The statement by Gov Charles Soludo [that Peter Obi’s investments as governor of Anambra ‘are next to nothing] is very unfortunate, taking into cognizance of his academic background and exposure. But unfortunately, human beings, especially blacks, harbour grudges and hardly let go.
Recall that in the 2010 governorship elections in Anambra, Charles Soludo contested the same election alongside Peter Obi, who was the incumbent governor. Unfortunately for Soludo, he lost the election to Obi, coming a distant third. Since then, there has been love lost between the two influential sons of Anambra State as Soludo did not take the outcome of the election from the prism of a sportsman.
Even the then incumbent president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, was among those who Soludo harboured grudges against. Being an incumbent president from the ruling party then, Soludo thought Jonathan could use federal mights to sway the election to his victory. But unfortunately, that never happened as Jonathan was more favourably disposed to Peter Obi who was the incumbent governor.
So, during the 2011 presidential primaries, Soludo was visibly mobilising support for Atiku Abubakar against Jonathan. His kinsmen were amused as Ndigbo saw Jonathan as one of their own.
Peter Obi, who ruled the state under the platform of APGA, has switched over to PDP, while Soludo who contested against Obi under PDP platform has become the APGA guber candidate. Well, that is the irony of life and human nature. And Nigerian politicians are British weather-like: they change their political parties as well as convictions.
Peter Obi who had become the chieftain of PDP supported Valentine Ozoigbo of PDP as against Soludo. Eventually Soludo emerged the winner of the election. From the foregoing analysis, one could deduce that Obi and Soludo had never enjoyed party relationship.
When Soludo made the statement that Obi’s investment was next to nothing, many of us who are political pundits knew that Soludo was out to draw blood and take a pound of flesh from Obi who many perceive to have been his political foe. But the question on the lips of many Nigerians, especially those of Igbo extraction, is if Soludo has come to play the Igbo curse or nemesis again.
In 2020, I wrote an article entitled: ‘2023 General Elections and The Igbo President of Southeast Extraction’. I mentioned among other things how Ndigbo had continued to play a spoiler role to their brothers, instead of being their brothers’ keepers. The case of Alex Ekwueme of blessed memory and Jim Nwobodo at the PDP presidential primaries held in Jos was a case in study. I equally mentioned the 2003 ANPP presidential primaries where the likes of the late Chuba Okadigbo, Rochas Okorocha, Nnia Nwodo contested the same election where all of them crashed out instead of supporting one person as a consensus candidate.
Even the last presidential primaries left tongues wagging as Igbo delegates voted for Atiku and Bola Tinubu as they sold their votes to the highest bidders despite the cry of marginalisation in the southeast. The Igbo curse or nemesis did not start today. The foremost Nigerian nationalist and Owelle of Onitsha, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, suffered the same fate.
Paul Unongo, former Minister of Mines and Power in the Second Republic, noted on the 104th posthumous birthday of Nnamdi Azikiwe that he ‘supported Zik based on personal convictions, but his greatest disappointment came from Ndigbo, Zik’s brothers, who continued to tell him that no Igbo man could be the president of Nigeria’.
- With the latest vituperation from Soludo, one may be tempted to ask: Are we cursed or are we the curse? This should not be a rhetoric question. The question needs to be answered, especially as 2023 general elections are less than three months away. While other people from other zones are falling over themselves supporting and endording Peter Obi, this kind of vituperation and the spoiler-like role was the least thing expected of Charles Soludo, Obi’ s governor.
I, therefore, advise Ndigbo to eschew politics of bitterness, join forces with one another for life is turn by turn. It may not be your turn today, but it may be yours tomorrow. Soludo should even educate himself how he was roundly defeated in 2010, but emerged victorious in 2022.
The book of Ecclesiastes made it clear in chapter three that there is time for everything. And for everything, there is a season. And J. F. Kennedy in his inaugural speech stated that: ‘together, there is nothing we cannot achieve in a host of cooperative venture, but divided, there is nothing we can do for we dare not meet oppposition and split assunder’. This is the time to come together and not to scatter, the time for collectivism, not individually.