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How Andy Uba won hearts at Anambra governorship debate

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Ahead of the Arise TV organized Anambra Governorship debate on Tuesday afternoon, not many placed their bet on the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate.

It is believed that Andy Uba’s calm and perceived introverted nature would be his achilles heel. He was matched against good orators.

A professor in economics and a former governor of Nigeria’s central bank, CBN, the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Charles Soludo had strength in public speaking. Having served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria plc, Transcorp, Valentine Ozigbo of the PDP though a newbie had poise, observers say.

The trio were the only candidates who participated in the debate, out of the 18 that have been cleared for the November 6 election.

Beyond expectation

Senator Uba however performed beyond expectation as he calmly articulated his views properly with dexterity throughout the debate.

His opening comments felt sincere, not effusive, causing the audience to lean in especially after he called for a minute’s silence in honour of Chike Akunyili who was assassinated in September by gunmen suspected to be members of IPOB. Chike Akunyili was the husband of the late boss of the NAFDAC, Dora Akunyili.

The APC candidate won more ears giving off his sticking point– using dialogue, youth empowerment community policing to tackle insecurity in the state.

Harping on the need for local security and vigilante, Uba said he’ll conduct local government elections in Anambra in six months if he’s elected governor.

While Mr Uba like the two other candidates threaded cautiously whilst speaking about IPOB agitation, he scored high points on a host of less sensitive issues such as education, health and Agriculture.

Shots, banter and blames

The highlight of the debate was the banters and shots more especially between Mr Soludo and the APC candidate who seem to have scores to settle.

Soludo was more on the offensive heaping several accusations on Mr Uba including that he did nothing meaningful in his eight-year stinct in the senate. Mr Soludo subtly alleged that Mr Uba was a co-plotter in the abduction of former governor of the state, Chris Ngige in 2003, an incident he said birthed insecurity in Anambra.

He did not stop there. The former governor of the Central Bank, CBN accused Uba of forging the secondary school certificate he presented to the election umpire, INEC.

Mr Soludo also claimed that the former senator was a domestic staff for then president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The APC candidate remained unfazed.

He calmly denied all the allegations against him stating his own facts and confidently asked instant fact-checkers to verify. None has returned false as at press time.

On allegations of having a hand in the abduction of former governor Ngige, the former senator said he was not even in the state throughout the period.

“I was not even in the state when it happened. I was with the president (Olusegun Obasanjo) when it happened. I was the one that took the phone to the former vice president Atiku Abubakar who ordered the release of the (then) governor Ngige”, Mr Uba narrated.

On June 10, 2003, governor Chris Ngige was infamously kidnapped from his home by a squad of policemen led by then state’s most senior law enforcement officer.

The former senator also denied allegation of forging his certificate urging his opponent to go and verify properly in the school.

On allegation he did nothing while in the senate, Mr Uba said he raised the highest number of bills during his time at the national assembly.

Mr Uba stepped up the gear when he started returning the jibes and shots at Soludo. He said he “made” the APGA candidate CBN governor.

He also said Mr Soludo is management expert, not leadership expert noting that running a state is different from running a bank.

Meanwhile, Ozigbo the PDP candidate struggled to make his presence dominate as Uba and Soludo wouldn’t stop taking on each other.

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