Breaking: Long Journey of Soludo to Anambra Seat of Power, as he reflects on victory
Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has described his victory in the 2021 Anambra Governorship Election as a reflection of the people’s will.
He spoke during an acceptance speech shortly after he was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday morning.
The Returning Officer of the Anambra Governorship Election, Prof Florence Obi, announced the result on Wednesday morning at the INEC office in Awka, Anambra State.
“That Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar said on Wednesday.
Soludo, who was the apex bank governor between 2004 and 2009, was declared winner after a supplementary election was held in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday. He won 19 of the 21 local governments areas including Ihiala LGA.
Sixty one-year-old Soludo won with 112,229 votes beating Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party, who polled 53,807 votes, and Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress who got 43,285 votes. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party who polled 21,261 votes came fourth.
Soludo’s walk to victory was paved with stony challenges including legal battles and intra-party squabbles but the Supreme Court in Abuja affirmed him as APGA governorship candidate. This was after the sacking of a former APGA candidate, Chukwuma Umeoji, by the court.
Umeoji, who is the current member of the House of Representatives representing Aguata Federal Constituency in Anambra State, was recently sacked by a court decision after his name had been listed by the Independent National Electoral Commission as APGA’s candidate.
The court then ordered INEC to replace Umeoji with Soludo as the validly elected candidate of APGA for the governorship election.
Also in April 2021 during the build-up to the election, Soludo narrowly escaped death when gunmen unleashed terror on him and his security aides during a town hall meeting in his hometown in Isuofia in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra.
Three of his police orderlies were killed during the attack which he described as “senseless”. Soludo dedicated his victory to the three policemen in his acceptance speech on Wednesday.
During his acceptance speech, Soludo said, “Let me say with utmost humility and gratitude to God, I accept the results of the 2021 Anambra Governorship Election as declared by INEC. And this reflects the supreme will of the Almighty God and an overwhelming sacred mandate of the people…This is a divine journey whose time has come.”
“The election itself tested the integrity of our federal institutions. Many times there were tensions, especially as one party boasted that it must take or ‘conquer’ but the judiciary stood for the integrity of the judiciary,” he added.
The winner also thanked the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano; and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), amongst a list of persons.
He promised to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state while extending an olive branch to his contenders in the race.
Soludo is expected to be sworn into office next March after the expiration of the two-term tenure of Obiano, who is also of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.