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Umahi Declares for 2023 Presidential Race

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As has been widely expected, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2023 Presidential race.

According to the Governor, he has informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his ambition to contest the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

Governor Umahi’s action came barely 24 hours after the National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, took similar steps.

Umahi disclosed his latest move to State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

  1. On what his chances chances are against the background that other big political figures had indicated their intentions to run for the same office, including Asiwaju Tinubu, the Governor said God would be the decider of the outcome of the race.

Umahi, who left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC, said he stands a chance if the APC throws the ticket open.

He said if he gets the opportunity, his presidency will replicate his efforts in Ebonyi, saying that he has a lot to show in running governance as a business.

The Governor also said he spoke with the President about resolving the security crisis bugging the Southeast region through political solutions.

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We Haven’t Zoned the Presidential Slot to Any Part of the Country, says PDP

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As permutations continue ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has denied zoning the presidential slot, saying a decision is yet to be taken on where its presidential ticket would be zoned to.

It also dismissed reports indicating that PDP had resolved to zone the presidential ticket to a particular region of the country.

Recall that former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, had, last week, told a group drumming support for the presidential ambition of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar that the party had resolved to field a northerner as its presidential candidate.

But reacting to the reports, spokesman for the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said: “This is completely misleading as it does not in any way represent the position of our party. For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP emphatically and unequivocally states that it has not zoned its presidential ticket to any part of the country.

“The PDP is a political party founded on democratic principles and every action of the party, including zoning, is based on extensive consultations, discussions and consideration of all the issues as well as the various tendencies and interests across the nation, with the main objective of ensuring that the unity, peaceful co-existence and development of our nation are reinforced and promoted.

“The PDP, therefore, urges Nigerians, our teeming members and supporters to completely disregard the unfounded zoning claims as being peddled. Our party also cautions those behind the claims to desist forthwith.

“The PDP thanks Nigerians for the overwhelming interest they have in our party as their sure platform to rescue and rebuild our nation from misrule and urges them to remain united and focused as we join forces for the task ahead.”

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Andy Uba Wasn’t a Candidate in Anambra Governorship Election, Court Rules

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All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Anambra, Andy Uba, who has vowed to upturn the election of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, was handed an unexpected knock out on Monday.

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, nullified his participation in the 6 November election, declaring his candidacy illegal.

The ruling effectively denied Uba a locus standi to challenge Soludo.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the June 26 primary of the party which produced Uba as its standard-bearer was not validly conducted.

The ruling ended what would have been some legal distraction for Soludo, a former Central bank governor, hoping to make a difference in governance in the state.

Chief George Moghalu, an aspirant in the APC primary election had challenged the process and the outcome of the primary election that produced Uba as the party’s candidate.

Moghalu, who was the plaintiff, had sued the party, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo aligned with the plaintiff’s arguments that the June 26 primary election breached the provisions of the Electoral Act and the APC guidelines for the conduct of the exercise.

Chief George Moghalu

He held that the plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that the primary election was not conducted in accordance with the law and the party’s guidelines.

“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on its merit,” he said.

Ekwo held that since the election was conducted illegally, the APC (1st defendant) cannot be a beneficiary of the Nov. 6 election which produced the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, as the winner of the poll outcome.

The judge, therefore, declared that the APC had no candidate in the Anambra governorship election by non-inclusion of the name of Moghalu in the primary election, and the conduct of the poll in contravention of the Electoral Act and the party’s guidelines.

“The 2nd defendant (INEC) is compelled to delist the name of the 1st defendant and 3rd defendant from the Nov. 6, Anambra governorship election,” he ordered.

Prof. Charles Soludo
Anambra Governor-Elect

According to the judge, any election conducted contrary to the 1st defendant guideline is in nullity.

“The real issue was not whether accredited members of 1st defendant voted on that day but whether the election was conducted in accordance with the election guidelines of 1st defendant,” he held.

He also said that the evidence of the police report confirmed that the election was conducted outside the time frame.

Ekwo, who described the conduct of the primary by APC as “crude and primitive,” ordered that the N22.5 million paid by Moghalu as expression of interest and nomination forms be refunded since the party failed to complied with the provisions of the law and its guidelines.

Moghalu had, in July, filed the suit at the court, seeking an order removing Uba and the APC from the list of gubernatorial candidates and political parties partaking in the Anambra governorship election on the grounds that the party failed to conduct a valid primary election.

He also demanded N122.5 million as damages, which include a refund for the fee paid for expression of interest and nomination forms and N100 million “for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election”.

INEC had picked Uba, winner of the APC primary election, as the party’s candidate.

In the affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff said the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate for the Nov. 6 governorship poll.

He said the APC had chosen to adopt direct primary, which is why the party published the list of designated venues for the exercise.

Moghalu said the party received N22.5 million for the expression of interest form and nomination form, including from him, “to allow him to participate in the primary election exercise”.
He further said he was informed a day before the primaries that the APC electoral committee would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Akwa.
“Shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra state,” he said.

He said the committee “announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the 3rd defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra”.

