The overwhelming 19/21 victory of Prof. Charles Soludo in the just concluded governorship election in Anambra State has been attracting reactions from across the 21 Local Government Area of the state.. In this chat, the Chief Executive, Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), Dr. David Nzekwu, attributes the overwhelming victory to the good governance of the Governor Willie Obiano-led administration. He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts:
IN A nutshell, what are those factors contributory to this massive victory by Prof. C. C. Soludo?
The analysis of the factors is simple. Prof. Soludo contended for the governorship position under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). You see the electorates are wise now. Most of them are no more enticed with money. What they vote for now is credibility of the candidates, their character and their pedigree. They seldom vote for parties nowadays. But the unique situation here is that the voters see both the APGA candidate and APGA itself as credible. They repose implicit confidence in the two. They see Soludo as the best candidate amongst all of them. He’s an academic of international repute. He has the vision, the skill, experience and the capacity to govern Anambra creditably. His ability in this regard is never in doubt. He headed many committees locally and internationally; economic committees in both developing and advanced economies. In these committees, he has acquitted himself creditably.
In fact, his committees have helped many countries come out from their economic woes. It’s needless enumerating the countries here for want of time. Secondly, when he was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, he brought in sweeping reforms which’re helping many banks and customers today. As I said in my last report, the current e-banking and the recently introduced e-money are all products of Prof. Soludo’s inauguration in the banking sector. Let me say that during the polls, the electorate saw APGA candidate, Soludo as their saviour, as one who will do well like the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, Akpokuedike Global, Agunechemba Aguata, Ebubedike Ndigbo.
They say “like father like son”. From what was seen on ground today in Anambra State in terms of socio-economic development, it’s not boasting if I state that APGA government in the state has done marvelously well, better than may states in this country. In fact, Soludo’s seen as one who’ll, may even do better than Governor Obiano and the governor has said so often and on. Prof. Soludo has all it takes to administer the socio, economic and political affairs of Anambra excellently. As I said earlier in the previous discourse, Prof. C. C. Soludo, an acknowledged economist, is an example of an outstanding geniuse marked by distinction, superiority, excellence and intelligence. He is a distinguished personality that embodies exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, originality and excellence.
In fact, his high level of professionalism in getting things done timely without compromise on quality, speaks volume of his increasing passion to inspire the world. Anambra governor-elect’s reputation has become a reference statement of competence and resourcefulness. His achievements are too numerous to be exhausted here. Ndi Anambra are happy to vote for him. They’re aware that their vote to Soludo is a vote for continuity, competence, honesty, intelligence and inspirational leadership. So far, you can see the contributory factors to the convincing victory of Soludo and therefore, APGA, at the governorship polls. Then you’ve to watch and see how he’ll govern the state, to see transparency, equity, justice and fairness, prudent resource management and inclusive governance; to see democracy truly in action. Soludo is the man of the people.
I’ve no doubt in my mind that he’ll do quite well like our governor. You know of his international connections. Their benefits will be tapped in the course of his administration. Anambra electorates took the right decision in voting for him. In these polls, you remember where an elderly woman was induced with money to sell her conscience and she vehemently refused. Later, she became half a million naira richer, the reward for uprightness.
Time has gone when you come to the polls and before polling, you dictate who the winner’ll be. Ndi Anambra are now wiser. No doubt their wisdom stemmed from the good governance of the Obiano administration, his APGA-led government. They’ve been enjoying dividends of true participatory democracy and they’ve decided not to go for the wrong person or the wrong party.
