By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The November 6, 2021, governorship election in the south east state of Anambra state, organised and supervised by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, led Independent Electoral Commission has come and gone but the ripple effects is far from being over
. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a Professor and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who had won the election on the ticket of the All progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, a party founded by the former warlord, Odimegwu Ojukwu, now deceased may have been put a state of worries by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, under the Chairmanship of Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Prof. Soludo may have been put in a state of worries because alter ago, Gov.Obiano, who was said to have master-minded his electoral victory has been placed on ‘’the watch list of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS under the close watch of Idris Isah Jere, on the orders of the Commission. The Commission may not have given any reason for the decision to place the outgoing Anambra state governor on the watch list. But many people believe that it is not unconnected to the outcome of the last governorship election in the state in which Prof. Soludo, the APGA, Candidate had won.
While Ifeanyi Uba, a business mogul and Candidate of the Young Progressive Party, YPP, who came a distant fourth in the governorship election and Okezie Ikeazu, governor of Abia state and Chairman of the Opposition of People Democratic Party, PDP, Campaign Team, in the Anambra governorship election, in which its flag bearer, Valentine Ezigbo, came second, despite not winning a Local government Area, in the state, had congratulated the APGA Candidate for his victory in the polls, Andy Uba, a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congressive Congress, APC, who had lost the governorship election had refused to concede defeat, claiming the election was rigged.
Jerry Ugokwe, Chairperson, of Senator Uba, the APC, Candidate,Campaign Organisation, had described ‘’the election as a tirade that did not reflect the wishes of the people of the state’’. This may have encouraged the aggrieved APC, governorship Candidate, who had put all the necessary structures in place and with the Presidential backing to win, had rejected it and subsequently refused to concede victory to Soludo.
Note that he came distant third with a little above 40,000 votes to Professor Soludo’s 112,229 popular votes in the election. SenatorUba had alleged ‘’widespread electoral irregularities, manipulation and voter suppression by the ruling APC, in the state to clear the way for the victory of, Soludo at the polls.
Chris Ngige, a former governor of the state and now minister of Labour and Employment, who incidentally was an arch supporter of the Anambra born Senator, to ensure he emerges as the governor of the state on the ticket of the APC, may not have agreed with the party Candidate as he has congratulated Professor Soludo, the APGA governor -elect, stressing ‘’I knew he will be the governor of the state one day’’.
In spite of the fact that there have been celebrations in the APGA Camp, that its Candidate had won in the November 6, 2021, governorship election, to ensure a continuation of the APGA, rule in the state, the EFCC, may have turned the Celebration into worries for Governor Obiano and Soludo, his successor, as the anti-graft agency had placed him in the watch list, with the likes of Peter Odili, a former governor of Rivers state , whose wife, Justice Mary Odili, a Justice of the Supreme Court’s residence, was raided in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, recently by alleged agents of the state.
Many believe that the Anambra state governor may have been under investigations by the EFCC, since, INEC, gave the nod to the 18 parties that had presented Candidates, jostling to take over control of Anambra state from Obiano, the APGA, governor of the state, to start their electioneering Campaigns last July.
The anti-graft agency may have known that the APGA governor of the south east state may want to jet out of the country after handing over to Prof. Soludo, his successor, on March16, 2021 without being probed by the new government. Ahead of the March 16, handover date, Bawa, the EFCC, Chairman, was said to have sent a strongly worded letter to Jere, the acting Comptroller General of NIS, dated November 15, 2021, requesting the agency ‘’to place Governor Obiano, on a watch list and inform it anytime he is travelling out of the country from any of the country’s International airports, as well as other entry or exit points, across the country.
Ever since the EFCC, boss , made the request to the NIS, Computer General , to place Governor Obiano, on their watch list, to ensure that the 66 year year –old governor of the state did not escape from the country after handing over power to Prof. Soludo, on March, 16, 2022, there have been large presence of NIS and the anti-graft agency , officials, particular, at Akanu Ibiam, International Airport Enugu, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, FCT, and Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, believed, may be used by him to escape from the country to forestall being interrogated by the Commission.: Plces
However, being a Banker, who knows his onions and who may have known that as a member of the Opposition APGA, that the EFCC, will come after him after the expiration of his eight years tenure, may have tidied up his records on the spending of the state monthly budgetary allocations from the Federation Account and its Internally Generated Revenue, IGP.
An insider told The Value News that both not for the fact that a sitting governor has ‘’immunity from Criminal prosecution while in office’’, the Commission may have come after him to make his last days in office miserable or order the seizure of his International Passport to make it difficult for him to travel outside the country.
Residents of the state who spoke to the Magazine had said that Governor Obiano, does not deserve such disgraceful treatment from the EFCC because he is one of the prudent manager of funds in the state among all the past governors following the footstep, of his predecessor, Peter Obi, and a one-time Vice Presidential Candidate of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, in the 2019,
They may have given political interpretation to the Commission’s directive to place Obioano on the watch list because of how soon the order had come barely one week after Prof. Soludo, The APGA, Candidate, was declared the winner of the Anambra governorship general election by INEC.
Recall that in the last governor election, the APGA Candidate, alone had won in 19, out of the 21, Local government Areas, in the state while APC and YPP, won one each. Valentine Ezigbo, the PDP, Candidate, who had entered into the governorship race late, may not have won any Local government Area had more popular votes, than the two Ubas’ , who had the resources to throw around to buy votes. This clearly shows the direction of the 2023, general elections, in the state and the plot by the fifth Columnists to force Obiano, to decamp to APC, to make the south east safe for grab by APC, in the upcoming 2023 general elections.
Recall that Adam Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and one-time Chairman of the APC,had said that that any Political holder from the Opposition parties , who commits fraud but decamps to the ruling APC, is a free person, meaning that the party has a way of covering frauds committed by members, elected to hold Political office.