Is Prof. Soludo Really PDP’s Anambra Solution

Charles Chukwuma Soludo


Then on the issue of drafting Professor Soludo as their joker or game-changer, the party is still doing the same thing they did back in 2003 and even in 2007. If they would tell themselves the truth, there is no way you can tell the state that PDP intended to hold governorship primaries in the state. They had it in mind that Soludo would be the solution to their political imbroglio in the state. No disrespect to our erudite professor, but Anambra is not a bank! Anambra is not a state lacking in people with educational qualifications or connections at Abuja. He is not going to be the last with a president’s ear. I bet that in the whole Isuofia or even in Soludo’s Isuanioma, there are other professors and men that have made their mark in education and came out with distinction, how much more the whole of Anambra state. So the state is endowed with all kinds of high performers that just one person that has a retinue of academic record does not scare us.

The problems with PDP and all the Abuja politicians are that they think that the mere fact that they live in Abuja and make some money while boot-licking; and have access to the corridors of power; that they can just breeze in from Abuja to Anambra, "flash their badges and make us nervous" (apologies Jack Nicholson in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’). That is where they got it all wrong. Anambra has produced all kinds of high achievers that educational milestones are nothing new in the state.

Soludo is a good person despite the problems with Central Bank under his charge. I do not intend to go into some charges levelled against him about cooking the book which has not been proven nor has he been indicted. I think it is unfair to judge him without any formal indictment. Even though he refused to give a specific answer to questions about his stewardship at the bank that failed to regulate the banks under CBN I do not intend to discuss his capability to administer the state. He performed admirably as the Governor of the apex bank of which Nigeria is grateful. He is a saleable candidate, but he has to sell himself and find a way to resonate with the people.

In fact, almost all the aspirants have the paper qualification to govern the state. However, my main point is that the method that the party adopted to field him as their candidate is flawed and he should know that he is sitting at the keg of gun-powder. The system of imposing a candidate would not work in the state as far as the governorship is concerned.

Prof. Soludo fell into the same flawed method that Andy Uba explored to win the party’s nomination. Both Uba and Soludo basically ran against themselves during the so-called primaries. But if well prepared for the post of governor, I have no doubt that he has all it takes to govern the state. Again, like I said, most Abuja politicians do not know the act of electioneering or even how to play politics even when they are quick to adopt that appellation "politician".

The same mistake that Andy Uba made when he was wielding the big stick and has the Anambra PDP at his beck and call; is the same mistake that Soludo made prior to being drafted or coerced or talked into being the party’s nominee. Soludo did not use his leverage at Abuja to help the state he intends to govern. What would have happened if he has effectively used his contact? If Soludo has used his immense contacts with the corridor of power to better the lot of Anambra people in terms of things I mentioned above like influencing the building of second Niger bridge, repairing the federal roads in the south-east, dredging the River Niger and constructing a state of the art sea port at Onitsha, helping to bring Enugu Airport to international standard, and probably coming to the universities in the state once in a while to deliver lectures to the youths, by now he would have been like a super humanbeing. The governorship would be his for the asking. He would have been a household name in the state and he would basically run unopposed both in the primaries and in the 2010 election.

Most politicians do not know how to use their influence to win people over. Senator Ifeanyi Okonkwo used his money and influence to give scholarships to many indigent students in his local government and some other good things he did and was coasting to victory before PDP’s beloved Soludo was anointed. Even other candidates like Iyom Chinwe Ekwunife of Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) and even Hon. Nicholas Ukachukwu were using their connections and resources to establish scholarship and other poverty alleviation programs. The people they helped wanted to pay them back with their votes; but not so with Soludo and even Andy Uba.

The main problem is that most politicians from Abuja are very selfish. They never look at the big picture, in their little mind, they think that this concept of "igbo enwe eze" (igbos have no kings) is a mere slogan. Inspite of the mistaken opinion that Anambra people love money, therefore if you come around and do some ‘naira rain’ people would be falling over each other to file behind your column is flawed and they cannot follow the trend. That may work during the military regime, but the people have tasted democracy’s forbidden fruit and there is no going back. Also the party thinks that those that have been toiling for the party with the hope of winning the nomination would just roll over and surrender for him!

Also Anambra state would not and will never in the future be anyone’s retirement benefit, severance pay or package. During former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, Andy Uba was said to have served the former president well that OBJ wanted to settle Andy Uba for a job well done with Anambra governorship. That didn’t work out well. It might be the same thing that the current President Umaru Yar’adua is trying to do.

It is not going to work out for him. It did not work out for Andy under OBJ. In my place we would say "the deer we sent to the stream did not return and we are trying to send the antelope to the same stream; how do you think that the antelope would return?" It is the same old trick that never worked. I pity Prof Soludo because he fell into the same PDP Modus Operandi and he would come out frustrated. If he had started earlier to water the ground, do lots of heavy-lifting in terms of making people believe that he is not just a name in the Nigerian currency, but a real person with human flesh and not a fiction at Abuja, it could be different. Market women, Okada riders and peasants that struggle everyday to put food on the table for their families do not mainly understand what success at Central Bank has to do with them and their situation. Local people who are the main chunk of the electorate do not give a damn about a Central Bank Governor since it meant nothing to them. Some of them haven’t even heard about him before and PDP would find it difficult to convince them that he is the real deal.

Most Anambrarians are mostly concerned about some achievements they can relate to like "this road was constructed by Ngige" or "that school was built by Peter Obi" or "that hospital if not for Chief (Mrs) Ekwunife, we would not have it". That’s what normally resonates with local people. Majority of the electorates do not live in the cities, they live in the villages and the things that would normally get their attention are roads, schools, hospitals, water, electricity, bridges and other social amenities that would make their life better. If a road is inaccessible for ages and somehow someone in government builds it for them, his name is forever on that road.

Like in my hometown, some ‘nwadiana’ (our daughter’s son) from Onitsha that was in the eastern region government at the time built the road for the people. Many people do not even know the man, but up till today, when the story of the road is told, people do not fail to praise the man that built the road even though the man has long passed away. Dr Ngige understands the politics of roads and obviously Peter Obi understands how providing the infrastructure in the state write a governor’s name forever in the hearts of the people. A situation where the people actually kneel down and pray for their governor and ask God to preserve him, and PDP thinks that they can just pick a candidate and phew, magic happens and he breezes into the Government House,may be difficult to reverse. But PDP does not understand that simple fact of winning hearts and mind of people. Prof Soludo does not get it. It is either that he is not as smart as we make him out to be or he believes just as PDP that there would not be an election come February 6, 2010, but a selection or coronation of Soludo. Either way it does not say well of him and both he and the party should get ready for the greatest shock of their lives.

Chukwudi Nwokoye writes from Maryland, USA

Article published October 7, 2009 on OHUZO via Triumph Newspapers