ANALYSIS: Can Soludo provide a solution to the IPOB uprising and the development challenges of Anambra?

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With his victory for the election of the governor of Anambra, Charles Soludo must think about how to meet the expectations of the inhabitants of the state.

The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was declared the winner of the November 6 ballot after additional elections in the local government area of ​​Ihiala where the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) had suspended exercise Saturday due to unspecified security. threatens.

Returning officer Florence Obi, who is also the vice-chancellor of the University of Calabar, called for the election of Mr. Soludo, the candidate of the All Progressive Grande Alliance (APGA), who collected the more votes in 19 of the 21 locals. government areas of the state.

He garnered a total of 112,229 votes, beating his two closest rivals – Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which recorded 53,807 votes and Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who received 43,285 votes.

After that ?

Mr Soludo will not take office until March next year, when the second term of outgoing governor Willie Obiano comes to an end. Given that both men are members of APGA, Mr. Soludo can look forward to a smooth transition process.

The three months leading up to his inauguration also give him time to fine-tune his programs and policies and plan the appointments of his officials so he can set out to deliver on his campaign promises.

He ran a campaign with the slogan “SOLUTION”, which explained how he would address the economic and socio-political challenges of the state which has Nigeria’s second smallest landmass after Lagos, but one felt it was richer than its own. physical size in human capital. .

When PREMIUM TIMES spoke to a representative sample of state residents after the election, it appeared they weren’t asking for too much – just a government that works to improve the state’s economy and ensure an equitable distribution of opportunities.

Many have described the election of the former governor of the CBN as the dawn of a new era after what some saw as the disappointment of the incumbent governor.

“If I have to be blunt, nothing has worked for the past four years under Willie Obiano’s government,” Anthony Ezechukwu, a motorcycle parts dealer in the local government area of ​​Aguata, said Sunday after that it appeared that the APGA candidate was on his way to victory. .

“Soludo must not let us down,” said the middle-aged man.

At that time, when Mr. Ezechukwu spoke, Mr. Soludo had been declared the winner in 18 of the 20 local government results, while Mr. Ozigbo of the PDP and Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) each had won a local government area.

IPOB

First test

With insecurity being the state’s overriding concern in the run-up to elections, one of Mr Soludo’s first tests as governor will be how he tackles the insurgency of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) which had cast dark clouds over the elections and possibly affected voter turnout.

Even if state notorious for voter apathy, 10% turnout as of November 6 the poll is low even by its low level. Out of more than 2.4 million registered voters, only 253,000 or 10.27% participated in the exercise.

An IPOB sit-at-home order had hampered economic and social activities across the southeast and people remained skeptical even after the banned separatist group announced the withdrawal of the order from Anambra in two. election days.

It will take diplomacy and firmness on the part of the incoming administration to ensure that the withdrawal of the order is not just temporary. Mr Soludo has vowed to call the separatists for negotiations but it remains to be seen how the belligerents among them would watch the wave of an olive branch.

TEXEM

PREMIUM TIMES reporters have witnessed first-hand the fear, fueled by fear of attacks or harassment, in which residents detain the IPOB and the executors of the sit-at-home order. In the three senatorial districts of Anambra, the story was the same. This can be a stumbling block for the governor-elect unless he finds a way to appease or suppress the separatists.

“Please I can’t say anything against IPOB,” Precious Ibeh told the reporter from the commercial town of Onitsha where she works. “What I really aspire to is for peace and unity to reign, whether or not they (IPOB) get what they are striving for.”

Other residents who have spoken about the separatist group and the challenge they pose to Mr Soludo have argued largely in support of his agitation. But many have also apparently signed on to the governor’s-elect’s SOLUTION program regarding insecurity in the state.

Chiamaka Okafor, an indigenous person from the Njikoka local government area, who works in Abuja, said she supports the group’s right to peaceful unrest but denounces the harassment and violence associated with it. She also believes that local political leaders have mismanaged the development.

“The APGA-led government is indifferent to the IPOB issue, but it’s the same in other states. Imo, Abia, Ebonyi do nothing.

