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Why Nollywood Has Endorsed Soludo

By Obi Madubogwu, Ernest Obi & Benita Nzeribe

There comes a time in the life of a people when neither the elite nor the mass of the people can afford not to be involved directly in deciding the affairs and destiny of their society. Alarmed at the growing level of insecurity in our beloved state last year, the Nollywood Association for A Better Anambra State held deliberations with the Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi, on how to arrest the situation. Among other measures, we shot films against the spate of kidnappings for ransom. As though to mock our effort, one of the leading figures in the Nigerian film industry and a worthy son of Anambra State, Chief Pete Edochie, was kidnapped. We were not deterred. Another distinguished actor, Nkem Owoh, an indigene of neighbouring Enugu State, was abducted. We were still not frustrated in our campaign. In a lecture organised by the League of Anambra Professionals in Awka in 2006, the then Central Bank Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, described elite indifference to the public affairs and politics of their poor societies as "a crime against humanity". Events have since confirmed the prescience of Soludo's declaration.

The February 6, 2010, gubernatorial vote in our beloved state is no ordinary election. It presents the people of Anambra State with an excellent opportunity to reclaim their manifest destiny as the “Light of the Nation”. The home state of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who in 1960 led Nigeria to independence, deserves the very best in leadership. Anambra State is the home of Olaudah Equiano, who in 1789 wrote a monumental autobiography, a book still widely read across the world over 200 years after its publication. It is the home state of personages like Professor K.O.Dike, Prof Chinua Achebe, Prof Chukwuemeka Ike, Dr Okechukwu Ikejiani, Professor Chike Obi, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Dr Pius Okigbo, Christopher Okigbo, Prof Ben Nwabueze, Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Chief Augustine Ilodibe of Ekene Dili Chukwu fame, Sir Louis Ojukwu, and others too numerous to mention here.

Though the home of Nigeria's most exciting enterpreneurs, it has a most impressive array of academics, intellectuals and artists of global significance.It shares with Ekiti State the distinction of producing the largest number of winners of the Nigerian National Merit Award, the country's most prestigious honour for intellectual and artistic attainment. Even Nollywood, the booming Nigerian film industry which shares with Hollywood of the United States and Bollywood of India the world's biggest film markets, has unmistakable Anambra roots.

No state in Nigeria is lucky enough to be so blessed with this the kind of abundant human capital.

Human resources are the most critical element in development in every society. Contrary to the thinking of some Nigerians, it is not the possession of natural resources like tin ore, gold, coal, oil and gas which principally accounts for societal development. Countries and territories like Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong have no mineral deposits, but they rank among the most developed in the world. Conversely, a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo has immeasurable natural resources, but its citizens wallow in misery.

We are happy that a number of the candidates for the February 6, 2010, vote satisfy general requirements for purposeful leadership. However, all of them cannot be Governor of Anambra State at the same time. Given that our state is at a critical juncture right now in its engagement with history, we have decided to adopt the best of the very best.

We have settled for Professor Chukwuma C. Soludo. In arriving at this decision, we have thoroughly examined his record, his character, and his vision for the state. Prof Soludo is not only eminently qualified but, indeed, ready to provide the robust leadership required in the 21st Century.

Soludo should provide world class leadership. Soludo has been the Chief Economic Adviser to the President who developed the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). He remains the most celebrated Central Bank Governor of Nigeria ever, and launched the Financial System Strategy 2020, with the bank consolidation of 2004-2005 as one of the component parts. He has consulted to over 18 bodies all over the world, including the Bretton Woods Institutions. His development vision for Anambra State simplified as the African Dubai-Taiwan, or ADT, is both unrivalled and path-breaking. It is transformational. It is the type the whole country needs right now to get Nigeria cracking.

Some of the distinguishing features of ADT are the building of a New Anambra City between Onitsha and Awka, a comprehensive urban renewal programme in all the urban centres, the building of an industrial village, the creation of 300 000 to 500 000 jobs, the establishment of an Independent Power Project and the revamping of educational institutions so that its products will have the technical and ethical capacity to drive the ADT vision. His development agenda touches convincingly on all critical aspects of our state, including the appointment of women into at least 30% of posts in line with the 1995 Beijing Conference recommendation.

All this will result in dramatically enhanced living standards for our people. When living standards improve, people everywhere patronise entertainment. For those of us in show business, a remarkable improvement in the welfare and comfort of our people will translate to good business. Since all politics is local, we proudly note that Soludo's ADT has a major provision for the building of Nollywoods studios. Soludo is the only candidate with the development of the entertainment industry as a priority pogramme in his manifesto.

No government worth its salt can afford to neglect the entertainment industry. When Oprah Winfrey--and later other celebrities-- endorsed Barrack Obama in the 2008 presidential election in the United States, it made all the difference. If California were a country, it would have the fifth richest economy in the world. A substantial source of its revenue is the entertainment industry. Let us emphasise here that Hollywood is one of the several entertainment places located in California . In fast developing economies in the Gulf Region, conscious efforts are made to develop entertainment and tourism.We proudly note that Nollywood is the greatest global image maker for Nigeria right now.

Soludo's ADT is comparable to Sheikh Mohammed Rasheed's development vision. Given that Dubai is a mere swath of desert and has no significant oil deposit, many people in the world did not quite take Sheik Rasheed's vision seriously when he launched it. Dubai is today one of the wonders of development history. It has, among others, the world's tallest building, which was commissioned about two weeks ago. Like Sheik Rasheed, Professor Soludo believes that the huge funds to develop his place cannot come from oil sales.

We are satisfied that Professor Soludo has developed a masterplan to source for funds for the ADT programme from both local and international markets. As an economist of international repute who has deep contacts in the international financial markets and multilateral development institutions, he is best suited to mobilise immense resources to make Anambra State reclaim its historical position as the Light of the Nation.

We in the Nollywood Association For A Better Anambra State will not stop at just endorsing Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo as the best candidate for the office of Governor of Anambra State in the forthcoming election. We shall use all the resources, talents, goodwill and contacts the Almighty has generously bestowed on us to work for the realisation of making our beloved the Dubai or Taiwan of Africa. We shall henceforth mobilise to the field for the common good of our state.Only the best is good enough for Anambra.

God bless Anambra State. God bless Nigeria.
This piece was turned in on behalf of the Nollywood Association for A Better Anambra State by Obi Madubogwu, Ernest Obi & Benita Nzeribe, accomplished actors, script writers, producers and theatre critics.

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