The Anambra State Governorship Election is scheduled to hold on 6 November 2021. Ahead of the polls, Prof. Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) recently remarked that Anambra deserves persons of high academic qualifications as leaders. In his words as reported by the Punch:

APGA has a star-studded team for this election and it is the party with the best brains. Look at other political parties and their candidates, and you will find out that they have just first school leaving certificate and others the West African Senior School Certificate as their highest qualification…Is it First School Leaving Certificate and WASSCE they will use to govern Anambra? Anambra has outgrown such and you cannot use those certificates to govern Anambra. Look at my running mate, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim, a medical doctor. You can’t beat our team.

Feeling slighted, the candidate of the Young Progressives Party, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, has now challenged Prof. Charles Soludo to a public debate. In the “pre-match” statement, the Senator claimed to have bagged a degree in Law (LLB). He clearly stated the basis for the debate:

I sincerely retain the belief that the era of ‘textbook grammatical grandstanding’ and theoretical politics is over in Anambra. Our people now want a leader with practicable ideas and dynamism to move the state forward. Ideas that will proffer sustainable solutions to the socio-economic problems beclouding the state due to bad governance brought to the fore by the present government.

Prof. Soludo parades several academic qualifications. He’s arguably one of the finest professors of Economics. He has an excellent record as a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and is undoubtedly qualified to be Governor of Anambra. But do these entitle him to make the seeming disrespectful swipe at those who do not possess his level of education? No.

Prof. Soludo should be more worried about his popularity in Anambra and not the lower or fewer academic qualifications of his opponents. Although a claim based on academic qualifications may be a campaign weapon, but it could be a double-edged sword.

A person aspiring to be the Governor of a State ought to show a clear knowledge and understanding of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. Thus, if other opponents of Prof. Soludo have satisfied the provisions of the Constitution especially as it pertains to qualification to contest the gubernatorial election, Prof. Soludo must respect the Constitution and not make comments that tend to undermine the reasonability of the provisions of the Constitution. If Prof. Soludo desires only professors to contest for elections, the decent thing to do is to push for constitutional amendment through the appropriate channels. It is desirable that the most competent persons should lead. But we must respect the Constitution and the right of others.

More so, the most educated person doesn’t automatically translate to the most qualified to lead a State. Leadership demands much more than academic degrees. The former CBN Governor ought to reserve some regard for his opponents who are persons that have recorded notable successes in business and politics. For instance, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah has gained commendable experience in politics both at state and federal levels. He is a successful business man. There is nothing on record to show that Senator Ubah lacks what it takes to lead Anambra as Governor if he is elected and if he is determined to perform.

In conclusion, what Anambra State needs is good governance and not a fiesta of academic degrees.


Featured Image Credit: Punch

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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