Prof Chukwuma Soludo’s Emergence – A Breath of Fresh Air – By Chief HANDEL OKOLI Former presidential Aide and PDP chieftain

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The All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, has set the pace in the current gubernatorial contest in Anambra State by choosing a world renowned economist and a living legend, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Odenigbo Aguata, to fly the party’s flag. Every right thinking Old Aguata indigene, Anambrarian and indeed Nigerian progressive, should be relieved, that in the midst economic downturns, insecurity and general feeling of despondency in Nigeria, a man of high intellect and proven track records, has just emerged from one of the frontline parties in Anambra State.

Professor Soludo’s emergence is significant for many reasons, first of which is that it gives hope to the people of Old Aguata Union, OAU , who have been clamouring to occupy the coveted governorship seat since Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife’s tenure was truncated in November 1993 . Ezeife, a Harvard trained economist could not settle down to the job before the military ousted that regime. OAU had yet another chance Via Andy Uba’s governorship in 2007, but like a flash in the pan, that one too lasted for a little over two weeks, thereby possibly making it the shortest stint at any government house in Nigeria.

Today’s epoch making event throws a big challenge to the All Progressive Congress, APC , to nominate yet another indigene of OAU, Dr Chidozie Nwankwo whose hurricane campaigns have significantly energized a comatose APC, or Andy Uba an old fox in the game. It will therefore be a very costly mistake if Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, does not nominate an indigene of OAU or Anambra South candidate for the seat. This is because across Anambra state, opinions preponderate in favor of a candidate from Anambra South given the fact that former Governor Peter Obi from the Central senatorial district deliberately handed over to Governor Obiano from the North. It therefore appeals to common sense that PDP now led by the same Peter Obi should nominate a candidate of Anambra South extraction and indeed an OAU candidate, if they will have any chance of producing the next governor.

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But is Soludo stoppable ? We have clear four month period of campaigns to prove this point either way, but one thing is sure, by his emergence Soludo instantly becomes the man to beat for now. Other parties must recalibrate and recalculate or be rejected.

For Ndi Anambra, Soludo raises the bar of pragmatic political governance and excellent representation in the affairs of Southeast and Nigeria. The average Anambrarian, nay Igbo man, can now go to sleep as he looks forward to a more purposeful and creative representation in the Council Of States, National Economic Council, Governors’ Forum, The South East , South South, South West and Middle belt group etc.

Odenigbo Aguata understands the intricacies of the current national question and the place of Ndi Igbo in the future of Nigeria. He has been part of the Igbo think tank and a frontline national and international figure. Anambra can now have a Governor with the reach and expertise to attract foreign direct investments; who can redirect Anambra economy towards alternative measures of internal revenue generation and wealth creation. This is fundamentally important in an oil economy that is fast disappearing and giving way to clean energy and digital age. Anambra will become fiercely competitive and responsive to the demands of youth unemployment and middle class growth.

The volume of money in circulation in Anambra state requires an economist with a proven track record of strategic thinking and a radical departure from primordial, unproductive and outdated business modules, to convert this cash to capital and hold it captive for long term investments in Anambra state. This is where Soludo’s Stella performance as the best African Central Bank Governor will be replicated. We can never forget his consolidation of the banks despite the furore that erupted thereafter and his multifarious strategic economic policies that continue to provide economic support to the nation till today.

For Nigeria, Soludo will be both a governor and an Economic Adviser, a Lee Kuan Yew personified. Indeed he has remained an adviser to the federal government notwithstanding that his party is not in power at the center. As a governor his contributions will be of immense benefit to the National Economic Council and other such bodies and his knowledge and expertise will give Anambra an unquantifiable mileage of political access at Aso villa. Loved and highly respected by Presidents, we can not forget how Obasanjo advised his successor Yardua, to always consult and listen to Soludo because Soludo was one of the secrets of his regime’s success. Let’s face it – CHUKWUMA SOLUDO IS A PRECIOUS ASSET

In all, Soludo is indeed a breath of fresh air and an aroma diffuser of sorts in a political contest infested by jokers and predators who have little or nothing to offer. Anambra should be careful never to produce a Frankenstein,that will devour theIr little available resources. Soludo sets the pace and raises the bar of this gubernatorial contest. He offers hope to OAU his immediate constituency which has long been neglected and brings competence and capacity to the ring.

I personally congratulate Odenigbo as he formally enters the main draw in this contest. Nothing can be more refreshing than to have your own as one of the main gladiators. It is even more reassuring when your own is competent and ready to serve.

We are now eagerly waiting for APC which is the next, to pick a candidate; where OAU has high stakes in Dr Chidozie Nwankwo and Andy Uba.

CHIEF HANDEL OKOLI
(Chibuko)
Former Presidential Aide and
PDP Chieftain
23rd June 2021.

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