Days after former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo was declared as the governor-elect of Anambra State, about 700 people are said to be jostling for various appointments in his cabinet four months into his being sworn-in as governor.
Journalists who kept vigil in Soludo’s country home, reports that visitors have continued to troop into Isuofia to congratulate the governor-elect and use the opportunity to seek for favour for purposes of appointment into his government as he prepares to take over the mantle of leadership in March, 2022.
Soludo was elected as Governor under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Soludo, who received his certificate of return along with his deputy governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday, has however promised that his first three months in office would be outstanding as he would hit the ground running.
Soludo further stated that based on his wealth of experience in managing human and material resources, he would not have any problems setting the stage for governance four the next four years.
“The victory is a victory for Anambra people irrespective of party. I have put in place what would happen in the first three months and I promise you all that it would be outstanding and I urge everyone to be part of it,” he said.
According to Soludo the template for his governance has been laid by the administrations of Gov Willie Obiano and those that came before him, adding that even before contesting for the position of in touch with the governance and developmental strides of all the former and incumbent governors.
“My position is that of a servant-leader and I am ready to work as a team with everyone irrespective of political party, interest as what Anambra needs is the best because they deserve the best,” he said
His Isuofia country home in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State has become a Mecca of sort with crowds of people frequenting the place in search of political appointments.
When this reporter visited the community, it was gathered that so far about 327 persons have commenced consultations and lobbying for the post of Commissioners, Special Advisers, Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants.
It was also gathered that colleagues of Soludo at the CBN, fellow university lecturers, and secondary school mates have been frequenting his country home.
Equally, hotels in Ekwulobia, Awka Etiti, Isuofia and Nnobi have been fully booked by the job seekers, spending nights to get the nod of the governor-elect.
Similarly political allies and about 500 support groups that at one time or the other contributed to his campaigns and eventual election are also jostling for appointments going through party stakeholders.
It is not clear however if Soludo has penciled down his aides and appointees, but his close associate explained that he is taking his time in order not to make mistakes and that his intention is to put round pegs in round holes.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said winner of the 2021 Anambra State Governorship election Prof. Soludo and his deputy, Onyekachukwu Ibezim, would not assume office in official capacity until March 2022, when the incumbent leaves office.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the disclosure on Friday in Awka, the state capital, at the presentation of certificates of return to the Governor and Deputy Governor Elect of Anambra State.
According to him, presentation of certificate of return to the winners was in compliance with Section 75 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), signifying the fact that they won the just concluded 2021 Anambra State governorship election and satisfied the constitutional and legal requirements in Section 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). He said: “As you know, the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Anambra State will expire on 17th March 2022.
The implication is that the Governor and Deputy Governor elect will not assume office immediately. They must wait for the incumbent Governor and his Deputy to complete their four year tenure before they can be sworn in.”
Okoye who reiterated the Commission’s tradition of auditing conduct of every major election to better prepare for subsequent elections, reiterated its resolve to continue deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) with promises to ensure improved functionality in order to serve Nigerians better.
“With specific reference to genuine concerns expressed by citizens on the performance of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the February 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election, the Commission wishes to state categorically that it stands to benefit from such criticisms and promises that these challenges will be addressed as was evident in the improved functionality of the BVAS in the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Government Area.
“We are confident in our judgment that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System will remain a fundamental feature of our accreditation process as it will consign into the dustbin of history worrisome incidents of multiple voting and identity theft that in the past denied the country’s electoral process the desired public trust and confidence.
On this note, the Commission will continue to improve on and perfect the technology for subsequent and future elections.”
Commending Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and National Commissioners of INEC for their unwavering commitment to clean elections anchored on technology, he said it was significant to note that the Commission remained firm and resolute in proceeding with the Anambra State election despite the difficult circumstances and challenging environment accentuated by fear, anxiety and uncertainty occasioned by political agitation in the southeast geopolitical zone.
“As we all know, agitations of this kind occur often in multi-ethnic and multi-cultural political settings where identities are politically mobilised in the struggle for power and resources and sometimes in the desire for a just and equitable society.
“The Commission has remained firm and resolute in proceeding with the election based on its understanding of section 178 of the Constitution which circumscribed the conduct of elections within a firm and immovable constitutional compass.
“The consequences of aborting the election would have been a serious constitutional crisis and political uncertainty that could have further threatened Nigeria’s stability and survival.”