Now, there’s another angle to the answer to your question. I want to make bold to say that if APGA-led government under the Obiano administration weren’t doing well, Prof. Soludo wouldn’t have got such massive votes. The government now in the state is doing exceptionally well in all aspects of governance, in the people’s welfare, in all sectors of the economy, in the ease of doing business, even in security. Remember ours is the safest state in Nigeria, the national insecurity raving the country notwithstanding. In fact, our governor, Chief Willie Obiano has received award from Africa Security Watch in Gambia as the Best Governor on Security. See, at the twilight of this administration, government is executing legacy projects like the International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, quite completed; the 10,000 capacity sitter International Conference Centre and Awka Stadium, all nearing completion. A government not worth its salt will not embark on such grandiose projects now that it’s just a few months to go. In employment generation, you see how busy our youths are. Early in the morning, you see hundreds of them busy in tricycle (keke), in mini buses (shuttles) “hustling”, and they make it. You see relative peace and tranquility in the state. Leave the issue of the so called ‘unknown gun men’. They’ll soon leave. Anambra is peaceful and stable. As I was saying, more youths are engaged in one form of employment activity or the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) is on hand granting them soft loans for their businesses and also supporting farmers, including multinationals like Ekcell, Joseph Agro Ltd, Coscharis, Stine Industries, Tricity Farms, Mass Devam Farm, Del Farm to mention but a few. Already, over 1500 youth are engaged in these farms. The present administration’s robust programme and Governor Obiano’s initiative and assiduity in this regard cannot be over emphasised. Our Igbo adage put in pigeon English says “good soup na money makam”.
It is the good; in fact, quality performance of the Obiano APGA-led administration that made ndi Anambra cast almost all their votes to APGA’s Soludo. So in the last Polls, both APGA and Soludo had advantage. Whereas majority of the voters saw APGA and Soludo fit, credible, worthy, and “exhausted” their votes for them, voters for other parties weighed the suitability of either the governorship candidates or their parties.
Now that APGA and Prof. Soludo have got landslide victory, what are the expectations of the electorates, in fact every onye Anambra come March 17, 2022, when the governor-elect, Soludo will be sworn in?
I will first answer this in a short sentence and later expatiate. Every onye Anambra expects to see, to experience same good, quality governance as the one he/she enjoys now. Let me now itemise, in fact elaborate on the good governace of the present APGA-led administration that has attracted the electorates to the APGA candidate at the last gubernatorial polls.
Governor Obiano’s right focus, vision and robust programmes and policies have entrenched quality service delivery in all aspects of governance since he came on board 7 ½ years ago. We’ve witnessed unprecedented, uncommon multi-sectoral development in all sectors with priority given to the security and welfare of the citizenry.
Here in Anambra, food security’s been assured right from the onset of this administration when it set up committees that worked assiduously to shift the state agric economy from subsistent to mechanised farming with incentive that attracted the multi-national agric farms mentioned earlier in this discourse. In fact, this administration has driven Anambra State towards the path of sustained transformation and prosperity.
It’s created a culture of entrepreneurship that adds great value to the state economy through its support to Small and Medium Enterprises which constitutes the bedrock of any economy. You can see when employment in other states is on a record high triggering violence, youth restiveness in these states, here in Anambra as explained earlier, youths are seen busy daily in their respective work places. Anambra has become exemplary in rapid development. It’s the least indebted state in Nigeria and this government has highly innovated development strategy. The state itself is the most investment friendly destination in Nigeria.
The governor’s style of governance has so much endeared ndi Anambra, including persons from other political divides to him that he gets much support across the state. One sector of the economy, education is key to national growth and our state enjoys pre-eminence in educational standard from primary through secondary to tertiary levels. The local and international feats achieved by our students lay credence to this fact. The state’s APGA-led government has enshrined the probity of accountability and transparency in all its dealings.
That’s why all funds generated are prudently managed. In fact, Governor Obiano has restored people’s confidence in governance. From the aforesaid, you can now see why voters went to the APGA candidate, Soludo, to enjoy the benefits of similar government; APGA-led government which they believe will cater for them. To the best of my knowledge ndi Anambra wanted APGA-led administration, hence their massive votes for its candidate.
Remember the voters defied all odds, heavy security personnel, fear of the unknown and came out because they didn’t want to take chances. They wanted to be sure that APGA candidate will succeed governor Obiano.