Moghalu also argued that the party did not invite the INEC in line with the law requiring the commission to monitor the exercise.

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APGA’s Chukwuma Soludo Wins Anambra Governorship Election

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Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, has been declared winner of the Anambra Governorship Election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The Returning Officer of the Anambra Governorship Election, Prof Florence Obi, announced the result on Wednesday morning at the INEC office in Awka, Anambra State.

“That Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar said on Wednesday.

Soludo, who was the apex bank governor between 2004 and 2009, was declared winner after the November 6 election was declared inconclusive by INEC and after a supplementary election was held in the Ihiala Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday. He won 19 of the 21 local governments areas including Ihiala LGA.

Sixty one-year-old Soludo won with 112,229 votes beating Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party, who polled 53,807 votes, and Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress who got 43,285 votes. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party polled 21,261 votes came fourth.

Soludo’s walk to victory was paved with stony challenges including legal battles and intra-party squabbles but the Supreme Court in Abuja affirmed him as APGA governorship candidate. This was after the sacking of a former APGA candidate, Chukwuma Umeoji, by the court.

Umeoji, who is the current member of the House of Representatives representing Aguata Federal Constituency in Anambra State, was recently sacked by a court decision after his name had been listed by the Independent National Electoral Commission as APGA’s candidate.

The court then ordered INEC to replace Umeoji with Soludo as the validly elected candidate of APGA for the governorship election.

Also in April 2021 during the build-up to the election, Soludo narrowly escaped death when gunmen unleashed terror on him and his security aides during a town hall meeting in his hometown in Isuofia in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra.

Three of his police orderlies were killed during the attack which he described as “senseless”. Soludo dedicated his victory to the three policemen in his acceptance speech on Wednesday.

Soludo is expected to be sworn into office next March after the expiration of the two-term tenure of the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, who is also of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

The Man Soludo:

Professor Chukwuma C. Soludo was born on 28th July, 1960, and hails from Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. After his secondary school education, he proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he graduated with a first class degree in Economics. He also undertook his post-graduate and doctorate degrees in Economics from the same University winning on both occasions, the prize for the best graduating student.

Professor Soludo had cumulative four years of post-doctoral training in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including: The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; University of Cambridge, UK, as Smuts Research Fellow and Fellow of the Wolfson College; the UN Economic Commission for Africa as a Post-Doctoral Fellow; University of Warwick as a Visiting scholar and Visiting Research Scholar at Center for African Economies, University of Oxford (with funding by the Rhodes committee). He also attended over a dozen specialized courses and has had extensive research, teaching and consultancy works in different areas of economics.

He has worked at the World Bank both as a short and long-term consultant since 1993 and also at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa. He was a consultant to UNCTAD; European Union (EU); Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); United Nations (UN) New York; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); African Development Bank (ADB); Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); African Union (AU); International Development Research Council (IDRC) Canada; Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA); Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); among others.

Professor Soludo has served as Senior Technical Advisor/Consultant as well as a Visiting Scholar at the IMF since 1994, and also taught IMF’s Financial Programming and Policy course to senior staff of Central Banks in West Africa and other developing regions. He has served as: Member, Technical Committees that drafted economic and trade policies for the Federal Government of Nigeria; and Executive Director of the African Institute for Applied Economics (AlAE).

Professor Soludo joined the Federal Government of Nigeria in July 2003 as the Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo and the Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission (NPC). Among other accomplishments during the 10 months in office, he was the Chairman/Coordinator of the team that drafted Nigeria’s economic and social reform program (2003-2007), the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), and also pioneered the collaborative planning framework in the Nigerian federation by initiating and assisting state governments in designing their State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS).

As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since May, 2004, Prof. Soludo has refocused the Central Bank as an effective monetary authority and successfully implemented a fundamental restructuring which has led to unprecedented consolidation of the Nigerian banking system.

On account of this, the Nigerian banking system has been rated the fastest growing in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world. He has also championed the establishment of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a continental, private -sector driven, investment bank.

He is promoting the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020), the blue-print to grow Nigeria’s financial system to become Africa’s financial hub and to drive the Nigerian economy into the global league of top 20 economies by 2020. For his achievements, Professor Soludo is the recipient of scores of awards and recognitions from civil society organizations; NGOs; private sector organizations; religious groups; the Press; professional associations; student unions; universities; among others.

The Financial Times of London has described him as Ita Great Reformer’. He is the winner of the ‘Global and African Central Bank Governor of the Year, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 by different international media institutions including The Banker Magazine published by the Financial Times of London.

He is currently a Member of the International Advisory Group for the UK-DFID; a member of the Chief Economist Advisory Council of the World Bank and the International Advisory Group of the UK Department for International Development (DFID). He is also a member of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), a global network of more than 200 leading economists, political scientists, and practitioners to help developing countries explore policy alternatives, and enable wider civic participation in economic policymaking.

He holds Nigeria’s third highest national honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); Fellow of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) and has been awarded D.SC (Honoris Causa) by the University of Calabar and also by the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
Professor Soludo is married to Nonye and blessed with children.

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