By Ozumi Abdul
I watched in bated breath the interview granted by the Anambra state Governor, Charles Soludo on Friday, during Channels TV’s Politics Today, where he rubbished the purported investment of the current presidential flag bearer of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Gregory Obi when he held sway as the Governor of the state well over eight years ago as ‘close to nothing.
Undoubtedly, it is somewhat a technical blow to the presidential bid of Peter Obi, considering how he has been waxing lyrical, boasting and referencing his ‘investment and economic footprints’ in Anambra state as a Governor during most of his 2023 presidential electioneering campaigns, especially when one looks at the fact that the newly unveiled blanket about his purported investment is coming from his home state Anambra.
His successor (though not the immediate successor), and if I may ask, who else can say it better, knows the economic and investment fortunes of the state better than the current governor of the state, Charles Soludo who boasts of a portfolio as rich as a former CBN Governor.
It is notwithstanding a thinly veiled dent to his growing and glowing political clout and popularity, when one tries to discern from the angelic and cherubic cachets accorded him by his rambunctious ‘Obedient’ movement.
Hitherto Soludo’s interview last Friday, I had tried to maintain restraints from everything Peter Obi because of his caviling ‘Disobedient’ followers who are intolerant of dissenting political views and opinions that paradoxically christened themselves ‘Obedience’.
Yes, there is no doubting the fact that Nigerians are avidly tired and demanding change in the political status quo, however on the flip side, it is also incumbent upon us that change is not earned on the platter of emotions or compulsion, but through hard work, negotiations and superior argument that transcends traditional politics.
Every politician wants to survive politically, and enthrone a legacy to his or her credit without the brooding influence of another politician.
Governor Soludo has done nothing wrong with that his interview on Channels television. This is how politics works in Nigeria. It is all about political survival and relevance.
Soludo is the current Governor of Anambra today, not Governor Peter Obi. Soludo is of APGA, while Mr. Peter Obi is of Labour Party. Soludo has candidates for the State Assembly, House of Representatives, and Senate from his party running for the 2023 general elections and needs to deliver them.
When Governor Soludo was running for Governor, Mr. Peter Obi who was of PDP at the time supported Mr. Valentine not him.
In the past, Gov. Soludo sort for the APGA Governorship ticket from Mr. Peter Obi, but Mr. Obi choose the immediate past Governor, Mr. Obiano.
So, it is all politics and nobody should take the Governor of Anambra to the slaughterhouse for standing against Obi’s legacy. He is simply playing Nigeria’s traditional politics of survival and protectionism. It is within his right to do so.
Everybody cannot support Obi, imagine the number of Yoruba people who abandoned Tinubu and they are openly supporting Obi, if you are against Soludo, you are indirectly asking others to take their support home and stop supporting outsiders.
Democracy and politics don’t work that way. A lot of people from the North Central and far North are supporting Peter Obi openly, should they withdraw their support and give it to Atiku who is from their place?
I listened to Soludo saying that Obi’s savings may not be necessary if there are things to do with money. He didn’t say Obi was wrong. He was answering the question in both contests and comparisons to different eras.
Peter Obi was the Governor when there was a global economic meltdown and therefore, it made sense for him not to borrow but rather saved to cushion the effect of the economic downturn on the state’s liquidity, and also made investments in businesses to improve the capacity of local industries for productivity, etc. Both his savings in the bank and investments in companies on behalf of the state were investments assets that yielded profits that were also subject to inflation, exchange rate crisis, and other time value of money variables.
If anything, the current Governor of Taraba state told the whole world that former Governor Obiano confided in him that a greater part of the money he used to build the Anambra airport came from the savings made by Governor Peter Obi. That is enough success story of the power of savings.
Investments made by Peter Obi that are said to be worth next to nothing now were done more than 8 years ago. Between then and now, there has been a drastic negative change in the economic ecosystem of the country and state for the worse.
Also, in the last over 8 years, Obi wasn’t the Governor of Anambra state and had no power to appraise the investments. The government in charge could have carried out an investment appraisal and divested the assets if it was no longer profitable. So, my point is that it wasn’t Peter Obi’s fault that the investment today amounts to next to nothing except anybody can show evidence that at the time the investment decision was made by Peter Obi that it wasn’t properly thought through.
Let’s play the politics cautiously bearing in mind that it is for service, but very competitive. It is not straight-jacketed.
Cut Governor Charles Soludo some slack, let Soludo be in peace!
Abdul is a journalist; he writes from Kano and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org