By Charlie C. Chikezie, an attorney and contributor to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, is former Secretary-General of the World Igbo Congress.
As I read Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra, argue here on USAfricaonline.com and other platforms, his ill-fated prophesy on why the candidacy of Mr. Peter Obi of the Labor Party in Nigeria’s February, 2023 Presidential election is a “Mission Impossible”, all that comes to mind is Queen Katharine’s quote in William Shakespeare’s Henry VIII that “they should be good men; their affairs as righteous: But all hoods make not monks” and Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s 1986 album, “Teacher Don’t Teach me Nonesense”.
Before this Soludo’s toxic politics of prevarication, the last time we say an elected Nigerian politician who had a preoccupation with exhortation and demonization of his predecessor(s) with “what I saw when I came in” was President Mohammadu Buhari in 2015, and if this is the same yellow brick road Soludo has chosen as his roadmap for governing Anambra State, knowing what we know today about Buhari, I say “whoop-de-do” to him.
Growing up in Aba (Abia State) in the sixties and seventies, there was a saying that “onye ba oche na ibeya na ayi ara (when one makes money, he thinks that others are crazy).
Just as every other political pundit, there is no basis for Soludo to hoodwink anyone into believing that he has Nigeria’s political or electoral crystal ball to know what will be the outcome of the February 2023 Presidential election.
Even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are not sleeping on their laurels, hence all the Debate dodging and fake Bishops machinations.
For Soludo who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2013 after his failed Anambra Governorship bid in 2009 under the PDP to excoriate Obi for moving from APGA to PDP or Labor Party is a height of hypocrisy, and for Soludo who made two botched up attempts at Anambra Statehouse in 2009 and 2013 before Governor Willie Obiano threw the power of incumbency behind him and shored him up to become the Governor of Anambra State on March 17, 2022, despite the daredevil resolve of Andy Uba’s APC to take Anambra State, even if it meant Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, declaring a State of Emergency in Anambra State or the so called Unknown Gun Men (UGM) cutting down everything standing in Anambra State to arrogantly act as if he did it all by his own might is nothing but a bunch of marlakey!
As Prof. Achebe said, “those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.”
Soludo’s prevaricatory reportage which he disingenuously captioned “History Beckons and I will not be Silent”, which he advances as his Social Media Bullying push back is that it is actually an oxymoron. If anyone is attempting to bully anyone, it is Soludo trying to use the exalted office of the Governor of Anambra State to stiffle and derail Peter Obi’s Nigerian Presidential campaign, which by popular acclaim, has been adopted by ndi Igbo, and millions of Nigerians.
The real issue is Soludo’s misguided attempt for ndi Igbo to buy into this rejected notion and claim that only-two-political-party-with-structure argument will win the 2023 elections. I think it’s dead on arrival (DOA).
What Soludo has not told us is who he is working for? Whose interest is he advancing?
He is not fooling anyone, and ndi Igbo cannot be bullied.
What he has to understand is that the days of “Zik ekwuo ncha” and “Broken bottle has no mekwatarism” are long gone in ala Igbo.
Today, you are either making sense or you are not, and pointedly put, Soludo’s unproked hatchet job on Peter Obi’s Presidential candidacy for Nigeria’s February 2023 election makes absolutely no sense, and no one can be intimidated or bullied from calling Soludo out. Again, who is Soludo working for?
Soludo must understand that he cannot exploit the Igbo republican and democratic spirit of free market place of ideas as a Sword and as a Shield at the same time that he can use to launch attack when it suits him, and to hide when they come after him. Onye kpara nku ahuhu si ngwere biara ya ugwu (he who fetches ant infested firewood invites the lizard for a debt).
Yes, ndi Igbo are not monolithic and every Igbo must not play the same Harp and Accordion, but we have endured enough external and, yes, internal sabotage and betrayal, not to have our antenna up to be able to differentiate the real Bishops from the fake bishops or to know when our Professor or Teacher is teaching us Nonesense. “The price of freedom”, they say, “is eternal vigilance”.
After all, Soludo is not the only Igbo who is not supporting Obi’s candidacy, but at least he should have the guts and courage, as others, to come out from the closet.
Again Professor Soludo, yours is certainly not the beckoning of history, but the by-line of a job-man.
Since you referenced President Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” in your piece, I conclude by reproducing the quote below and asking you why it is difficult for you to understand, as in the “Man in the Arena”, that Nigerian Presidency is neither a do or die proposition for Peter Obi or even ndi Igbo, but rather that we as ndi Igbo refuse to be “those cold timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” that you want us to be. No matter what happens with Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential election, if it holds, Peter Obi and ndi Igbo will be fine, and as Teddy Roosevelt said:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Win or lose, Obi is “the Man in the Arena”, and Nigeria’s political landscape has forever changed because of him.