Why Soludo insists on enforcing law and order
By Romanus Okoye
Anambra State governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo has explained that his administration’s insistence on enforcing law and order is in the interest of everyone, as this confirms his dedication to building a prosperous Anambra.
The explanation follows recent incidents that attracted criticisms against the State Government.
The Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Aburime, in an article explained that when Woodrow Wilson, an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921 said “If you want to make enemies, try to change something,” he aptly captured the resistance faced by well-intentioned governments seeking positive societal change for the benefit of the vast majority of the people.
Aburime explained further. It is indeed a truism that asserts universal relevance. When a government endeavours to disrupt established norms for the greater good, opposition arises from those entrenched in the status quo.
The resistance often stems either from a fear of the unknown, vested political interests, or just a pathological reluctance to embrace change.
In Anambra State today, the controversy surrounding Governor Charles Soludo’s resolute commitment to upholding law and order has not only sparked needless hullabaloo and wagging tongues of criticism, it has attracted a barrage of uncouth verbiage and bilious name-calling from all sorts.
Detractors now accuse the governor of neglecting crucial governance issues while focusing on what they consider ‘trivial matters’ of law enforcement.
However, a closer, objective contemplation would reveal a visionary leader dedicated to transforming Anambra into a bastion of order, progress, and prosperity. Yet, some people are resisting change and encouraging lawlessness!
The recent incident involving Prof. Lilian Orogbu, a lawmaker representing Awka North and South Federal Constituency, brought this unfortunate evolving scenario to the forefront. Her caustic condemnation of the enforcement of anti-street trading laws at Unizik Junction to Okpuno, Awka by the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) may have stirred emotions, but it is imperative to dissect the facts from the political rhetoric.
The easy recourse to cheap populism of whipping up sentiments against the government is only muddling the waters of facts. Governor Soludo’s infrastructure initiatives in Awka, marked by newly constructed roads with side-walks, are aimed at ushering in a new era of development to make the vision of a modern, livable Anambra mega city a reality.
However, these well-intentioned projects are facing an unexpected challenge as hawkers and traders quickly occupy the side-walks, turning them into makeshift stalls. This not only compromise the aesthetics of the roads but also pose significant risks, with covered drainages turning into waste disposal channels and traders and pedestrians exposed to potential accidents.
To address this issue, ACTDA embarked on an aggressive public enlightenment campaign from December 15, 2023. Television, radio, social media, and mobile town criers were utilised to educate the public on the consequences of street trading and the impending enforcement measures.
Despite these efforts, some street traders engaged in a cat-and-mouse game, temporarily vacating the sidewalks only to return once the town criers had left. In the week leading up to the final enforcement, repeated warnings were issued again through town criers, emphasising the risk of errant traders losing their wares during the impending crackdown.
Regrettably, these warnings went unheeded, prompting the government to finally take decisive action. And then, the affected traders started shedding crocodile tears, accusing the government of insensitivity, while arm-chair critics quickly jumped in their defence, lampooning the government and calling the governor names.
The orchestrated resistance to government’s well-intentioned actions now reeks of mischievous aggravation and politicisation of issues. Yet, Governor Soludo’s administration is firmly grounded in five major policy pillars, one of which is the maintenance of law and order.
Contrary to accusations of neglecting essential governance matters, the government’s proactive stance on enforcing laws is a crucial step toward restoring sanity in society. A responsible government cannot stand idly by when citizens blatantly violate laws established for the greater good.
For Anambra State to progress towards becoming a livable and prosperous homeland, adherence to the rule of law is non-negotiable.
It is a paradox that Nigerians, including Ndi Anambra, awe-struck by the orderliness of developed societies when abroad, resist similar attempts at home.
Let it be clear: Governor Soludo’s resolve to bring order to Anambra is not an attack on personal liberties or an attempt to render people jobless; rather, it is a commitment to creating a conducive environment for growth and progress.
By and large, critics of Anambra State government can do better employing a civilised manner of engagement with the government over contentious issues than resorting to throwing insults and accusing the governor of insensitivity, inhumanity, pettiness and misplacement of priorities.
Ndi Anambra should be above such derogatory conduct.
In conclusion, the criticisms being levied against him pale in comparison to the long-term benefits of a well-organised and law-abiding society the governor seeks. It is time for the people of Anambra State to shift their perspective of government’s actions and rally behind their governor, recognising that adherence to the rule of law is the cornerstone of progress and prosperity.
Non-adherence is an invitation to an anarchic society where anything goes and life is short, nasty and brutish. Who wants a society where anything goes? Certainly, not Governor Soludo!