Some governorship aspirants in Anambra have described Chukwuma Soludo’s comment that there is “no vacancy in the Anambra Government House’’ as undemocratic.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Soludo, an economics professor and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria had said that there could only be vacancy after another four years.
Mr. Soludo made the comments on Friday, while delivering a lecture marking the third anniversary of Governor Willie Obiano.
The comment had continued to generate criticism by politicians in the state.
Barth Nwibe, an aspirant for the Anambra governorship position on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, informed journalists on Sunday in Awka that Mr. Soludo’s conclusion was against provisions of the Constitution.
Mr. Nwibe said Mr. Soludo could score the government as he wished, but went too far by placing such bar against aspirants.
“Prof. Soludo gave a lecture and said there was no vacancy in Government House. I do not expect him to say such, for him to say that means the government is up to something undemocratic.’’
Oseloka Obaze, a former Secretary to Anambra Government said Mr. Soludo had spoken for himself and not the generality of Anambra people.
Mr. Oseloka, who is aspiring to contest the governorship position on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, said it was wrong for Mr. Soludo to make such an open speech.
“He should remember that the constitution and the Electoral Act stipulate elections after every four years.
“I highly respect Soludo as an economist, and I also respect his right of free thought and speech, but such statement could become inflammable when things go wrong during the election.
“I consider it inappropriate for anyone to declare that there was no vacancy in the Anambra State Government House as he did.
“The Constitution stipulates such vacancy every four years, which is why even the incumbent is running for re-election and soliciting endorsement here and there,’’ he said.
Sam Oraegbulam, the Chairman of Hope Democratic Party in Anambra said Mr. Obiano’s administration in the last three years had not been spectacular for people not to run against him.
“Even if it was, there would still be vacancy. We have gone beyond such political practice of impunity. People must be given free hands to participate in the democratic process,’’ he said.
Mr. Oraegbulam who scored Mr. Obiano’s administration 40 per cent said the vacancy that existed in the Government House had become obvious, adding that the November 18 gubernatorial election had already attracted many aspirants.
“Payment of salaries is a routine task from any revenue that comes from federal allocation and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). So nobody should count that as an achievement.
“Many key projects have been abandoned. What has happened to the three arms zone project, what has happened to Orient Petroleum, how about Anambra Airport project?
“Gov. Obiano has done well getting some Anambra citizens to invest in the state and giving them our land to farm on, we also need to know the number of employment generated so far,’’ he said.
However, supporters of the governor had contrary views.
Jude Emecheta, the Chairman of Obiano Support Group said it had been years of monumental strides as the state had witnessed steady development under Obiano.
Mr. Emecheta said Anambra had remained viable in the face of recession, in spite of its non-oil revenue earning status because of the governor’s prudent management of resources.
He also said the government had liberalised the process of doing business in the state, adding that the prevailing security had made the state most preferred destination for investors.
According to him, Mr. Soludo’s confirmation that Anambra is the fourth largest economy in the country is a testimony to the fact that Mr. Obiano remains the best option for the state.
“To say that Obiano has performed well is saying the obvious, and nobody should sacrifice Soludo because he said the obvious. We should all support Obiano’s second term instead of playing politics.
“Anambra is a train that must not be allowed to derail now, it needs a man with the focus, acumen, determination, and vision that we have seen in Obiano.
“So, we plead to all the aspirants of the various political parties to allow him move the state to the next level.
“However, election must be conducted as Soludo’s statement cannot derail participatory democracy in the state,’’ Mr. Emecheta said.
The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Grand Alliance had on Friday endorsed Mr. Obiano for a second term, citing his outstanding achievements as the reason for the decision.