Anambra ElectionsColumnsOpinionObiano vs Soludo: The Treacherous Politics of Comradeship and Succession

Avatar PilotnewsDecember 5, 2021

“Prof. Soludo must stand firmly and define the type of government he wants to run from day one in office” ―Ebuka Onyekwelu

With four months left for Governor Obiano to hand over to the Governor-Elect, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, it is expected that political intrigues will set in to define Governor Obiano and Prof. Soludo’s relationship, moving forward. Much of these intrigues will be set in motion by aides to governor Obiano who are now switching loyalty to the new governor-to-be. Then some will also be as a result of Soludo’s trusted aides and allies working hard, albeit being overzealous to cement their positions in the new government. These two groups are the ones that will shape how the new government kicks off on March 17, 2022. Whether the new government will move stably and swiftly towards the expressed targets of the new governor depends largely, on how Soludo responds to the current pressure he must have been subjected to by some desperate power seekers.

At the moment, both Governor Obiano and Prof. Soludo are enjoying a deserved rest with their families abroad. Governor Obiano is in the United States while Prof. Soludo is in the United Kingdom. By the very nature of power, from the day Prof. Soludo was declared Governor-Elect, Governor Obiano will continue to decline even while still in office till the last day. But Prof. Soludo will continue to rise and overshadow the incumbent governor. The desperation of political appointees who desire to become part of the incoming government has not made it any easy for the incoming governor. These aides to the incumbent governor, some political jobbers, and contractors out of desperation will begin to divulge privileged information, official secrets, and even mere conjectures to Prof. Soludo, as bait for their relevance and eventual comeback as part of the new government. Given this very situation which is part of our integrity-challenged polity, it is predictable that while Obiano may not and never have as many visitors as he used to have while holidaying in the US in all his years as Governor of Anambra State, it is conversely likely that Prof. Soludo may be having the kind of visitors he has never had in all his years holidaying in the UK.

The most tragic part of this is that many trusted aides of Governor Obiano and other allies with whom the outgoing governor has worked very well, will sacrifice that relationship and move to the new governor with indicting information and supporting documents, to make the impression that they are on the side of the new governor and that they are interested in his success. People do this with such brazen shamelessness, employing all manner of subterfuge to undermine the outgoing governor as their own ticket for relevance in the new government. If Prof. Soludo falls for it, that will only signal the beginning of an ensuing crisis between the outgoing governor and the incoming governor.

Without belaboring the obvious, Governor Obiano and Prof. Soludo are not cut from the same human frame, whatsoever. I mean, a mere look at the two men reveals that they are two different individuals in two different worlds. Giving these natural differences in personality and composition, there is bound to be grey areas in their relationship and agreement on governance issues. Now that Prof. Soludo has been elected governor, it will be clear to see that much of Prof. Soludo’s support to Governor Obiano was based purely on politics, not on principle and there are consequences, particularly now that he is assuming the saddle of power. This is already an established fact that is going to influence the relationship and how smoothly or bumpy Obiano’s handover to Soludo will be and moving forward, in the new administration. But these are desperate times and some aides of government Obiano want to make a living in the next government by all means and that will only escalate an already likely frosty relationship thereby causing tension and possible bad blood which may leave Obiano and Soludo on the path of collusion.

The feud between Obi and Obiano that is still very much unresolved today

If this happens, it will not be the first time. Governor Peter Obi after a successful campaign for Obiano quickly ran out of favour with his successor, Governor Obiano, largely for the same two reasons; Obi and Obiano are two different individuals in their own different worlds, but even the deceptive maneuver of Obi’s aides and close allies who tried to switch loyalty alongside Obiano’s own trusted allies and aides, played a dominant role in the feud between Obi and Obiano that is still very much unresolved today. These same realities are upon Anambra political space today.

For the governor-elect Prof. Soludo, he must maintain his focus, build his own political clout without any form of crisis with his predecessor. Prof. Soludo must not be distracted by efforts of political jobbers and betrayals who before now have worked well with the incumbent governor. These are still the same people that will sabotage the new government. In fact, Prof. Soludo may wish to avoid further comments on Obiano’s government, appointees, and etc. Upon assumption of office, let his works speak to the quality of his government and the depth of his conviction on issues of governance. Although Obiano does not look like he may be interested in asking Soludo for anything, just like Soludo doesn’t come off as someone that requires the assistance of his predecessor to make his marks. However, the last legacy Soludo must not carry into his new government is a face-off with Governor Obinano, as that will constitute a huge distraction with its accompanying politicization by some political hooks determined to profit from such development. At the end, the government would end up revolving around Obiano and Soludo, in needless comparison and superiority contest that does absolutely no good to the new government.

Therefore, Prof. Soludo must stand firmly and define the type of government he wants to run from day one in office and pursue his vision of a prosperous homeland on the merit of his own ability to deliver and on the viability of his vision. Prof. Soludo may wish to consider a few months extension of some of the appointees of the current governor, many of whom eventually in the cause of time will be relieved of their duties, for more capable and innovative hands who will assist the governor in actualizing his giant and audacious vision for the state. Sudden and sharp overhaul of government officials will contrast and then have a negative rebound on the new government and the state at large. Admittedly, the first few months might be a bit tough; certainly, taking off with such a huge vision under prevailing circumstances can be daunting, and might altogether become impossible if the early stage is not strategically well managed, with the big picture in view. Prof. Soludo can afford to take off without ruffling feathers, considering that it is a long way to go and many feathers will be ruffled eventually in the cause of the journey.

♦ Ebuka Onyekwelu, strategic governance exponent,  is a columnist with the WAP

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