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The road to Charles Soludo’s victory

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“Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, having scored the highest number of valid votes, was declared winner of the election,” announced INEC’s returning officer Florence Obi in the early hours of Wednesday.

Charles Soludo, a professor of Economics and the ex-CBN governor, has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission the winner of the 2021 governorship election in Anambra.

Mr Soludo was born on July 28, 1960. He will succeed Willie Obiano as Anambra’s governor.

Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano (Credit: Twitter)

He hails from the Aguata local government area of Anambra state. He had served as the chief economic adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the chief executive of the National Planning Commission of Nigeria. He also served as a one-time member of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development Advisory Committee.

Mr Soludo was the CBN governor from 2004 to 2009, under Mr Obasanjo and President Umaru Yar’Adua. His legacy as a CBN helmsman in the banking sector is characterised by his consolidation of the nation’s banks and his contribution to Nigeria’s debt relief.

In a 2004 address to the Bankers’ Committee, Mr Soludo noted the weaknesses of the pre-consolidation Nigerian banks to include low capital base, which in turn became high overhead costs.

Mr Soludo noted that the banks in the system were small and unable to compete with the bigger ones, plagued by a high incidence of non-performing loans, capital deficiencies, weak management and poor corporate governance. His policy reduced the number of banks from 89 banks to 24, which enhanced the national economy.

Mr Soludo first announced his political aspirations in September 2009, when he ran for governor of Anambra in 2010. He was chosen by the Peoples Democratic Party as a consensus candidate after multiple attempts to hold elective primaries were stalled by court injunctions.

Mr Soludo’s nomination, however, was contested by 23 of the 47 aspirants, who claimed that there was a lack of transparency in the selection process. Eventually, Mr Soludo lost to Peter Obi in the governorship election.

A photo of Valentine Ozigbo [Photo credit: Vanguard News]

In July 2013, Mr Soludo resigned from the PDP, joining the APGA ahead of the November 2013 governorship race in Anambra. In mid-August 2013, Mr Soludo and five other qualified aspirants were disqualified by the APGA screening committee.

In February 2021, the ex-CBN governor again declared his intention to contest the governorship election on APGA’s platform. In March, unknown gunmen disrupted an interactive session between him and Isuofia youths at the town’s civic centre, killing three police officers.

Mr Soludo’s victory on APGA’s platform shows Anambra people continue to revere and associate with Ojukwu. His victory and tenure will face struggles such as economic hardship as Anambra’s coffers have been greatly depleted. But unlike Mr Obiano, who benefitted from ex-Governor Peter Obi’s prudence, Mr Soludo will have an ebbing pocket and the mutating IPOB threat to contend with.

During a governorship election debate, Mr Soludo stated his position on the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), saying that he believes the secessionist group should be heard and not treated with violence.

His victory dance was put on hold after INEC declared the November 6 election inconclusive because would-be voters were prevented from exercising their franchise in Ihiala LGA due to security and logistic reasons.

The election in the LGA was eventually held on Tuesday.

Mr Soludo won the governorship election, polling 112,229 votes to defeat his closest rival, PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo, who had 53,807 votes. APC’s Andy Uba had 43,285 votes.

Mr Soludo won 19 out of the 21 LGAs, including Dunukofia, Awka South, Oyi, Anaocha, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Idemili South, Onitsha South, Njikoka, Orumba South, Onitsha North, Idemili North, Ekwusigo, Aguata, Nnewi South, Orumba North and Ihiala.

Ms Obi announced that the number of valid votes was 241,523, while 8,108 were void. The returning officer stated that Anambra, with 2,466,638 registered voters, only had 253,388 accredited voters for the election held between November 6 and 9, 2021.

Politics

Nigeria not at dead-end, will overcome challenges – Dogara

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Dogara..

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Sunday expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon overcome its security challenges.

Dogara, who stated this in his keynote address at the House of Justice Annual Summit held in Kaduna, urged Nigerians not to rest on their oars until the country over the challenges.

He said: “These security challenges, as deeply disconcerting as they are, they are not strange. There is no nation on earth that has not been tried or tested. Every one of them has come to moments of national peril. We can put an end to the moral vandalism that flows from all spots of bedlam across the face of the nation.

“No season lasts forever, therefore this cup shall pass if we all do our bit such as we are doing at this summit in order to keep the promise of this great country alive.

“For us to leave this Nigeria, our country that we cherish and hold dear, for others to defend is not cowardice, it is apostasy to the Nigerian creed. For those who think Nigeria has arrived at a dead-end, let us disappoint them by turning the end into a bend. We can do it!

