Obi to Soludo: As Professor I Pray You Perform Better Than I Did as Governor
•LP tackles Anambra Gov., says he’s envious of its presidential candidate’s rising profile
•Party appeals to Nigerians for support, says only N10m raised for campaigns
•Confident of victory in Lagos, seeks presidential candidate’s intervention in resolving crisis
Emameh Gabriel in Abuja and Ugo Aliogo in Lagos
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi yesterday reacted to Monday’s comments by Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra state on his performance when he was governor of the state.
Obi, who spoke at the 2022 Lagos Business School (LBS) Alumni Conference in Lagos, prayed that as a professor, Soludo should perform better than him (Obi) when he governed the state.
Obi said: “Soludo remains my elder brother, we are very close. I remain prayerful for him. For things which I didn’t succeed as governor, God has given him opportunity to do it and succeed.
“So, if there is anything pending, governance doesn’t finish, people are still in government in America. You stop where you will stop, other people will continue from there. I have done my little own 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 government goes.”
Soludo had said the investment made by Obi on behalf of the state when he was governor are presently worth next to nothing. The comment attracted attacks from supporters of Obi on social media platforms, prompting Soludo to release a statement on Monday, in which he had among other issues, criticised the performance of the labour party presidential candidate when he was governor.
Soludo in a lengthy write-up he personally authored titled: ‘History Beckons, and I will not be Silent (Part 1),” had said he would not succumb to bullies, adding that Obi would lose the 2023 presidential election.
Commenting on the investments he made, Obi said: “The one that they said is worthless is that we invested $3.5 billion in International Breweries. International Breweries is part of Ab Inbev, which is the biggest brewery in the whole world.
“We had a policy when I was governor that any company, foreign investor who wants to invest in Anambra state, we will buy 10 percent of the company, and under the condition, we started an agreement that they will give Anambra people work to the minimum of not less than 40 percent.
“They built a facility in Anambra state. That facility is there today employing, directly and indirectly, over 10,000 Anambrarians. They bring one of the highest revenue source for the state.
“When you spread your investments, some will go up, some will go down. But overall, the company is still there, still doing well, and a part of a global chain.
“I needed to explain it because of the comment of my brother. My brother remains my brother.
“He is a governor of my state; my senior brother. He’s even more intelligent than me. He is a professor; I’m a trader. So, he will be able to do things more than I have done it.”
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of Labour Party, Mr. Julius Abure has described Soludo’s comments against Obi as not only selfish but sign of envy.
Abure also said the party would prove to Soludo that Obi owns the political structure of Anambra State, even as he reminded him ( Soludo) that he rode on Obi’s legacies in APGA to become governor.
Abure said an upcoming Labour Party rally in Anambra would determine who the people of the state are loyal to.
In addition, the party chairman disclosed that only a little above N10 million has been realised from donors to prosecute its presidential campaign, appealing to Nigerians for their continued support for the campaigns.
Abure stated this yesterday during an interview with journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
He said it was clear that Soludo’s, “comment is born out of selfishness. His comment is born out of selfishness, self-centeredness, desperation and envy.”
According to him: “I mean for somebody who was Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, who should know the importance of investment which has been acclaimed by other governors to be one of the best that has been done in Anambra State.
“I mean for such a man to demean such a person, will tell you that he is acting from a selfish point of view. Soludo does not control the majority of the people of Anambra states. He does not have control over what plays out in Anambra State. I want to also say clearly that even Soludo rose on the legacies of Peter Obi.”
Speaking further, he said: “One can say clearly without any fear of contradiction that Soludo is riding on the legacies of Peter because, if not for Peter Obi that built APGA by his performance, by instilling confidence in the people to have confidence in the party, Soludo would not have had the platform on which he would have become governor.”
Abure who described Soludo’s comments as a distraction, urged the people of Anambra to treat it with a pinch of salt and discountenance it.
Abure boasted that by, “the time we take our campaigns to Anambra, we will test and see who is popular in Anambra. We will know who owns the land. So very soon, we will know who owns the land by the time we take our campaigns to Akwa, to Onitsha, to Nnewi, we will know who owns the land and by the grace of God, by next year, we will see who will control and win Anambra State.”
On financial support for the party by Nigerians, Abure said the contributions made so far fell far below expectations. He however urged supporters of the party to continue in their efforts to rescue Nigerians and take ownership of the system.
He said: “The account and it was made public for people to make donations and from time to time, we have always published the statements of account. As it stands today, what we have gotten so far is N10 million plus. Nothing more, nothing less.”
In the meantime, Labour Party in Lagos State has expressed confidence that it would win the 2023 governorship election in the state. They said this was obvious by the success and large turnout of supporters during a five-million-man rally for the party’s presidential candidate in the state.
Representative of Peter Obi Support Group and Chairman, Labour Party, Ifako-Ijaiye Local Council, Samuel Azikiwe, who gave the assurance at a media briefing yesterday, said the party remains an all-inclusive democratic party built on transparency and discipline.
Also, the Vice Chairman of the party, Tony Masha, who cleared the air on the party being factionalised, urged Obi to bring harmony to the state’s party in order to enable it succeed in the 2023 general elections.
Masha said the party had been organising and mobilising members for the party in the state, as well as establishing structures at the local council and ward levels.
He, however, berated one Kayode Salako, for allegedly parading himself as the state’s caretaker committee chairman.
He said since the party was committed to building a strong and inclusive democratic party for future generations.
Masha urged Abure, to caution Salako from interfering with the party’s democratic structures in local councils.