Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo inherited a political party that is yearning for breakthrough and progress in winning elections not just in Anambra State but also in the Southeast geopolitical zone and Nigeria at large.
Incidentally, Governor Soludo as the national leader of APGA is facing the 2023 general elections less than one year in office. And the question now is: How far can APGA go in Southeast facing other political parties at the polls in 2023 under Soludo as National leader?
To answer the above question, there is need to look at what Soludo inherited, what he has done and what he is prepared to do.
Politics of winning election is definitely consequent upon works already done and promises on works to be done with ideas and knowledge driven by message on the plans and vision for the electorates. It also involves movement in search of good relationship, good collaboration, alliance, merging, grouping and machinery building through the media, one on one contact and open air campaign. There comes the issue of popularity and acceptability by the electorates.
As a leader of APGA, Soludo inherited campaign message driven with a slogan tagged “This is our own” (Nkea bu nke-anyi) meaning that APGA is of the Igbo extraction or Igbo background. For many years running now, APGA has relied on this slogan as its driven force but unfortunately the slogan is yet to inspire the party to win elections at some levels both within and outside Anambra State. Perhaps, APGA needs much captivating power broker slogan going for 2023.
Analysts say the overwhelming support being enjoyed by the Presidential candidate of Labour Party Mr Peter Obi in the Southeast has invariably made Labour Party another strong opposition to APGA in addition to PDP and APC. Clearly seen, the elections of 2023 in Anambra and Southeast is a four horse race between PDP, APC, APGA and Labour Party. According to analysts, APGA will find things difficult facing Labour Party in some parts of Anambra most especially in Anambra Central Senatorial zone where the Presidential candidate of Labour Party and former Governor Peter Obi comes from.
Also Soludo inherited APGA that is engulfed in leadership crisis with Edozie Njoku fighting tooth and nail to wrestle the leadership of the party from Victor Oye. As at the time of filling this report, Njoku is still dragging at the Supreme Court judgment saying that the judgment on leadership of the party is at his favor. Njoku is insisting that he has to be recognized as the authentic National Chairman of APGA by Soludo being the national leader of the party. Political pundits say Njoku and Oye have to reconcile on a round table as according to them, APGA has to be crisis free to be able to focus on winning elections in 2023.
On performance, Soludo is not doing badly. His vision and style of governance is gradually taking shape. For instance, his disposition for disruptive change and passion to turn Anambra into a liveable and prosperous homeland as Africa’s Dubai/Taiwan is gradually evolving and making head way. At first he has launched a comprehensive offensive against corruption in government quarters with machinery to protect the revenue of the State from cabals and broad day thieves that milk the resources of the State.
His disposition towards getting the people pay their taxes and to ensure that every Kobo is well channeled to development projects is worthy to follow. Much so, he is fighting against high cost of governance with a view to reduce the number of appointments and government spending. Unlike his predecessors that dished out political appointments like birthday gifts, Soludo is mindful of the kind of appointments he gives and the way government should spend money on overheads and functionaries
Most importantly, he rose up to the task to give effective response to the teething security challenge he inherited. Observers say Soludo has made Anambra a tough terrain for criminals. Thirdly, he has also given effective response to bad condition of roads he inherited. Addressing a gathering of Church leaders in Onitsha, he revealed that he has awarded road contract of over 250klm so far across the State with some palliative measures in strategic places already done. One of the major palliative measures is the rehabilitation of Amansea version of Onitsha – Enugu Expressway which was hitherto unmotorable owing to the terrible condition of the road.
Furthermore, he has repositioned the education sector for greater heights with employment of 5000 teachers in the State. On the other hand, he has redefined the environmental face of the Light of the Nation State with effective waste disposal system and demolition of illegal structures in the environs of Onitsha and Awka. Creditably again, he is moving along with the youth with a program on youth empowerment tagged “one man two skills” initiative. Under normal circumstances Soludo’s performance in less than a year suppose to earn APGA votes in 2023.
