Commentary: Charlie Nwamgbafor: The Role Model Our Youths Should Copy

Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was born a poor village boy in Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area. Perhaps, the only hope for him to survive growing up was the free air around him and providence. None of his parents were rich in the real sense of it.

To demonstrate his lowliness, Charles and some of his siblings were kept in the village with their mother, Mgbafor, while their father tried his luck outside Isuofia as a driver in a company. Cool-headed Charles became so attached to his mother that he was nicknamed Charlie Nwamgbafor.

From his rustic village, he rose and flew across the world to live his dreams. Today, he is the Governor-elect of Anambra State. A professor of economics and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Soludo will become the sixth democratic governor of Anambra since 1999, coming after Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Dr Chris Ngige, Mr Peter Obi and Dame Virgie Etiaba, then Chief Willie Obiano.

Born on July 28, 1960, into the family of Pa Simeon Soludo, his mother, Mgbafor, was said to have died during the civil war when Chukwuma was barely eight. He attended the neighbouring Uga Boys High School and later the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he bagged a first class honours degree in Economics in 1984. From the same institution and department, he earned a master’s degree in 1987 and a doctorate in 1989 – graduating as the best student at all three levels. In 1998, he became a professor of Economics at UNN.

He holds the title of the third-highest national honour – Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR). As a lecturer, Soludo has authored over 82 scholarly publications. He became a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, United States, in 1999. He has also taught and trained at Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick University, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC;  Wolfson College, UN Economic Commission for Africa as a post-doctoral fellow and the International Monetary Fund. Soludo has served as a consultant for several global organizations too.

Soludo was appointed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a Chief Economic Adviser. In May 2004, he became the CBN governor and led the consolidation policy of the Nigerian banking system. The Financial Times of London once described Soludo as “a great reformer”.

In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Soludo as a member of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC).

In one of his recent comments, Soludo said: “I have achieved all I wanted to achieve in the world in my thirties. I have travelled to 45 countries across the six continents as a scholar and consultant”.

People like Professor Soludo are the role model our youths should emulate. Our youth should shun the recent crave for get-rich-quick that lead them to crimes like Yahoo-Yahoo, Yahoo-plus, rituals and other vices. They should avoid tendencies like Mkpurummiri that will ruin their lives.

From Soludo’s story, it is established that one does not need to grow and attend schools in urban areas to be successful in life. The name, Charlie Nwamgbafor, depicts the rustic nature of the environment Soludo grew up.

Besides, the appellation, Charlie Nwamgbafor, showed the humility and attachment of Soludo to his parents, especially the mother whom he helped to run family chores. It is not saying a new thing that children who passed through the tutelage of their parents end up becoming great people in society. The late Professor Chinua Achebe had on several occasions narrated how he became great storyteller by being close to elders.

Schools and curricula planners should make profiles and story books about genuine successful persons like Prof Soludo available in schools. Such information had helped in history to transform many people.

Again, as it can be seen in the story of Soludo, that knowledge is power. Soludo discovered that his future lied on providence and education and he pursued knowledge with diligence and passion then conquered the odds. Our youths should rekindle interest in education, despites the unfavourable prevailing circumstances in society.


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