Recently, some unidentified gunmen invaded the venue of an interactive session between former governor of CBN, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, and youths of his community in Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. They disrupted the session with sporadic gunshots. Three policemen were said to have died from the shots who themselves were aides of the aspirant. The gunmen took along with them a commissioner in Anambra State, who heads the Ministry of Public Utilities. The Minister identified as Emeka Ezenwanne is said to be an in-law to Soludo.
Although five persons have so far been arrested in connection to the shooting, police authorities are yet to disclose what the suspects gave as the reason for the attack. According to a police source: “One of the attackers forgot his phone at the scene of the attack, and we found it when the Commissioner of Police visited the place. We tracked down the owner and arrested him, and he is helping us with the investigation.”
As the Anambra governorship election beckons, which according to INEC would hold on 6 November 2021, aspirants from various political parties have been making known their intention to run for the position. The position would be vacant on 17 March 2022 following the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano’s tenure expiration given his two terms of eight years.
Former Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, Chukwuma Soludo was one of the lots who declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial election. Unlike the others, he was heeding the call of the over 20 groups that had been urging him to do so. It is noteworthy that his party, APGA, is the only party in the country that has had a firm hold on Anambra state. This is in spite of the two major national political parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Worries are preceding Willie Obiano’s exit from office with fears that APGA might lose its hold and existence if a strong candidate is not presented to fly the flag of the party at the gubernatorial polls in November.
Efforts were made over the years to convince Soludo to vie for the position. This includes some political interest groups comprising youth, men, and women associations who had allegedly funded his governorship bid, while regularly frequenting his hometown, Isuofia.
In the words of Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe, representing Anambra East/Anambra West, he noted that “In 2013, Soludo was disqualified by the party as an aspirant of APGA, and he took it in good faith. He was not among the aggrieved aspirants, who decided to play a spoiler game for the party. We have been begging Soludo to run, and today he has accepted to run. All members of the National Assembly caucus from APGA have resolved that we will support him. Just one or two people persons are disagreeing with this, but you know that majority carries the vote.”
Soludo’s visit to the secretariat of the All Progressive Grand Alliance to declare his intention and his comments that he joined the race because he wants to fortify the existence of the party, must have been a turnoff for other aspirants on the platform of the party as it became obvious that all the bigwigs were behind him.
The attack could have stemmed from disgruntled elements within APGA. Some members must have been rattled by his declaration to run, with the fear that he is joining the race could prevent them from clinching the party ticket.
It would also not be ruled out that the attack could have been sponsored by aspirants from other political parties, who knew that if Soludo clinches the ticket of APGA, it would be tough for them to win the elections, just as it would be easier for other parties to win if APGA fields a less popular candidate.
The attack on Soludo is however a sad reminder of the level partisan politics has fallen in the country. Brigandage and assassinations have become a part and parcel of our political system. Candidates of political parties cannot contest elections, even at the level of party primaries without the recurring disruption and attack by hooligans and miscreants, used as tools of mayhem and destruction in the hands of power-drunk politicians.
The electorates alike are equally afraid to rally round their choice candidate for fear of being singled out for destruction by these unscrupulous elements.
This often discourages well-meaning citizens from partaking in politics as it is considered a dirty game that can always be upended.
It is dismal that after several years, the status quo seems not to be changing. Regrettably, politicians with the public good in mind are often the victims of these brazen attacks. Who can forget Funsho Williams?
Even so, the attack on Soludo soils the tranquillity that has come to be associated with politics in Igboland. It is equally believed that the attack might have some connections with series of attacks on security agents that began last month in Anambra and some other Southeastern states like Enugu.
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On whether the recent attack was politically motivated, Soludo posited: “I am friend with everybody contesting the office. I don’t think the office is worth the blood of even a chicken let alone a human being. I will be shocked if it was politically motivated and that it was aimed directly at me.”
The former CBN governor is however not new to such attacks. Following a recent meeting with men of the press, he narrated how he received several threat messages after the apex bank under his guide announced the intention to recapitalize the financial base of banks in the country. He also revealed that there were attempts to kidnap his children from a school in Offa, Kwara State.
Although much of the onus lies with the security agencies to disclose what the attackers said was the reason for their action, the attack might have also prepared Soludo for what lies ahead.