New Telegraph

Anambra 2021: Soludo’s win may be ‘dramatically bigger’ than hoped

I just returned from a trip to Anambra State where I took time to interact with different people across the state on political issues concerning the upcoming governorship election.


The people were enthusiastic to share their thoughts on Prof Charles Soludo, the APGA candidate and his redeeming purpose in politics.


They see his emergence as the APGA flag bearer as a saving grace for the party and the state. They also spoke of the chances of the APC’s candidate whom some said is making reasonable inroads despite being virtually absent in the campaign and yet celebrating victory.


They fear his notoriety in ‘manufacturing’ election results. They contend that in a free, fair and credible contest that Soludo will win in a landslide. The people spoke glowingly of Prof Soludo whom they said did well in both academics and public service.


His credentials as former CBN governor remain unassailable. One commentator described him as the best thing that will happen to the state in recent times.


He praised Obiano’s magnanimity in the choice of a successor who will perform better than he did. Soludo, they said, has a clear vision for the state. Going by public opinions, Soludo’s chances of winning the November 6 election are looking extremely good especially if things continue to go right with his campaign.


However, the people must be vigilant and where necessary mount a vigorous resistance against external interference, manipulation and wholesome stealing of the election.


On a personal note, I am with Soludo all the way. I believe in him. I share in his hope for a brighter future for the state. I love his dogged determination and the fact that he put Anambra first in his politics.


Going by his manifesto which I have read and compared side by side with others, we need to give him the chance to put our beloved state on the global map. I predict that he will win this election much more than is currently hoped otherwise Anambra people will have a lot of explanations to make to the Igbo nation.


In one of our conversations, Soludo told me that Anambra has a huge and untapped economic potential that needs to be unleashed. He spoke of the need to invest in our population; 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 good governance and a leadership that will assist the people in resolving their challenges.


According to Soludo, the people of Anambra are proud people who want to be able to solve their problems, take care of their needs and take care of their families. He said the people do not want government handouts to be able to feed themselves, their wives and children.


They want to work and earn living wages. The people said: “Do not expect the government to solve all their problems but rather a government that will assist them in solving their challenges by creating the enabling environment for good education , quality health care, peace and security, and an environment that will not just create opportunities but that will help businesses to thrive.”

It was the late Lamidi Adedibu, the strong man of Ibadan Politics that said: “If you don’t want to be told who dated your mother before    dad married her, don’t join politics”.


Once you are seeking public office, you become open to criticism, some of which will be unfounded, insane and silly. I have heard criticisms against Soludo by people who said he is both arrogant and elitist. I have also mentioned some of the street talks to him which he absorbed.


The Soludo I have come to know and respect is brilliant, engaging, intelligent and remarkably humble even-though sometimes stubborn to his convictions.


Perhaps it’s his brilliance and being stubborn to his conviction that those who couldn’t engage with him equate to arrogance. Soludo isn’t arrogant and neither is he aloof. He is well in sync with the needs of the common man.


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 or who may be carried away by the pecks of office. We need a leader who will deploy the power and influence of his office to our collective good.


When Dr Chris Ngige, the most important leader of the Anambra chapter of the ‘All Progressives Congress’ distanced himself from the party’s governorship candidate and gave his reasons, he spoke profoundly.


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.


The disillusioned remnants and their new recruits are not battle ready and therefore unable to organise the ground except their plan to cheat and steal plays out.

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 reward anyone remotely connected to that assault with our votes for their bad behaviour is like finding a needle in the hay-sack.


This November 6, the rejection will be total. APC’s only hope of ‘capturing’ Anambra is not by winning the hearts and minds of the people but to have her knees on the people’s neck through buying off unscrupulous stakeholders; using the police to conduct fake arrests and then steal the election.


The plan to overwhelm the state with security forces so as to win at all cost is abhorrent and condemnable, and should be stopped. Part of the game plan is to orchestrate the arrest of several APGA stalwarts before and during the election; use security operatives to suppress votes in APGA strongholds and possibly change the results at the point of final collations.


These are usual election malpractices which I believe both APGA, other parties involved in the election and the people should be prepared to resist. Democracy is all about peaceful elections.


Anambra people want a peaceful election on November 6. All of the 18 candidates are our sons and daughters. None of them are foreigners. A win for any of the candidates is a victory for Anambra State so long as such ‘winning’ is by the express wish of the people.


The people must therefore be allowed to freely decide. INEC is under obligation to ensure that the Anambra 2021 election is free, fair and credible. It must ensure that all votes count, and that violence and external interference by state and nonstate 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 down that tired road again.


Let’s allow the government of the people, by the people and for the people to flourish

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