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Why I Will Not Support Prof. Chukwuma Soludo

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Written by: USA


WHY I WILL NOT SUPPORT PROFESSOR CHUKWUMA SOLUDO
 
                                  By Chukwudi Nwokoye
 
 
In response to my article titled “Is Professor Soludo PDP’s Anambra Solution” published in www.nigeriavillagesquare.com on the 18th day October, 2009 http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/chukwudi-nwokoye/is-professor-soludo-really-pdps-anambra-solution.html, a friend of mine wrote me a copious letter giving me the reason why he thought that Prof Soludo should be given a chance to administer the state. I got permission from my friend to publish the whole e-mail and I will crave the indulgence of readers to share with them the epistle of my friend and to ventillate the whole opinion of Prof Soludo's supporters.
 
He went straight to the point after the usual banters thus:
 
 ''Anambra State is an accumulation of frustrated emotions, a vortex of deprivation strategically polluted to nourish the confusion clamoring for universal recognition. I am scared about the eruption of suppressed bucolic infatuation given the precedence of previous conscienceless political godfathers. Professor Soludo is a character I suspect with respect; nevertheless, I think the man should be given a chance to use Anambra State as an example of his objective and economic worthiness politically. Not many believed Barack Hussein Obama until he was given a chance to reveal his latent potentiality. Professor Soludo is a character In Suspense!
“I think humanity; the Igbos, Nigerians and the good people of Anambra stand to gain much from the “trinitized” aspirations represented by Ngige, Obi and Soludo. Ngige and Obi should be made to act as political and sociological deputies to Soludo, the economic wizard. A prophet is not known in his place, Soludo doesn't enjoy immunity and exception from this assertion, but given his brave academic record, erratic political tenure, and cowardly executive record, it feels like the emptiness in the soul of Professor Soludo can only be filled if he is given the executive chance to primarily serve his people (Anambrarians). I think Soludo probably holds a blue print for the economic salvation of Anambra State, the failures at CBN notwithstanding, Nigeria is too complicated for a man to implement a heart-felt social plan given the confusion-prone tribes, language barrier, religious castration, corruption and direction-less leadership that bedevils the central government. Any reasonable soul that wishes to serve Nigerians proper should use his/her state or region as a constituency. Charity begins at home. Soludo might be the Obama Anambra State deserves, and fortunately has produced! But, will they let him serve? Inasmuch as I saw his obvious weaknesses and still suspect his professional mentality, I can't help but let you know that I sympathize with him. I think his handicap is not beyond bucolic rehabilitation. The mystery surrounding his father's kidnapping and the aftermath bear the hallmarks of a failed nation...which Nigeria is in retrospect. Ngige sold his manhood, and with that, his soul, to those ''illiterate godfathers’’ (they are not completely illiterate since they are tribal strategists, immune custodians of bigotry, imbecility, corruption, manipulation and moral assassinations in this era) and that destroyed his professional credibility and staked his private integrity as an educated son of the Igbos.
“Soludo was imposed, and even stands on the pedestal of a party that has set a ghastly precedence, and yes, I agreed with you that Soludo's political methodology differs from that of Obama, but, professionally, he still has much to offer! Don't you think so? With Obi and Ngige by his side, I think Anambra state stands to gain a lot, i.e. if he is elected! His academic background is what I am thinking the people of Anambra should exploit greatly! Don't you think his hands were tied at the federal level? I think many ''Nigerian leaders'' use the cloak of “executiveness” as an immunity against accountability, probity and probable post-tenure prosecution, and conviction, and our dear brother, Soludo, is not pretending to be an exception. It feels like he is the most suitable bloke for the soon- to be vacant job in the state. In one of my recent books, I said that ''our leaders are our killers'' You have strong points on the character of these political pretenders and dangerously aspiring sycophants, but the relative truth is, I see some of them as partly evil-partly good. The question is: how do we subdue the evil in them to harness their merits for social good? Transparency, accountability and provision of a liberal social security system that will take care of them when they leave office might be the answers to the problems. I think the electorates in Anambra state in particular, and Nigeria in general, need to say no to corruption, and build stronger moral walls to ward off the antics of dubious salvation-hawkers that incessantly lure them to mortgage their consciences for peanuts. I will think deeply before telling you what I think might be the implication if another moron is planted at the government house in Awka and if the incumbent anemic president dies in office.”
 
What a mouthful! In a long mail, he summarized the reasons why I was wrong on Soludo and why he believe that Soludo is better that all the candidates put together. My response to him about why I will not support the professor was as copious as his mail to me. Coming to his opinion about Soludo, it was a well written article, though poorly argued in his favor. For instance, he acknowledged Soludo's failure at CBN but still consider him good enough for the state. 
 
