By Chiedu Uche Okoye
A state that is the home state of people, who have achieved distinctions in their respective careers and endeavours at the global stage, deserves to be led by its best and brightest politicians, who possess probity, leadership qualities, forbearance, and knowledge. And Anambra state is such a state. It is not for nothing that Anambra state is called ‘’the light of the nation’’. And the state has been living up to that appellation and epithet owing to the good political leadership, which the people of the state have been enjoying.
However, at the inception of the fourth republic, Anambra’s politics was dogged and characterized by political god fatherism, which hindered the development of the state. We have not forgotten that Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju was hamstrung by the interference of his political benefactor in the affairs of the state. And Dr.Chris Ngige, who succeeded him in office, fell out with the man who bankrolled his electioneering expenses. Consequently, his political god father spilled the beans about how he emerged as the Anambra state governor. The revealed secrets about his governorship electoral victory offered his political foes the ammunition and magic bullet with which they ousted him from office via electoral litigation. However, his praxis in the area of road repair as well as road construction has remained a model, which other political leaders in the country should emulate.
And, Mr. Peter Obi, whose parsimony is legendary, executed reforms in the health and educational sectors. It was he who returned schools to churches, and equipped them with computers and modern science laboratory equipment. He revamped the health sector, too, as evidenced in the upgrading of some schools of health in the state.
His successor, Dr. Willie Obiano, will be long remembered after he left office for building the longest bridge in Anambra. And, under his leadership, Anambra has earned huge revenue from the exportation of vegetables to other countries. He gave local farmers in the state financial incentives, which boosted their morale and led to increase in their agricultural produce. And, until some months ago, Anambra state under the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano had impeccable and commendable record in the area of security. Now, the state is chafing under security problems.
However, the state government has risen up stoutly to the challenge and problem of rising cases of crimes in the state. The killing of police aides attached to Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo during his meeting with Isuofia youths jolted and gobsmacked us. Now, there are many conjectures regarding the motives of the executioners of that homicidal deed.
Did they attack Professor Soludo to frighten him so that he would rethink his declaration of interest to contest the 2021 Anambra governorship election on APGA platform? Or was the killing carried out by disgruntled and indignant gunmen, who are destroying our symbols of statehood and killing security personnel in the country to register their displeasure and disenchantment with the state of affairs in Nigeria? The answers to these questions are still up in the air. Whatever is the case, it will be a gross injudicious act for Professor Soludo to opt out of the Anambra governorship contest on account of the gun attack visited on him, as he stands a good chance of becoming Anambra state governor based on the political permutation and situation in the state now. He should steel himself against any untoward thing that may happen to him while fighting to become the next governor of Anambra state.
It is believed that APGA stalwarts have surreptitiously reached a consensus that Professor Soludo will become APGA governorship candidate in the 2021 Anambra governorship election. And, I pray that they will abide by that unwritten accord and decision. Although APGA was rocked by internal crisis in the past, it is still soldiering on. And if Soludo finally gets the APGA governorship ticket, he will utilize the APGA leverage as the ruling party in the state to maneuver his way to power.
However, we should not gloss over the fact that PDP and APC pose a great threat to APGA’s bid and effort to retain the governorship seat come 2022. But has PDP weaned itself of its perennial, intractable, and debilitating problem and characteristic of fielding multiple governorship candidates for governorship election in Anambra state? Can its egoistical political big guns bury their differences, place their party’s interests above their selfish interests, and organize a primary governorship election that will be credible and acceptable to all party members? It will be a herculean task for them to do that.
And, as to APC, it doesn’t have a stronghold in the state. And Anambra people’s perception that APC is the political platform for reinforcing and solidifying the existence of Hausa/Fulani political hegemony in Nigeria cannot be easily erased from the people’s minds. Not a few people of Igbo extraction are implacably opposed to APC’s continued leadership of Nigeria owing to the APC- led government’s marginalization of people from the southeast of Nigeria. So, against the background of the unfavourable political situation which APC and PDP face in Anambra, it will be an advisable and judicious act for Professor Soludo to stay the course as to competing in the forthcoming governorship race in Anambra. He should not be deterred by his past futile efforts and attempts to become the governor of Anambra state. His resolve to contest the governorship election in the state should remain unshakable.
Again, given Anambra state’s pedigree and status as home state of achievers and global citizens, it is appropriate and desirable for it to be led by a tested and experienced technocrat, who possesses probity, leadership qualities, and political and economic knowledge. And Professor Soludo fittingly fits the bill of the kind of governor Anambra needs at this political juncture in its existence.
In addition to being a fine and first class scholar, he had worked for top global financial institutions, and taught at Ivy League universities, garnering experience in the process. More importantly, too, his stay in office between 2004 and 2009 as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was not tainted by allegations of financial misconduct and other sundry crimes.So, I am advising Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo to take a leaf out of the political book of Abraham Lincoln, who was a former president of America. And, he should not chicken out of the governorship race now owing to what he had encountered lately because now is the auspicious time for him to contest the Anambra governorship election contest.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi Anambra state