Elections:Professor Soludo On The Path To Becoming The Next Governor Of Anambra State

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 Not many people were surprised that Charles Soludo, a professor and former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and Candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, beat them all. In the already declared 20 Local government Areas of the state out of 21 in the Anambra state governorship elections results by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, appointed Returning officer, Florence Banku Obi, a Professor and Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, Cross river state, Soludo, the APGA, Candidate had scored a total votes of 103,946 votes while Andy Uba, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Candidate of the APC, pulled a total votes of 42,942, Ezigbo, PDP, 51322 votes and Ifeanyi Uba, a business mogul and flag bear of the Young Progressive Party, YPP,  had 20,917 total votes to come fourth in the election.

 Note that he has started making efforts to be the governor of the state through the ballot box. He had contested for exalted office in 2013 and 2019, but under different parties but lost to Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor and the APGA Candidate. H Soludo, the APC, Candidate, has merely repeated what Peter obi, a former governor of the state and People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Vice Presidential Candidate and Willie Obi, the incumbent governor had done to make the state a safe haven for APGA, a party founded by Late Odumegwu Ojukwu. A former governor of the old Eastern region.

Soludo: APGA Candidate, Waiting On INEC, To Be Declared Winner

Many believe that Soludo could beat his opponents with wide margins in 18 out of the 20 Local government Areas, elections results that had been released with the backing of Obiano, the governor.He was said to have done all the necessary underground work for the APGA Candidate to enter into the election and beat his rivals without little or no stress. He was said to have used his position and closeness to the state to render all the political heavy weights behind Uba and Ezigbo, the APC and PDP,Candidates , respectively in the state ineffective that they could not maneuver their way to mobilise support for their party Candidates .

It was not surprising why the people turned their back on Senator Uba, and Ezigbo and threw their weight on Professor Soludo of the APGA. Uba, the APC, Candidate, did not leave any one in doubt that he stands the chances of winning the election because of his elaborate electioneering Campaigns which was said to have taken him round the twenty one Local government Areas in the state ahead of other top cotenders: Soludo and Ezigbo, particular.  He was said to have planned his Campaign strategy ahead of the duo because, INEC, had dropped them from the race because of subsisting Court cases.

 Professor Soludo, the APGA, Candidate and his running mate , Onyekachi Ibeziem,  were said to have been replaced with Chukwuma Umeoji  and Obiageli Orogbu, in the Anambra state governorship elections slated for Saturday, November 6, 2021 in July 2021. The Electoral umpire was said to have also dropped Ezeigbo, PDP, Candidate and the Deputy governorship Candidates from the list due the subsisting Court order on the primary that produced them.

  Ezeigbo may not have been llucky as Soludo, the former CBN, governor who was later included on the list, precisely in October, 2021, to contest the governorship elections, which many described as too short a time to make an impact in the state.

Senator Uba: Entered Anambra state Governorship Race With High Hopes On The Ticket Of APC

The speculations making the rounds was that the INEC, officials were acting out a script  to ensure that the election will be a straight fight between the two Ubas of the APC and the YPP, respectively. At the elevenhth hour, Ezeigbo, the PDP, Candidate was said to have been cleared by the INEC, for the Anambra governorship elections.

 Although, Senator Uba, the APC, Candidate had  looked good to winning the governorship election, Soludo, the APC, Candidate , who was said to have inherited the party machinery from Obiano, the governor, had given a close marking to  Uba’s Campaign Organisation. The APGA Campaign Organisation, were said to have matched Senator Uba and the YPP Candidate, Campaign mOrganisations naira for naira for the  elections.

DIG Egbunike: Mounted Tight Security In Anambra State During The November 6, 2021, Governorship Elections

Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, directive to Joseph Egbunike, a deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Coordinating the security set up for the state to go fully into the elections. The DIG, had assured the 18 governorship Contestants that they will be given a level playing field to play their political game, and exercise their Franchise without intimidation. This may have dampened the enthusiasm of Senator Uba, who had expected to use the Federal might, to win the elections to lose hope.   

 Officials of the Center for Democracy and Development, CDD, who were said to have monitored the Anambra state governorship elections, were unanimous in their report that’‘ there was widespread vote buying  by the parties that had presented Candidates for the election. Although, the police had pledged  to give a level playing field to the all the Candidates that had contested the  election but CDD, in their preliminary report had said  that most of electoral frauds noticed  during the election were ‘’committed with the police looking the other way’’.

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room had Coroborated the CDD report. The Civil Society monitors of the Anambra governorship elections had cited instances of sale of votes for amounts ranging from N1,000.00 to N6,000.00 at various Locations. Despite the dominant  role play money in the Anambra elections which is not different from what obtains in other states of the Federation where elections had been conducted in the past, Victor Oye, National Chairman, APGA, Nigeria has the capacity to go electronic going by the successful conduct of the Anambra  governorship elections using electronic voting and transmission of results. He has told those that cares to listen that ‘’ electronic voting and transmission of results is possible in Nigeria with what had happened I Anambra state, urging INEC, ‘’to improve on it’’.   

Chief Oye: National Chairman, APGA, Wants INEC, To Improve On Electronic Voting For Future Elections In The Country

  Many knew that Soludo, who has the backing Obiano, is the next governor of Anambra state, when he  defeated  Uba, APC, and  Ezigbo, ofPDP , in Aguata, which is their home Local government  Area as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Sunday, November 7, 2021.

 Going by the INEC, official result  that was declared,  the APGA Candidate,  polled 9, 136 votes to Uba, the APC, flag bearer , who came a distant second with  4,773 votes.  Ezigbo, the PDP Candidate trailed behind with 3,798 votes.

 Political analysts believe that both for the several Court cases which Oludo and Ezigbo, Candidates, of APGA and the PDPD, respectively, faced the state , before they were finally cleared by the Professor Mahmood Yakubu led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to contest the Anambra state governorship election on Saturday, November 6, 2021, it would have been straight forward fight between the APGA Candidate, Soludo and Ezigbo, the Candidate of the PDP, meaning that the two Ubas, who had contested the election on the platform of the APC and YPP, could not have made any appreciable impact during the election, let alone win a Local government Area.  

In beating them all based on the results of the 20 Local government Areas  relased  out of 21, in the state, during  the Saturday 6, 2021, elections, Soludo, according to Professor Obi, the state Returning officer, had won in Dunukofia, Awka South, Oyi, Oyamelum, Anamra East, Anabra West, Anaocha,Idemili South, Njikofia, Aguata, Onitsha South,  Orumba South. Other Local government Areas won include  Ekwusigo,Njikoka, Nnewi South,  Onitsha North, Onitsha South, thus giving him a‘’Landslide  Thvictory’’, over his two major rivals, Senator Uba, Candidate of the APC and Ezigbo of the PDP.

 A clear analysis of the Anambra governorship elections clearly showS that even in the Nnewi North and Ogbaru Local government Areas that the APGA Candidate had lost his two opponents, the two Ubas, he had met the mandatory 25 percent votes required by the 199 Constitution as amended.

There may not have been any elections in  Ihiala, local government Area  believed to be m in the safe hands of  Senator Uba , the APC, Candidate. This may not be unconnected to the violence that was said to have erupted in the Areas which could not be controlled by the security operatives.

  Obi, a  Professor , and the INEC Returning officer at the Collation center, Awka, the state Capital,   had described her experience at Ihiala,  as ‘’Pathetic, thanking God for being alive’’. She had said that the total registered voters in the 18 Registration Areas in the Local government were 93,608.

 She had said that the governorship elections result from the Local government Area was not authentic as she was ‘’forced to sign the result sheet by thugs.  ‘‘I don’t believe in the result. . It is not my will’’, he had said.

Michael Obi, a Lecturer of Commercial Law from University of Calabar, Cross river state, and Collation officer Orumba North, was said to have also shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that there was no election in Orumba North local government Area, meaning that any result believed to have emanated from the Local government is fake.  

 In spite of the fact that Soludo, had won in 18 Local government Areas  out the 20 that  was said to have been released , excluding one, Ihiala,  Professor Obi,  the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar,  and the INEC appointed Returning officer for the Anambra governorship election , had used her veto power to suspend further Collation  of the results until  Supplementary election is conducted in the remaining Ihiala Local government Area where there was trouble that was said to have put the elections on hold.

‘‘  I, Professor Florence Banku Obi, in my capacity as the Returning officer  for this election  hereby announce the suspension  of the  process of Collation  of results and declaration of winner until a Supplementary election  is held in the 326 units in Ihiala  Local government area of the state’’. She had declare.

 She had said that the Ihiala Supplementary election will take place on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, meaning that the winner of the Anambra governorship election will know himself tomorrow,Tuesday, November 9, 2021, after the elections.

Recall that Professor Obi, the Anambra state Returning Officer for the governorship elections had said  that the Ihiala Local government elections was put on hold due ‘’to security Challenges’’ which was said to have made pretty difficult  for the electoral body to deploy materials and personnel in the Local government Area’’. This is where Baba, the IGP, have to make proper security arrangement for the Suppleemntatry election in the Local government Area to avoid a breakdown of Law and order,that might warrant another postponement of the election and delay of the winner of the south east state governorship elections.  

Aware that he won the election but was temporarily denied by INEC, on the excuse that there was no election in 326 units in Ihiala local government, Prfessor Soludo and his supporters, who were anxiously waiting to roll out the drums in the state to start dancing and clinging their glasses had remained calm instead of taking to the streets which would have given the Professor Yakubu, the INEC, boss opportunity, to declare the election as inconclusive and cancel it.

 The APGA flag bearer may have read the hand writing on the wall that he has decided to play along with the Electoral umpire officials in the state to avoid giving room to INEC, Leadership to apply the big hammer that may scuttle his political ambition of being the next governor of the state. He would not want to see himself as an elected governorship Candidate who saw ‘‘the Seat but could not sit on it’’.   

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