By Ejike Anyaduba
He is probably the only candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra who is without reproach. But like a cockroach that must lose its innocence at the gathering of fowls, he is guilty in the congregation of political rivals. Professor Chukwuma Soludo is roundly assailed by furious criticisms most of which unfounded, but necessary perhaps in whittling down his support base. Initially the attack was hebdomadal, but has increased to a daily routine possibly to invalidate his chance of winning the oncoming governorship election in the state. Some of the criticisms though expected are as spurious as the charge of arrogance is risible.
First, Soludo is not arrogant. He has no reason to be. He is brilliant, yes, admittedly confident. The charge of arrogance is ludicrous and does not define his person. Except for reasons of politics, those who have followed him since his governorship aspiration few years back will hesitate to call him arrogant. Arrogance connotes indiscipline and even defiance, neither of which describes the man. For Charlie nwa Mgbafor who received few privileges in life and had most of his accomplishments derived from personal exertions, arrogance hardly fits. He might be confident of speech, gait and action, but the charge of arrogance simply does not sit well with him. It takes more than brilliance to stay the course of banks consolidation and the many consultations he has rendered to institutions across the world. The proudly contemptuous hardly pay sedulous attention to anything, they walk out in a huff most of the time. Even his politics – the manner he plays it – does not show offensive attitude of superiority. He may enunciate principles and plays down personalities, but he is humble enough to play politics of inclusion. It may not be public knowledge, but his present position in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) did not come on a platter. He suffered some humiliating experiences. He was stopped in the 2013 governorship election in a manner that would make the arrogant call the bluff of the party. And many did. Again, he was prevailed upon in the repeat election of 2017 to stand down his ambition and support the incumbent Governor Obiano which he humbly abided. He did not allow any feeling of self-importance to get in the way unlike a few others who suffered the same fate. They did not only scoff at the idea, copped a walk to other parties, but went ahead to contest the election.
The same scenario almost played out in this election where the humility of most of the aspirants on the party’s ticket was tasked. The show of arrogance nearly almost cost the party a chance of fielding a candidate in the November election. The “aggrieved” were not just insufferably headstrong, but audacious enough to put the party through some difficult patch. Thankfully, that ugly chapter in APGA’s book of dissension has been successfully closed. This is not an attempt at absolving Soludo of common human failings. He is as weak as any other man and has not professed differently. Up to the time of writing this, he is not known to claim infallibility. It is therefore bad politics to intentionally misconstrue his confidence for arrogance and insist he should be hanged on that account.
Regardless, the deliberate misrepresentation of the intrepid economics teacher by those on the opposite ends of the political spectrum is the least of the worries of ndi Anambra. They are not as concerned with such distraction as with his governorship promises. A look at his manifesto shows a conscious effort to rework the state and make her the popular choice destination for business and industrialization. The four-pillar action plan as evident in the economic transformation, social agenda, governance, rule of law and value and environment, if followed to the letter promises total transformation of the state.
Even the worst of Soludo’s critics cannot deny that he has the capacity to take the state some notches up if elected on November 6. What those opposed to his governorship have against him is the fear that he will not succumb to manipulation. Of all the campaigners on the stump, including those on campaign jamboree outside of the state, only Soludo has the requisite skills to govern Anambra state presently constrained by many a Nigerian structural issue. Not thinking differently perhaps, the governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano, whose effort in bequeathing the state some legacy projects is widely acknowledged, insists that Soludo will do better him. This is an uncommon testimony only very few governors can give. It is not often that a governor, leaving office, will consciously desire a self-sufficient and capable candidate as a successor. What guides the process most of the time is selfishness and the desire for self-preservation. Bequeathing power to someone thought to be emotionally and intellectually dependent has been the hallmark of political succession in Nigeria. It is thought to guarantee safe passage for the one leaving office, but quite often the result hardly conforms to such expectation. Either because the successor is wrongly profiled or he chooses to act his own man once on the saddle.
But in Soludo, the Governor recognizes competence and thinks beyond self. At the risk of sounding self-deprecatory, he tells ndi Anambra that the former Central Bank Governor will do better than him. He knows what Soludo’s personal stock is and works hard to leave the state firmly in his hands. He is not unaware that true leadership is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action no matter the cost. And he knows too that to shore up development in vital areas of the state economy so as to create jobs for the youths, the choice of Soludo does not have to be compromised. It is not lost on him that “no man”, according to Dale Carnegie, “will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it”. He knows that Soludo governorship fits the time now that economies of most states in Nigeria are hobbled and need sound economic principles to extricate. In Soludo the hope of a progressive Anambra is sustained.
Anyaduba writes from Abatete