By Tony Okonkwo
Ever since the landmark Supreme Court ruling that altered the Nigerian electoral calendar, Anambra State’s Governorship election timing became different from the rest of the States. Anambra being an exceptional State usually elicits so much interest from different quarters across the country and even beyond during election
2021 is the year and the political momentum is increasingly getting hot by the day. The contestants are beginning to position themselves. Alignments and realignments are expected in the coming days as the contestants engage in intense campaigns and lobby for the top seat in Anambra State. Let’s look at the top contenders and analyze their chances of winning.
Prof Chukwuma Soludo: He needs no introduction. His name is an anthem of sorts due to his position as the former Central Bank Governor and the banking revolution he spearheaded which was code named The Soludo Solution. During his stint at the CBN, Nigerian banks attained global prominence and in the process, deepened the Nigerian financial market.
Prof Soludo is not new to the contest as he threw his hat into the ring in 2010 Governorship election under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party. He changed the political discourse with his African Dubai Taiwan blue print. Prof Soludo is favoured to clinch the APGA ticket in the coming election. However, majority of ndi Anambra perceive him to be arrogant, brash and proud. He lacks the common touch and is seen to be elitist, giving no regard to people on the lower rungs of the societal ladder. Furthermore, the controversy surrounding the construction of a hospital in honour of his late mother has eroded his credibility and damaged his brand. It remains to be seen how he can remedy these defects and change the narratives.
Dr Godwin Maduka: He is by far the most accomplished Professional among ndi Anambra in diaspora. A Harvard trained medical Doctor and one of the world best in pain management, he brings with him the values of excellence, passion for service delivery, compassion for the poor and the downtrodden, discipline and focus. He is already sufficiently known in the State because of the unparalleled infrastructural development and human capacity building he singlehandedly initiated in his hometown with his personal resources. He completely changed the fortunes of his hometown Umuchukwu and catapulted it to the higher rungs of the developmental ladder.
Among the Contestants, he is the only person without any political baggage. He comes unblemished. Anambra needs a break from the past and a figure who will bridge the gap between the old order and the new Frontier. Dr Maduka represents that adequately. He is at home with both the common man and the high and mighty. With his unmatched pedigree, he has shown uncommon vision and capacity, and given an opportunity, he will replicate the Umuchukwu magic on the State level. Words on the streets are that he will bring to bear his wealth of knowledge, his positive anger with which he transformed his community and his international connection on the governance of the State. He is the best of the pack and in a fast changing world, Anambra State needs a man whose second name is development.
Uche Ekwunife: She is an amazon and a high flyer in the politics of Anambra State. In a male dominated circle, she is an inspiration to the women folk. Her victory at the Anambra Central Senatorial election against a well known and formidable Chief Victor Umeh attests to her popularity and political sagacity. While in the House of Representatives, she has shown sterling leadership qualities by her sponsored motions and federal goodies attracted to her Constituency. However, Anambra voters understand and have come to imbibe the idea of justice and fair play, and that is why there is an unanimous decision that the next Anambra Governor will come from Anambra South Senatorial zone. Uche Ekwunife is from Anambra South by birth, and at the same time from Anambra Central by marriage. Currently, she is representing Anambra Central at the Senate. Allowing her to claim both zones for political advantage will defeat the idea of zoning. Claiming either of the zones when it favours you is a new low and will only make her a posterchild for politics without principles, or a political Chameleon. Anambra Government House needs a person without such a terrible character flaw. The next Governor Anambra needs should be someone who can choose a side and stick to it even if the Heavens totters and the earth reels. The general opinion is that Uche Ekwunife should wait for the turn of Anambra Central which she already identifies with before she can make another move for Agu Awka Government House.
Ifeanyi Ubah: He has etched his name in the minds of ndi Anambra through his philanthropic gestures and human empowerment schemes. Currently, he represents Anambra South in the Senate. He contested for the Governorship election in 2013 and lost to the current Governor of Anambra State. Since then, he has not hidden his desire to superintend over the affairs of the State.
However, Ifeanyi has an unenviable business record that has whittled down his influence and tarnished his image beyond measure. He is rumoured to be the single largest individual debtor to AMCON and has strings of sour business dealings with many individuals, particularly from Anambra State. Many people are not disposed to allowing him oversee the distribution of the common patrimony of the State.