Something unique happened in November last year. It was at Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. It so happened that at the inauguration of Soludo Promoters Forum, (SPF), Igbo-Ukwu chapter, a kolanut with seven lobes was discovered. Usually, Igbo kolanuts have four lobes. Some have three. But when it comes with seven lobes, it is seen in Igboland as unique and a sign of a big thing to happen. It is usually kept aside for an elaborate celebration at a later date. That kolanut was celebrated at the inauguration of SPF, Isuofia chapter, on January 1, this year.
Coincidentally, another unique thing is about to happen in November this year. Anambra State governorship election will take place on November 6. The three major parties, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), held their primary elections last week. But the cynosures of all eyes now are Mr. Valentine Ozigbo and Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
While Soludo clinched the ticket to fly the flag of APGA, Ozigbo is the standard-bearer of the PDP. Senator Andy Uba is the candidate of the APC. But there are still controversies trailing his emergence. Eleven of the 14 aspirants of the party have rejected the outcome of the primary, claiming there was no election. Other parties will also come up with their candidates.
No doubt, the road to Agu Awka (Anambra’s seat of power) is not paved with gold. It is rough. It is scary and it is strewn with thorns. It will not be surprising to see all manner of intrigues trail the bid of the major candidates to become governor of a state where a sitting governor was once kidnapped for political ransom.
In March this year, for instance, some gunmen almost killed Soludo in his hometown. He was addressing the youths of the town when the gunmen struck and shot dead his three police orderlies. Apparently, the aim was to scare him out of the race and stop people from attending his campaigns.
But his enemies miscalculated. The attack on him brought more people into his camp. His landslide victory (over 93 per cent) at the end of the APGA primary election is a testimony.
In my intervention on this page last week, I did state the importance of having a professional in politics. Titled, “Udom Emmanuel: Footprints of professional in politics,” I enumerated the achievements of Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State in the area of industrialization and concluded that he is the type of leader Nigeria needs at this period in its chequered history. Mr. Emmanuel is a former executive director of Zenith Bank.
My happiness in this upcoming election in Anambra is that the two main candidates are competent professionals. They are proven good managers of men and resources and can lift Anambra higher than they met it.
Soludo’s credentials, for instance, are intimidating. A child of destiny, he was born into a poor family at Isuofia in Aguata LGA of Anambra State. He went to rural schools and probably played some of those pranks rural children play. Today, this former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has defied all odds to become what the United Bank for Africa may call Africa’s global man. He not only made a first-class in Economics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he was the best graduating student at graduate, postgraduate and doctorate levels at the same UNN. Little wonder he became a professor in his 30s.
As a globally recognized economist, he has consulted for many global institutions such as the World Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, European Union, African Development Bank and many others. During his reign as the CBN governor between 2004 and 2009, he championed banking consolidation that changed the landscape of our banking industry for good. Currently, he is a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and chairman of Anambra Vision 2070, a committee set up to fashion out a strategy for the emergence of Anambra as a fully developed economy in the next 50 years. A multiple-award winner, Soludo is Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), Nigeria’s third highest national honour.
His vision for Anambra is to bequeath to the world a state that will rival Dubai and Taiwan in terms of human and capital development. It is not uncommon to hear cynics make snide comments about this promise. But knowing his pedigree, I have no doubt that he will achieve that, all things being equal.
One unique thing about Soludo’s candidacy is that he enjoys the support of over 30 support groups. Some of these groups not only campaign for him, they make monetary donations to aid his campaign. This is unlike the usual practice where an aspirant doles out money to induce people to support and vote for him.
Last week, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State boasted that Soludo would win all the 21 local government areas of the state with greater margin than his own victory four years ago. In that election, Obiano won all the 21 local government areas of the state. In his words, “Let us rally round Professor Soludo who will do far better than all previous governors of Anambra State, including me.”
The candidate of the PDP, Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo, is not a small fry either. He is the immediate past president and group chief executive officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp). The Transcorp conglomerate comprises Transcorp Power, Transcorp Hotels, and Transcorp OPL281 (an oil and gas company). He stepped down as president of the group in March 2020 and retains a seat on the boards of Transcorp Plc, Transcorp Hotels Plc and Transcorp Power Limited. Currently, he chairs the Finance and General Purpose Committee of Transcorp Power Limited.
