Chukwuma Soludo, governor of Anambra, says Nigeria needs leaders who “believe strongly” in the country.

He spoke on Thursday when Rabiu Kwankwaso, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, paid a courtesy visit to Anambra government house.

Speaking during the visit, Soludo said that politics should not be a matter of life and death, adding that despite the country’s challenges, Nigeria has what it takes to become one of the world’s leading economies.

“I want to congratulate his tenacity and faith in the country, his exemplary public service and his commitment to our nation,” Soludo said, according to a statement from Christian Aburime, his spokesman.

“I have always said that whoever has something to offer should offer it through the public service. Public service is the greatest philanthropy.

“In Anambra and indeed in the South East, we pride ourselves on being Republican and that is freedom of speech. Here in Anambra it is the home of Azikiwe, Akweke, Chinua Achebe, Okadigbo etc. and here we are known as people who express themselves freely and associate.

“As a wandering people, we cannot afford to be a bigoted tribe. We have a popular saying that goes ‘Oje mba, enwe ilo’. My position is that everyone should be allowed to campaign freely and allow people to make their choice.

“It is a serious matter where the country is and where the country will be in the future. It’s time for progressives to start thinking about the average person.

“The hard work goes beyond the elections. Whoever wins, we have to filter and draw almost as a like-minded government for the transformation of this country.

“We are blessed. We have many challenges, but we need people who firmly believe in this country. Nigeria may be one of the top seven best economies in the world.

“We wish them the best of luck in this move, although I have been intensely focused on what is happening in my match. This state is blessed. We are trying everything to make it work.

“A large population of our people are in Kano. As Ndị Igbo, we are a great actor in all places. Here in Anambra, our policy is such that when we run, we may fight among ourselves, but after the election, you see our people together, chatting. It is not a matter of life and death. Everyone should campaign freely.”

Also present during the visit were Ernest Ezeajughi, the Governor’s Chief of Staff; JPC Anetoh, Principal Secretary to the Governor; Collins Nwabunwanne, chiefdom and local government affairs commissioner; Paul Nwosu, information commissioner; and Sly Ezeokenwa, commissioner of special duties.

Watch the following photos.