In the early hours of Wednesday, November 10, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Charles Soludo as the winner of the Anambra 2021 governorship election.
Soludo, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, defeated strong contenders from the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Andy Uba, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Valentine Ozigbo, to emerge Anambra's governor-elect.
How did the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) achieve this political feat? A number of factors can be attributed to it. Here are some of them:
1. Incumbency advantage
One of the factors that contributed to Soludo's victory the incumbency advantage.
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In Nigeria and many other democracies across the world, the incumbent candidate or political party usually has a political advantage over challengers at elections.
BREAKING: INEC presents Certificate of Return to Charles Soludo days after winning Anambra governorship election
For over 15 unbroken years, from Peter Obi to Willie Obiano, APGA has remained the party to beat in Anambra. It is also the only state the party is controlling in Nigeria.
After casting his vote on Saturday, November 6, Soludo expressed confidence that he would win the election because "APGA is Anambra and Anambra is APGA".
“Today, I was very upbeat and optimistic. I know that APGA is Anambra and Anambra is APGA. Even if only a 100 people vote within the state, we will still win."
2. Soludo's brilliant profile
Beyond being the candidate of the ruling party, Soludo’s profile stands out among the candidates who contested the Anambra guber poll.
Apart from heading the nation’s apex bank, Soludo also has a unique experience of serving as an economic adviser for two of the country’s presidents; Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari.
As an economics professor, the governor-elect has also worked for various international financial institutions across the world.
3. Familiarity with Anambra people and the grassroot politics
Meanwhile, as a former governorship candidate of the PDP, 2010, Soludo’s understanding of Anambra's political terrain and his popularity among the Ndi Anambra is not in doubt.
The reactions of the people of Anambra state so far confirm his popularity in the southeast state.
4. Performance at the governorship debate
On Monday, November 1, Soludo and the candidates of the APC, Senator Uba and that of the PDP, Ozigbo, went head to head in a heated governorship debate organised by Arise News TV.
The governor-elect made a good use of the platform to sell himself and demonstrate that he has a clear understanding of Anambra state and has solid plans if elected.
5. APC's lack of popularity in the southeast and PDP's internal crisis
Though the APC had the advantage of being the ruling party at the centre, its candidate did not lose the election, he came the distant third.
This is because the APC remains unpopular in the southeast even with the defection of Governor Dave Umahi and the shocking victory of Imo governor, Hope Uzodimma, at the Supreme Court.
Also, the PDP failed to manage its internal crisis in the buildup to the election. Though APGA also had its fair share of internal crisis, the party's incumbency advantage and the strength of Soludo's candidature saved it from defeat, unlike the PDP which is not the ruling party and also fielded a relatively inexperienced candidate.
US government reacts as Soludo wins
Meanwhile, the United States government has reacted to the victory of Professor Soludo in the just concluded Anambra governorship election.
In a statement released on Wednesday, November 10, the US government said the outcome of the November 6 poll reflects the will of the people of Anambra state and congratulated them.
The US also said it looks forward to more improvements in Nigeria’s electoral process.