November 10, 2021

Anambra: We’re all winners, Soludo tells fellow contestants

Extends hand of fellowship

By Vincent Ujumadu

ANAMBRA State governor–elect, Professor Chukwuma Soludo has extended hand of fellowship to those who contested the election with him, telling them that they were all winners.

In an interview he granted at his country home in Isuofia, Aguata local government area, after being declared the winner of the election, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, reminded other governorship candidates that there is enough room for everybody to contribute towards the development of the state.

He said: “To my fellow candidates in the election, I wish to congratulate you for the gallant contest. Our people have spoken overwhelmingly, and surely that loud voice is the voice of God. “The ultimate winner is Anambra people: we are all winners. I hereby extend my hand of fellowship to all of you. I need all of you to succeed. Politics aside, we are all brothers. Let’s come together for the “Project Anambra. There is enough room for everyone to contribute in the service of our homeland”.

He recalled that on February 7th, 2010, when he lost the governorship election, he congratulated the winner two hours after INEC declared as winner a candidate who, he said, had described the election as a sham and refused to vote in protest.

He added: “I addressed a press conference and congratulated him, and walked away without a legal challenge. I was probably the first candidate of a major political party to do that in Nigeria. In Anambra, we fight hard during elections, but meet the next weekend at traditional weddings and funerals and throw banters and share drinks. 

“That’s the Anambra way! Let’s keep the spirit of Anambra alive and strong, and with it, collectively take our homeland to the moon. So far and even before the official declaration, I have received congratulatory messages from thousands of Ndi Anambra and Nigerians from around the world including some of my fellow candidates. I deeply treasure the massive goodwill.

READ ALSO: US congratulates Anambrarians for peaceful election

“To the estimated 17 million Ndi Anambra within and outside our state, this is your moment, seize it! This victory is your victory. My role will be that of your chief servant, and I will work every minute of the day with you to make you profoundly proud.

“I will need the guidance, advice and contribution of everyone to succeed. Our state is one of infinite possibilities and humungous opportunities.  Working in collaboration with other states, the federal government, and the international community, we have all that it takes to make our state whatever we collectively will that it can be.

“As we transit to a post-oil world and into the 4th industrial revolution, let us work together to build upon the foundations of our founding fathers and predecessors to create that livable and prosperous homeland that is the industrial, technology and leisure hub of West Africa. This is our manifest destiny, and collectively we shall get there”!

The governor – elect observed that the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) represented a massive improvement over the card reader and manual accreditation system in election, adding that with a continuous refinement of the technology, up-scaling of the skills of its operators, collaboration with telecommunication companies, improvement in logistical deployment and security, and stringent punishment for anyone involved in electoral malpractice, Nigeria will be on course to a robust and exemplary electoral system.

He said further: “Aside from the initial glitches in the operations of the BVAS machines in some places including at my polling unit, the election has been adjudged as the most peaceful, free, fair and credible. There is joy in the land. Kudos to INEC!

“The run up to this election and the election itself tested the resilience and integrity of our federal institutions.  Many times there were tensions especially as one party boasted that it must “take” or “conquer” Anambra by all means. Our institutions proved again and again that this country can achieve eminent greatness when our institutions rise up to the occasion.  

“The judiciary, led by the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, stood for the integrity of the judiciary. We salute the eminent justices of the Anambra High court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court for standing up for justice. Your names will be written in gold.

“We thank President Buhari, the presidency, and our security agencies for ensuring a level playing field. We must particularly commend the Chairman, Management and staff of INEC for systematically striving to bequeath a legacy of free, fair and transparent electoral system to Nigeria. 

He paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the course of the electioneering process, including  the three policemen who were killed by unknown gunmen during a town hall meeting with youths in his ward.

Vanguard News Nigeria