Charles Soludo has been sworn in as the fifth governor of Anambra State in a modest event that took place at the Government House on Thursday. Soludo took over from Willie Obiano.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor took the oath of office alongside his deputy, Onyeka Ibezim.
In his inaugural speech, Soludo promised to hit the ground running, saying some key members of his government will be announced in a few hours.
“Today is my first day at work. I just reported for duty at 8:55 am to be precise and will work for at least eight hours today,” the newly-sworn in governor said.
“We had more than a month since the election to celebrate our historic victory. Now is the time to work and there is no minute or kobo to waste in funfair. In a few minutes, I will announce some of the principal officers of my administration and commence with serious meetings of the Anambra Security Council followed by a meeting with the permanent secretaries, a meeting on Okpoko, and with my Strategy, Execution, and Evaluation (SEE) team.”
“Within the next few weeks, the list of commissioners will be laid before the House of Assembly,” the Aguata-born economist, added.
He also thanked stakeholders, his supporters, Federal Government agencies like the police, and the people of Anambra State for their roles in his election last November.
“Umunne m Ndi Anambra, this is the moment. I applied for this job. My party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APG), shortlisted me, and you, Umunne m Ndi Anambra, interviewed and employed me with Chief Dr Onyekachukwu Gilbert Ibezim as my deputy,” Soludo said.
“God ordained this moment and we are grateful to Him and to you all for the privilege to serve you. Dr Ibezim and I will work very hard every day to make you proud.”
Governor Soludo also praised President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the will of the Anambra people to prevail.
“Our eternal gratitude goes to President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the presidency for remaining democrats,” he said, calling for more support to deliver on his campaign promises.
The event was graced by top dignitaries in the state and beyond including the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Oye and wife; Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Uchenna Okafor and wife; Sen. Victor Umeh and wife; Bianca Ojukwu, clergymen, traditional rulers among others.
Hours before the swearing-in, security officers were seen at strategic points within and around the Government House. Guests began to arrive for the programme in the early hours of the day and were subjected to routine security checks.
A circular by the state government showed that about 50 persons were invited for the ceremony as Soludo said he wanted a low-profile event.
Thursday’s swearing-in is the culmination of a series of events leading to the programme. A day earlier, the former governor had handed over some state documents to the new leader.
In his farewell speech, Obiano had thanked the state for the privilege to serve, asking for forgiveness from those he may have offended. According to him, his intentions were pure even though he might have stepped on some toes.
He believes in his eight-year stint, his administration delivered on its campaign promises.
Soludo’s inauguration came about four months after a landslide victory in the governorship poll. The APGA flagbearer defeated his closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Valentine Ozigbo. The Isuofia-born banker won 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state to clinch the post. He got 112,229 votes, twice higher than Ozigbo who had 53,807 votes.
A month after he won the election, a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed a suit to invalidate the victory.
The suit sought to nullify his win on allegations that Soludo provided false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Taiwo Taiwo in dismissing the suit said it lacked merit and was a waste of the court’s time. He told the plaintiffs not to use the court as a tool to stagnate democracy and also awarded N2 million to APGA, Soludo, and Ibezim who were the second, third, and fourth respondents in the suit. INEC was the first defendant.
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