Anambra 2021: Soludo the most wanted bride

Posted by News Express | 28 July 2020 | 1,656 times

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•Ex-CBN Governor, Prof Soludo



With the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State ticking closer to D-Day, political gladiators and money bags are again matching to the political arena for another wrestle mania as the incumbent, Governor Willie Obiano, wraps up his eight year flamboyant leadership.

Some of the big names jostling to take over the Agu Awka seat of power include former Central Bank Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Senator Uche Ekwunife, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), Val Ozigbo, Sen Ifeanyi Ubah, Dr. Godwin Maduka, Obiora Okonkwo, Tony Nwoye, among others.

While some of the aspirants have stood the test of time in the murky waters of Anambra politics, some others are simply green horns registering their presence on the political register.

So far, Soludo appears to be the most favoured of the aspirants to grab power come 2022. His wide acceptance both at home and abroad may not be far from his achievements during his time as Central Bank Governor.

To many political watchers, the former CBN governor as an economist has what it takes to bring about the paradigm shift in the state. According to Mr. Henry Nwune, “Soludo is the only one that will right the wrong being experienced in the state now.

“A lot of things have gone wrong, look at our roads, especially those within the state capital, Awka, they are a total write-off.

“Building fly over bridges along the expressway does not make a state capital. Work need to be done within the city itself. For example, the location of Eke Awka market needs to be changed to a larger open area that will also accommodate a parking space. Such feat can only be achieved by a man whose mindset is to make Anambra a Dubai of Africa, that man is Soludo.”

For a Belgium-based Anambra-born Emeka Emmanuel, “The only person that can get things done right in Anambra State is Soludo. Most of us believe in his capacity and capability. I don't know who others are but what I know is that is that Soludo has the qualities needed to be a leader, he is smart, well educated and connected.

“As a Central Bank Governor, he performed excellently well and made our people proud, I tell you, he will do well like Peter Obi. Our people should not make the mistake of bringing another abroad man or a political neophyte to govern Anambra State again. If they make that mistake again, then we are finished.”

Though the ex-Central Bank governor is yet to make his intention about contesting the November 2021 election known, his body language and the clamour from different quarters, including a group under the umbrella of the incumbent party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), speaks volumes of what may be in the pipeline.

However, there seems to be an ongoing rancour within the hierarchy of the ruling party as the party is said to be divided between believers and none believers in Soludo.

Feelers have it that while the state governor is rooting for Soludo as his replacement, his wife who wields a strong influence in the decisions of the party is opposing the idea. It was gathered that the First Lady’s opposition is borne out of her fear that Soludo, if given power, will not be loyal enough to cover their excesses. An inside source who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Madam is not comfortable with Soludo’s arrogance. She is worried that the ex-Central Bank Governor will not be loyal to them after hand over.”

The said opposition of Soludo as APGA’s candidate may be a clog in the wheel of his emerging as the party’s flag bearer.

However, feelers have it that the All Progressive Congress (APC) may be courting the economist as its possible flag because of his general approval by electorates.

Information has it that the move was cocked with his recent appointment into the Economic Team by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, the old bloc in the party led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, may form a huge wall to ensure the idea is not birthed.

Another pitfall that may stand in Soludo’s part is the opposition of the zoning process by some elites, including traditional rulers. For example, monarchs of Anambra Central senatorial zone in a recent meeting held at the palace of the traditional ruler of Ukwulu, Dunukofia LGA, Igwe Peter Uyanwa, voted against the zoning of the governorship election come next year. Uyanwa said it was undemocratic to ask aspirants from other sections to quit the race.

The traditional rulers while faulting the idea dissociated themselves from any zoning arrangement for the 2021 governorship election. They insisted that the zoning arrangement ended with the incumbent administration saying that every zone of the state has taken turns to lead Anambra State since 1999.

They said: “Credibility of candidate and capacity to deliver good governance is more paramount to us than zoning.”

A communiqué released at the end of the meeting reads in part: “At the meeting of Anambra Central Traditional Rulers Forum held on July 22, 2020, it was unanimously resolved that we disassociate ourselves from any zoning arrangement in Anambra State gubernatorial election

“That we in the Central forum will only accept and encourage any credible governorship candidate that is ready, willing and capable of delivering the dividend of democracy to the people of Anambra State.”

Few months ago, the traditional rulers of Anambra North senatorial District also disassociated themselves from the zoning arrangement for the forthcoming election. The North Monarchs had said there was nowhere Anambra people sat and agreed on zoning formula for governorship.

It appears that it is only traditional rulers in the South Zone of the state that are throwing weight behind the zoning call. For instance, the traditional rulers from the zone led by Igwe Nwafor Orizu of Nnewi had supported the zoning of governorship election to the South. This support may not be farfetched as an illustrious son of the zone, Senator Ubah is also eyeing the Agu-Awka seat if power.

Though Governor Obiano does not have similar political clout as Obi, he has been siding the clamour for power shift to Anambra South, so as to ensure that the APGA gubernatorial standard-bearer could emerge from there. APGA stakeholders in the state claim that Obiano has resolved on making the former CBN governor, Prof Soludo, his successor.

But opponents of zoning proponents have argued that the inability of the authors of South zoning to mobilise the entire people of Anambra South to produce a consensus candidate, like Obi did in 2013 has weakened the zoning argument

But, some political pundits are of the opinion that since political jobbers hijacked the process and imposed Obiano, instead of Dr. Chike Obidigbo, who was the consensus choice of Anambra North in 2013, nobody should be talking about zoning.

A cursory look at the ongoing electoral dynamics in the state is evident that in his desperation to play godfather and implant a successor, the governor seems to be apprehensive that opposition party, PDP, with its spread and strength could harm his succession plan.

While APGA is bent on holding tightly to power in the state, other political parties like PDP, APC and YPP are sitting on needles and pins hoping to register a knock out.

For Soludo who could not grab his then party's (PDP) ticket during the 2013 governorship in the state, there is hope that with the various calls for him to contest, his winning the APGA will eventually put a nail in the coffin.

Source: News Express

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