Editor's note: In this piece, the Federal Capital Territory chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Emmanuel Ogbeche writes on the recent outburst by Anambra state governor, Chukwuma Soludo, on the 2023 presidential ambition of Peter Obi.
In 4, 025 words, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the governor of Anambra State is ready to stake it all – office, harmony, political relevance and kinship. In a piece he titled, History Beckons and I will not be Silent (Part 1), presupposing that there will be a Part 2, Soludo wrote like a man with age-long malice masked as patriotic zeal.
In the windy piece, the one-time governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank riled and raved. It read like fury contained in an earthenware pot unmindful of the dire consequences of the pot coming apart. It is as reckless as it is wanton. Owing to the nature of the piece which has continued to receive mixed reviews, mostly with angst, it is fitting to use an Igbo proverb to illustrate the depth of the anguish.
The Igbos known for their wisecracks have a proverb for almost every condition and situation. After all, the illustrious world-acclaimed writer and novelist, an Igbo himself, the late Prof. Chinua Achebe, opined that proverbs are “the salt with which words are eaten.” It is in this wise that “O bulu na i taa m aru n'ike, ma i zeghi nshi; mu taa gi aru n'isi, agaghi m’ezere uvulu,” is apt. The literal translation of the proverb; “If you bite me on the buttt, despite the danger of sinking your teeth into the faecal matter, then if I bite you on the head, I will disregard the danger of sinking my teeth into the cerebral matter.”
With the arrogant mien of accepting whatever the outcome of his letter or piece, it is only natural that equal deterrence is appropriate. It has always been an open secret that the Anambra state governor has an overwhelming self of sense, but to imagine that he would descend so low in such a short period, beggars belief.
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Now, a brief background to the Soludo personae and his charade of group survival is important. In 2010, on February 7 precisely, the incumbent governor as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was trounced by Mr Peter Obi who was seeking a second term on the platform of the Igbo-centric All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. This is against the background that Soludo had the backing of the federal government and all its might.
This was how the Vanguard Newspapers of February 8, 2010, reported it: “The highly rated Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, came third winning in two local government areas with 59,355 votes. Surprisingly, the former Central Bank Governor lost his Aguata Local Government to APGA.”
Imagine a man who believes that another is possibly not accepted by his people in the wider and brutal politics of Nigeria was rejected by his own people and had to wait for 12 years to gain some semblance of acceptance.
It is instructive to state that three years later, the sassy former CBN governor will dump the PDP to join the APGA having realised that his pathway to Awka Government House was in the party of Dim Odumewgu Ojukwu, Chekwas Okorie and Senator Victor Umeh.
In his foxy assumption, as an economic wizard with international acclaim, Obi will hand over the baton of governorship to him as it has been his long-life objective to govern Anambra state. Nothing amiss with a legitimate aspiration. However, he was bypassed and Willie Obiano emerged and was eventually elected. That must have bruised his oversized ego and he never forgot and will not forgive.
2023 Election: 3 Steps Soludo wants Ohanaeze Ndigbo to start taking rather than supporting Peter Obi and why
To have a glimpse of the governor’s character, it is important to go back to Nasir El-Rufa’I’s piece of May 10, 2013, published by Premium Times. The Kaduna state governor in the article titled, “Soludo’s Solution of Anger and Innuendo,” notes that Soludo wants to be seen as the Alpha in every successful endeavour of the government, that he has an inordinate ambition of being seen as perfect and taking credit for work done by others and that he savages others reputation without let. He disowned Dr Okonjo-Iweala, and Oby Ezekwesili, all ministers in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration who played vital roles in his ascension to the apogee of power in that government.
In short, El-Rufa’I without equivocation states that “Charles plays with words in a patently dishonest way…,” and “Charles did many things to ingratiate himself to Obasanjo, one of which was to attribute every good ‘idea’ to the latter; not actual achievements since there were few in the early days.”
So, it is not much of a surprise that Soludo will be true to character. The idea that a “trader,” apologies to Obi, will take centre stage in the national reckoning, while he, a professor of world repute, is consigned to dealing with unknown gunmen and demolishing peoples’ businesses and taxing them to the hilt is so much to endure. Therefore, it does not matter even if he drags the whole Igbo nation down in his puerile attempt to whittle the influence and wildfire growth of the person of the Labour Party presidential candidate.
The tragedy of the term “nzogbu-nzogbu” political dance is lost on Soludo owing to the civil war importance of that song amongst many others. The Igbo had to rely on such songs to rally courage and rouse the spirit in the grim battle for survival. But here is a professor using it in petty terms to score cheap political points and be seen as politically correct. How sad!
The curious thing in the whole melodrama, that is what it is, is that Soludo is fixated on what Obi failed to do when he is not the man’s immediate successor. Well, in a classic riposte, Obi has challenged him to fill in the gaps of his shortcomings and continue from where others before him had stopped.
One other telling thing about the Soludo cliffhanger is the futile effort of his concern for Mr Obi’s political odyssey in LP when APGA is the “third largest party in Nigeria.” Surprisingly, the candidate of the third largest party, no offence to Prof. Umeadi, is largely unknown and there is nothing suggesting that the governor is doing anything meaningful to place him in a vantage position for national acceptance beyond praying for him. We know that wishes are not horses, if there were, beggars will ride!
One will imagine that Mr Obi already knows that in every political contest only one of two outcomes – win or lose – is possible. So, the attempt by Mr Soludo to put that in the face of the LP presidential candidate is a no-brainer. After all, he (Soludo) has tasted the pain of defeat not once and the possibility does exist that he could be pulled off the perch of his office as the internal wrangling within the party he is inviting another to be part of seems far from abating. How funny!
How Peter Obi is making Tinubu's victory easier: Full text of Soludo's statement on Labour Party presidential candidate
By now, the discerning should know that Soludo is in the league of people that are truly disturbed by their sense of overwhelming importance and play on the sentiments of others in order to achieve their ultimate desire for personal advancement, but in this instance, he has failed as a risk manager that he is reputed to be, to pick his fights while he obscured facts and can only play on the sentiments of the gullible.
In times like these, one seeks consolation in the words of Steve Maraboli, the life coach in his book, “Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience. Maraboli writes: “I'm not crying because of you; you're not worth it. I'm crying because my delusion of who you were was shattered by the truth of who you are.”
NB: I am not OBIdient!
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