Ozigbo hails from Amesi in Aguata LGA of Anambra State. A Chevening Scholar, he holds a B.Sc in Accounting and an MBA in Banking and Finance both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also has an M.Sc in Finance from Lancaster University, United Kingdom. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the Chartered Institute of Taxation, the Institute of Tourism Professionals and the Institute of Credit Administration. He is widely travelled and has over 25 years’ experience in corporate transformation, hospitality, energy and banking. Like Soludo, Ozigbo is a multiple award winner and has a grand vision for Anambra.
As November 6 draws closer, there will definitely be more political intrigues and more plots to bring these two gentlemen down. But my advice is that they should focus on the ball and never go for the leg of their opponents.
Make no mistake about it, Anambra elections are not a tea party. The state boasts of many billionaires who will splash money to woo voters. This election will not be different. But Anambra people are no fools. Money or no money, they will vote according to their conscience. They don’t want to go back to Egypt. Victory song is sweeter when it is won in a hard way.
Congratulations Professor Soludo and Mr. Ozigbo on the first-leg victory! The second leg is going to be tough. The eventual winner is the one who will score an away goal. It is only then that the full import of the kolanut puzzle will become manifest.
Re: Udom Emmanuel: Footprints of professional in politics
Dear Casy, good or bad government is a reflection of the personality of the arrowhead. In the case of the sub-system, otherwise Akwa Ibom State, the arrowhead came with an altruistic mindset that aims at changing the narrative enviably better, hoping to leave behind positive footprints in the annals of history so that posterity shall be kind to him. But in the case of the larger system, Nigeria, the arrowhead came with a cavalier mindset that mindlessly foists ethnic jingoism to the dismay of co-stakeholders who are left in limbo. Hence, the socio-political and economic convulsions that abound herein. Solution? Recourse to prayer for divine intervention to arrest the slide and have the said larger system ‘Udom-ised’ for the betterment of the entire collective where justice, equity and fair play are mutually inclusive.
– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731
Dear Casy, Mr. Emma Udom has joined the great men of honour who did well in the overall development of eastern region of Nigeria. Dr. M.I. Okpara, Dr. Akanu Ibiam government put eastern Nigeria on a world map with their massive development which made the east the fastest growing economy 1964 to 1972. We also use this medium to celebrate former governors Sam Mbakwe, Jim Nwobodo, Peter Obi and others whose development uplifted their states and the people. Let all the good people celebrate Gov. Udom.
– Eze Chima C. Lagos, +2347036225495
There is a popular saying that when a righteous person is on the throne, people rejoice. Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa lbom State is a leader that knows his onions as far as leadership is concerned. He is a silent achiever who doesn’t make noise but his achievements speak for him. Industrialization is ongoing to create jobs for his people. Some governors should borrow a leaf from Emmanual Udom’s leadership.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
The name Akwa Ibom rightly means ‘big river,’ from which the state derives its name. And as the state’s unique name implies, anyone from the usually teeming number of aspirants for the governorship office must role up his sleeves and work for the people. Or, have you not heard of the ‘Dakaada Philosophy’ of Akwa Ibom people? It means ‘Stand up and work for progress’. Akwa Ibom people are industrious and vigilant: hence, they are known for their proverbial demand for accountable leadership. When Godswill Akpabio the uncommon performer was at the helm, the people in spite of Akpabio’s sterling performance were still critical of his performance and demanded more. The man himself retorted that he would develop Akwa Ibom State with ‘anger’. Hence, a pragmatic and vigilant followership also begets accountable leadership. Udom Emmanuel’s developmental agenda is akin to the movement of a trailer on a downhill slope: it will take a great deal of momentum for anyone to stop this uncommon industrialization drive.
– Edet Essien Esq, Cal. South, 08037952470
Dear Casmir, example is the best leader. Over the years we’ve had reasons to be proud of governors like Balarabe Musa, Lateef Jakande, Peter Obi and now Emmanuel Udom. Economy needs a serene economic, political and social environment for development so Northern leaders should borrow a leaf.
– Cletus Frenchman Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
Casmir, every politician should be mindful of the legacy he is leaving behind when out of office. To ensure a good legacy, the politician should be able to manage people and fund entrusted to him irrespective of any godfatherism. They must realize that their works must speak for them in future. For those who thrive on propaganda and self-deceit they will end up dead politically even while they are still alive.
– Pharm. Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922