FORMER Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Professor Charles Soludo looks like he will miss out on his quest to become Anambra State governor after the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) omitted his name from the list of cleared candidates.
Professor Soludo, 60, an economics academic, was the CBN chairman between 2004 and 2009, during which time he presided over the consolidation of the Nigerian banking industry. He had been in pole position to become the next Anambra State governor after clinching the gubernatorial ticket of his party the All Progressives Grand Alliance (Apga).
Anambrans go to the polls on November 6 to elect a new governor and with Apga being the ruling party in the state, Professor Soludo had become the automatic frontrunner. However, there has now been a twist as Inec released its list of cleared candidates today and the names of Professor Soludo and that of his running mate Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim were missing.
Their names had been replaced with those of Chukwuma Umeoji and Obiageli Orogbu as the Apga candidate and deputy governorship candidate. Also removed from the list are the names of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate Valentine Ozigbo due to the subsisting court order against him.
Inec, however, cleared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Andy Uba and its deputy governorship candidate Johnbosco Anaedobe. Inec spokesperson, Festus Okoye, who published the list in Abuja, said 17 political parties had been cleared to contest in the November 6 Anambra governorship race.
Mr Okoye said: “Inec met on Thursday, July 15, 2021 and among other things considered the list/personal particulars of candidates nominated by the various political parties for the Anambra State governorship election scheduled to hold on 6th November 2021. The commission also considered and took cognisance of the judgments/court orders served on it in relation to the primaries of the political parties and other processes leading to the election.
“In line with section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) the personal particulars of the candidates will be published in the commission’s notice board in Awka, Anambra State while the names of the candidates, their gender, party, age, qualification and the commission’s decision/ remarks are herein attached. The commission will continue to act in consonance with the constitution and the law and will continue to obey the judgments and orders of courts served on it.”
Professor Soludo controversially emerged the winner of the Apga primary elections organised on June 23 by a faction of the party loyal to Governor Willie Obiano led by Victor Oye. He got 740 votes to defeat five other aspirants, including Okwudili Ezenwanwko, who came a distant second with just 41 votes.
However, another faction led by Jude Okeke rejected Mr Soludo’s emergence and subsequently organised a parallel primary on July 1. It is now likely that the two sides will be embroiled in a lengthy legal battle about who is the authentic and legitimate Apga representative.