At the Anambra debate aired today on Arise TV, between the 3 leading contenders in the forthcoming election in the state come November 6, 2021. Among the candidates participating in the debate are Andy Uba of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A lot of issues were deliberated on as expected; infrastructure, education, healthcare, insurance, IPOB, revenue generation, FDI, security and many others.
The debate anchored by Reuben Abati and Ngozi Alaegbu gave each candidate 4 minutes to answer questions though there were heated interjections among them at certain times during the debate. The moderators did well in cautioning them to obey the guidelines for a civilized debate.
Soludo in responding to the question on infrastructure agreed that the roads are in a bad state, he said that even if the whole budget of the state is used to build roads it will not be enough to fix the roads and so what is needed is actually a means of financing such humongous projects outside the budget.
He mentioned how he created 1.8 million jobs by drafting economic plans when he served in Obasanjo’s government. In his words “I wasn’t named the best CBN governor in the world for nothing. My record in public service is that I do what I say I will do. I did so much on a federal scale and for Anambra it is a piece of cake for me”. He opined that IPOB deserves to be heard, but said he has an alternative view of prosperity in Anambra and Igbo land.
On education, Soludo is of the opinion that there should be curricula review in tune with the 21st century digital age. Also the youths must be made to be productive at home and exportable abroad.
Ozigbo like his counterparts believe that IPOB has germane reasons but went about their agenda through condemnable means. He accused past governments of not doing enough on projects in the state that have lingered for years. “We need to cut waste in spending” he remarked when complaining of financial mismanagement.
About FDI and investment by wealthy Anambarians, Ozigbo said money goes to where it is comfortable. He lamented that he knows people have come down to Anambra to invest and then went broke, this he alluded to bad economic environment.
Uba who was usually brief in his points threw jabs at Soludo throughout the debate. Uba in responding to the IPOB question said “let’s find out what the problem is, not about condemning or supporting “.
For him, if there is security and tax incentive, investors will be willing to invest in the state and for education there has to be employment of good teachers and good payment system for them.
The candidates were given chance to summarise their points and proceeded to shake hands and hug each other after the debate, while posing for photoshoot.