All posts by Ralph Anyacho

Anambra Diaspora Investments: A memo to Prof Soludo

Communication Strategist, Ralph Anyacho picks up on a thorny issue of Anambra Diaspora investments and how Governor-elect can safeguard them.

Anambra diaspora investments

Ralph Anyacho

Chief Ralph Anyacho, (Udosi achi) is the Director of Strategy at the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON)

The mood of Ndi Anambra after the conclusion of the gubernatorial election in the State which returned Prof Chukwuma Soludo as Governor-elect has been one of joy and great expectations. Everyone is expectant of stupendous development projects that would adorn the Anambra landscape if all of Soludo’s promises were accomplished.

One issue that deserves the attention of the Professor and the Transition Committee is how to attract Anambra Diaspora investments to the State. This means finding solutions to challenges faced by them in investing at home. Put simply, how do we manage the difficulties of accountability for funds that have been repatriated?

Diaspora investors tend to put their relations and friends in the forefront of businesses they want to invest on. Most often, the funds are not judiciously invested and the capital goes down the drain.

Two experiences narrated here will help drive home the point:

Uche Chizoba graduated from a university in the South East. Upon graduation in 2002, his Electrical Electronics degree could not fetch him a job. After shuffling the streets of Lagos, he could not secure a job. With parents getting old and five younger siblings waiting in the wings to be educated at that time, Uche persuaded his parents to a drastic action. A piece of land in the village was sold to finance his relocation to the US. Not long after he landed in Houston Texas, he secured a job with an IT firm.

Five years later, he repatriated some Dollars and gave instructions that the money be used to set up a business. He hoped this would help generate fund needed to stabilize the family’s financial standing and take care of two of his younger sisters. The young girls had secured university admission. The family chose to invest in poultry business and put their retired father in charge. Ten million naira was invested in the business. They hired staff to man operations and marketing.

Six months later, the business showed signs of growth, but this trend did not continue for long. Three years down the line distress set in. Sales dropped. Salary could not be paid as and when due. Creditors lined up for arrears of supplies made. Soon the family began considering what else to do as winding up became inevitable. A distress analysis indicated that the family managers did not keep accounting records and therefore could not measure the performance of the Enterprise. Managerial skills were lacking.

Further investigations revealed pilfering as a major cause of the down turn. Four staff of the company conspired to frequently remove birds and eggs which they sold secretly. Thus, Uche’s investment from abroad went down the drain.

If Uche’s experience is not enough to drive home this point, that of Bernard Ndu will. Bernard was a trader in Ochanga market before the economy got so harsh. His stockfish trade could no longer sustain him. It was time to check out. He sold out what was left of his stock and paid his way to Italy. Bernard’s job in Italy was clearing dust bins in search of disused electrical appliances, utencils, household materials and motor parts. He would team up with mates and ship the meretricious items to Nigeria.

After three years of the business, he decided to start a building project in his village – a place he hoped to move in from the shanty family house. Bernard who had lost his father before he relocated abroad trusted his uncle to help him oversee the project. The uncle would hire the contractor, monitor construction including making all necessary purchases for the building. Money began to flow from Bernard to his uncle for the project.

Two years after, Bernard was informed that the project had not gone beyond the DPC despite the huge funds he sent home. He was dismayed to learn that his uncle had squandered a large chunk of the money he repatriated for the project.

The experiences of Uche and Bernard are every where in Alaigbo, thus discouraging Umuigbo and in particular Ndi Anambra abroad from investing at home. What can the Government of Prof Soludo do to change the narrative and safeguard Anambra Diaspora investments?

I propose setting up a consortium of public/private management consulting outfit that would help our investor brother’s and sisters abroad to make sense of their desired investment. The consulting firm would have capacity in all aspects of business and would provide 360 degrees services to clients. One unique aspect of the consortium will be picking investible fund from investors and applying the fund to project chosen by them. The consortium will be total managers of the project.

Relations of the diaspora investors may be coopted as directors and as eyes of their relations who own the capital. In this way the investor will be assured that his fund is wisely invested and managed.

Anambra’s education worries

Ralph Anyacho identifies paucity of teaching staff for primary and high schools as two one of Anambra’s biggest education worries.

A number of issues are giving parents worries over the management of schools in Anambra state. Citizens of the state living outside of it who breeze in and fly out would think that all is well. But all is not well.

