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Anambra Election: APGA’s victory and what it portends for Ndi Anambra

By Chidi Ezeoke (C-Bright)

Generally speaking, political elections are usually full of intrigues and surprises, but I think the concluded Anambra State elections seem to be exceptional in many respects.

Firstly, it was quite uncertain few days before the scheduled date whether INEC could possibly proceed with conduct of the elections given the heightened level of violence in the state and the conflicting orders from non-State actors. Fortunately, the election was eventually held and it has so far been adjudged to be largely peaceful too, though with very low voter turnout and a few technical hitches here & there on the part of the INEC.

However, the fact that voting eventually took place in the state at all, and was largely peaceful too, amidst all the confusions preceding it, is by itself a huge success and should be a source of great relief for Ndi Anambra and all lovers of democracy in Nigeria.

Again, as we await the remaining results from Ihiala and final declaration of the winner by INEC, results from the 20 LGAs already announced suggest that Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of APGA is so far cruising home to victory, with a leading position in 18 out of the 20 LGAs announced so far.

Of course, one could guess that not many people could have predicted such near landslide victory for APGA in the election given the not-so-impressive performance of the Obiano administration (especially in his 2nd term). Definitely not with all the last minute mass defections from the party, the barrage of court cases, and coupled with the array of political heavy weights populating the other major political parties.

But again, that’s the reality of most electoral contests…..the process is usually full of intrigues and surprises, making it quite difficult for accurate predictions.

As the Holybook says:”The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,….”

If any political party presented the brightest prospects of victory in the election from the beginning it was the PDP, but then it bungled that opportunity with its shabby primaries and internal contradictions. The PDP is the only other major political party in the state with very massive, solid and well entrenched structures aside APGA. It also had within its fold, nearly all the political heavyweights in the state and a multitude of foot soldiers and grassroots mobilizers spread across all the nooks and crannies of the state. However, with the last minute change of the delegates list, from statutory to ‘super’ delegates, many of its grassroots mobilizers who had hoped to benefit from the primary were sidelined and they felt alienated. And nothing shows that much reconciliatory efforts was made to woe them back to the party afterwards.

Similarly, many of the heavyweights who eventually bought forms & contested for the primary expressed concerns & dissatisfaction with its conduct. And yet again, it was never heard that much serious efforts were made to placate or assuage their concerns.

So, with all the aggrieved PDP grassroot mobilizers working against the party on election day and many of the political heavyweights out of the party along with their supporters, the coast was cleared for APGA to win the election.

Well, that’s by the way. Issues of PDP & its internal contradictions clearly fall outside the main focus of this article.

I equally don’t think it’s necessary to devote much time discussing the role of the APC or other fringe parties in the elections, as they basically lack the required solid structures in the state to pose any serious threat to APGA. The primary aim of this intervention is to attempt a brief postmortem of the election and to analyse what the now almost certain Soludo’s victory portends for Ndi Anambra.

As mentioned above, the election can safely be adjudged as quite successful to the extent that it eventually held at all & was largely peaceful despite the heightened tensions & palpable fears preceding it. Of course, if INEC had failed to conduct the elections in the state on account of insecurity alone, we all know it could’ve triggered chains of actions and reactions capable of pulling the state many years backwards. In that regard therefore, I think we really should give kudos to INEC, the various security forces and all the CSOs who made the conduct of the elections possible.

And on APGA’s victory, honestly I’m deeply convinced that it should give Ndi Anambra cause to rejoice. Sentiments apart, I frankly doubt that any other political party fielded a better candidate than APGA in the election. Judging by his track record of sterling performance in almost all his past endeavours, there’s no iota of doubt in my mind about the capacity and ability of Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo to take Anambra state to greater heights when he’s eventually sworn in as the state Governor.

As a matter of fact, I don’t think that any Nigerian who witnessed the level of unprecedented reforms and transformations he introduced in the nation’s banking sector during his tenure as the CBN Governor would have any reason to doubt his performance ability, except if the person is simply being mischievous.

Judging alone by what the Nigerian banking sector was before he became the CBN Governor and where he left it at the end of his tenure, I think he truly carved a niche for himself as a genius, with unequalled clarity of vision. Of course, I’m not oblivious of some criticisms against him both during and after his stay in government. And I must state clearly that this article is certainly not in any way intended to defend him or attempt to portray him as a saint.

Nevertheless, as Plutarch would say: “It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man’s oration ( or works)–nay, it is very easy; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.” Similarly,Theodore Roosevelt Jnr, the 26th President of America aptly captures it thusly: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong stumbles, or where the doer of the deeds could have done them more better…credit actually belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust, sweet & blood…”

The true definition of greatness doesn’t imply absence of weaknesses or failures, it rather describes people who continues to record tremendous accomplishments despite all the human weaknesses.
Prof Soludo may, without doubt, have his own weaknesses which of course makes him human, but by and large, he has recorded many great accomplishments despite such human frailties. And I honestly have no doubt he would want to write his name in gold by setting a new and unprecedented performance standards in Anambra state when he’s eventually sworn in as the Governor.

I’ve read some articles where some people raised issues against his seeming silence and overt support for the current administration in the state. While such concerns seem to have some merits on the surface of it, I think that whoever understands the dynamics of Nigerian politics will certainly not blame the Prof much.

When one considers how much & for how long he had desired the governorship of the state and how he had been cheated and ridiculed by many trusted allies & political parties, you’ll begin to understand his reasons for playing along with Obiano. I guess he must’ve been working with the government in total humility just so as not to miss the last and only available opportunity for the actualization of his governorship aspirations…a clear case of stooping to conquer.

As the saying goes: “great leaders know how to balance between friendship and enmity. They know where to draw the line when it comes to both aspects. Just reserve your judgment of his relationship with the Obiano administration until he’s sworn in as the executive Governor of the state, then you csn better assess him by his own performance & standards. I’ve equally read where some people tried comparing him with some of his fellow contestants in the election, especially the PDP candidate. Well, as mentioned earlier, I think that Prof Soludo stands shoulder high above all the other candidates in the election.

Much as the PDP candidate looks quite refined and intelligent, I honestly don’t think he’s any match to Soludo. His seeming naivety which, of course, made him attractive to some notable power brokers in the first instance, will most likely reduce him to a mere puppet in the hands of his benefactors. And I honestly don’t think that Anambra state needs such neophyte as a Governor at this stage.

With the current confusions in the entire Southeast region….the violent activities, and conflicting instructions from non state actors, coupled with the obvious leadership vacuum which currently exist amongst the political elites across the region, Anambra state certainly need a firmly footed Governor, with clarity of visions and mind of his own if the state must reclaim its pride of place as the true flagship of Southeastern states.

The entire Southeast is anxiously yearning for such strong & focused leadership which Anambra state alone has the capacity to provide, but which it has so far failed to provide owing mainly to leadership deficits. And that’s where Prof Chukwuma Soludo come in. He perfectly fits into that role.
I therefore sincerely enjoin our great people, Ndi Anambra, to shun all petty sentiments and partisanship, especially now that election campaigns and voting is over, and rally round to give Prof. Soludo our unflinching support & corporation to enable him transform the state as he’s eventually going to be declared the winner.

I’m very certain we (both as Anambrarians and as Southeasterners) will have no regrets for so doing.

~~ Chidi Ezeoke (C-Bright) writes from Lagos

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