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Peter Obi Versus Charles Soludo: Et Tu Brutus? By Abuchi Obiora

History, they say, repeats itself. On March 15th 44B.C. (known to history as the ides of March), at the Curia (theatre) of Pompey in the old Roman Empire, a metal sword was thrust upon the heart of Julius Caesar (Gaius Lulius Gai Caesar: July 13th 100 B.C – March 15th 44 BC), who was a Roman Military General, nationalist and statesman, by his younger ally, Decius Brutus (Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus: April 27th 81 B.C. – September, 43 B.C), who, unknown to his ally, Julius Caesar, had become a partner to some vicious members of the Roman Senate, the old, conservative political elites called the Optimates.

The attack on Julius Caesar by one of his former allies, Decius Brutus, whom Julius Caesar ran to for protection ended the life of Julius Caesar, who in utter surprise, exclaimed “Et tu Brutus? (“And you, too, Brutus?”).

The repeating history which is the subject matter of today’s discourse is about the conflicting interests of two great sons of Anambra State, Nigeria. These two sons are Mr. Peter Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State, a banker and an economist who prefers to call himself a trader; and a technocrat, Charles Soludo, a Professor of Economics, who is also a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. and the present Governor of Anambra State. Presently, both of them are politicians. As in the event in Rome, one interest is bold, selfless and nationalistic, while the other interest is timid, selfish and sectional.

By the way, the comparison here between the event in ancient Rome which succeeded to nip further ambitions of Julius Caesar in the bud and the recent issue of personality conflict between the two sons of Anambra state wherefore Prof. Charles Soludo tried to checkmate the growing popularity of Mr. Peter Obi who is the candidate to beat in the Nigerian Presidential election coming up in February 2023, is only meant to highlight how the base emotions of envy, jealousy, hatred and vendetta can destroy the long-earned and endearing reputation of an esteemed and hitherto respected academic Professor in the same manner that the same base and vain emotions of envy, jealousy, hatred and vendetta destroyed the military career and eventually the life of a gallant solider, Decius Brutus, who was paid back, as history beckoned, (using the terminology of Professor Charles Soludo) in his own coin when he was murdered in 43 B.C by Mark Anthony’s boys. Mark Anthony (Marcus Antoninus: 14th January 83 B.C. – August 30th B.C.), was an ally and bosom friend of Julius Caesar. He was a Roman politician and military General who played a major role when Rome was being transformed from a constitutional Republic to the autocratic Roman Empire. Mark Anthony presented the famous eulogy for Julius Caesar at the Capitol after the death of Julius Caesar.

Before I continue with this discourse, I seek the permission of readers of the Kaleidoscope Opinion Page to back out from my promise in last week’s discourse where I said I will round up our discussion on “Peter Obi and Labour Party: Reinventing Nigeria with 2023 Election” because of the reason of giving attention to a matter of national importance that needs urgent attention as it is in the front burner of national discourse. I consider it appropriate to register my thoughts on the recent pronouncements of the Executive Governor of Anambra State. Prof. Charles Soludo, CFR, regarding a former Executive Governor of Anambra State and presently the Presidential flag bearer for the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, CON.

Exactly by 5:16pm, on November 14th, 2022, in a long (25 paragraph essay) and strong worded attack on the person and the Presidential ambition of Mr. Peter Obi, Prof. Charles Soludo, who titled his diatribe “History Beckons and I will not be Silent (Part 1)” made effort not only to cast aspersion on all the legacies of Mr. Peter Obi’s administration as the Governor of Anambra State, but also challenged his capacity to win the 2023 presidential election which he runs for under the political canopy of  Labour Party.

That unsolicited, unprovoked and needless essay was like a bombshell as it hit me when I read down the introductory paragraphs leading to the Prof.’s grouse about Mr. Peter Obi’s accomplishments and subsisting efforts to emerge as the President of Nigeria. It jolted me. I was so infuriated, and at the same time, worried and confused after reading through the entire essay. Several thoughts scrambled sporadically in my head. One of them was that some Nigerians will say, “Igbos an themselves again!”. I was, however consoled minutes after reading the post to observe that the response to the Prof.’s post was spontaneous and sharp, cutting across all the ethnic nationalities of Nigeria in the condemnation of the Prof’s sinister invectives on a most beloved citizen of Nigeria. Like Julius Caesar was beloved to the Romans, Mr. Peter Obi is pan-Nigerian, a patriot and nationalist loved by all and sundry. Like Decius Brutus, Prof. Charles Soludo is a systems man, who is very comfortable with the oppressive tendency of the minority power mongers in Northern Nigeria whose desire have always been to subjugate all the other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, including the Igbos.

