Soludo vs Obi: Propaganda and emotions turn villain to victim! (part 1) ~ by Obunike Ohaegbu
On Mach 24th, 2022, the Former Vice-Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 Presidential Election, Mr. Peter Obi officially declared his ambition to be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the PDP. The declaration was made during an interactive meeting between Mr. Obi and the traditional rulers of the 177 Communities in Anambra and their President Generals.
Although, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of Anambra State was not at the meeting but the unmistakable clear message that was sent by the venue and the audience for the official declaration of Mr. Obi’s ambition was that he got the approval and support of the Governor of the State before the meeting.
The fact remains that there is no way anyone would have opened the doors of the Government House for Mr. Obi without the express approval of the Governor. Also, Mr. Obi did not use the venue because of lack of better venues to use. Despite his NO SHISHI public stand on his present campaign, everyone knows that Mr. Obi can afford to hire the best public venue in Nigeria for the declaration of his ambition. The venue was obviously used to send a clear message that despite the differences in political parties between him and his home governor, that he enjoyed the support of his State. This was also reinforced by the choice of the audience Mr. Obi made on the day he declared his Presidential ambition.
Anyone that understands the basic power game in Nigeria knows that if Prof. Soludo was envious and jealous of the Mr. Obi’s presidential ambition, there is no way the former governor of Anambra State would have succeeded in getting both the traditional rulers and President Generals of the various communities in Anambra under one roof. Most traditional rulers and President Generals of Anambra communities have strong oppositions in their various kingdoms and communities. Attending such functions anywhere at all could have been considered as “partisan politicking” if the approval of the governor was not sought and obtained.
In the last Anambra State Gubernatorial Elections, the traditional rulers that visited the Anambra born multi billionaire, Chief Arthur Ezeh are still battling with that indiscretion. The State Government in one press release, withdrew their certificates and immediately issued same to another set of people. The were dethroned by a simple Press Release.
However, to the shock of everyone familiar with the Anambra State politics, the first shot of hostility was fired at the Governor (Soludo) and the Leadership and Members of the ALL-Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) when Mr. Obi picked the Labour Party ticket after leaving the PDP and invited Senator Victor Umeh and other disgruntled APGA aspirants into various legislative positions and issued them automatic tickets in Labour Party.
On June 21st, 2022, Senator Umeh who knew that Nigerians would be asking questions on his reasons not just for leaving APGA but also for joining Mr. Obi whom he had made several public uncomplimentary remarks was quick to grant interview to inform Nigerians that he joined Labour Party on Mr. Peter Obi’s invitation. According to Senator Umeh.
“There was a conspiracy not to allow me win the primary election, and immediately after that, I received a call from Mr. Peter Obi to come over to Labour Party to vie for the Anambra Central Senatorial ticket. I welcomed the idea and also see it as an opportunity to reconcile with him”.
Anyone familiar with the Anambra politics especially the intrigues on the various media platforms knew that by that singular action, Mr. Obi declared war against the governor and APGA in Anambra State. Although, Prof. Soludo is not on the ballot now but the disgruntled APGA aspirants who are now Labour Party Members in Anambra State were already boasting that they were going to VOTE FOR LABOUR-TOP TO BOTTOM and that Prof. Soludo is a ONE TERM GOVERNOR. Suddenly, the Peter Obi Presidency the governor supported posed existential threats to his ambition and his Party, APGA. That was the situation before the Prof Soludo presentation of the Anambra budget and the interview wherein he was asked about the alleged Obi investments for Anambra State as a governor.
People have different views on the answer Prof Soludo should have given to the Channels anchor of Politics Today instead of his blunt answer that the investments were, “worth next to nothing”. Prof Soludo was clear on his point that “saving money is not an output…you don’t save money when you need to buy hospital equipment”. If Prof Soludo was wrong in the answers he gave, will anyone justify the attacks he received for making that comment? Can two wrongs ever make a right? People did not only feast on Prof Soludo, his family was not left out.
As Ndi Anambra, we know for a fact that, as at the time Peter Obi assumed office in Anambra State that five Local Governments had no Secondary Health Institutions. There were no General Hospitals in Anambra West, Ayamelum, Nnewi North, Onitsha South and Oyi Local Governments.
As at the time Mr. Obi handed over to his successor, those Local Governments had no General Hospitals. The most worrisome are Nnewi North and Onitsha South with very large population and even the Internally Generated Revenues collected directly by the State Government as there were no elected Local Government officials for the eight years of Mr. Obi as Governor. Nnewi community contributed money and built a hospital which was handed over to the State Government. The same Hospital was handed over to the Federal Government as the Teaching Hospital for Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi. So, the hospital became a tertiary health institution meant mostly for referrals and Nnewi has no presence of the State Government in her Secondary Health challenges. Those with malaria challenges have the Teaching Hospital as their first port of call with the obvious implications on the Hospital. So,I believe Soludo was right in his response because when money was getting saved, there were challenges unattended to and this cuts across all sectors.
We are from Anambra State and we know ourselves. So, it would be ridiculous so say that Mr. Obi never responded to Prof. Soludo directly. We know where the attacks on Prof Soludo were coming from. We know all the pseudo accounts on social medial that were used for the toxic attacks of HE Willy Obiano. Those accounts were activated and unprintable and unbelievable insults were unleashed on Prof. Soludo. Even when unfortunate attacks were launched on at a Military check point at Isuofia, that was also used in the Prof. Soludo attacks.
Of course, I am not making efforts to justify the way and manner Prof Soludo responded but it all has to do with style. Everyone knows that Prof. Soludo does not take prisoners. But my point is that we must stop the despicable hypocrisy of the narrative that Prof Soludo’s response was unprovoked.
Mr. Obi should understand that Prof Soludo is not personally on the ballots in the 2023 Elections. Mr. Obi is and runs on his records as the Anambra State Governor. The least he could have done would have been to sustain a good working relationship with his home governor. Anambra State should be his fortress and the attacks on Soludo does not put him in any vantage position. It is a fight he cannot win and it is not good that everyone he works with is a devil while he remains the only saint.
Obunike Ohaegbu, LLM