The Christmas/ new year mass home return is usually a time for stock taking. At one of the town hall meetings by my community two separate important guests interrupted proceedings.One was the principal of the community secondary school in the town. She came with tears practically dropping from her eyes, lamenting the lack of teaching staff. She appealed for support of the community to fix practically every thing, ranging from collapsing roofs, to no power supply, rickety school bus, stressing low morale among students resulting from lack of teachers in key subject areas. As she left the place in high hope trusting that her cries have not fallen on deaf ears, another guest this time came from the community primary school. Unlike the principal whom the roof is collapsing over her head, the primary school has one of the best structures anywhere in the state. Their big trouble is lack of teachers. There are only two teachers on government payroll. The rest of the teachers are being paid by the PTA of the school at N10,000 per month. And have come to the meeting to request for financial support to help the PTA defray the eight month salary arrears owed the teachers.

These two critical issues question the modus operandi of running schools in the state and the quality of education available especially in the rural areas. What is the partnership arrangement between the State and the Churches? Is any party reneging on the agreement? The above mentioned situation can not be tenable in a state competing for space among a comity of technologically driven states.

Something must be done and urgently too.

Anambra’s education worries

Road to Biafra Promised Land and IPOB’s diversion

Research & Public Affairs Analyst, RALPH ANYACHO offers a blueprint for IPOB’s action on the road to the Promised Land of Biafra.

When, in about 2013, that Nnamdi Kanu began broadcasting online via a spectrum he called Radio Biafra, not many had the premonition that today there will be a phenomenon known as the ESN.

Not many expected that a whole Igbo nation would be encapsulated in fear of the unknown gunmen who are keeping the usually boisterous Igbo population away from their daily means of livelihood.

Not many knew that order will be issued by a non state actor that election should not be held in Anambra State and are enforcing it to the consternation of the State government that appears helpless.

Not many would have expected that hoodlums would snuff life out of a high profile personality, whose every day life on earth means service and upliftment of mankind.

It is possible that at this point in the analysis, many, especially the adherents of IPOB and followers of Nnamdi Kanu, will begin with their stock in trade, which is raining of abuses on anybody who has an opinion slightly different from their group viewpoint or mindset. But I know that it’s only the truth that can give us salvation.

There is no question that I am a Biafran-100 per cent. But my approach to Biafra is different from Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB’s. What’s the difference between Kanu’s approach and mine.? I hope the IPOBIANS will hold their curse and listen.

  1. Nnamdi Kanu did not secure a buy in to his ideas from Igbo leadership: opinion leaders, industry leaders, traditional leaders, the religious, the “ana enwe obodo enwes“. ( Sunday Igboho didn’t make this mistake). The effect was that nobody took him serious in his project.
  2. There were so many untruths and deceptions in the Nnamdi Kanu approach. Many were told untrue stories about the date the new nation would be a reality. Many were told lies about progress being made, persons, bodies met and they believed in them. Many were promised positions in the new nation that would soon be announced by the UN and they believed and their followership received a reinforcement. How would a reasonable person accept and lend his support, knowing that a lot of the propositions are beclouded in fallacy?
  3. Nnamdi Kanu has not weighed the implication of all Igbos being ordered to return to their homeland if that becomes part of the independence package. Yes, this can happen because Nigeria will make everything difficult for the undesired new nation.

How would Kanu handle relocation logistics? What jobs will he offer to many whose jobs would be terminated by recalcitrant Nigeria? Will he sort out public servants and their entitlements and how? What of properties of Igbos scattered in nooks and crannies of Nigeria which the Nigerian government would frustrate them into abandoning?

In economic terms, how many industries are operating in the South East and how many of the new returnees will find jobs in them?. How many farm estates are available to offer employment to our brothers and sisters who will be returning to their father land in the new independent nation?

Road to Biafra Promised Land and IPOB’s diversion

I was a child during the civil war. There was no food to eat. The more the war dislocated and displaced the population in the cities, the more pressure the rural areas received. We lived in a rural area and my father was a trader and farmer. He had a large ban. The large ban did not survive pressure from refugees who came in groups and in turns to ask for food, shelter and water. My father wouldn’t say no, because saying so means giving consent to deaths. This is why the more elderly Igbos urge the youth to excercise caution.

I had promised my idea of a Biafra struggle.

  1. My own Biafra will make consultations and pay attention to opinions because nationhood is not an individuàl’s matter.
  2. I will secure the buy in of groups and their leaders. It will become an “ohazurumee” rather than a group of youths who lack skills in nationalism struggle lining up ready to rain abuses on any one who gives a contrary opinion.
  3. Engage in diplomacy. Reach out to neighbours for support. Throttle the globe to secure recognitioñ and trade
  4. Do a blue print of what the new nation would look like and the kind of government to run.
  5. Give a time frame for activities: this period the economic foundation of the new nation would be laid.