After reading through the tirade, I asked myself: Is it possible that Prof. Charles Soludo has been given a promise to become the next President from the South East by the Northern Nigerian minority Kingmakers whose culpability in the messy saga of his vituperation has been revealed?

After reading the long essay, the summary of what I found out about the analysis of Prof. Charles Soludo’s diatribe which would have made him believe that Mr. Peter Obi will not win the 2023 Presidential election, is that he based his analysis on the conventional winning factors across the states of Nigeria based on the constitutional requirements for the emergence of the President of the Federal Republic, after election. What he did not factor in or take into consideration is the paradigm shift that has occurred in the emerging politics of Nigeria. This paradigm shift has been made possible by the recent vast political awareness of Nigerian youths and their resolve to take over the political leadership of the country.

A Professor of Economics, Charles Soludo may not have understood why the general youth awareness alone has yielded a youth voters registration figure of 70 million, spanking up total registration for the 2023 elections to an unprecedented 96m voters. Frankly speaking, I think that this factor alone,  when considered with the snowball consequence of the fact that Nigerian youths are ready to protect their votes against rigging in the elections, can change everything in 2023, including the conventional computation for victory in Nigerian Presidential elections.

As for his present views about the performance of Mr. Peter Obi as the Executive Governor of Anambra State, the Prof. goofed completely because there are video clip evidence of his honest appreciation and assessment of the tenor of Mr. Peter Obi in office where the Prof. had read out statistics and figures to buttress the huge achievements of his newly found fiend, as the Governor of Anambra State.

The sad irony in Prof. Charles Soludo’s shift from his former assessment of the achievements of Mr. Peter Obi in office as Governor of Anambra State is that the Prof. had deliberately and unwisely refused to make any comment on the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, his predecessor, Mr. Willy Obiano, who squandered the investment made by Mr. Peter Obi which the Prof. claims to have no value as the Prof. addressed Nigerians through the media crew of Channels Television.

What could have been responsible for the tirade directed to Mr. Peter Obi by Prof. Charles Soludo when the Prof. claimed that he was addressing the response of the OBIDIENT family members who found fault with the Prof’s interview with Channels Television? Did the Prof. have any issue earlier with Peter Obi, or was he reacting from an already fixed impulse driven by jealousy, envy, hatred, vendetta and sheer calumny?

Let us quickly recall that in his dodged fight to complete a two term tenor as the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi was declared winner in the 2010 Anambra Governorship election on the 7th February 2010, after defeating the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Prof. Charles Soludo, who hadjust joined politics after retirement from the CBN. It is possible that the Prof. must have been consumed in the phantasy and euphoria of quickly transforming from the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to Governor of Anambra State. If this was the case, then the electoral trashing which the Prof. received from Mr. Peter Obi in the former’s first attempt in an elective office was the beginning of the resolve of the former to checkmate the latter’s political ambition. Rod Stewart, a ‘Soul’ music maestro of the seventies and early eighties sang that “First cut is the deepest”. For Mr. Peter Obi to initiate him into the cult of politicians with a baptism of fire and help him cut his first political teeth as a loser, the Prof. may have found it impossible to forgive his erstwhile rival.

The above line of thought is quite consistent with some remarks about the Prof. earlier made of him by some people who had worked very closely with him. These people include Prof. Dora Akunyili, OFR, of blessed memory; Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, GCON; an Igbo elder statesman, Prof. Fabian Osuji; Mr. Onwuasoanya FCC Jones etc. Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had said of Prof. Charles Soludo “There is definitely an issue of character with Prof. Charles Soludo and his desperate search of power and relevance in Nigeria. Nigerians should therefore beware of so-called intellectuals without character and wisdom because this combination is fatal”. With hindsight, this sounds like a perfect character analysis of the Prof. by a woman with whom he worked very closely. Prof. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala has been known to be very observant of people and also play the maternal role for people wherever she has worked. Of Prof Charles Soludo, Mr. Onwuasoanya FCC Jones added, “Those who know Soludo closely have held strongly to the conviction that he is a ‘well-packaged fraud and a clay-brained intellectual, who was driven to the top by a combination of good fortunes, deceptive loyalty, inveigle, and dangerous willingness to do dirty jobs for money or for power”.

