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Soludo: A winning leader for all times — By Christian Aburime

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In the academic sphere, economic world, and Nigeria’s vibrant socio-political landscape, the name Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, continues to shine with unparalleled brilliance. As the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Soludo’s extraordinary achievements have once again been recognised on a national stage. Newly honoured with the “Governor of the Year in Infrastructure and Rural Development” at the 2023 Champion Annual Awards by Champion Newspapers, Prof. Soludo’s acceptance of this accolade is a further authentication of his tireless obligation to game-changing leadership and sustainable development.

Prof. Soludo’s journey is a compelling narrative of academic excellence and relentless service. His academic prowess was evident from his days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he graduated with First Class Honors in Economics, bagging numerous departmental, faculty, and university prizes. This was followed by an impressive array of short- and medium-term courses and fellowships at world-renowned institutions like Cambridge, Oxford, and Warwick, as well as significant stints at the Brookings Institution and the United Nations.

At the youthful age of 38, Soludo was already a Professor of Economics, and his scholarly influence extended to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania as a visiting professor. However, his academic and intellectual contributions were not confined to lecture halls and classrooms. As a co-founder and the founding Chairman of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Prof. Soludo’s expertise has been a source of inspiration and innovation in financial circles across the continent.

Nationally and internationally, Soludo’s career as an itinerant scholar and consultant has seen him traverse 45 countries, providing his insights to 21 financial and developmental institutions, including the World Bank, IMF, and African Development Bank. In 2003, he was summoned to serve Nigeria as Chief Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo and Deputy Chairman/CEO of the National Planning Commission. His tenure as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is particularly noteworthy; under his stewardship, the Nigerian banking sector witnessed an unprecedented transformation through the famed banking consolidation initiative, the effects of which are still felt today.

Soludo’s tenure as CBN Governor was marked by monumental achievements: maintaining single-digit inflation, appreciating the Naira to an exchange rate of N112 to the dollar, and amassing foreign reserves from $10 billion to a historic $63 billion. These feats earned him numerous accolades, including being declared “Nigeria’s Man of the Year” by six national newspapers in 2006 and receiving international recognition as Africa’s and the world’s best Central Bank Governor multiple times.

Since assuming office as Governor of Anambra State on March 17, 2022, after a resounding electoral victory, Prof. Soludo has embarked on a mission to redefine governance and development. The foundation of his administration is anchored on Anambra’s 50-Year Development Plan, which he played a pivotal role in crafting, and the People’s Manifesto, famously known as the “Soludo Solution.”

Under his leadership, Anambra State has seen a dynamic focus on five critical pillars: Security, Law and Order; Infrastructure and Economic Transformation; Human Capital Development and Social Agenda; Governance and Value System; and Environment and Urban Regeneration. This holistic approach has already yielded impressive results across these domains. The state’s infrastructure, especially in rural areas, has been revitalised, enhancing connectivity and stimulating economic activities.

Despite inheriting lean financial resources, Soludo’s administration has demonstrated remarkable fiscal prudence. Eschewing the temptation to borrow despite having legislative approval to do so, he has steered Anambra to be ranked among the top five states in fiscal sustainability by BudGit, a proof of his intuitive and pragmatic approach to public finance management.

The recognition of Prof. Soludo as the “Governor of the Year in Infrastructure and Rural Development” is a fitting tribute to his relentless drive to uplift Anambra State. His administration’s accomplishments in just over two years are a harbinger of greater things to come, positioning Anambra as a model of progress and development.

In a world where leadership is often marked by fleeting moments, Prof. Soludo’s enduring impact and the significant strides made under his governance affirm that indeed, “The Solution is Here.” Anambra State stands tall, getting re-invented by a leader whose vision and action continue to inspire hope and promise of a brighter future for all.

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