The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, is the official candidate of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 6th gubernatorial poll in Anambra State. Soludo, in the event of victory come November, would be succeeding the incumbent APGA Governor, Willie Obiano, whose second four-year tenure is billed constitutionally to end at the end of the year. Soludo remains, in the eye of the bookmakers, the candidate to beat in the forthcoming guber poll.
His candidacy is considered solid and favourite given the incumbency factor in his favour and the fact that APGA has established itself as a political party implanted in the hearts and minds of ‘ndi-Anambra’. Though the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would be fielding contenders for the top post Soludo could pull of a landslide victory if the state structure and machinery of the ruling party is deployed for him towards victory.
Anambra 2021 promises to be a battle, therefore, between APGA and the rest of the opposition parties. The reason is simple: In all the 36 states of the turbulent federation the party founded by the late Biafran warlord, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, remains the only party in control of only one state! APGA is unique in many ways — even under the Nigerian political standards.
Anambra state is lucky or fortunate to have had quality Governors unlike what obtains in our sister states like Abia and Imo. Peter Obi performed above average for eight years punctuated by illegal impeachments and litigations arising from same. Obiano is not doing badly given the landmark infrastructural achievements dotting the landscape.
Prof. Soludo, last week, was in the place of his birth, Isuofia town, Aguata Local Government Area of the state. At the Civic Centre he had organized an interactive town hall meeting with the youths of the community. According to Prof. Soludo himself live on Channels Television in Lagos, he had just finished his presentation signalling for question and answer session to commence when suddenly some armed hoodlums or bandits invaded the venue shooting indiscriminately!
As the gun battle subsided three police orderlies of the ex-CBN boss lay dead in the pool of their blood! Soludo himself managed miraculously to escape the mayhem with his body, spirit and soul intact. Besides, the attackers had abducted one Hon. Emeka Ezenwanne, the Commissioner of Public Utilities.
With the aggressive kidnapping of the Commissioner (who has since regained his freedom) the crucial question being asked centred on the real motive behind the bloodbath. Was it aimed at killing or kidnapping Soludo? Was it a politically-motivated assassination attempt as alleged by the APGA Media Warriors? Were the masterminds about to settle a cheap political score?
According to Governor Obiano in his televised Easter message to the Anambra people the Commissioner was released unhurt without any dime or ransom paid to the killer-kidnappers. The military and police personnel were deployed to set Ezenwanne free in a jiffy. But if he were to be ordinary mortal or an artisan would he have been freed speedily?
The issue of security (or the absence of same) has become a huge national challenge defying almost every Buharian effort — if there is any at all lately. Nowhere is safe any longer, not even the temples of God or those of knowledge. Even Aso Rock has had its fair share of insecurity given the gunfight involving the First Lady, her aides and children and an aide of the President.
Now, with the Anambra guber election months away it remains to be seen how the underwhelming security forces would be able to be on top of the ugly situation. Every now and then you hear muggings on the streets and slaying of uniformed men on duty.
The problem goes deeper than could be imagined. In a nation where unemployment continues to soar, where poverty statistics are no longer shocking, where corruption continues unabated despite propaganda stunts by the federal government social harmony or peace can never be guaranteed by anyone.
Those leading us know what to do to turn things positively around but they are reluctant to do it. They criminally refuse to do the right thing to set our people ‘free’! Since they are living opulently at our collective expense comeuppance would be their daily portion.
Who wanted Prof. Soludo dead? We may not be in a good position to answer that question since investigations are still on course. Yet, it is worth speculating here that eliminating Soludo and thus removing him permanently from the guber equation could pave way for the emergence of forces outside APGA as the executive power post-Obiano.
But playing politics of bitterness and violence cannot be said to give glory to Him who gives power to whom He wants. And that does not magnify democracy in our land.
Going forward, Soludo must beware of the peril of power. It exists everywhere, even in the villages. The capacity to look hubris in the face and push it aside remains one of the leadership traits seldom encountered in our political clime. To lead is a serious business. And leadership itself remains a vocation with its responsibilities and irresponsibilities, opportunities and inopportunities.
If it could be that dangerous and life-threatening to engage the youths of his community then how would it be when Soludo ventures out on a campaign trail to Onitsha, Ihiala, Awka or Nnewi? Hell could be let loose? The question is: Does Soludo have what it takes to tame the ‘lions’ or ‘tigers’ in their den? Can he ride the high wave of insecurity?
Or do we conclude that what he went through in Isuofia, his hometown of all places, was a sign of his unpopularity or rejection? If the volatile assault at the homefront was any indication then the road to the Government House in Awka could be rowdy, deadly and bloody!