Feature: Quick wins for Charles Soludo wins 100 days

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by Ayo Akinfe

10 things I expect Charles Soludo to do within the first 100 days of him being sworn-in

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[1] Host a meeting of the South East Governors Forum in Akwa. At this summit, I want to see him sell the others the idea of floating a finance house called Ogbunigwe Bank. It will hand out loans to small businesses across Igboland with a maximum interest rate of 5%

[2] Sign a deal with Innoson Motors under which every government vehicle in the state will be bought from the company. It should be a criminal offense for any Anambra public official or traditional ruler to buy a vehicle from another manufacturer.

[3] He should get all the five southeast governors to pledge to purchase all their vehicles from Innoson Motors as part of a plan to support the company and enable its expansion. If Nigeria is to compete on the global stage, we need a company that can stand toe-to-toe with the big boys

[4] Announce that he will be making Nnewi the home to the world’s largest car engine factory. Anambra State government should hold a 15% stake in a holding company which will be created between Innoson and international automobile companies like Nissan, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota etc. It will aim to manufacture at least 1m engines and gearboxes a year

[5] Float a pan-Igbo holding company called Isiagu Enterprises in conjunction with the other southeast governors and the private sector. Created to drive investment, each of the five state governments of the southeast will hold a 25% stake in it, with international partners and the private sector owning the rest

[6] Set himself the target of building at least five extra River Niger crossings. Isiagu Enterprises will commit to building five crossings across the River Niger, with at least three of them being rail links

[7] Isiagu Enterprises will also commit to dredging the River Niger up to Onitsha with the aim of building the world’s largest inland port. It will be Africa’s largest cargo port

[8] Isiagu Enterprises will lease land in states like Taraba, Niger, Borno and Kaduna with the aim of growing cash crops to fuel its industries. Ambitious targets will be set for agricultural output with the aim of quadrupling the production of cash crops like palm oil, yam, cassava, maize, kolanuts, cashews, etc. Nigeria must grow every raw material it uses in its food processing business

[9] Isiagu Enterprises will also undertake to dredge Ikot-Abasi and Calabar ports so they can take big ships like Apapa. Rail links will then be constructed linking them with the rest of the country. No law in Nigeria prevents a regional company from investing in another geopolitical zone

[10] Isiagu Enterprises will introduce the world’s most humane corporate social responsibility contract that will fund education and infrastructure development in the host communities where it operates. For instance, if it is sourcing leather from Dapchi in Yobe State for its shoe processing factory, Isiagu Enterprises will fund the construction of a primary school there. The idea behind this is to kill this widely-held notion that Ndigbo are just out to grab, grab, grab.

Ayo is a London-based journalist who has worked as a magazine and newspaper editor for the last 31 years. He was the founding editor of Nigerian Watch, the UK-based paper for the Nigerian community in the UK.  

He is the current president of Ondo Union UK, the chair of Uncelebrated Nigerian Awards UK and was the chairman of the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK organising committee. He was recently appointed as the Chairman of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK

He is also the author of two books on Nigeria. Fuelling the Delta Fires is an expose which reveals the depth of the challenges in the Niger Delta, while Black Ladder is a narrative about the life of a Nigerian immigrant in the UK. In addition, Ayo is a columnist for several publishing houses in both Nigeria and the UK.

Ayo has a history degree from the University of Ibadan and I did my post-graduate studies in journalism at the University of Westminster.

 

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