Prof. Charles Soludo
Signifies intention to run for November guber poll
Ubah faults ex-CBN gov's candidacy in last election
By Charles Onyekamuo and Senator Iroegbu
Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2010 governorship election in Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, has formally resigned his membership of PDP.
He has subsequently joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), where he had already been registered as a member in his Isuofia ward, Aguata Local Government Area of the state.
But his candidacy as PDP standard bearer in the last governorship election in the state was revisited Wednesday by one of his rivals for the party’s ticket in 2009, Senator Andy Ubah, who described the process of his emergence as undemocratic.
His new party, Soludo said after being registered in his ward Wednesday, by the ward chairman, Okeke Anthony, is a party with sound and progressive ideology on which platform one could offer himself to the service of his people and try to express those ideas that will make for growth and transform Anambra into the “African Dubai-Taiwan” of his dream.
In his July 17 resignation letter addressed to the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY in Isuofia Wednesday, Soludo said his resignation took effect from that date and used the opportunity to thank the party for the opportunity given to him to serve in some capacity.
The resignation, he said, was “without prejudice to the possibility of future collaboration with the party in any areas of common interest designed to advance the course of nation-building.”
But shortly after being registered as a member of APGA in his Isuofia ward Wednesday, the former CBN governor, who granted interview to some journalists, while responding to speculations that he had joined APGA, said: “The short answer to that is that it is true.”
“I have resigned my membership of PDP. I have formally written to the national chairman of PDP a letter dated July 17 of this year. It is quite fortuitous that you people arrived at a time when you saw the ward chairman of APGA register and issue me with a membership card. I registered at Isuofia ward.”
He explained that the process of deciding to join APGA is a product of long months of consultation among his people and in fact a personal conviction.
“I started over a year ago a process of consultation on our political future, what next and the political arena. I remain convinced that the greatness of this country is not in doubt and that it is through participation in the political process that one can contribute to its development.
“Everybody who has something to offer must get involved. It is during this wide consultation and during which I asked my people wide ranging questions that made me get involved.
“The question centred on if they thought it was not worst to have gotten into the terrain and just kiss it goodbye or do we remain engaged and if we are to be engaged in which party. This formed the fulcrum of my consultation,” he said.
Soludo said though he had been a member of PDP on whose platform he made his unsuccessful bid to govern the state, there is always time for sober reflection, adding, “The result of the consultation is the decision we have taken”.
“The first is that there is an overwhelming demand by Anambra people for me to remain engaged in the political process. After more than a year of consultation, I came to the conviction that I should remain in the process.
“Secondly, by even a greater conviction, that I should also run for the governorship of Anambra State building on the legacies of Governor Peter Obi. We need continuity, transformation and to consolidate on the gains of the past eight years.
“There is this demand by my people that I should once offer myself for service. There is also a demand by our people that I should join the party that our people call their own which represents the essence, the aspirations and hopes of all Nigerians in general and the Igbos in particular.
“It is a party that is a mass movement and lives in the consciousness of the people.
“I am not joining APGA simply as a vehicle to contest for governorship of Anambra State. I am joining it because I want to breathe it, drink it, and exude it because in totality I agree with the trust and objectives of APGA,” Soludo said in defence of his choice of APGA.
Soludo who hails from Anambra South zone joined APGA to actualise his ambition at a time the state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, also of the same party, said he was looking towards the state’s north zone for his successor.
But he said he was not aware of any zoning or rotation of positions in APGA as it is not anywhere in the party’s constitution.
Meanwhile, the senator representing Anambra South in the National Assembly, Ubah, Wednesday attributed PDP’s defeat in the last governorship election in the state to the crisis that followed the "hand-picking” of Soludo as the party’s candidate.
Ubah, a PDP aspirant in the November election in the state, told journalists Wednesday, during an interactive session with indigenes of the state in Abuja, that internal party wrangling, lack of cohesion, perceived wrongdoing and extortion of money from aspirants forced most of them out of the party to seek alternative platforms to actualise their ambitions.
He said: “PDP would have won that election, going by the number of votes all the 56 aspirants that eventually defected to other political parties were able to garner, which surpassed the total votes gathered by the state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who won the state election.
“First, there was clear case of injustice on my side. As I said, there was a precedent that any candidate that his election was nullified by the court should be the party’s automatic candidate in the next election.
"All the governors that their elections were nullified were all made the party’s candidates. When it was my turn to be made the party’s candidate, following the nullification of my election in 2007, the party chose to hand-pick Chukwuma Soludo. This singular action made me to look for an alternative platform,” he said.