Wednesday, 16 November 2022 06:19

Soludo’s wrong war against Peter Obi - Kennedy Emetulu

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Kennedy Emetulu Kennedy Emetulu

I just read the Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s piece titled, “History beckons and I will not be silent (1).” With such a dramatic title, I was keen to see what he was talking about only to see that it was a reaction to the negative responses he claims he’s been getting over a comment he made in an interview on Channels Television about some of Peter Obi’s investments on behalf of Anambra State while he was governor. Soludo had described those investments as “worth next to nothing,” which is why it’s expectedly generating some not-so-nice reactions from Obi’s supporters. Honestly, I’m not a supporter of Peter Obi, but this is nonsense by Soludo. I’m not talking about what Soludo said about the investments and their worth; I’m talking about his reaction in form of this piece.

Obviously, this is the first part of a series he’s writing on this matter, but this first part does not make me look forward to whatever else he has to say about this later. I mean, what is he saying? What is he trying to put on record? He said Obi’s investment in Anambra while governor is now worth next to nothing and the Obi mob descended on him, so? Was he expecting Obi supporters to garland him? Yes, it was obvious he wasn’t interested in talking Obi when Seun Okinbaloye was asking the questions, which was why he made the comment about the investment more like a by-the-way comment and continued. It should have ended there, irrespective of what Obi supporters are saying. Taking to public space to pen this thrash to thrash Obi on account of what some of his supporters are saying is Soludo overreaching himself.

Soludo says that in March this year he invited Obi to come take the APGA presidential ticket. Is Obi’s crime that he did not come wear his APGA crown? Would Obi have garnered the national following he has now if he’d gone to APGA? Or just because Soludo found favour in the party on the local Anambra terrain to take the governorship, he assumes that is a big enough platform for Obi who is actively seeking the presidency? Okay, he himself has said he wasn’t inviting Obi to take the APGA ticket because he expects he’d win, but to help whatever his Igbo cause is in Nigerian national politics, but is it by force? Does Obi not have a right not to be an Igbo candidate in national politics? If he found Obi good enough for the presidency as APGA candidate, why does he have a problem with him as the Labour Party candidate? He has a problem with Obi because he’s not flying the Igbo flag?

Yes, it’s true that some of us who do not support Obi, especially those of us who support the PDP, believe he made a poor decision to go join the Labour Party to contest the presidency. Then for a more discerning group within this larger group (a group to which I belong), Obi’s decision is dangerous for Nigeria because of what we consider to be the ultimate effect. That effect is that Obi will inadvertently allow the APC to remain entrenched in power because all he’s going to do is take valuable votes away from the PDP to the advantage of APC. I don’t know about others, but I honestly believe that the worst thing that has happened to Nigeria since independence, apart from the Civil War, is the emergence of the APC as the government at the centre. So, any action by anybody to entrench the APC in power at the centre in 2023, advertently or inadvertently, cannot be welcome by me. The PDP may be anything, it is not the APC. So, since I know Obi cannot win and that his biggest effect in this election is to likely make APC win by causing PDP to lose, which is something Soludo also mentioned, I cannot like his political choice. But having said that, in terms of pound-for-pound value of a personal political decision, joining the Labour Party is still a better decision for Obi than joining the APGA that Soludo recommended.

The APGA is a local, Igbo party, but it is not ever going to represent any Igbo interest in national politics because Nigeria is not structured that way. Those likely to protect Igbo interest in national politics are in the two main parties – the PDP mainly and then APC. Soludo may have made a smart decision to go to the APGA to win the governorship of Anambra, good for him, but that’s all he can achieve there. Obi was rescued from local irrelevance by the PDP in 2014 and given more national visibility by Atiku Abubakar who made him his running mate in the 2019 election. That is the platform Obi is using to contest the presidency today, not anything to do with his time in the APGA. But, in my view, Obi would have been better off politically remaining in the PDP because ultimately his time would have come on that platform. He has age on his side, but he precipitately jumped ship to the Labour Party and is presently being deceived by the rah-rah surrounding his campaign. He will be brought back down to hard earth in February for sure, but, again, whatever decision he has taken is far better than what Soludo was suggesting for him to do.

The only thing Soludo wants to do with this piece is attack Obi in a roundabout way under the pretext that he’s responding to attacks by Obi’s supporters. I think that is cowardly. His party, the APGA, has a presidential candidate. He should spend his time supporting that one or running Anambra State as governor, not attacking Obi in a series of meaningless write-ups in public space.

Again, I do not support Obi and I have many reasons not to, but Soludo’s attack on Obi is in bad faith and should be called out. This is not me saying Soludo has no right to talk. This is me saying he’s talking nonsense.