Now to your question proper, the expectations of the state citizenry including the labour force after their massive votes for APGA candidate. Let’s begin with the labour force which is the engine room of any government. Workers in the state expect regular payment of their salaries and allowances as has been the case since the inception of the present administration on March 17, 2014. APGA’s a party that believes in the right and welfare of citizens. I assure you, come next year, March, 17, workers’ll continue to receive their salaries regularly.
The incoming Soludo administration knows the importance of good working relationship with the state workforce. Then the masses will expect water tight security as witnessed under the present administration and improved standard of living. I will assure everyone that an expert in finance management, Prof. Soludo, who knows the workings of the interplay of supply and demand to equate prices is coming, and when he takes over the mantle of leadership in March, next year, he will, as the incumbent governor has repeatedly said, “perform better than him”. However, expectations of ndi Anambra are high. To whom much is given, much is required, and I’ve no doubt that he, Soludo, will perform creditably.
Ndi Anambra’ve been blessed to be under APGA-led administration. Just imagine what played out before the polls commenced. Some decamped from APGA to other parties. This never bothered APGA faithful because they know the calibre, the stuff of their candidate. After the elections, he swept the polls because he, Soludo’s the requisite qualifications to win.
In fact, the last governorship poll was the most keenly contested in the state if not in entire country.
In spite of all odds, people, the electorates were seen trooping out enmass to exercise their franchise under such tense atmosphere, dire circumstance. What’s your take here?
This simply goes to prove all I’ve been saying in this dialogue. It shows the readiness, determination of the people of the state to come out, vote, and protect their votes. Ndi Anambra showed resilience, unshakeable commitment and readiness to guard, even follow their votes till they’re counted. It seemed they saw vultures hovering around, scavengers moving here and there and they acquired that grim determination to get where they trooped out to get to.
And they reached there, to Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo to give him their mandate, the go ahead to be their governor in the next dispensation. There, you see democracy at work. Remember the faces of the electorates in all the polling boots. It was as if serious battle is about to be waged and they showed readiness for any eventualities. And behold, nothing extraordinary happened save that they voted peacefully.
The INEC officials, the law enforcement agents, the army, police, Civil Defence, all must have expressed joy, yet surprise that there’s relative calm and peace. You can see the reaction of the people, the voters when the returning officer, Prof. Florence Obi, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, announced the election result.
There was jubilation everywhere. Not minding the tense atmosphere with security agents here and there, bars, restaurants were filled to the brim, people men and women, young and old, drinking and expressing their joy to God. This analysis is crucial because the electorates’ mood simply showed that they’ve got what they wanted, what they labored for, continuity of APGA-led administration.
I assure you with the peoples’ mood, if any loophole was created and the election rigged, in fact, with their grim determination; they would’ve defied the presence of security and do something serious because they were determined to see the true result. Let me here thank the electoral officials, the academics from the University of Calabar for doing a nice job. No mago mago, no wuru wuru. They collated the results they had and transmitted them to Awka and the Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Florence Obi announced what she received.
I also thank President Muhammade Buhari for allowing credibility to take its course throughout the election, and the security personnel for displaying high standard of professionalism in the course of their duty. I also commend the campaign boss, Governor Willie Obiano, who from the beginning displayed high sense of maturity, dexterity and doggedness. You can agree with me in all the campaigns APGA embarked on issue based campaign, no character assassination, and the winner, Soludo applied the principle of no victor, no vanquished. Here, everyone is a winner.
Now I’ll appeal to make to all ndi Anambra, irrespective of religious and political affiliations, they should rally round Prof. Soludo of APGA, join him to fashion out modalities to enthrone another peaceful, progressive administration that will usher in another stable egalitarian society where every onye Anambra’ll be talking of the benefits of APGA-led government.
Now believe me or not, if this gubernatorial election is conducted once more, even again and again, APGA candidate will win it. It’s clear to everyone. Ndi Anambra want APGA-led government and believe it, so it’ll remain because of its good governance.
As we wait patiently for the D Day, March 17, 2022, we pray God for good health, sound mind and peace so that that day, all will sing the chorus to god be the glory.