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    Soludo: Blistering like Herpetic Whitlow

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    “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.” (Evelyn Beatrice Hall, 1906)
    In recent days, Gov Charles Soludo has done his best to de-market the LP candidate. Firstly, he stirred up a hornet’s nest by suggesting that the investments made by Gov Peter Obi in Anambra were now “worthless”. Unsurprisingly, the Obi-dient legion went into overdrive dragging Soludo into a game of “vawulence.” And apparently ruffled by the “woto woto”, Soludo upped the ante by doubling down on his anti-Obi diatribe. In a carefully penned but acerbically loaded essay, Prof Soludo predicted that Mr Obi will lose the presidential election woefully. He claimed that Obi and his supporters know that they are going nowhere but are looking for whom to blame.
    Prof Soludo cast serious aspersions of Obi, saying that “Peter Obi knows that he can’t and won’t win…He knows the game he is playing, and we know too, and he knows that we know.” Soludo tried to hallow his own ego by comparing himself with our Lord Jesus Christ. According to him, “Jesus was crucified simply for telling the truth the people did not want to hear. I promised that I won’t be the usual politician, and will not knowingly lie to the people.”
    He went on to allege that poverty in Anambra doubled under Peter Obi and that Obi built sub-standard roads. He also cast Obi as an ethnic candidate with zero chance of winning the election. Soludo suggests that Ndigbo are playing the ostrich while Peter Obi toys with their collective destiny. He wants Ndigbo to abandon Obi and instead negotiate with Tinubu (whom he apparently supports) and Atiku on how they could be accommodated in either man’s presidency. Soludo believes that Peter Obi will not get 25 per cent in more than four states, based on some undisclosed internal polling. According to him, Obi will make victory easier for the Asiwaju by depleting the PDP votes. He also dismissed Obi’s endorsement by the Afenifere and other socio-cultural groups as having no electoral value.
    Overall, Soludo expended a lot of ammo with the intention of striking at the heart of the Obi-dient Movement. And he is getting accolades from Asiwaju’s supporters, and lapdogs like Festus Keyamo. But expectedly, he is getting torrents of backlash from those he calls Obi’s “social media mob.” This is the nature of politics and whoever cannot take the heat should not come near the kitchen. The Obi campaign believes that this is a BAT hatchet job designed to divert public attention from the Asiwaju’s virulent drug-peddling scandals.
    However, there are a few issues with Soludo’s intervention.

    1. The war on Obi is unprovoked. As far as we know, neither Obi nor any of his official spokespersons has commented on Soludo’s investment comments or abused Soludo in any way. So, launching such a ground-shaking missile on the candidate in reaction to the social media comments of his followers is shocking. It seems like a long-incubated Herpetic whitlow waiting for a chance to blister on the skin.
    2. The outburst suggests that Soludo has some beef with Obi despite his claims to the contrary. Otherwise, he would not be venting so much spleen in the guise of responding to “some of the tirades on social media” by Obi‘s supporters. The length, tone, and content of Soludo’s polemic suggest some pent-up bitterness and frenzied desire to get even while appearing to be just stating the facts.
    3. He spoke about statistics showing that poverty increased under Peter Obi’s governorship but conveniently chose to forget the statistics showing that Anambra became the top-performing state in School Certificate exams. For an erudite scholar of his repute to leave out such a fact can only smack of selective amnesia. Soludo drives an Innoson SUV but forgot that it was Peter Obo who gave Innoson Motors the sound footing it has today. He also forgot how Peter Obi funded both public and mission hospitals in Anambra State.
    4. Prof Soludo failed to shed more light on the investments that had become worthless. As someone who claims to be in possession of a lot of information, he should have demonstrated to his audience the nature of the investments, how much was invested, how much profits or losses were incurred over the years, and their actual worth today.
    5. Soludo is casting Peter Obi as an ethnic candidate, meaning that he has chosen to be blind to the millions of people coming out to support Obi across the land. What would he say to the Edo people, who so far have proved to be more Obi-dient than any state in the Southeast?
    6. Since Soludo is sure that Obi cannot win but only help to stop Atiku, why is he losing sleep over a candidate with a zero chance in the election?

    Nevertheless, many Obi-dients are peeved by Soludo’s tirade, but all must realize that it is within his fundamental right of free speech to express his opinions, no matter how despicable. I do not see Soludo as working against the Igbo interest by attacking Obi, rather I see him as a typical politician who will say or do anything to stay relevant. Some are saying that the Prof is worried about Val Ozigbo running against him in 2025 on the LP platform backed by President Peter Obi. Others believe that Soludo is worried that Obi’s victory will foreclose his chances of getting the job in the future given the nature of our geopolitics. Well, only Soludo knows what his intentions are.
    Nonetheless, the attack will not harm Obi’s chances because most Obi-dients are dyed-in-the-wood believers in the New Nigeria Project. If anything, the attack nullifies any suggestion of Peter Obi being an Igbo candidate. So far, the pushbacks against Soludo show the pan-Nigerian spread of Obi’s support base. So, the gloves are off, and it is Charlie nwa Mgbeafor vs the Obi-dient army. Let me get some popcorn. (Fada Henry Ibe)

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