(After the nomination by APGA Delegates as the Party’s Candidate for the November 6, 2021 Governorship election in Anambra: Primaries held at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka; on Wednesday, 23rd June, 2021)
2. With humility, gratitude, and utter submission to the will of God, I accept your nomination as the gubernatorial candidate of APGA in the November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election. I thank the Alpha and Omega who, in His infinite wisdom decided that I should come from Anambra State of Nigeria; and who has abundantly blessed me beyond imagination. In gratitude to Him, I will devote every minute of my remaining life on earth to serve Him by working to leave here better than I met it. This moment is God’s time, and God’s time is “the time”!
3. At this moment, I offer nothing but statements of gratitude. First, let me thank you all, our esteemed APGA delegates and thousands of our members whom you represent, for the mandate to fly our flag. I am grateful to our members at the 326 wards, local government and state executives; members of NWC, BOT and NEC. I am particularly grateful to our indefatigable national chairman, Ozonkpu (Dr) Victor Ike Oye and his dear wife who foresaw and worked extremely hard for this day. You have proved to be an uncommon leader.
Our biggest thanks go to our national leader/BOT Chairman and ably working governor of Anambra, Chief (Sir) Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano and his amiable and supportive wife. Akpokuedike! You have shown exemplary leadership and statesmanship. I deeply treasure your belief, courage, iron-clad commitment and leadership on this project. Under you and our national chairman, APGA is stronger as Nigeria’s third largest political party and a clear leader in several ways. We shall have a more auspicious time to celebrate you!
I want to thank my wife and children for their love. I understand your concerns and sacrifices, and appreciate your understanding and prayers. Our God is on the throne!
4. Let me also thank all the 31 self-funding support groups with over 200,000 members (ASSG, U-AYA/U-AWA), as well as the millions of Ndi Anambra who have been praying and demanding that I should step out to serve— especially at these challenging times in Nigeria. I am deeply grateful to the clergy, the traditional rulers, ASATU, ASMATA, various youth and women organizations, trade and professional associations, CSOs, NGOs, etc who have rallied behind us. We thank all Nigerians from other states who have also urged and supported us. Let me particularly thank the INEC, under the sterling leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu for its professionalism, especially in monitoring today’s primaries. APGA is a law abiding party that is thorough about due process. It has never neglected or breached due process/electoral law: not now, not in the future! We also appreciate the Security agencies.
5. To the gallant co-aspirants, I salute your courage and participation in the democratic process. Let me offer my hand of fellowship, and look forward to a partnership with all of you for greater APGA and for greater Anambra.
6. To the millions of Ndi Anambra, I say: This is your moment, seize it! The November election is a very consequential election for the state. It will determine in which direction and speed of our march towards progress or retrogression. We are a unique state, richly blessed with exceptionally productive human capital scattered all over the world but struggling to build a livable and prosperous homeland. Past governors tried their best. Gov. Mbadinuju established Anambra State University; Governor Ngige built some strategic roads; while Gov Peter Obi as an APGA governor built more roads and in compliance to APGA manifesto, touched other sectors. Our current governor and leader of APGA, has taken it to the next level by combining both the micro and macro dimensions of governance: unprecedented security, Light up Anambra, 17 bridges and roads, community choose your projects; institutionalization of governance; and now the Anambra international cargo/passenger airport, international conference centre, Awka township stadium, etc. A fundamental summary measure of APGA government’s impact on the welfare of the people is the poverty incidence. According to the NBS, poverty incidence in Anambra declined from 53% in 2010 to 14.78% in 2020. There is no state government with comparable revenue that is doing better. So, partisan politics aside, APGA is serving the people better, and Ndi Anambra don’t want to go back to Egypt!
7. Of course, the road to Anambra becoming a middle to upper income, livable and prosperous homeland will remain a work-in-progress for a while. The government over the next four years will have to lay the foundation for the Anambra Vision 2070. Ours is a land of infinite possibilities and opportunities. We need continuity, consolidation, and transformation to build on the existing foundation and maximize our potentials. We need to unite and mobilize the creative energies and capital of our people all over the world as well as other investors to live out the essence of our motto: “Light of the Nation”. We shall unveil our manifesto at the launch of the campaign in August.
8. To our beloved people of Anambra, here I come! I am a poor boy whom God has lifted and gifted to serve. To the glory of God, I reached the peak of my professional career in my 30’s; had the privilege of living in Ethiopia, U.K, USA, and travelled to 45 other countries as itinerant scholar and consultant to 20 international development and financial institutions before I was called to serve the FGN in 2003. Until 2009, I served as Chief Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo; CEO of National Planning Commission; Governor of Central Bank; Chairman of Nigerian Mint; founding Chairman of AFC; and chair or member of over 25 committees. To the glory of God, I have also been decorated with over 200 national/international awards including variously Nigeria’s Man of the Year, Nigeria’s third highest national honour (CFR), global and African best governor of central bank, one of most influential Africans; etc. Currently, I serve as a member of Presidential Economic Advisory Council.
9. At this stage, I believe it is time to serve my people. As a poor village boy who has been especially blessed by God (Charlie nwa Mgbafor), I desire to give back to society through selfless public service. If you employ me as your Chief Servant come November, I hope to deploy all the global and national experiences and networks as well as local knowledge/experience as a village boy to make you proud. This is even more so at this peculiar moment in our history as Nigeria grapples with transition to post oil and post covid world as well as insecurity, and ethno-religious agitations. I am a Pan-Africanist, and hope to work with leaders in the South East and Nigeria to create that next Nigeria that will be the pride of the black race.
10. Let me at this moment wish other political parties success in their primaries and look forward to professional and issue-based campaigns. Opinion polls also show that majority of other party members say they will support Soludo if APGA nominates him. To them I say, here I am, APGA has nominated Soludo! We can understand the desperation of some opposition elements who believe that the only way to stop Soludo from winning is to stop him from being a candidate. Now that I am eventually a candidate, let’s now allow the people to choose in a free and fair election.
11. To our hundreds of thousands of supporters, the real work begins soon. Yes, APGA is our own, and Anambra is APGA, kpomkwem! At the last elections, APGA won 21 out of 21 local governments and 80% of State Assembly seats. But we won’t take any vote for granted: we will work hard to earn every vote. We will triple our efforts and campaign everywhere and reach everyone. Our target is not only 21/21 LGAs, but 326 out of 326 wards and breaking the one million votes mark in a free, fair, and transparent election.
12. Once again, thanks for this overwhelming mandate. The battle belongs to God, and who can battle with the Lord?