Sequel to sustained hostile verbal attacks from Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, on the presidential ambition of the Labour Party standard-bearer, Peter Obi, top Igbo Elders have taken Soludo to the cleaners, urging him to shut up and stop embarrassing himself and Ndigbo through his utterances.
Telescope.ng reports that Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Prof ABC Nwosu, Achike Udenwa, Chekwas Okorie, and Prof Fabian Osuji expressed shock at the level Soludo would stoop in expressing his hostility towards Peter Obi who has never done anything to provoke him.
Expressing his dismay, Prof. Fabian Osuji, former minister of education under the Obasanjo administration said he was embarrassed by Soludo’s tirades on Peter Obi.
Osuji said: “I am thoroughly embarrassed about the level of hostility being exhibited by our brother and friend, Prof Charles Soludo towards Peter Obi. Soludo cannot claim to be self-made.
“People like us participated in making him. I was Prochancellor and Chairman of the Council at the University of Nigeria when his papers came for approval for Professorship. I could have found reason to withhold or deny assent.
“But we put him out and praised his work. That made President Obasanjo appoint him as Economic Adviser without hesitation.
“Three years later, three of us: Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, and myself were attending a conference in Brussels when President Obasanjo called Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was Finance Minister to ask for the nomination of Governor of Central Bank. We gave a unanimous vote for Prof Charles Soludo.
“As Ndigbo, we were proud to support our brother. He was not the sole candidate. Obasanjo gave him the position. Everyone rejoiced. That was the power of Umunna.
“Years later, I cannot imagine the same person who benefitted resoundingly from the support of Umunna being the one to pull down his brother who is enjoying overwhelming support elsewhere.
“I am truly ashamed of Soludo. Ndigbo should not allow him to get away with this. He should be made to withdraw all his damaging statements against Obi. There is still time for him to reverse himself in this matter. Ndigbo must not allow him to get away with this.”
Reacting to the situation, a former governor of Anambra state, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife said he was shocked by what Soludo was saying.
“I’m shocked. I’ve tried calling him and he is not answering. By now, he would have understood the impact of what he did and should go into hiding. But we must talk to him. It’s highly embarrassing. Someone who hasn’t done anything to you.”
While vehemently expressing his condemnation and disapproval, the founder of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chekwas Okorie said he was scandalized by the whole development.
Okorie noted: “Honestly, I feel scandalized by what is going on. I feel scandalized because I am the founder of APGA. Peter Obi was the one I gave the nomination to be governor for eight years.
“Soludo is the one that has become governor on that platform now. And despite what happened during my time, Peter Obi and I have reconciled. And we have put that behind us.
“Now, I have returned to APGA and working on rebuilding it into a national party, as that was its original purpose. APGA is a national party for engagement so the Igbo people should have a platform.
“Such opportunities never presented themselves except when Dr Azikiwe was around. He used NCNC and NPP at various times for engagements.
“We saw an opportunity now that there is increased confidence in the electoral process than before.
“So, for this kind of thing to begin to happen, between two prominent Igbo sons, who are all products of APGA, notwithstanding that Peter Obi is now in the Labour Party is heart-rending. That is why I said I feel thoroughly scandalized.
“Now, going beyond that, I also without any equivocation believe that Prof. Soludo did not conduct himself properly. This epistle he wrote as part one, for me is uncalled for.
“I didn’t see how Peter Obi provoked him in his campaigns or anywhere. And honestly, everybody should be happy for Peter Obi as he is making the wave only Dr Azikiwe made during his time.
“And even when I join the train as I still intend to, I will not crosswords with Peter. Instead, I will be looking at how APGA and Labour Party will go into an alliance for better results when the time for alliance comes.
“Those types of relationships come close to the election time. By then, people would have been able to tell themselves basic home truths about possible outcomes.
He further said: “But to come and engage in this type of fight amongst ourselves, I am sure I am not the only person embarrassed. I will urge Soludo not to go further with the so-called part two or three as he may want to call it.
“He should now listen to the voice of reason including myself as I occupy a centre in the history of APGA. I am saying that he should stop. If he doesn’t want to support Obi’s presidential bid, he should just keep quiet.
“APGA is one of the two oldest parties registered in Nigeria since 1999. But, it is not good enough that in 20 years, APGA has suffered such a stunted growth. So, every concerned person should be talking of how to expand it, and let Peter Obi be.”