READ ALSO: Nigeria heading for final implosion, extinction —Dogara

“I need neither remind us that national security is a subject matter on the lips of all Nigerians now. I am further comforted by the recognition by House of Justice, in their thesis, that this insecurity challenge is surmountable, its enormity notwithstanding.”

The ex-speaker said ...-civil war situation in Nigeria had been largely calm except for limited instances of armed robbery.

Dogara added: “For about two decades the security situation has become unhinged. Killing, maiming, and the destruction of property have become commonplace daily occurrences.

“These manifest in the form of the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping , militancy in the Niger Delta, the activities of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) secessionists in the South-East, banditry, farmer/herders clashes, cattle rustling and ethnoreligious conflicts among others. These, each sufficiently vicious in its own right, have combined to compound the quagmire of insecurity that pervades Nigeria now.”

By: Yemi Kanji

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Keyamo brands #EndSARS panels illegal, confirms Twitter agreement with Nigeria

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The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on Sunday questioned the legality of the judicial panels of inquiry set up by state governments to investigate cases of police brutality across the country.

Keyamo, who appeared in a programme on Channels TV, was responding to a question on the Federal Government’s position on the leaked report by the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry.

He said: “I will not answer this question as a sitting minister.

“I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and so, I am entitled to my own opinion. This is not the Federal Government’s position.

“For me, that panel was an illegal panel.”

The minister’s comments came days after the panel in its report indicted the operatives of the Nigerian Army and Police for complicity in the shooting of #ENDSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate on October 20 last year.

Keyamo also revealed that Twitter has agreed to all the conditions laid out by the federal government regarding its operations in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt to review #EndSARS panels’ reports

The minister added: “The reason why the President took that step is to recalibrate our relationship with Twitter and not to drive them away from our country.

“That recalibration, we have started it and the President graciously added me to the committee.

“We also set up a technical committee to interface with Twitter and come up with a lot of conditions for them to fulfill for us to lift the suspension.

“It was Twitter that reached out to the Federal Government to say they want to know what and what they can do to straighten up the relationship with the Federal Government and so, we have gone far but I may not, at this forum, let out a lot but we gave them a lot of conditions and they have agreed to all the conditions.”

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‘Why Nigerians can’t trust PDP to rebuild Nigeria,’ VON chief, Okechukwu

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1638138969 Osita Okechukwu

The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, on Sunday explained why Nigerians cannot trust the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on its plans to rebuild Nigeria.

Okechukwu, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the PDP cannot be trusted to rescue Nigeria based on its antecedents.

He said: “How can Nigerians trust our sister political party, the PDP, given their antecedents riddled with trust deficit? We know that times are hard; methinks it’s better to allow APC to fix Nigeria. Where does one start from?

“Let’s start from PDP-In-house, by listening to Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; ‘I handed over N11 billion in fixed deposit and N800 million in current account when I left as national chairman after seven months. I don’t see what was done with that money.

“Millions were raised to finish our national headquarters; we don’t seem to have a trace of where all that money went. Our headquarters is yet to be completed. Today we don’t even have a party account. We have to get back to strict monitoring of our party accounts.

“Our internal audit department needs to be strengthened and supported by the party leadership. Very strict sanctions must be imposed on the mismanagement of party funds.

“I suggest that we include inviting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to probe erring officers and members and prosecution of those found culpable. This is the only way to create a deterrent.”

The VON chief also recalled how a former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua, alerted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the monumental corruption in PDP.

Okechukwu added: “Can we forget the squandermania of $23 billion Greenfield Refineries – one meant for Lagos, one for Kogi, and one for Bayelsa? A golden opportunity cost to our economy.

READ ALSO: PDP solicits Nigerians’ help to regain power in 2023

“Recall that on March 19, 2015, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) queried Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, then Minister of Finance thus, ‘May we under the Freedom of Information Act 2011, request for the full disclosure of transactions concerning the three Greenfield refineries and petrochemical plant contract awarded on May 13, 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan to Chinese State Construction and Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC), at $23 billion meant to be located at Bayelsa, Kogi and Lagos States.

“Secondly, why are they dead on arrival as six years down the line, neither the three Greenfield refineries nor petrochemical plant is under construction. The three Greenfield refineries one understands, on completion were to add 750,000 barrels per day capacity to Nigeria’s refining infrastructure and create over a million jobs.

“The Greenfield Refineries fiasco happened when our Excess Crude Account had over $40 billion dollars the China State Construction Corporation even upped their equity to 80 percent. The unfortunate outcome is that $15 billion is fleeced off our national treasury annually for the importation of refined petroleum products for over a decade.”

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