Obi to Soludo: I did my bit as trader, do yours as professor

Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, yesterday said his wish was for Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo to surpass his achievements.

Soludo had claimed last week that Obi’s investments for the state when he was the governor were not worth much presently.

Following a backlash from the presidential candidate’s supporters, Soludo authored an article in which he further criticised Obi’s administration.

The governor wrote off Obi’s chances in next year’s election, saying the LP flagbearer is not even among the major contenders.

Soludo, in the article titled ‘History beckons and I will not be silent (Part 1)’, said poverty doubled under Obi.

He also questioned the propriety of using taxpayers’ money to promote a company, SabMiller, in which Obi is allegedly a shareholder.

The governor wondered whether the ‘savings’ are warranted when there were dozens of schools without roofs or classrooms, local governments without access roads or hospitals without doctors/nurses.

“Governments exist to save lives, not to save money…

“Poverty more than doubled under Peter Obi and more than 50 per cent of Ndi Anambra were in poverty under him. Go and verify!,” Soludo said.

But, speaking at the Lagos Business School Alumni Conference, Obi said one of his investments employs over 10,000 people.

He said since the government is a continuum, Soludo has a chance to do better as a professor.

Obi said: “When you spread your investment, some will go up, some will come down. But overall, the company is still there. The company is still doing well.

“It’s still part of a global chain. I needed to explain it not because I’m defending comments made by my brother.

“My brother is a brother and remains my brother. We’re very close. I remain prayerful for him.

“Of other things which I didn’t succeed, God has given him the opportunity to do it and succeed.

“For me, if there is anything pending, governance doesn’t end. So, you stop where you stop. Other people will continue from there.

“He is the governor of the state; he is my senior brother, he is even more intelligent than me because he is a professor, I am a trader, so he knows more and will be able to do things better than I am doing it.

“I have done my little bit as a trader, now the professor is there he will do his own as a professor.

“The schools I didn’t roof, he will roof them. That’s how the government goes.

“The one they said is worthless, we invested N3.5 billion in International Breweries …that facility is there employing directly and indirectly over 10,000 Anambarians,” he said.

The former governor said he left N75billion, adding that his administration saved $50 million each in three banks with an interest rate of 6.5 per cent.

Obi said he left the office without owing any contractor or supplier.

The Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation spokesman, Ndi Kato, faulted Soludo’s “very lengthy and belaboured treatise of an article”.

He said in a statement: “It seems obvious that Prof Soludo is itching for the limelight in this election season, perhaps fired up by possible understanding or alliance with our struggling political opponents.

“While we note the glaring fallacies, misrepresentations, personal insinuations and signs of personal vendetta in that long writeup, neither Peter Obi, the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, nor the Labour Party, for that matter, has any interest in an extended engagement with Prof Soludo this critical time when there is a bigger fish to fry.

“His Excellency Peter Obi has his work well cut out for him this campaign season.

“Primarily, he is accelerating his reach-out and influence to all Nigerians, rural and urban, in all areas, regions and states; and firmly engaging them, on his critical and visionary plans to take the country from consumption to production.

“In doing this, Mr. Obi is firmly placing the youths, intensive agricultural revolution, and revamping of critical areas of the economy as part of the focal points in the drive to turn around our fortunes and take back our country.

“We, the youths, spreading across partisan political lines, have found reason to place the highest level of trust and confidence in HE Peter Obi.

“We are committed to a continuing partnership with him, transparently, vigorously and creatively, to bring to fruition, the vital changes urgently required in this country, of so much potential.

“We strongly believe that A New Nigeria is possible, and together with Peter Obi, we are working to make this a reality. This is our focus; this is our occupation and we shall not be distracted.”

Also, a group, the South East Revival Group (SERG), said Soludo has “proven that he has lost understanding of priorities”.

It urged him “to first take Anambra to the Dubai status he has been promising the people during all his electioneering campaigns”.

In a statement by its President/National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the SERG said this was not the first time predictions on Peter Obi’s victory at elections would fail.

It said there were predictions that Obi would not win a second tenure even before the governorship primary.

The group added: “The SERG, therefore, enjoins Governor Soludo to face his job of governing Anambra State and ensuring that all his campaign promises to his people on ‘Soludo Solution’ and on his ability to turn Anambra State into a ‘Dubai’ overnight are waiting to be fulfilled.

“So far, Soludo has not been able to solve a single major problem of the Anambra State since he assumed office.

“His administration has turned Anambra into one of the unsafest states in Nigeria going by recent security realities, including the consistent attacks on Soludo’s hometown.

“His approach to solving security problems in Anambra has so far failed to yield any results. It has rather aggravated the security situation.

“Soludo claimed that Peter Obi cannot win because the Labour Party presidential candidate lacks the requisite structures to win the 2023 election.

“The Nigerian people, the poor, the oppressed, and those facing security threats in Anambra and across the country have, in the past few months, shown Nigerians that they are the structures any politician needs to win in the 2023 general elections.”

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