The people of Anambra State are jubilant. They have been jubilating because the Supreme Court affirmed Chukwuma Soludo as the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 6th, 2021election. That Soludo remains on the ticket is of immense importance to the people of the state. Although the political contest is cluttered with candidates, the people are acutely conscious that Soludo is a quintessential leader. Unlike any of the gubernatorial candidates, he is a proven leader. As governor, he will take Anambra State to new heights of prosperity, accountability and overall societal progress. His removal from the political race would have been tantamount to the removal of the best and brightest.
Chinue Achebe once wrote that “The problem of Nigeria is simply a problem of leadership”. It can be argued that there are limits to what a leader can do; he can only lead within the bounds already defined by society. However, history has furnished us the instructive precedent that leadership can make a dramatic difference. The power, influence and consequences of leadership are so enormous and encompassing that it literally defines a people, country, and, in this context, a state.
By their words and actions, leaders shape countries: usher in peace or war, poverty or prosperity, rule of law or anarchy, etc. Thomas Carlyle was emphasizing the importance of leadership when he wrote that “The history of nations is but the biographies of leaders.” Inevitably, therefore, the history of Nigeria is a compilation of the biographies of our earlier presidents. Similarly, the annals of each Nigerian state are the life stories of their governors.
As we, the people of Anambra, elect our new governor, the man whose vision or lack of it; altruism or avarice, decency or crookedness will define our state, and dictate her political, economic, and even, moral and ethical trajectory for the next four, and possibly, eight years, it is extremely important that we sieve out the best – the most qualified – from the variety of gubernatorial candidates. The most accurate basis for determining the most qualified, and thus our best choice in the November 6th election is by casting a critical eye on their antecedence. We will choose from amongst them that man that has, in the past, demonstrated unusual courage, brilliance and vision in the service to the country, and humility and selflessness in the service to the people, especially the disadvantaged and downtrodden.
Soludo distinguished himself in the service of the country. His demonstrated vision, courage and reform-mindedness transformed the Nigerian economy, especially, the banking sector between 2005 and 2010. His successful consolidation of the Nigerian banking system was globally acclaimed. Thus, he was awarded the world’s Central Governor of the year for two consecutive years. An internationally renowned economics professor, he was the only African chosen to be part of the United Nations Expert tasked with the reformation of the global economic and financial system.
Despite his national and global acclaims and accolades, he is down-to-earth, accessible, patient and with a listening ear. He is a rare breed in a country notorious for arrogance of power and elitism. He believes in the right of every individual to the opportunity to achieve his/her maximum potential. In his volunteerism – the zeal to labor for the benefit and betterment of others, without desiring any reward, publicity or acclaim – he has spent enormous time and resources mentoring the youth, protecting the oppressed, uplifting the downtrodden and empowering the dispossessed. He has sponsored the education of so many indigent students, financially empowered so many and built houses for the homeless in and out his hometown of Isuofia.
On November 6th 2021, the people of Anambra State must vote against fishy, cowardly and shilly-shally politicians whose loadstar is avarice and selfishness. We must reject unschooled money bags, empty-headed scoundrels of great wealth, who, in their sordid misconception of “money answereth all things”, believe that votes are for sale and that they can buy the will of Anambra people. We must also reject liars and certificate forgers, who claim to have attended schools they did not attend and to have acquired degrees they do not have.
We will vote for Chukwuma Soludo. From his antecedents, we know that he seeks gubernatorial power, not as an end in itself, and not to revel in the pomp and pageantry of the office and advance some selfish and clique interests, but to serve. He has earlier deployed the powers of his office to serve Nigeria – a reformative and transformative service – that won global recognition. Anambra State needs the selfless service of this servant-leader, Chukwuma Soludo
Tochukwu Ezukanma, an indigene of Ikenga, Ogidi, writes from Lagos.
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