May I ask, which of these check list has Kanu and IPOB done?

Our quest for new nation must not push the Igbo to a mass suicide. We must not be held hostage by a group of people who act on emotion rather than reason. Our youths are acting on emotion. This is why they indulge in abuses rather than engage in intellectual discourse. This is why they will pickup arms as against dialogue.

A situation where they force citizens indoors when the people should be doing their daily struggle is not in the best interest of Biafra. Igbos are not known for blood letting. This may be reason that God treats us like his own people when we are troubled.

Finally, let’s restrategize the struggle to avoid pain and ruination of our own nation.

Road to Biafra Promised Land and IPOB’s diversion

Continuity not a campaignable theme for Soludo

Research consultant RALPH ANYACHO counsels that Continuity is not a campaignable theme for Soludo but that his capabilities are.

Before the APGA Primary, I did an analysis of the opportunities and chances of APGA the ruling party in Anambra State. In the piece entitled “The Bell Will Toll for APGA if…” I made a prediction. The Party would go down if at the end of the primary they fail to select an outstanding flag bearer. Luckily, the Party returned a personality in the person of Charles Chukwuma Soludo.

Two months after that primary and despite the flurry of court actions and the uncertainties surrounding who eventually becomes the flag bearer, the parties are gradually rolling out their campaign drums. From utterances of the APGA candidate and party Chiefs in public space, it is obvious that Continuity will be the theme of Professor Charles Soludo’s campaign.

If this is correct, I fault it.

I am not a Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, renowned for prediction of outcomes of elections. I don’t want to be a seer who would prophecize an election result not minding peoples sentiments about his prophesy. Thus, mine is not a power of prophesy but a probability estimation based on socio-dynamic research results. Years of exposure to media research, campaign planning and management have given me some insights upon which to make a prediction.

Continuity not a campaignable theme for Soludo

Campaign theme is a platform upon which political communication is anchored. The theme must be right and must resonate with the audience. The Theme must be in synergy with it’s subthemes and in fact any other campaign materials. This is the way to attract attention, hold interest, create desire and ultimately result in action, which is voting for the candidate and his party at the polls. One may ask, what is there to attract the attention of Ndi Anambra voters if Soludo chooses “continuity” as theme? What is there to hold their interest, translate it to desire and ultimately to action – voting for APGA?

Continuity pre-supposes that a programme is already in place and current actions are required to further it’s progress. For continuity to pass the test of being campaignable, it must first be acceptable to the general public. There must, in fact, be a discernible programme that can be evaluated and whose outcome is capable of satisfying human need.

Analysts are of the opinion that the Obiano government had no programme. It then becomes difficult to assess his administrations successes and failures. Conversely, one could hear about “ANIDS” – Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, a programme that was once run in the State, which stands as a good example.

Listening to Chief Obiano speak, one would not hear a coordinated field of results emanating from planned and programmed activities. You would rather hear something like: building bridges and other peripheral projects and recently of the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport, hastily constructed in a record 15 months, which has no history of fiscal appropriation by the State House of Assembly. But the hardest knock which even some party members of APGA join in giving to Chief Obiano is his rapacity to abandon projects started by his administration.

Continuity not a campaignable theme for Soludo

His abandoned projects, especially roads abound in most communities. His CCTV project at security flashpoints in the State has become a mirage as Upper Iweka in Onitsha continues in it’s unenviable role as travelers nightmare. What of the vegetable export business, is it still going on? Good road network, an asset cherished by Ndi Anambra is in bad shape due to lack of maintenance. In the absence of a discernible programme and tangible results, is there any propriety in using CONTINUITY as campaign theme?. What programme is there for one to continue?

It may well be appropriate for Professor Charles Soludo to refocus his campaign. His personal profile and experience can be more assuring. His capabilities can earn him confidence and trust. These attributes are more marketable than a Null continuity. He has strength in being an exposed and experienced development economist. He is a man of ideas who can pilot Anambra affairs and steer the State away from impending economic and political woes.

We are in a trying time. The youths of Anambra and of Igbo generally are getting impatient and restive every day. There is hunger, there is ill health, and there is death everywhere. Challenging times call for people with exceptional disposition to lead. Time for dancing OWAMBE in government house is over. This time is for serious minds. Soludo is a seriously minded fellow who would not accept failure as result. With Soludo as APGA flag bearer, Anambra is assured.

Nkea bu Nkeanyi has brought a measure of political stability to Anambra State despite some short comings. Truly, APGA in Anambra has brought some degree of stability to the state. This is why opinions of independent minded analysts should not be maligned and, the views thrown into a trash.

We wish Soludo and his campaign organization good luck