OKEY MADUFORO reports on the plot by some members of the opposition political parties in Anambra State to ensure that the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) nominates an unpopular candidate for the 2021 governorship election in the state
It is an early plot by some political gladiators in Anambra State to frustrate the governorship bid of a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, ahead of the 2021 poll in the state Soludo, who contested the 2010 gubernatorial election in the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) witnessed litany of attacks from some members of the party who were against his candidacy then.
The gladiators of the party contended that the candidacy of Prof. Soludo was unacceptable to them hence they took him head long.
Though he scaled the hurdle and was listed as PDP’s candidate for the election, his traducers did not go to sleep and they allegedly joined forces with the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state to ensure that he did not win the said election.
In 2014 the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor returned to the political tarmac under the platform of APGA and indicated interest to succeed the then governor, Mr. Peter Obi, but the party’s screening committee disqualified him in the most controversial manner.
The committee claimed that he just joined the party and that he has not spent the mandatory period as a party member to contest for the primary election even when the constitution was silent on that.
Ahead of the second term election of the incumbent governor Willie Obiano, Soludo choose to support Obiano on the ground that the zoning arrangement is for Anambra North Senatorial District to complete the two tenures of eight years, so that Anambra South Senatorial District will produce the next governor of the state. According to him then, “if it is not broken why mend it?
That indeed made it clear that Soludo would become the candidate of APGA in the 2021 gubernatorial election.
Till date, the party has no other aspirant who has indicated interest for the gubernatorial ticket and Soludo’s ambition has to a large extent reawakened the spirit of the party and no fewer than seventeen groups are currently working in favour of his ambition.
But just recently, traducers of the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have returned to the trenches, throwing up allegations of misappropriation of the sum of N2 billion donated to him for the building of a specialist hospital in the name of his late mother.
This allegation came on the heels of Soludo’s donation of N10 million to the Anambra State government to fight against the coronavirus in the area. His opponents are not only calling for an audit of the hospital project, but accusing him of fraud and contending that he is not eminent enough to become the governor of Anambra State.
The attacks against Soludo may not have been unconnected with the apprehension from his opponents that should he emerge as the candidate of APGA the plot by other political parties to stem the strong hold of the party in Anambra would certainly fail.
Opponents of the ruling APGA are of the view that APGA does not have a strong aspirant to sustain the party’s control of Anambra State and they have allegedly been sponsoring some members of the party to throw the spanners into the ambition of Soludo and ultimately nominate an unpopular candidate that would be a hard sale to the electorate.
Apparently some chieftains of the party are buying into the plot and trying to impose it on the powers that be and the state government is unmindful of the dangers that luck in the dark quarters.
Anambra South Senatorial District Chairman of APGA, Chief Titus Anigbogu, however, told New Telegraph that though the party has not conducted its governorship primary to nominate its candidate for the 2021 election, members of the opposition in the state, who are afraid on the APGA’s entrenched structure, have commenced plots to destabilize the party.
His words: What you are seeing is the machinations of the enemies of our party who are afraid that we are going to return to the government house Awka.
“Yes APGA has not conducted the primary election, which makes it too early in the day to talk about it, however, the plot you are talking about cannot hold and we do not have factions in our party to warrant the success of the said plot.
“Soludo, no doubt, is a good candidate and we also have people in our party that can make good candidates, but when politics gets to the point of discrediting personalities and international figures such a Soludo, it becomes rather unfortunate.
“Had it been Soludo is from the North or West of Nigeria, nobody would have gone to the media to attack him. It is sad that we do not celebrate our own rather we run them down.”
Also speaking on the issue, the leader of political pressure group in the state, Anambra Demand for Soludo, Chief Jude Emecheta, not only dismissed the allegation against the former CBN governor, but absolved him of any fraud as regards the hospital project. Emecheta revealed that most of those who made pledges for the project could not redeem them.
“Everything has become political and people are celebrating it. The community in question has not come up with any known allegation against him and they are solidly behind him. So, we urge the public to discountenance those spurious allegations because they don’t hold water,” Emecheta said.
The support for Soludo, notwithstanding, political watchers are of the view that he should endeavour to rise against those attacks in due time before it rubbishes his ambition ahead of the 2021 governorship election.
According to those who hold this view, Soludo’s prolonged silence on the issue is not helping matters in view of the unpredictable nature of Anambra politics which has in the past reduced top contenders to mere spectators.
They posit that should the ruling APGA government fail to produce a candidate in the personality of Soludo, the party may well sing its Nunc Dimittis. Soludo, they opined, has an intimidating profile, which might have informed the early plot to stop him.
The eminent scholar, who hails from Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, was appointed professor of Economics at the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1998, after obtaining a First Class Honours degree in 1984, an MSc Economics in 1987, and a PhD in 1989, before being named governor of CBN in 2004.
Prior to this, he held the positions of Chief Economic Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission.