It was the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu , the strong man of Ibadan Politics that said, ‘if you don’t want to be told who dated your mother before your dad married her, don’t join politics.’
Once you are enmeshed in partisan politics or seeking public office, you become open to criticisms most of which will be unfounded, silly and insane, and often purveyed by people who barely know you.
I have heard Soludo mischaracterised as being both arrogant and elitist. But the Soludo I have come to know and respect is smart, brilliant , engaging, intelligent and remarkably humble, even though sometimes stubborn to his convictions. I must therefore thank Governor Willie Obiano for his magnanimity in choosing a candidate who will not just uphold his legacy but someone who will outperform him. That’s leadership.
Before being enmeshed in partisan politics, Soludo distinguished himself academically as a Professor of Economics. He also discharged himself creditably well as a public officer and rose to the peak of the banking career as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
As CBN governor, he managed the apex bank very well. He evolved sound monetary policies that kept the country on the right economic path.
If we recall, he was a CBN governor the people believed in. His life story seems to confirm everything that was good about Nigeria at a time. As a former CBN governor and world class economic consultant, he advised presidents, governments of countries and international financial institutions.
Anyone who knows him, who has had personal interactions with him will confirm he is very impressive, legitimately smart, intelligent and deeply knowledgeable about the world. He is openly patriotic and nationalistic. He is obviously superior to a lot of people that was in the corridor of power before and after him.
Soludo is a man who got to the peak of his academic and professional career purely on merit. Then our system elevated the best and it worked. Then, meritocracy was one of unifying factors and Soludo embodied it.
Soludo’s candidacy as APGA flag bearer in the upcoming governorship election scheduled for November 6th is important now than ever. Electing him as governor and successor to Willie Obiano is a lifetime opportunity we mustn’t miss.
At a time when the Igbo voice is diminished and subdued, he represents a strong voice who will speak for our people, a good voice of reason for that matter. In my view, the man Soludo is much bigger than partisan politics.
He stands tall and above all the other candidates being paraded in this election. In the eyes of the people, he is the most qualified candidate for the governorship position . This is why his candidacy is both exciting and attractive. I believe in him and I am convinced he is not just worthy of our votes but will make an excellent governor for the state after Obiano.
Perhaps it’s his brilliance and being stubborn to his conviction that some people mistake for arrogance. Soludo isn’t arrogant and neither is he aloof. He well understands the needs of the people. We need a leader like him, who is humble, but who will not be controlled by godfathers to the detriment of the masses, a leader who is not in love with money, who will not be carried away by the perks of office. We need a leader who will deploy the power and influence of his office to the collective good of the people.
In one of our conversations, Soludo told me that Anambra has huge and untapped economic potential that need to be unleashed. He spoke of the need to invest in our population; need to invest in formal and informal education as well as enhanced productivity by channelling funds into infrastructures and SMEs. He praised the resilience and ingenuity of our people and stressed that all that is required is a leadership that will assist the people in resolving their challenges.
According to Soludo, the people of Anambra are hardworking and proud people who want to be able to solve their problems , take care of their families. He said a typical Igbo man does not want government handouts to be able to feed themselves, take care of their wives and children. They want to work and earn a living.
The people, he said ‘do not expect government to solve all their problems but rather a government that will assist them in solving their problems by creating the enabling environment for them to thrive and reach the heights in the pursuit of their endeavour.
Those that fear the emergence of Soludo as governor fear him because they think he knows too much and as such cannot be manipulated or pocketed, hence their resort to cheap blackmail and unfounded propaganda.
When Dr Chris Ngige, the most important leader of the Anambra chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) distanced himself from the party’s governorship candidate and gave his reasons, he made profound statements . We should better listen and hearken to him. Ngige apparently withdrew with the soul of the party in the state, leaving behind an empty shell, a weak shadow and a carcass of sorts. Forget the gales of defection, the disillusioned remnants and their new recruits are not battle ready and therefore unable to organize the ground.
On account of the unfortunate event of 2003, where a sitting governor was kidnapped by a group in collusion with the police, finding a thoroughbred Anambra person who will knowingly reward anyone remotely connected with the event with votes is like finding a needle in the hay-sack. And this November 6, the rejection will be total.
Democracy is all about peaceful elections. Anambra people want a peaceful election on the 6th of November. The people must therefore be allowed to freely decide.
INEC is under obligation to ensure that the Anambra 2021governorship election is absolutely transparent. INEC must ensure that all votes count, and that violence and external interference by states and non-state actors are not rewarded.
In a free and fair contest which must include instant electronic transmission of results, I am convinced that Soludo will win ‘ big’ .
Let me warn that those that make peaceful elections impossible are destroying our democracy, and we don’t need to go that tired road again.