The article with the above headline written by Chuma Ekezie was quick to attack the lawmaker, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji, who has many motions and bills to his credit, a lawmaker who doubles as a member of the ECOWAS Parliament. As a keen observer of the proceedings of the National Assembly, I am aware of some of the motions and bills to his credit.
Of note are some that are of national interest: The motion on oil theft in Nigeria; the motion on killings of Nigerians in Libya; motion on the increasing rate of suicide in Nigeria; and motion on the need to curtail nylon and plastic pollution in Nigeria. Also of note are two constituency-centred motions on the need to address the erosion menace in Aguata and the motion on the rehabilitation of the Igboukwu-Ekwulobia-Umuchu-Nkpologwu-Ezinifite-Uga Road in Anambra State.
It might interest Ekezie and his paymaster to note that a search shows that Hon. Umeoji has the Bill for an Act to Establish the National Council for Widows, Dependent Children and Orphans; the Bill for an Act to Set Up a Board of Trustees and Fund charged with the responsibility to manage, administer and provide stipends or allowances relief to unemployed Nigerian graduates and the Bill for an Act to Protect Senior Citizens; the Bill for an Act to Establish the Anti-Bullying Standards in Schools.
There are also over 100 projects and programmes with Hon. Umeoji’s signature in Aguata. But for Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, there is no single project completed. The only project is the Mgbafor Memorial Hospital Project, which has been ongoing for over 10 years.
The problem with Soludo is that he desperately wants power but does not know how to go about it. His elitist and arrogant disposition are his greatest undoing. His predicaments are self-inflicted.
During his tenure as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), there was no visible impact in his town or local government. Relations and friends were kept at arm’s length. His two notable achievements were a road construction that terminated at his house and the division of his town into two, Isuanaoma and Isuofia. The crisis and wanton destruction of property and loss of lives that followed are a contemporary legacy of his son-of-the-soil era as CBN governor.
Mr. C. Okafor, from Anambra State, who happened to be working in the Department of Statistics in the CBN, will not forget Soludo in a hurry. He was frustrated out of the CBN and ended his career. In another encounter, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who was Soludo’s aunt, had a sad experience with him at a family burial in Isuofia. She was humiliated. Her canopy and coolers of food were destroyed by Soludo’s boys. Their relationship remained frosty until she died.
When Soludo’s stepbrother, IK, was diagnosed of kidney problems, the N10 million required for transplant was not provided for months. He died in Nigeria. Soludo was not on talking terms with IK’s mother, Soludo’s stepmother, before her death.
Incidentally, IK’s brother, Ogochukwu Soludo, a lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik), Awka, was the person that led a delegation of Isuofla people to Hon. Umeoji’s campaign office to endorse him. Was it Senator Andy Uba that told his stepbrother to go and endorse Hon. Umeoji?
During the coronavirus pandemic, most politicians stayed behind to provide palliatives to the suffering masses. For Soludo, that was a waste of time. He flew back to London during the Christmas of 2020 to avoid the little gift to the masses. During Christmas, he used the same excuse. Politics is local. Staying in London will not allow you to establish the relationship needed at the grassroots. Soludo’s nightmare is the grassroots. He is totally disconnected from them.
According to Chief Victor Umeh, Soludo is unelectable and politically naive. These are a few of the many reasons for his unpopularity among the people and his preference for imposition as a means of getting to power.
In 2010, Soludo was to run for governorship of Anambra State under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He came to Abuja and convinced the National Working Committee (NWC), that he was very popular and his people were begging him to be governor. The NWC of PDP sent the electoral committee, headed by former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, to go and conduct primary election for the party’s aspirants.
On getting to Anambra State, at the venue, Suswam was shocked at the level of rejection and disapproval of Soludo among party delegates. When the news was relayed to Abuja, the committee was instructed to abort the process and come back. The powers that be did not want Soludo to lose on ground. The PDP ticket for the election was given to him at the national secretariat. He arrogantly flew down to Anambra State and told PDP stakeholders to go and queue up.
The people patiently waited for the Election Day. In the general election, Soludo lost in his ward and local government. He came third behind Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Chris Ngige in the overall result.
Many years after, Soludo is repeating the same tactics. He was imposed on the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) by the use of government machinery. Potential aspirants were disqualified to make it easy for him to emerge in the Victor Oye-led faction of APGA; the end result will not be different from what happened to him in 2010.
The problem is not the judiciary, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) or Senator Uba. The problem is in the lack of internal democracy and outright disregard for the constitution of APGA. Uba is not involved in any legal dispute involving APGA. Soludo, instead of appreciating Uba’s effort in making him CBN governor, is always ascribing his misfortunes to him.
For the past two years, APGA has been involved in a legal tussle over who is the authentic national chairman between Mac Adams, Chief Edozie Njoku, Jude Okeke and Victor Oye. There are over 15 court cases scattered across the country, the most current is the one by Oye’s factional deputy national chairman, North, Alhaji Abubakar Adamu in the High Court of Azare, Bauchi State, challenging Hon. Umeoji’s emergence in Barr. Jude Okeke’s primary of July 1, 2021.
Soludo is known to use paid writers and public affairs commentators to pursue his cause, which is a tactic he deployed with success against INEC, the judiciary, Chief Chris Uba and Senator Uba in the build-up to the 2010 general election. In a coordinated media attack, Soludo was able to intimidate the institutions of government and sustained the imposition of his name as the PDP candidate in that election up to the Supreme Court.
The tactics used in 2010 cannot work in 2021. Nigerians are wiser.
•Barr. Ezeugwu writes from Abuja