Like I stated in my article, I respect Prof Soludo's academic prowess. No one can take that away from him. I also stated that he recorded some modest achievements at the CBN like the bank consolidation, and the naira redenomination would have be successful but for the cabals connivance with the presidency to frustrate his efforts coupled with his lack of moral courage, to push harder and resign if he felt that his advise he felt strongly about was jettisioned. However, academic prowess does not a good leader make. One thing I dislike about candidates or anyone I come across is dishonesty and lack of candor. In my book, a candidate that is tainted will never get my support even though my support doesn't worth a thing. That was his greatest vice as far as I am concerned. Much as I admire Dr Ngige, but I lost all my respect for him the moment he went to Okija to swear oath of allegiance to his political godfathers. No matter whatever Ngige subsequently did as a governor, meant nothing to me because he was tainted. 

I am sorry to say this but Prof Soludo looks phony to me. Even his campaign picture looks like someone trying so hard to look Igbo! I was in Anambra until a few weeks ago, and the first day I saw his campaign picture coming to while I was coming to Awka from Enugu Airport, I laughed my head off! He appeared to be unsure about himself. Anyway, on a more serious note, I feel like there is something about him that put people off but that's an aside. Prof Soludo tacitly acquiesced to Bank CEOs ripping customers off while he looked the other way. My question then is: How did he explain the financial meltdowns and the many banks discovered to have failed under his watch? How does he explain the millions of dollars/naira that he was allegedly doling out to politicians to gain their support? What's the latest on the alleged kidnap of his father? Who kidnapped his father? Did he sponsor that fake kidnapping to gain political sympathy or was the kidnap legitimate and why haven't the police or the press investigated the kidnapping of his father and why haven't the alleged kidnappers brought to justice? All these are legitimate questions that the press continue to shy away free.
 
There was this very interesting issue of how Barack Obama was not given a chance and now he finally proved people wrong. I agree that both Soludo and Obama are very smart and intelligent men, and in fact, first class brains; but that ends there. Obama put his theories into practice by going to the grass root to inspire, motivate, lead, organize, sensitive and lead. He started from the bottom to the top. He used ordinary people, youths, labor leaders and the generalities of low income people to launch a typhoon of a political force that swept away the Clinton political machine. Our own Professor of Economics went the opposite way of thinking that powers comes from Abuja. He went and allied himself with dubious characters. Elitism is what kills most of our so-called educated aspirants. I hate it when so-called educated ones think that we can only acquire political power by dancing naked to the alter of semi-illiterates like Andy/Chris Uba, Arthur Eze etc. The man died right there! Soludo cannot even run his mouth well, let alone run a superior campaign. All we hear is statements as if he was lecturing us about himself and not trying to convince the voters. I have not seen him hit the campaign trail like someone that actually wants people to vote for him. 
 
I believe in local solution of a local problem. Soludo launched his political career using disgruntled and frustrated political lose canons like Chief Alex Ekwueme; former Vice-President in the 2nd Republic, Chief Tony Aneni and Chief Agunwa Anekwe, a 3rd Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is still on record that both Chief Tony Aneni and Chief Anekwe played vital roles in negotiating away June 12. Chief Aneni was the SDP Chairman at the time. The problem of our so-called intellectuals is that they think that we can only get to the political top by ridding at the back of the same people that helped ruin the country and have achieved some measure of notoriety, but that's wrong. Talking about his CBN achievement, is it not ironical that he never thought it wise to establish a CBN branch in Anambra state until he was prodded by Governor Obi which he reluctantly/fearfully accepted. Even the CBN at Awka I saw was not the kind of CBN Branch that befits a state like Anambra but that's a story of another day.
 
I read his blue-print and I was disappointed that the so-called blueprint is the same lecture he delivered 3 yrs ago at the Anambra League of professionals launching in 2006! No updates. It was full of guess works, no hard facts/statistics, for instance he doesn't even know the population of the state, doesn't know how much the state earns in terms of federal allocation and/or Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the growth rate of the state etc. It was just hypothesis and full of academic exercises. So how can you administer you know no hard facts about and used same 'no facts' in your so-called political blueprint for the state? Professor Soludo can effectively manage the state but he has to be ready and willing to do so. "I am a professor of international repute, trust me, I will deliver" as he seems to be saying is not a saleable blueprint.
 
Another reason why I would never support him is the way and manner he was selected. His party is only power grabbing by jettisoning their own rules just to give the party nomination to him and see whether they would, in their words "recapture Anambra State". The party was thinking that if they rig the election while installing Soludo, that Anambra people would not protest so aggressively considering his intimidating paper qualification. But they are mistaken as to how politically sophisticated the state has become. We have not forgotten that he was the one the used his proxies to obtain a court injunction at Aguata High Court to stop the primaries when he saw that he could only get a handful of delegates only for him to do about turn with the national executives of the party to short-change other candidates. Who is fooling who? Many argued that the party has the right to determine whom to nominate for governor, and that it is their internal affairs and the courts do not interfere with the domestic affairs of a political party.
 
They rather treat their rules as only applicable when they want to discipline its defaulting or belligerrent members. However, people lose sight of the words of Oguntade, JSC, in the case of Amaechi V. INEC & 2 Ors (2008) 1 SC (Pt.1) P.77-78 that:
 
“…if the political parties, in their own wisdom had written it into their Constitution that their candidates for election would emerge from their party primaries, it becomes unacceptable that the court should run away from the duty to enforce compliance with the provisions of the parties’ Constitution…. Indeed, the court, in its ordinary duties, must enforce compliance with the agreements reached by parties in their contracts….”
 
