By Bonaventure Melah
The Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) International last Sunday made public the result of an opinion poll it conducted on the Anambra State governorship election that is due to be held next week Saturday with Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) coming tops. 30 percent of potential voters in the state said they would vote for Soludo on the day ofÂ election.
Following Soludo is incumbent Governor Peter Obi of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) who got 22 percent nod, while Dr. Chris Ngige of Action Congress (AC), Hon. Uche Ekwunife of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and Dr. Andy Uba of the Labour Party (LP) got 18, 10, 10 and 7 percent respectively.
Before the NTA poll result, a United Kingdom (UK) based publishing company Holler Africa had conducted a similar exercise on the coming election with Prof. Soludo leading the others with 38 percent. He was followed then by Dr. Chris Ngige who got 21 percent while Governor Peter Obi got 19 percent. Dr. Andy Uba, Uche Ekwunife, Nicholas Ukachukwu and Okey Nwosu respectively got 9, 6, 4 and 2 percent.
While the NTA applied the Short Message System (SMS) in conducting its own poll, Holler Africa which partnered Dozie Anambra Professionals used a combination of Telephone and Direct Interview approach involving 9000 potential voters drawn from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state with residents selected from Awka, the state capital, Nnewi, Aguata, Onitsha , Ogbaru, Ihiala and Anambra East.
While the results of these polls can be said to be quite encouraging especially to the PDP as a party, the Soludo campaign group and the candidate and his running mate Senator Emma Anosike themselves, what is on ground in Anambra State speaks far louder.
One would be modest to say that Soludo and his Solution slogan has become an anthem of sort in the mouth of most people you come across in the state, especially in the rural areas; and this can be attributed to a combination of factors that include his towering personality stemming from a brilliant academic and most outstanding performance in public service.
After consulting for 18 international organisations including the World Bank, the erudite and highly cerebral economist joined Nigerian Government as the de- facto Minister of National Planning while serving also as the Chief Economic Adviser to the President.
Soludo later moved to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2005 where he carried out a revolution in the name of consolidation and recapitalisation which saw 89 distressed and failing banks form mergers and take-over that folded them into 25 vibrant financial institutions with 15 of them being among the top 1000 banks in the world. Each of two Nigerian banks today is bigger than the 89 pre- consolidation banks put together; and for this and other head- turning records of achievements in the banking and other sectors of the economy, the Financial Times of London in 2006 voted Soludo as the Best CBN Governor in the world.
Apart from outstanding academic and service records, Soludoâ€™s running mate Senator Emma Anosike is another strong factor pushing the PDP ticket to an imminent victory. A seasoned and grassroots politician, Senator Anosike who hails from Umuleri in Anambra East has deployed his experience and native intelligence into the field, meandering through the shallows into the interior villages to fraternise again with old loyalists and convert new admirers.
There is also the PDP itself, a political conglomerate that is head and shoulders far taller than a combination of other political parties. In Anambra, PDP is like a colossus and you can easily see its towering umbrella in every nook and cranny of the state. By estimation, over 80 percent of political infrastructure in the State belongs to the PDP .
For those who have been nursing grievances against the PDP for the ugly roles it played in the past against the people and the state, Soludo has been telling them that he is contesting the governorship election under the umbrella of a new PDP. He is telling them that those who perpetrated those anti- social vices in the past have been leaving the party because its new image and posture cannot accommodate their caprices.
Of far reaching significance also is the recent decision of the PDP to de-register its former members who, because they failed to clinch the partyâ€™s governorship ticket are now contesting the election under rival political groups. Before the national leadership of the PDP took that decisive stand, there were rumours that Abuja was not totally behind Soludo. Some PDP members were therefore working for the decampees believing that they would be allowed to move back to the party after the election.