“No governor from the Southeast has come out to say this is what we want to do, but I agreed with Soludo’s submission when he spoke about the place of dialogue. It seems that we no longer know what the demands of these people are.

“This unrest can be attributed to the civil war, to accounts that still need to be settled,” she said.

“Soludo knows better …”

Infographic of Mr Soludo's performance in the ballot alongside that of the candidates for governor of the APC, PDP and YPP.

However, Ms Ibeh and Ms Okafor shared a similar expectation: that Mr Soludo will lead Anambra better than the outgoing governor, Mr Obiano.

They said the outgoing president came to power through the accomplishments of his predecessor, Peter Obi, but fell short of people’s expectations. Mr. Obi is now in the PDP and has actively campaigned for the party’s candidate, Mr. Ozigbo.

“People considered Anambra and the southeast in general to be a safe place, but you can’t tell it’s the reality now that people aren’t even sure they’ll be going home for the holiday season. . All this within eight years of Obiano’s reign, ”said Ms. Okafor.

“Considering Soludo’s course, it will be heartbreaking if he doesn’t do better. During the gubernatorial debate, he made numerous statements about how he pulled Nigeria out of various financial constraints.

“If he could do it for the 36 states and the CTF, Anambra state with 21 local governments shouldn’t be difficult for him to manage. As a professor of economics, he cannot afford to fail. In the name of his name and his international reputation, he cannot afford to let us down, ”said Ms. Okafor, constituency project manager at UDEME in Abuja.

Regarding his impact on Anambra’s infrastructure, education and economy, Friday Nnamdi, a cyclist from Nnewi South, said he would give Mr Obiano a score below 30%.

“I challenge you to ask the employees of the governor’s office how often our governor comes to his office. He spends most of his time at Government House, so he can’t see how bad our roads and our classrooms are, ”Nnamdi said.

However, a commercial driver in the town of Ekwulobia, in the local government area of ​​Aguata, who only identified himself as Eze, believed Mr. Obiano was doing his best as governor.

He said the governor was upholding some of his predecessor’s plans.

But with the exception of the three overflights built by the administration, Mr. Eze did not remember the physical projects delivered by the administration.

Additionally, Naomi Oleribe, a video editor, argued that Mr Obiano did not perform as badly as his critics have claimed. However, Ms. Oleribe only rated her performance at 40 percent.

“People just don’t like him because he fell far short of his predecessor, Peter Obi. In fact, most of us voted for him because he (Peter Obi) campaigned for him, ”she said.

Willie obiano [PHOTO CREDIT: @WillieMObiano]

No more expectations, APGA must continue

Besides the respect many locals have expressed for Mr. Soludo as the former governor of the CBN, many said they voted for him to prevent the APC and PDP from controlling Anambra.

Many locals said they viewed the APGA as their own, despite Mr Obiano’s alleged poor performance, and would prefer the party to continue running Anambra, the only state under his control.

“We don’t want CPA, really don’t. PDP is an option but APGA is the party we know and we want continuity, which is why we support Soludo.

“With our support for her, I pray that God will touch her heart to give us the dividends of democracy that we deserve, better than the previous administration,” Ms. Ibeh said.

Ms Oléribe said she expects Mr Soludo to tackle the challenges of urbanization in the state, verify the activities of disbelievers in the state’s car fleets and involve young people in governance. .

“I want Soludo to look at the problem of urbanization. We have to find a way to condition all our fleets littered everywhere so that everything goes faster and becomes more organized.

“No one is talking about the daily harassment and extortion that takes place in our parks, especially in Onitsha and other parts of the state. Nobody cares. But we think Soludo cares. We want this fixed, we want an enabling environment. There’s that feeling you get when you go down to Upper-Iwenka, the fear that your bags could easily be ripped off by these scoundrels and agbero (marauders) in that particular place and beyond, ”she said.

In his acceptance speech after being declared the winner by INEC, Mr. Soludo promised not to disappoint the people of Anambra.

“For the estimated 17 million Ndi Anambra inside and outside our homeland (state), this is your moment, seize it! This victory is your victory. My role will be that of your manager, and I will work with you every minute of the day to make you deeply proud. I will need everyone’s advice, guidance and contribution to be successful, ”he said.

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