Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, has said that he will not be forced out of the Anambra State governorship race by last week’s violent attack on him.
Soludo, who featured on ARISE NEWS Channel, THISDAY’s broadcast arm, stated that giving up would mean yielding the political space to marauders who would ultimately destroy the state.
Three policemen attached to Soludo, who escaped by a whisker, were killed and the state Commissioner for Public Utilities, Mr. Emeka Ezenwan, was kidnapped when gunmen, last Wednesday, attacked a political gathering he was hosting at the Civic Centre in his hometown of Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The police have so far arrested five suspects in connection with the attack while Ezenwan has been frees.
According to Soludo, Anambra now prides itself as one of the safest states in the country under the current administration in the state.
He said the underlying reason behind the attacks must be unravelled, with all resources fully deployed to make the job of the security agencies easier.
He stated that the police must be well funded to cater for their personnel, adding that two of the orderlies killed did not have anybody armour to protect them.
Soludo said all those arrested would be made public by the security agencies, adding that he would not speculate on the motive behind the attack on him.
Soludo stated that it would be far-fetched to say that the confrontation was connected with the recent spate of attacks on security agents in the South-east.
He added that those persons who had been clashing with the security agents were not known to kidnap or invade events.
He urged the authorities to get to the root of the attack and deal with the remote and immediate causes of the “insurrection on the state.”
Soludo said: “Evil by the minority can only persist when the good among the majority decide to do nothing. I have told some people that if our resolve was 40 to 50 per cent before, this particular incident has spurred us to 99 per cent to get this.
“We all have to get involved because the punishment for those who abdicate from public service or are indifferent to the governance of their space is that they will be governed by fools.
“For me, there’s no question of being deterred. It’s actually a call to action, telling us the magnitude of the challenges that we face because if we all run due to gunshots or attempts on our lives, then what happens to the rest of society? Society gets overrun by marauders and criminals. The thing is not to run away, but to confront the problem.”
He added that the state Governor, Mr. Willie Obiano, and his team visited him at home on the night of the incident, expressing gratitude to all the security agencies and all Nigerians.
Soludo said he had spoken with Ezenwanne, and he wasn’t aware that any ransom was paid before he was released.
While thanking Nigerians for their solidarity, Soludo stated that he had received over 1,500 calls from within and outside the country since the incident.
He urged Nigerians to be patient with the ongoing investigation into the attack, adding that he would not want to pre-empt the outcome.
Soludo, a member of the presidential Economic Advisory Committee (EAC), confirmed that three policemen died during the attack.
“Two were attached to me, one was off and one of them had just been dispatched to me that Monday and one was a police orderly attached to the commissioner himself. Those were the three that died and it wasn’t until I got home that I heard about the abduction of the commissioner,” he said.
He expressed the hope that soon, the public will get the full briefing, stressing that he would be surprised if the probe showed that it was politically motivated.
“In Anambra, we talk, we boast and we go to court with several injunctions, but it doesn’t get to the point of trying to take the life of another person simply because you believe that this person is probably unstoppable or that he seems to be having an upper hand, the only way to stop him is to kill him,” he said.
Soludo stated that he was ready to go into the primaries in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and he is optimistic that he would win.
He said APGA remained the party to beat in Anambra, and confident that he would emerge the governor of the state if the capacity to deliver, network or grassroots support were the major criteria to be considered in electing a governor.