It follows that in the substantive case involving Prof Soludo and his primary opponents, that the Supreme Court has no other choice than to follow its own laid down principle in Amaechi V. INEC.
 
Again, I do not even up till now trust his real motive of trying to be governor. Is it because he wants to help the state achieve greatness? Or is it because he wants to be covered with the cloak of immunity? If the reason is because of his burning desire to help the state, then why is he unprepared and has no plans about how he intends to put those Dubai dreams into reality. For instance, how specifically does he intend to create 300,000 jobs in 4yrs? How does he intend to solve the crime menace? If he only wants executive immunity that accrues with the job, then too bad, our people are wiser than outsiders give us credits for. Moreover, it is equally an insult to use that Dubai theory which implies that Anambra people are all traders! It is an insult to the intelligence of our people. What happened to Taiwan, Indonesia, China, and even USA? We are not looking for a paradise on earth, we just want good governance based on accountability, probity and transparency. Anambra people are not asking for too much except basic social infrastructure like good roads, water, electricity, security of life and property, food security, health facilities, schools for our children etc. That's the only thing an average Anambra person wants. Any other things are bonus.
 
I do not believe that academic excellence translates to excellent leadership. I strongly believe that every Anambrarian has a stake to what's going on in the state. Every Igbo man has something to contribute to the growth of their respective states. Remember that this is not the first time we experimented with a first class brain in Anambra Election. Didn’t Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Okwadike) flaunt his PhD in Economics from a highly rated Harvard University? Did that materialize for us back in 2003? Prior to being governor of the state, wasn’t Okwadike an accomplished Federal Permanent Secretary? At the time, we said "tufia, not in Anambra" when Chief Odunze, a semi-illiterate was bullying his way to the SDP nomination battle. Prof. Humphery Nwosu (the then INEC Chairman) had to disqualify Odunze to make way for Dr Ezeife. I was fully in support of that move. I supported Okwadike as the best candidate. In fact, during the initial nomination battle, my late father (God bless his soul) was the only person standing in Okwadike's column in their Ward, when others were bought over by Odunze’s agents. After Okwadike won the nomination and finally won the election, what did Anambra benefit in terms of economic development?
 
Again, in 1999, didn’t we try another PhD holder, named Chinwoke Mbadinuju, believing that because he had a load of degrees, we would be better off? Education which was Anambra's bread and butter issue suffered greatly as teachers were on strike for a whole year. Civil servants and pensioners were not spared as they were owed for more than a year. My father was among the pensioners that demonstrated to the Government House and were called "deadwoods" by Mbadinuju. See my article on the issue: http://nigeriaworld.com/articles/2002/dec/251.html.
 
In 2003, we tried yet another doctor named Dr. Chris Ngige. Though he tried his best on the side of road construction, but had he not fell out with his benefactors/godfathers, it would have been business as usual. Ngige's modest achievement was necessitated by political expediency or survival.
 
So after the experiment with the duo of Ezeife and Mbadinuju, we are not fazed by academic achievements. It should never be our the lone yardstick for choosing our leaders. If academic excellence is the only yardstick, then Albert Einstein would have ruled the world or at least rule his adopted country, USA. I believe that everyone has something to contribute to society. Prof Soludo can go back to school where his services are badly needed. Some intellectuals can rule the world if they have the skills and the passion. I cannot see the passion in Soludo. He should be made governor if he believe in "Anambra Project" and wants to contribute to the great Anambra, and not because he wants to get executive immunity to tarry a while until exery act or lack of it while he was CBN governor is forgotten or forgiven. He should not be elected just because he wants Anambra Government House to serve as his pension/gratuity or that it is his birthright because he happens to be a professor. We have professors in every Anambra village and even good ones at that. 
 
As for the issue of suppressing the evil and taking the good out of people like that, I totally disagree with that philosophy. A leader should be a model to the led, especially in Anambra where the many youths prefer trading to going to school b/c of quick money and because they want to be like the illiterate money-miss-roads that throw money about. Who are going to be the model for these kids if the governor/leaders could not be that person or group of people? If a person is tainted, I cannot see myself supporting that leader no matter what good comes out of him. He can do good without being governor. It is insulting and even condescending to suggest that Governor Obi or even former Governor Ngige should step aside for Soludo. I do not pity intellectuals with no balls. It is wrong for people like that to play along with bad characters and refuse to speak up just because of lucre and trappings of the federal government office like CBN. I lost all respects for Prof Dora Akunyili the moment she took the insult of being passed over and relegated to Information Minister instead of Health Ministry where her expertise is most needed. She would have resigned and gone with her pride, just like Okonjo-Iweala did. It's wrong to blame the system as an excuse to impose Soludo or to excuse his actions because of the hand the system dealt him. It’s a lazy excuse to blame the system. So no matter what he says, I will not support such a candidate for Anambra State governorship. I am already forseeing a devastating defeat for him at the polls by even the least known candidates.
 
 
*Chukwudi Nwokoye writes from Maryland, USA. nwokoyeac@hotmail.com



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