By Isaac Nwokocha
ENOUGH damage has been done to the image of Anambra State and people from that part of the country. The political crisis arising from the process by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of searching for a gubernatorial candidate for the FebruaryÂ 6, 2010 election, is the worst thing that can happen to a people.
It was, indeed, most disgraceful watching on the television politicians aspiring to be the governor of Anambra State and their supporters openly vandalizing the doors and security equipment at the entrance to the PDP Headquarters in Abuja, all in the name of protest. Such physical violence alone is enough ground for the disqualification of these aspirants.
Then, there was a newspaper advertisement purportedly written, signed and addressed to President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua by 23 of the 47 aspirants in protest against the choice, by the PDP National Working Committee, of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the partyâ€™s candidate for the February election.
Now, the bombshell! Six of those whose names were listed as having signed the letter to the President have cried out that â€œwe did not sign any document purportedly denouncing the PDP gubernatorial candidacy of Professor Chukwuma Soludo and Senator Anosikeâ€, that “our signatures were forged by those who claim to be representing us without our mandate or directivesâ€. The aspirants called on the Inspector General of Police to investigate those that forged our signature.â€ (Vanguard of Wednesday, 14 October, 2009).
Not only did the aspirants urge the President to disregard the said publication, they also expressed the view that the choice of Professor Soludo was an opportunity for Anambra State to move away from its inglorious past. They, therefore, called on the people of the state â€œto rally round the candidacy of Soludo/Anosike for the expected change that would lead to a new dawnâ€.
This development, although welcome, is very worrisome. It is welcome because the good people of Anambra State are beginning to realise the urgent need to move away from the rot of the past and embrace the culture of decency for which the founding fathers of the state were known; they are beginning to feel the need to change from the politics of money to the politics of principles, virtues and service to humanity, and they are beginning to see the need to utilize the human capitals which God has abundantly given to Anambra State.
Among states of the Federation, Anambra is arguably one of the topmost in producing accomplished and successful politicians, academics, diplomats, businessmen and women, professionals of all categories, among them: Chief Alex Ekwueme, former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretaryâ€“General of the Commonwealth; Dr. Ngozi Okonjoâ€“Iweala, former Minister of Finance as well as Foreign Affairs and currently Managing Director of the World Bank who also serves as fellow at the Brooking Institute;Â Dora Akunyili, current Minister of Information and Communications and other eminent and respected personalities too numerous to mention.
So intimidating is the list of eminent and reputable indigenes of Anambra that the state really has no business dealing with riff-raffs who have nothing else to offer than money in its raw form. That is why ProfessorÂ Soludo is strategically placed to rescue Anambra State from its current sinking image.
Soludo made his name first as a sound university Professor from where he joined the National Planning Commission as Chairman with the responsibility for the articulation and design of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS). He has been known for his rigour of theoretical analysis, passion for the nationâ€™s economic development and great optimism about Nigeriaâ€™s future.
Of course, Professor Soludo is better known for his consolidation policy in the Nigerian financial sector where he laid a solid foundation for the banking industry. Above all, his administrative competence and skills in the management of men and resources were put to test during his years as Governor of the Central Bank.
And, no one can succeed in running the Central Bank, ifÂ he or she does not have the capacity for handling important and sensitive political decisions.
Apart from that,Â Professor Soludo remains a true patriot and an outstanding economist. For Professor Soludoâ€™s immense contribution to banking and economic development of Nigeria, he has been widely rewarded with honours, awards and international appointments.
Why, one may ask, would Anambra, indeed, any state in Nigeria, hesitate to grab a man of such high intellect, industry and achievements as Soludo? Why should Anambra go for some less-gifted persons, simply because they have money to throw around?
It is true we need money for a lot of things, but the people of Anambra cannot afford to sell their rights for a mess of potage. The State has a name to protect, nationally and internationally. The impression that an Anambrarian can be bought under all circumstances must be avoided at all cost.
One of the objections against Soludo is that he was chosen by the PDP NWC instead of being elected at a congress formally organised by the party. The truth, of course, is that those protesting against his choice were the very people who made it impossible for the congress to hold. The other point of objection to Soludo has been that he is aloof, not in touch with the people and does not know what is happening in the State.
These allegations are simply not true. In spite of Soludoâ€™s education and achievements, he remains a man of the people to the core.
The list of candidates for the election has now been endorsed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). So, the hope that Soludo will be dropped is nothing but an illusion which can do no good. It is in the collective interest of all the PDP aspirants to reconcile their differences and prepare to work with Soludo as the Governor of Anambra State, come 2010.
It hurts the conscience to think that, among the 47 politicians aspiring to be the Governor of Anambra State, there are some who can forge signatures in a letter being written to the President of our dear country.
If established to be true, such aspirants and all those who colluded with them, should be treated as common criminals, which is what they are. It is the collective duty of the people of Anambra State to rescue the image of the State and move it away from its inglorious past. What is heart-warming is that many Anambrarians are already doing that.
Mr. Nwokocha, a lawyer,Â writes from Port Harcourt.