Following Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State’s sustained hostile verbal attacks on the presidential ambitions of Labour Party standard-bearer, Mr. Peter Obi, top Igbo Elders yesterday took Soludo to task, urging him to shut up and stop embarrassing himself and Ndigbo through his utterances.
Yesterday, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Prof ABC Nwosu, Achike Udenwa, Chekwas Okorie, and Prof Fabian Osuji expressed shock at Soludo’s level of hostility toward Peter Obi, who has never done anything to provoke him.
Prof. Fabian Osuji, former Minister of Education during the Obasanjo administration, expressed his dismay at Soludo’s tirades against Peter Obi.
“I am thoroughly embarrassed about the level of hostility being exhibited by our brother and friend, Prof Charles Soludo towards Peter Obi. Soludo cannot claim to be self-made.
“People like us participated in making him. I was Prochancellor and Chairman of the Council at the University of Nigeria when his papers came for approval for Professorship. I could have found reason to withhold or deny assent.
“But we put him out and praised his work. That made President Obasanjo appoint him as Economic Adviser without hesitation.
“Three years later, three of us: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, and myself were attending a Conference in Brussels when President Obasanjo called Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was Finance Minister to ask for the nomination of Governor of Central Bank. We gave a unanimous vote for Prof Charles Soludo.
“As Ndigbo, we were proud to support our brother. He was not the sole candidate. Obasanjo gave him the position. Everyone rejoiced. That was the power of Umunna.
“Years later, I cannot imagine the same person who benefitted resoundingly from the support of Umunna being the one to pull down his brother who is enjoying overwhelming support elsewhere.
“I am truly ashamed of Soludo. Ndigbo should not allow him to get away with this. He should be made to withdraw all his damaging statements against Obi. There is still time for him to reverse himself in this matter. Ndigbo must not allow him to get away with this”.
Reacting to the situation, a former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife said he was shocked by what Soludo was saying.
“I’m shocked. I’ve tried calling him and he is not answering. By now, he would have understood the impact of what he did and should go into hiding. But we must talk to him. It’s highly embarrassing. Someone who hasn’t done anything to you.”
They both have APGA background —Chekwas Okorie
Chekwas Okorie, the founder of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, said he was scandalized by the entire development while expressing his vehement condemnation and disapproval.
“Honestly, I feel scandalized by what is going on. I feel scandalized because I am the founder of APGA. Peter Obi was the one I gave the nomination to be governor for eight years.
“Soludo is the one that has become governor on that platform now. And despite what happened during my time, Peter Obi and I have reconciled. And we have put that behind us.
“Now, I have returned to APGA and working on rebuilding it into a national party, as that was its original purpose. APGA is a national party for engagement so that Igbo people should have a platform.
“Such opportunities never presented themselves except when Dr. Azikiwe was around. He used NCNC and NPP at various times for engagements.
“We saw an opportunity now that there is increased confidence in the electoral process than before.
“So, for this kind of thing to begin to happen, between two prominent Igbo sons, who are all products of APGA, notwithstanding that Peter Obi is now in the Labour Party is heart-rending. That is why I said I feel thoroughly scandalized.
“Now, going beyond that, I also without any equivocation believe that Prof. Soludo did not conduct himself properly. This epistle he wrote as part one, for me is uncalled for.
“I didn’t see how Peter Obi provoked him in his campaigns or anywhere. And honestly, everybody should be happy for Peter Obi as he is making the wave only Dr. Azikiwe made during his time.
“And even when I join the train as I still intend to, I will not cross words with Peter. Instead, I will be looking at how APGA and Labour Party will go into an alliance for better results when the time for alliance comes.
“Those types of relationships come close to the election time. By then, people would have been able to tell themselves basic home truths about possible outcomes.
“But to come and engage in this type of fight amongst ourselves, I am sure I am not the only person embarrassed.
“I will urge Soludo not to go further with the so-called part two or three as he may want to call it.
“He should now listen to the voice of reason including myself as I occupy a centre in the history of APGA. I am saying that he should stop. If he doesn’t want to support Obi’s presidential bid, he should just keep quiet.
