The race for the number one seat in Anambra Government House, Awka has been won and lost. Eighteen candidates competed for the plum seat.
The real battle was between the candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof Charles Soludo; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Valentine Ozigbo; All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Andy Uba and Young Progressives Party (YPP), Ifeanyi Uba.
Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), took the lead since Saturday when the election was held in 20 out of the 21 LGAs of the state. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had early hours of Wednesday declared Soludo the winner of the election after the supplementary poll in Ihiala LGA was conducted.
With 112,229 votes, Soludo was named the governor-elect of the state by the electoral body. Ozigbo polled 53,807 votes, Uba 43,285 and Ifeanyi Ubah garnered 21,261 to come fourth.
Analysis showed that the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, still has 125 days to man the front seat in the state as his tenure will lapse on March 17, 2022.
The foundation for Soludo’s victory was laid when he won the legal battle occasioned by the internal wrangling that trailed the primaries of his party.
The Supreme Court had on October 14 affirmed the nomination of Soludo as the governorship candidate of the party and Victor Oye as national chairman. The apex court dismissed the appeal by a faction of APGA led by Jude Okeke, who had organised a parallel primary that produced, Chukwuma Umeoji as the party’s candidate.
Founded in 2003 by the late Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, APGA is seen as a movement in Anambra State. Since March 2006, APGA has been governing the state, thus it has been embedded in the political sphere of the state. Even when other political parties were unable to campaign as a result of the threat of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, used every available opportunity to market the candidature of Soludo.
The defection of the deputy governor, six lawmakers and other top shots of APGA to APC, could not stop the former CBN governor from coasting to victory. Soludo’s quest to become governor of Anambra State started in 2009 when he was made the consensus candidate of PDP. He was defeated by Peter Obi of APGA.
Born on July 28, 1960, pundits said Soludo’s outstanding resume, exposure and popularity worked in his favour during the contest. He graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 1984, an MSc in Economics in 1987, and a PhD in 1989, winning prizes for the best student at all three levels.
Soludo, who became a professor at 38, was appointed as Chief Economic Adviser by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003. He became CBN governor on May 29, 2004. For about two decades, he has been hovering in the political landscape of the country.
Another factor that worked in favour of Soludo was his being a Catholic. In Anambra State, there is a cold war between Catholics and Anglicans over the governorship seat. APGA is populated by Catholics, hence the reservations being expressed by those who are of the Anglican Church. With his victory, the Catholics have gotten a ticket to govern the state for another four years while the Anglican and Protestants will have to wait for at least another four years.