By Vincent Ujumadu
ANAMBRA people have so much belief that their brand new governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo will live up to their expectations in terms of socio economic advancement of the state.
Going by his pronouncements since taking the oath of office on March 17, 2022, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is fully equipped and prepared to meet the expectations of the people, but hoodlums, a.k.a unknown gunmen, have been daring the governor and distracting the administration.
First was the issue of the Monday sit –at-home introduced by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in August last year following the arrest and detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The weekly exercise has since been suspended officially by the leadership of IPOB, but those who call themselves unknown gunmen are still terrorizing parts of the state, while the weekly sit-at-home has continued despite the governor’s directive that people should go about their normal businesses on Mondays and every other day.
Although most residents are eager to go about their businesses on Mondays, enforcers of the sit-at home are making life more difficult for the people.
Last Monday appeared to be the most obeyed sit –at-home as transporters withdrew their vehicles from the road despite the plea by the governor that people should go to work, thereby making it difficult for workers to bein their offices as directed by Governor Soludo.
The governor had earlier warned that civil servants who failed to be at their duty posts would be sanctioned, but there was nothing they could do. Even those who have cars were afraid to drive to their offices as there were no security personnel on the roads to protect them from the unknown gunmen.
At the state secretariat, most offices were empty and the few workers, mainly those residing in Awka, who came to work had to leave when they observed that not much could be achieved for the day.
The same Monday, the governor inspected the various offices at the Government House and he also noticed that many workers did not come to work, but there was nothing much the government could do in terms of sanctioning the defaulters.
However, the more worrisome situation was to come on Thursday, the 31st of March when some unknown gunmen attacked the Nnewi South local government headquarters at Ukpor and set some buildings there ablaze.
One person, a security personnel, was killed during the attack and the development forced many residents in the area to flee from their home to the neighbouring communities for safety, Ukpor lies along the dangerous Utuh – Orsumoghu – Azia – Mbosi- Isekke axis which has become a haven for unknown gunmen who operate randomly in the area.
Since the area became dangerous, security operatives have been patrolling the area to secure lives and property.
It was gathered that the security operatives use the local government headquarters as a transit camp, which perhaps, angered the gunmen who felt insecure with the presence of security operatives in the area.
The buildings they set ablaze in the local government were said to be the places the security operatives were using after working on the road.For the past four months, motorists have been avoiding the entire stretch of that road which leads to Imo and other states in the southern parts of the country.
Prof Soludo, who visited the scene of the incident immediately information reached him, ordered security agencies to go after the hoodlums. The governor, who was accompanied by the State Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng and other heads of security agencies, condemned the attack, describing it as mindless and very unfortunate.
The governor said: “ My heart bleeds with the mindless destruction of key buildings within the local government. The Education office and works department, including the traditional rulers’ building within the premises were touched “I assure you that these acts of criminalities and lawlessness will not continue.
“I urge the security agencies to go after criminals and fish them out to face the law”.
According to the governor, the resources to be deployed in reconstructing the burnt buildings would have been better utilized to provide essential needs and infrastructure that would benefit the people.
Nonetheless, he appealed to the people of the state not to despair, assuring that the state would rise again and that no amount of repression would thwart the efforts of the government to build a strong and safe Anambra State.
Also within the week, the Human Rights Defender Nigeria, a civil society organization, disagreed with the governor’s decision to devote four days for the cleaning up of Onitsha and its environs.
During the governor’s recent visit to the commercial city, he noticed that most drainages were blocked, which explains the constant flooding of the city whenever it rained.The governor’s belief was that a reasonable level of sanitary environment would prevail if the residents of the city devote adequate time to clean up all the drainages in the city.
But the group urged the governor not to lock up Onitsha for four days because of the likely economic consequences.
The Executive Director of the group, Mr, Dede Uzor said while the move by the governor was quite commendable given the enormous refuse littering the streets and the roads, the idea of locking down the four local government areas for four days was not good enough.
It would be seen from now till 4th of April if the residents of the four local government areas would heed the governor’s directive.
Also, despite the warning by the governor that touts should cease to operate in the state, some diehard are still threatening keke operators and commercial drivers and forcing them to pay them cash every day.
Places they are operating include the Unizik Junction, Aroma Junction, Eke Awka Market area all in Awka, as well as Upper Iweka, Borromew Roundabout, Obosi bypass, Uga street, Head Bridge and Main Market area all in Onitsha.
Information from Ekwulobia, Nnewi and Ihiala also confirm that the touts are still operating there with impunity.
Despite the ugly stories of the week, Governor Soludo gladdened the hearts of the people of Anambra State when he released the list of his Commissioners and Special Advisers in keeping with the promise he made during his inauguration that he would appoint his Commissioners without delay.
The 20 Commissioner nominees and 15 Special Advisers are already with the House of Assembly for confirmation.
Most of the names in the two lists are people known in their villages, which is why most people appear to be happy with the appointments.
One unique feature of the nominees was that their qualifications, date of birth, their communities and the Ministries where they would serve were contained in the list submitted to the state legislature.
Similarly, 20 local governments out of the 21 in the state are represented in the list and the only exception, Onitsha South local government, is apparently because the area does not have indigenous. people.