“APGA is one of the two oldest parties registered in Nigeria since 1999. But, it is not good enough that in 20 years, APGA has suffered such a stunted growth. So, every concerned person should be talking of how to expand it, and let Peter Obi be”.
It’s unfortunate but its politics — Achike Udenwa
Former governor of Imo State, Achike Udenwa, expressed his opinion, saying that what is happening is not unusual.
“Well, there is nothing strange about it. There is no way you will come out to run for an office, even at that level of the presidency and you expect everybody to say yea.
“You will receive a lot of backlash from here and there; some true, some false. There is nothing strange about it. These are personal opinions. That someone expresses his personal opinion doesn’t mean that opinion is correct.
“Looking at it from the point of Igbo attacking Igbo is a myopic outlook to it. Peter Obi cannot make it if he is presented as an Igbo candidate. He is not an Igbo candidate.
“There is nobody that comes out at that level that doesn’t receive a backlash. Even in your own family, you will get it. That is what is in politics. I don’t think that signifies a lack of unity among the Igbo. It is politics.
“Tinubu is running for the same office. Read the papers every day, the social media, and everybody is attacking him. Atiku is running too, check the North; a lot of them are attacking him.
“Please, let us not take it as a sign that the Igbo are not together. There is nobody that will come out and all Igbo will like him. When Zik came out in 1979 to run for the presidency, of course, under NPP, a lot of Igbo were in the NPN.
“They were attacking him, they did not work for him. So, it is nothing strange. I will be surprised if anybody comes out and all of us support him. I will be very surprised.
“That is not democracy. We should not be frightened by such things, they are expected. You will get it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. You will be surprised that from your family, you will still get some opposition”.
When reminded that he came to canvass for Igbo presidency with some Igbo elders, Udenwa stated, “Basically, we didn’t come to support Obi as such.” We came to discuss the Igbo presidency, to see if an Igbo man could run for president, particularly from our party, the PDP.
“And Peter was quite outstanding among the aspirants at that time. We were rooting for an Igbo man to be the presidential candidate but we feel disappointed he left PDP for Labour Party.”
Soludo’s tirades not ordinary — Prof ABC Nwosu
Speaking on the issue, Prof. ABC Nwosu said: “I am still dumbfounded on how Peter Obi’s governance which ended eight years before Soludo’s own could now be the issue.
“Soludo went for a TV interview on the 2023 Anambra Budget. When Soludo was asked about Emefiele who came on board as CBN governor several years after, he reminded the interviewer that he would not be trapped with that question.
“Soludo didn’t talk about the immediate past Governor of Anambra State. Why did he talk about Peter Obi? And when he was answering the Obi question, you could see his face, his body language, he was enjoying himself.
“For me, I usually look at how things began before I jump into the middle. Soludo has never uttered a word about his predecessor who left him debts.
“My feeling is that it is not ordinary. How did an interview on budget, the biggest budget we have seen in Anambra, degenerate into tirades on Peter Obi?
“This person is from Isuofia, and Peter Obi is from Agulu. They are neighbours. It is shameful and Soludo must accept the blame. He is the governor of Anambra State currently.
“You can’t imagine Sanwo-Olu saying such a thing about Tinubu. Or Fintri saying such a thing about Atiku.
“What is the problem? You have a masquerade from your village dancing, and you will enjoy to knock it down in the arena when other people are watching. It is disgusting.
“How can you blame two people when one slaps the other, and the other hasn’t slapped back? It is Obi’s followers that are attacking him.
“The first comment by Peter Obi was at Lagos Business School. Of course, people will say Peter Obi is like my son, I don’t deny it. But if Soludo won’t support him, he should keep quiet.
“We supported Soludo when he was sworn in. Immediately he was sworn in, I told him that if he needs us, we will be there. I have even recently called some people and said if you see Soludo struggling, we will form a group and support him.
“In this matter, we are focusing on Soludo as he is the governor of the state. He carries a heavy burden. He is a professor and if he fails, the next professor that wants to come up will find it hard.
“Soludo is distracting himself and if he continues this way, four years will pass in a jiffy and other people will come to contest with him again. There are many issues in Anambra he should focus on but as I said, it is not ordinary.”
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