Another thing that suppose to earn APGA votes is what Soludo has in mind to do on the 2023 polls. Analysts and observers say his romance with the Prresidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubukar ahead of the 2023 election is an indication that he has intention towards another level of things. And APGA is invariably the platform to build up towards that level. It is not a bad omen if APGA captures like three States in 2023 elections. That’s a good advancement towards the next level for the party. For now APGA is the way for Soludo and unlike his Predecessors that couldn’t muster the strength to move APGA beyond Anambra , he has to muster the strength to move the party beyond boarders if he is serious about next levels.
Interestingly, APGA has got some goodies for progress hence the vision of turning Anambra into a liveable and prosperous homeland as Africa’s Dubai/Taiwan is seeing the light of the day. Analysts say, as governor of a super rich Anambra State, Soludo has what it takes to make APGA a Lionel Messi in the field of 2023 elections in Anambra, Southeast and beyond. The situation he inherited nevertheless, Soludo has to take up the challenge and work hard to make a difference. Good enough, there are credible and capable candidates contesting for governorship and National Assembly seats under APGA in the Southeast. More interesting is that APGA is going into the 2023 elections with much credibility unlike 2019 when the party went for elections without credibility owing to poor conduct of primary elections.
Soludo should take it up and work hard to make APGA proud like never before.
Yes it is possible for APGA to coast home to victory with governorship seats as well as National Assembly seats in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States considering the qualities of candidates in the race for positions under the party. In Abia, the governorship candidate of APGA Professor Gregory Ibe is good to go. Professor Ibe, a high capacity entrepreneur and academic guru with vast experience in human and economic development and management is leading a revolution in the politics of God’s Own State with the likes of Senator Enyinaya Abaribe and a host of other experienced and fresh breed politicians ready to bring about change and make positive impact in governance of Abia State.
In Ebonyi, the governorship candidate of APGA, Professor Benard Ifeanyi Odoh, a former Secretary the State Government (SSG)) another academic and a Professor of Geophysics who is well grounded in the affairs of the State is leading the charge for new political order in the Salt of the Nation State. In Enugu, the governorship candidate of APGA, a former Minister of Information Mr Frank Nweke Junior is good to go with a cream of young energetic and zealous politicians with passion for change of leadership baton in the Coal City State.
In Imo where APGA is much popular having produced the governor of the State at one time, APGA is likely to spring good waves in winning elections. Going by the unpopularity and unacceptability of APC government in Imo State ,APGA remains the most credible alternative political party in the Heartland State and the 2023 elections is a great opportunity to just prove that.
In Anambra, the 2023 elections is another opportunity for APGA to strengthen and advance its hold as the ruling party in the Light of the Nation State. Apart from Anambra Central Senatorial zone where the Presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi is expected to influence his party to sweep all positions including Senate, Federal House and State House of Assembly seats, APGA is expected to do well in other Senatorial zones in Anambra.
For instance, APGA is expected to win Anambra North Senatorial zone following the massive range of political appointments, road construction and other things enjoyed by the people of Anambra North during former Governor Obiano administration. Obiano as governor under APGA for eight years did a lot of things for Anambra North where he comes from. Incidentally, Obiano’s wife is the APGA candidate for Senatorial election in Anambra North, thus APGA is good to go.
As earlier noted, politics of winning elections demand for vast works which include ideas and knowledge that are good to form captivating message to convince the electorates. Soludo should design a fresh and stronger message to move APGA round the Southeast region to win elections. Never minding the wave of Labour Party ahead of the 2023 elections APGA remains most credible alternative to the Southeast over PDP and APC. Soludo should reach out for relationship, collaboration, alliance and machinery building with massive media works for effective campaign onward to victories of APGA candidates at the polls.
Election victory requires so much works and that is just what APGA needs at the moment. Whichever way, the truth is that there is need to enact good effort to move APGA forward and Soludo is in a better position to write his name in gold in that direction. Former Governor Obiano whose wife is in the race for the Seat of Anambra North Senatorial zone in the Senate in 2023 elections and others should muster the strength to join Soludo to run effective campaign for APGA in the entire Southeast ahead of the 2023 polls to ensure that the party takes the advantage of the polls to widen up.