Is Prof. Charles Soludo’s recent attack on Mr. Peter Obi “A dirty job for money or for power?”. The circumstances and scenario for the Prof’s outburst makes it look obviously so. The additional fact that Prof. Charles Soludo also insisted that another Igbo man in the Presidential race, Prof. Peter Umeadi of APGA, the Political Party through which Governor Prof. Soludo ascended the office of the Governor of Anambra State, does not have any chance of becoming the President of Nigeria portray Prof. Charles Soludo as both an anti-party man for his political party and an anti-Igbo politician. St. Paul of Miletus says that “he who is not with us is against us”. There is no middle way to it, Prof. Charles Soludo is a saboteur to the Igbo common aspiration in 2023.

What surprises me is that Prof. Charles Soluodo believes that the Igbos must continue to play the second fiddle to fit into the politics of Nigeria. To me, this is very offensive, and I believe every sensible Igbo man must have an objection to the lie that the Igbo man who is, without doubt, one of Nigeria’s most resourceful person, must continue to eat from the crumbs left over by the master, ad infinitum.

On a more serious note, it is totally unacceptable for Prof. Charles Soludo to tell Nigerians that the Igbos, globally adjudged to be one of the most resourceful and most resilient ethnic nationalities on earth should play the second fiddle in a country known to be home to some thieving lazy clowns who hijacked the political leadership of the country since independence. Like these thieving clowns, Prof. Charles Soludo wants to maintain a status quo where one can buy a government asset that is worth N2bn for N200m as he did buy the official residence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria when he left office as the CBN governor.

It is unfortunate that in his brilliance, the Professor of Economics, Charles Soludo, lacks the intelligence and wisdom to understand that the Nigerian political landscape will soon change in defiance to the impoverishment of individual economies of Nigerians. It is also unfortunate that Prof. Charles Soludo did not have the cognate predicting ability of a good politician to understand that there is presently a common trend of progressivism – power to the people – sweeping across developing nations around the world where the people have found out that their greatest problem is the corrupt, inept, and ruthless political class.

Prof. Charles Soludo’s diatribe on Mr. Peter Obi which also arrogated to the Prof. the power of censorship of the politics of the Igbo ethnic nationality as he believes that he alone knows what is good for the Igbos, was deeply and arrogantly infused with the worst level of vicious envy and shocking venomous jealousy that can only emanate from an unfathomable depth of a dark heart pumping and circulating treachery and mischief around its environment. The Binis would say “The belly (Bini traditional metaphor that refers to the human heart and the emotional mind) is darker than the night”, in the same manner the Holy Bible tells us that the heart of a man is patently and potently evil.

After the fatal attack on him by Decius Brutus, Julius Caesar made what is regarded in history as his last words on earth. He said “Ista quidem vis est!” (“But this is violence!”). Nigerian’s did not allow Mr. Peter Obi to make any statement after the stab at the back by Prof. Charles Soludo, one of his former political allies. Nigerian’s are talking for him. Prof. Charles Soludo should therefore know that his tirade against Mr. Peter Obi amounted to political violence. He should be ready to take as much vitriolic violence as comes his way from many Nigerians of the new order who have queued behind Mr. Peter Obi to take over Nigeria from the oppressive grip of the present wicked political class.

As the Prof. witness the wrath and anger of not only Igbos but also a wide section of Nigerians, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has called for his impeachment and his removal from the office of the Executive Governor of Anambra State. However it goes, what is certain is that the political career and, in fact, the general visibility (intellectual, et al) of Prof. Charles Soludo in both Igbo and Nigerian national politics has been greatly eclipsed with his recent outbursts against Mr. Peter Obi.

In summary, since Prof. Charles Soludo has only succeeded in diminishing his own reputation and putting a question mark on his intelligence which do not always go with academic brilliance, I suggest that he uses the opportunity of his promised second part (and/or subsequent parts?) of his venomous work to retract his position against the common aspiration of the Igbos and apologize to His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi for embarrassing him. This suggestion for the Prof. is the gentlemen’s approach and the only exit route for him to walk away from ignominy which is sure to trail him henceforth.


For: Global Upfront Newspapers


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