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Controversy Erupts as Soludo Advocates for Investment Relocation to Anambra

A few days ago, Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo went on an investment drive in Lagos.

During a town hall meeting with Anambra people resident in the state, Soludo advised them to consider relocating their investments back home, as part of the think home philosophy.

Soludo told them that Anambra State was ready for business and investments, adding that investing in the state would be in their own best interest.

The Governor went further to state some of the achievements of his young administration, and his plans to develop the state, and how all hands must be on deck for that to be achieved.

He enjoined them to reflect deeply on it and do everything possible to contribute to the growth of the state.

“This is the same question I ask myself everyday. And we have a responsibility to leave Anambra State better than we met it. Your host (Lagos) will never respect you if you don’t have a livable and prosperous homeland,” Governor Soludo reiterated.

Just days after the call, two Anambra indigenes, a comedian, I Go Tuk, who is also known as Ogbuefi Main Market and a Radio personality, Ifeanyi Orakwue, also known as Huge Man, made podcasts, berating the governor for such a call.

Ogbuefi Main Market in his podcast berated Soludo for the bad roads in the state, saying that if Soludo must think of advising Anambra people in Lagos to return home, he must first fix the bad roads in the state, as investors will need roads to come into the state, and move their wares about.

On his part, Orakwue decried the level of insecurity in the state, saying that any state that cannot ensure the security of people and businesses had no right to call for investments.

He went further to narrate that night life in Anambra has died totally because of insecurity.

Mentioning streets in Onitsha where he lives, Orakwue said he recently had a need to rush his daughter to hospital one evening at about 6 pm, but he was surprised that after he left the hospital and drove home, all the streets were already totally empty, while shops had closed.

He said even in his estate at 3-3, Nkwelle Ezunaka where soldiers were in charge of security, he got back at about 7 pm to find that the gate had been shut.

He said his enquiry showed that the decision was because of the level of insecurity in the town, adding that as early as 6 pm, businesses in the commercial city of Onitsha had closed, and queried if that was the kind of place Soludo wanted Anambra indigenes who are enjoying the beautiful atmosphere that Lagos offered, to leave and return home.

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Both Ogbuefi Main Market and Orakwue concluded their podcast by advising Anambra people not to listen to the governor, or heed his advice, but to continue to do their businesses in Lagos, pending when Soludo would fix Anambra State, and make it ready to receive the level of investment Soludo was seeking.

The reaction of both men to the call by the governor have in the past one week generated controversies, with many berating them for demarketing the state, while some others have sided with them, claiming that their stand was in order.

Reacting to the call by both men, Mr Ejimofor Opara, the media and publicity secretary of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in a podcast on Facebook, which was made to counter those by Orakwue and Ogbuefi Main Market, said that there was no society that was entirely devoid of crime, noting that even Lagos has its fair share of it, yet Anambra indigenes have continued to invest in the state.

Reacting to Ogbuefi Main Market, particularly, Opara said he was recently in Lagos, and took out time to visit many areas where Igbo indigenes were living in squalid areas that didn’t have roads and were mostly flooded, yet they managed to reside in the place.

He wondered why anyone would de-market Anambra on the grounds of roads.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Chris Aburime came down hard on both Orakwue and Ogbuefi, claiming that Soludo’s visit to Lagos was a serious business that should not be reduced to the level of comedy.

He said: “This wasn’t a jamboree, but serious business. The mission was simple and unambiguous.

“He came to Lagos to seek partners in progress in the quest to build a prosperous, livable and secured Anambra State that all can be proud of.

“At least, if it is true that heavens help those who first help themselves, Anambra’s own sons and daughters must be sought out first as investors to join hands with the governor in the task of state building.

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“Beyond political pandering, Governor Soludo is a leader in a hurry to transform Anambra State for good and leave it better than he met it.

“He has no luxury of time to waste. So, he would stop at nothing to enlist support wherever it could be found.”

On the other hand, there are some indigenes of the state, who saw nothing wrong in the what Orakwue and Ogbuefi said, claiming that the level of insecurity in the state was high and needed to be attended to, despite Soludo’s claims of having whittled it down drastically.

Mr Ifeanyi Okolo, a businessman and commentator on public affairs said: “This noise they are making and abusing Ogbuefi Main Market, can they dispute that roads in Anambra are not bad? What the two men gave are advice that the state government should take and try to work on, to make the state better.

“In the case of Orakwue, he gave an account of how he took his child to hospital and how all the shops had closed at 7 pm because of insecurity.

“So, do you expect that he should tell lies to please the state government and claim that people stay out until midnight, when that is false? They should rather work with the advice of both men.”

Meanwhile, Governor Soludo doesn’t seem to be oblivious of the problems enumerated by both Orakwue and Ogbuefi.

He had assured that even though he had done more in the area of insecurity and road construction, more would be done.

Speaking to Anambra State stakeholders in Lagos, Soludo said: “On the chaotic nature of Onitsha, my government is determined to resurrect Onitsha by returning it to its former glory as the biggest commercial city in the South-East and beyond.

“Concerning security-related issues, my administration has drastically reduced the menace of killings and kidnapping to the barest minimum with the security architecture put in place by his government.

“I commend security forces: the Army, the Navy, the Police, the States Vigilante Group and other paramilitary agencies for their dogged efforts in contributing to the successes recorded so far.

“I assure you that law and order has been greatly restored in the state compared to the impunity that held sway before we came into office,” the governor said.

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