By Jude Eze
This is actually a wrong time to author any write-up on executive Governor of Anambra state — His Excellency, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, since he’s already enmeshed in a tussle, analogous to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, with the “Obidients.” And so, it is necessary to raise a caveat, that this piece was formally sketched to appraise Soludo’s six months in office, before his needless assault on Peter Obi’s probity and daylight disavowal of his presidential ambition.
Earlier in April this year, when Soludo was barely three months in office, having seen the sweat beneath his armpits as he tested the waters, we mused on: “the new twist in the Soludo solution”
I received varied reactions from my readers. Some argued that I was preempting the governor, and that it is too short a time to rate him. Others agreed that from the premise, it was clear that the rigour of office is overwhelming him. Still, others were more extreme to assert that aside his theoretical gestures on decorated grammars, Soludo was never given to the practicality of good governance. These set of respondents picked holes retrospectively, on his stint at CBN, which, according to them was why he couldn’t get a second term.
Meanwhile, there were others who chose to be ‘patriotic’ with hashtags #maySoludosucceed.
Then came his first hundred days in office, and the picture became clearer. He had nothing to show for it, and while his protagonists went to town defending him on the ground that 100 days is infinitesimal to rate a tenure that still has about 1,361 days ahead, analysts feared that the present indices don’t look it. The likes of Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, and former Gov. Sullivan Chime of Enugu had a sumptuous scorecard in their respective first 100 days in office.
Critics who held this view agree with Prof. Chinua Achebe’s nugget that “a chick that will grow into a cock is spotted the day it hatches.”
The wind vane pointed towards those critics’ projection when on July 16, 2022, he sought approval of the state House of Assembly for a $100bn loan. This was a state that once had surplus in the borders of $120bn in 2014, when a non-professor left the same office as governor.
The question then shifted to: why is Soludo plunging a state that had surplus eight years ago, when Peter Obi was leaving office into debt? Why can’t he look inwards and make good use of what he has to raise revenue for his projected budgets?
Well, the loan was approved a week later and subsequently procured. So everyone had thought that policies and projects would commence in earnest. But instead, a huge twist came up again. On October 20, the professor governor banned Casinos and other gaming activities including Bet9ja in the entire state for an alleged “dark dealings.”
Soludo acted President Buhari, who for a febrile ‘insult’ shut down Twitter network in the country. Here is a professor acting with edgy emotion, throwing away the baby with the bathwater. He forgot that betting is a regulated legitimate business in Nigeria.
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) was formed under the National Lottery Act of 2005 (as amended) to oversee the operations of lottery businesses in the country; and ensures that the operators also follow the application procedure to obtain the license. Soludo saw no reason to resort to NLRC before taking such far-reaching decision.
It summed up the other character of his in public office. He demonstrates lack of in-depth knowledge of provisions of extant laws which made him take unilateral decision in July 2007 to re-denominate Nigerian currencies. Such action violated section 19 of the CBN Act 2007. And arrogantly wanted to arm twist President Yar’dua, by undermining his disposition to the proposal.
To all who doubted my column that wrote Soludo off in terms of good performance in office, the chicken is home to roost. When on January 14 this year, five weeks prior to his swearing-in ceremony, he released a humongous list of 80 people as his transition committee, every right-thinking bystander should have known that Soludo is more given to hubris.
His current fiddling with electoral mandate of his people is proving the hypothesis already debated in the public domain that highbrow academics are usually poor in political leadership. Aside, the likes of Prof. Babagana Zulum of Borno, other professors in active governance have been apologies.
Prof. Ben Ayade of Cross River has blown more esoteric grammars and used more hybrid vocabularies than he could work. Since he presented his first budget titled: budget of “Deep Vision” in 2016, he has been famed with application of glossolalia in giving themes to his fiscal appropriation bills.
In 2018, Ayade’s budget was christened “Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation.’’ In 2019 he termed it budget of “Olimpotic Meristemasis;” 2022 was budget of “Conjugated Agglutination;” and 2023 is budget of “Quantum infinitum.”
Whenever we tell people that governance is not as simple as the people talk; they raise their voices to the roof! On TV, Soludo proffered solutions to Nigeria’s economic challenges, and promised to make Anambra Africa’s Taiwan without borrowing but less than 100 days in office, he has plunged the state in debt.
TV analysis is different from reality and that is why serious Nigerians will choose someone based on antecedents and competence; not on pretences of those fantasying power. Since he assumed office, he had continued to speak as someone on campaign ground. His spin doctors should remind him that rhetoric is suitable for campaigns not governance
A lot has been written by Igbo intellectuals to prove that Soludo is a disappointment to the hopes his fans nurtured when he ventured into partisan politics. One of them was FCC Jones’ article titled: “Soludo, a technocrat during the day, a clay-brained intellectual by night.”
Nedu Okekeogbu twitted that “Gov. Soludo is a professor of administrative incompetence?”
Those who know Soludo closely have held strongly to the conviction that he is a “well packaged fraud” and a clay-brained intellectual, who was driven to the top by a combination of good fortunes, deceptive loyalty, inveigle, and a dangerous willingness to do dirty jobs for money or for power.
Now he has turned himself into a columnist, giving the likes Chief Sam Omatseye of The Nation newspaper, good ground to justify their vitriolic articles against Peter Obi.
If an executive governor could sit down and personally author a piece of humourless comedy in response to what he aptly described as social media trolling of his by individuals he couldn’t identify by name or their official positions, then there is no better way to describe such a governor, than as an insecure miscast in power. If Soludo was not a miscast in Agu Awka, he should have known that he would only need to respond to statements made from official quarters or those that come directly from his “peers.” Unfortunately, like every intellectual error, like a village cat who would always shout to roar his tigritude, Soludo only wanted to remind people that he is a Professor and that he can write. Expectedly, he wrote gibberish.
Six months in office, he has not commissioned a single project.
The only road project he embarked on — Amansea axis of Enugu-Onitsha old road has been reportedly washed away by the rain.
The “Solution” which was promised to Anambrarians is arguably becoming “dissolution.”
Mr Jude Eze wrote from firstname.lastname@example.org