By Omotayo Suleiman
In a high disruption 4th republic that seems to thrive on high stakes socio political altercations, the Anambra governorship elections campaign season has played out on knife edge tension across all definable parameters.
Just as nocturnal horse trading and rumored wild orgies of inducement shenanigans have precipitated carpet crossing at levels that have threatened to surpass the much reported First Republic benchmarks of hypocrisy and shame, the ominous reality of a promised thirty thousand strong law enforcement deployment now also coexists with the tense relief of an eleventh hour cancelation of the much dreaded IPOB sit at home order.
Never has electoral peace been at a greater premium.
In the high octane, adrenalin soaked lead up to this moment, a power packed constellation of Anambra heavy weight gubernatorial candidates have managed to throw up inordinate quantities of vision blinding clouds of dust as gladiator upon gladiator, conveyed in gleaming convoys of high price motorcades, have stormed and stumped across these anxiety soaked climes of Anambra.
If you were not into Nigeria’s polity as an invested stakeholder whose life purpose or sustenance is derived, as it were, from our fractious and noisome political market place, and if you were not by some fortuitous design of genealogy to be numbered among the Ndi Anambra, you probably had paid but cursory attention to all of these.
But the much awaited governorship elections of the 6th of November is such. a hugely significant event, not only for the precious folks in Anambra, but indeed for the entire Nigerian project.
It is why, purely as a public observer, I have increasingly been drawn to the political high drama that must now culminate in the affirmation of one person in whose hands the future of this much promising commercial hub of a federating unit will now lie for the next four years.
I stand on the considered premise that the next governor to call the shots at government house, Awka – whoever God has destined that to be – will carry much more than the burden of bringing the promise of Anambra to its critical inflection point. Given the historic role and symbolism of Anambra in the entire Igbo collective journey and psyche, the new governor is hugely important to helping harness Ndi Igbo’s energies, aspirations and resurgence, especially as it relates to resolving the vexing national question around Ndi Igbo’s deep discontent and her largely and palpably traumatic engagement with the larger Nigerian entity.
Associated with these dire imperatives, there is the whole wearying quest for a new paradigm of governance that draws its potency at the intersection of clear strategic literacy, actionable breadth of policy experience, a clear grasp of global dynamics and where and how Nigerian human capital assets can find their most elevating path within those rapidly unfolding and radically disruptive ramifications.
In sum, a deeply internalized obsession with assiduously finding ways to address the appalling state of the human condition in our climes is what has largely been lacking in sufficient, addressable quantity in all of Nigeria’s sixty plus years. Whether the humanwe here refer to is Igbo, Tiv, Hausa, Fulani, Ijaw, Yoruba or is of hundreds of other identities – that lion hearted and self directed focus on driving governance that truly brings edification to people is the urgent demand across board.
While I do not remotely claim to know this Chukwuma Soludo, however, and while I therefore lack the personal experiential authority to project him as the quintessential showpiece of the moral rectitude that has been pathetically lacking in Nigeria’s public life, I am sufficiently immersed in the key structures of development thinking to know, just listening and reading this sometimes tempestuous man, that not one single opponent is remotely close to Soludos strategic literacy heft.
Gripped in the vice like and suffocating embrace of a largely intellectually bankrupt and mainly rent seeking pseudo leadership class for much of its 60 plus years, Nigeria desperately needs ambitious, passionate, driven and energetic leaders who have requisite navigating and policy implementation competence.
The tragedy is that in the evil grip of stomach infrastructure mercenaries and totally clueless demagogues, our election often gets stolen by brazen impostors who peddle their own toxic variant of paracetamol where a fast metastasizing pathology requires the indepth knowhow of a seasoned clinician and master surgeon.
This is where I see a dire need for the Soludo’s of this world to begin to seize the mantle of leadership. One is equally intrigued by the curious amity between the incumbent, Governor Obiano and Soludo. One needs not say a word in favor of the outgoing Anambra governor. The usual retinue of image makers do not remotely appear to be lacking in capacity.
But in a political culture in which corruption crazed lame duck leaders often seek out spineless boot lickers as successors, the fact that Obiano would stake his all on a stormy petrel and fiercely independent minded fellow like this man who turned banking on its head in defiance of powerful vested interest hopefully indicates that over and above what other subterranean parameters may indeed endear Nigerian political leaders to their favored successors, consideration of demonstrable competence somehow played a part in the Obiano – Soludo resilient amity. Hopefully, this also says something about Governor Obiano’s burden for the Anambra promise.
To be said, the gentle man Valentine Ozigbo does show actionable promise if in the spirited articulation of his thoughts across speaking events. Still, Soludo’s deep, integrative and holistic grasp of the imperatives have brooked no comparison. Importantly, and inspite of the testy waters that President Muhammadu Buhari’s tortured administration seem to now be quagmired, only the undiscerning, the tragically inattentive would root for PDP’s return to Aso Rock in 2023.
Purely on the merit of Muhammadu Buhari’s loudly and perenially avowed moral rectitude and burden for substantive governance, did some of us passionately canvass for the gangling general from Daura in 2015 and 2019.
Indeed, many incorrigible pro PDP friends of mine still lambast me for the long series I did on my face book page in 2019!
But while even Mr President must privately admit to certain glaring missteps, one remains a staunch believer in the progressive promise that brought APC and the General to power in 2015 and 2019. While deep pains linger across the national landscape,, and one must reiterate the urgency of redemptive re-evaluation of approaches, one stands to be corrected by those who implacably insist that this same Muhammadu Buhari, who wept for Nigeria on national TV few years ago, is now only obsessed with organizing one ingenious heist or the other by which he now wishes to acquire ill gotten wealth. Or that the inspiring patriarch who so loudly disdained corruption in his younger years when the wine of youth often make people machiavelli in their quest for material realization, is now the cynical champion of sleaze, as the PDP machine would want us to believe, if media propaganda is anything to go by.
So it is, that one remains stoically unbending as a believer in the ultimate good of APC. Which speaks volumes for why one would muster the resilient conviction to speak in favor of Charles Chukwuma Soludo as candidate of choice for Anambra governor.
May the best man yet win. May Indigbo find the path to her glorious destiny.. May Nigeria whether these trying times on the wings of truth, justice, equity and wisdom
Omotayo Suleiman, a public affairs analyst, wrote from email@example.com