will be unveiled in due course, particularly to retrain and empower the former touts.”
He said the major part of the 100 days have been devoted to making key appointments into the government and fighting insecurity in the state.
The governor said his administration would work hard towards implementing his manifesto, which he said, centres on five driving pillars of security, law and order, economic transformation agenda; social agenda; governance, rule of law and value system, noting that he has begun work in those areas.
“We have maintained the policy of the past administration on ‘Community Choose Your Project’ in which communities receive grants from the state government to execute a project or projects of priority to the community.
“Our administration has launched a new phase and increased the grant from N20 million to N25 million per community. We have also launched a policy that no retiree from the state civil service will be owed gratuity under our administration and have paid retirees from March to date.
“We have also begun, albeit gradually, to pay gratuity to pensioners who retired since 2018 and there is hope and joy in the land. We have also approved the same policy for local governments,” the governor said.
Mr Soludo said his administration has successfully screened over 40,000 candidates who applied for teaching jobs in the primary and secondary schools in the state.
He said additional 6,000 candidates would soon be screened for recruitment in the state.
The governor said, in the face of dwindling state resources, his administration would begin to collect taxes from Anambra residents and indigenes of the state in the diaspora, assuring that such taxes must be put to good use.
He said, “The road ahead will be bumpy and every citizen has a duty to contribute to building a livable and prosperous homeland in the context of dwindling resources.
“You will be called upon to bear some sacrifices. To my supporters and party members, it would mean that the state can no longer afford many political appointments. A nimble but effective government will be required.
“Ndi Anambra at home and abroad are called upon to pay their taxes to the Anambra State government. We can’t build those roads to your local governments and communities with bare hands.”