As we nursed some pints of beer and watched the grim premiership match between Liverpool FC  and  debutant returnee Leeds United, Richard Okwor regaled us with reasons why he wants Prof Chukwuma Soludo as the next governor of Anambra State and why he has been investing his time and resources in APGA. He said Soludo, like him or hate him,  has the capacity to make a difference as result of   his globally  acknowledged  gift of turning things around for good.

Okwor, a prince of Ikem kingdom in Enugu State is a die- hard APGA member. Surprise? Enugu is perceived as a PDP state, so why is Okwor figuratively a black sheep or so to say?

He said he has always been motivated and fascinated by three factors; one, is  late iconic Ikemba who remains Okwor’s hero,  two, is the cock which is the visual element in the party’s logo and finally, the slogan of the party which enjoins its members to look after each other’s back. It is quite ennobling hearing him romanticise APGA and Soludo in one fell swoop.

Okwor says that the APGA cock is the best logo among the logos of all the political parties in Nigeria as it reminds us of the need to wake up from our slumber and face the urgent task of improving the quality of life- every morning.  He believes like W. Somerset Maugbam that ‘’It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you often get it.’’  He intoned that Soludo and APGA are the best things for Anambra  in 2021.

Truth is that when in the days of Dr Michael Okpara, Eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in the world, it was a feat made possible because the best and brightest we had at the time were involved. Unfortunately, the involvement of the military in governance and their unending transition programmes created the apathy or indifference of the elites to politics, governance and development. For decades now, elites burrow in nostalgic escapism by recounting the Okpara years within their cycles of friends and social media platforms. But something has to give as the stakes are very high. Why?

Africa is behind as the world races to the 5th industrial Revolution. Our main source of revenue in Nigeria, oil is becoming less and less attractive and revenue therefrom is dwindling. And in the midst of all these, covid-19 has been dealing deadly blows to the economies of  nations and the health of their  peoples. Countries that are desirous of pulling the chestnut out of the fire must rely on its best asset –human capital.

Of course Ndi-Anambra, aware of both the foregoing  global  and local context, have narrowed their search for governor after Obiano to Prof Chukwuma Soludo who from all empirical evidences has the capacity to lead in the post covid -19 era. Soludo has remarkably done excellent turnaround assignments for the world, for Nigeria and now Ndi-Anambra in their large numbers are urging him to come home and do it for them by joining the race for the Anambra 2021 governorship election. They believe that this is not a time for experimentation. They believe that this is a time for a tested thinker and doer with experience in a structured public sector setting to take over the helms of affairs and create prosperity, happiness while building on the unrivalled security success of the current administration.

Determined to be in the forefront of the new dawn, the elites of Anambra are waking up from their  long slumber and are fiercely clamouring for Soludo.

They are doing so under the umbrella of Soludo Promoters Forum(SPF)-a platform of Ndi-Anambra opinion leaders and moulders committed to enlightened good governance. Because they believe that winning starts with beginning and action, they are setting up structures in all the local governments and towns in Anambra state to give teeth to what they believe in. They are sharing ideas, networking, mobilising and giving their talents, time and resources to what is now popularly known as the Soludo Solution Anambra Project (SSAP). The other beauty of SPF is that it is bridging the gap of non collaboration for good causes between the gown and the town.

In the next two weeks Mayor Charles Muoka, Prof John Okoye, Emeka Obinwa, Ben Okafor, JPC Anaeto, Engr S Okafor, Joel Echetabu etc will lead other leaders of thought to inaugurate the Anaocha chapters of SPF. Lurking behind them and warming up to join the moving train is the SPF Idemili chapter led by Chief Leon Mezue, Chief Tony Onyima,  Prof Joe Ogbuefi, Prince Okafor, Peter Eze, Okey Okafor, Victor Uchendu, Prof Anigbogu, Simeon Ukpaka, Victor Eze, Sydney Chukwueke etc. These are coming on the heels of the inauguration of  Aguata chapter led by the indefatigable Prof Romanus Ezeokonkwu and his crack team of Prof Okey Ikeanyibe, Chief Celestine Mojekwe,  Dr Chris Ezeibe, Amaechi C.  Umeh, Dr Charles Udeogu, GOC Umeaka,  Dr Pat Okpalla, Prof C.A Ezeagu Casmir Igbokwe,  etc 

Everyone is motivated by Soludo’ s vision of a Smart Anambra megacity  with the landmark signature of the 22 story Anambra Tower which will boost tourism in the  the liveable envisioned City Centres and neighborhoods.

Richard Okwor was thrilled by the congruence between the message the APGA logo conveys and the significance of the  resurgence of the elites in Anambra politics. He however  counselled , “Joe, the greatest challenge to excellence is that the nobler the intentions, the more difficult the task. This is not to dissuade the idealist or water down the ideal, but to properly hone and prepare him for the task ahead. Gold dust cannot become Gold until it passes through the crucible of fire. So, the Soludo Promoters must all be prepared for all eventualities and if there are any obstacles on the road, they must be thrown over board. 

The prospects of what this convergence portends for Anambra people gave us unalloyed joy as we said good night to one another after Liverpool beat premier league returnee Leeds United by 4-3.

What an exhilarating evening! What an amazing hope for the good life for the Ndi-Anambra. It is indeed a new day, a new dawn and everyone is invited.

Joe C Anatune writes from Awa in Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra

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