The Anambra November 6, 2021 governorship election which was adjudged fair, free and credible witnessed fair turnout.
The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), a grassroots party in Anambra State witnessed major defection in the last six month as six state legislators and the deputy governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke and some ward chairmen defected to All Progressive Congress (APC).
On the above development, pundits had noted that the former governor of Central Bank would not win the election, even as they mocked APGA as a vanishing platform faulted to appreciate the depth of party supports.
Gov elect, Soludo stuck to a plan that worked to perfection in his party’s governorship primary – a campaign built around his personality and track record of performance and message of hope for ndi Anambra.
The threat of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB) and other domestic issues of APGA made it a little difficulty for success for the ruling party.
He scaled series of obstacles that would pull down any other candidate down. There were court cases that challenged his victory at APGA primary and other suits over eligibility of party leadership that nominated him. He maintained absolute calm over the storm.
Ndi Anambra saw him as a perfect candidate with a message of hope to the people. It was perhaps against this background that the electorates in the state showed their aversion towards the political establishment given the state of affairs in particular, Anambra and the South East in general.
It is believed that the most convincing strategy that worked for APGA was the zoning arrangement which had earlier worked against Soludo in 2013. According to the arrangement, there will be power shift to Anambra South after Gov. Obiano.
He won the ticket after polling 740 votes against Okwudili Ezenwnkwo, Damian Okolo and ThankGod Ibe, who scored 14, seven and four votes, respectively .
In his acceptance speech as the candidate of APGA, he made a promise to unveil his manifesto in August, which he did to the admiration of APGA members.
His words, “partisan politics aside, APGA is serving the people better and ndi Anambra don’t want to go back to Egypt. Of course, the road to becoming livable and prosperous homeland will remain a work in progress for a while. The govt over the next four years will have to lay the foundation for the Anambra Vision 2070.
“Ours is a land of possibilities and opportunities. We need continuity, consolidation and transformation to build on the exiting foundation and maximise our potentials. We need to unite and mobilise the creative energies and capital of our people all over the world, as well as other investors to live out the essence of our motto, “Light of the Nation”.
During the campaign, every where Soludo and his campaign train moved, they reiterated the party’s philosophy of Nke a Bu Nke Anyi, even as they harped on its good governance and delivery of democracy .
APC, PDP and other political parties took a costly political strategy by banking and convincing, making top members of the ruling party to defect to their parties. About six members of APGA in the state Assembly, as well as the deputy governor defected to APC.
They also embarked on variable and federal might structures across the nation and huge financial war chest to attract defectors and willing electorates.
APC had a vigorous campaign and made giant strides both in the media and on community level. They looked good to capture the state but Gov Obiano and Soludo’s faithful, who are basically the grassroots, as well as national officers of APGA kept faith of in their philosophy of being their brother’s keeper.
APGA is powerful in Nigeria’s politics. Other democracies across the world, the incumbent candidate of political party usually has an advantage over challengers at election.
Soludo’s brilliant profile among the candidates contesting the Anambra guber poll Soludo profile stands out.
Apart from heading the nation’s apex bank, Soludo also has a unique experience of serving as economic adviser for two of the country’s presidents – Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buharia. As an economics professor, Soludo has also worked for various international financial institutions across the world.
Being a former governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party in 2010, Soludo’s understating of the political terrain of Anambra as well as his popularity among ndi Anambra is not in doubt.
The performances of Obiano’s administration and the gesture of Gov Obiano, who saw the need to pay retired workers who had been neglected by previous administration for many decades worked well for the party. All civil servants and retired staff needed no campaign by any political party.
Lastly, the performance of Soludo at governorship debate spoke volume for APGA. Other candidate still performed but Soludo stood out . During the election proper, investigations show the presence of major political parties faithful but it is in doubt if they voted for the parties they actually represented.
Defectors strategy did not work out during the election. According to investigations, Onitsha North and South, Idemili North and South, Njikoka, Ayamelum and Ihiala Local Government Areas voted massively for APGA and those politicians’ that defected from APGA lost in their polling units. Also, in Ogbaru, the incumbent senator respecting Anambra North Senatorial Zone in the National Assembly, Senator Stella Oduah, who defected to APC lost in her local government.
The Anambra election should be a big lesson for all parties and defectors. It appeared as if some people took the money and vote according to their conscience. When defectors lose in their polling units, what then is the essence of defection?
The transparency and credibility of INEC were glaring as it refused to be compromised. The election is a lesson to political jobbers who hustle from one party to another.