By Bonaventure Melah
MANY people across the world saw Wednesday September 9, 2009 as a special day because it was the ninth day of the ninth month in the year 2009 otherwise written as 9/9/9.
But to others, especially some desperate politicians in Anambra State, 9/9/9 sent cold shivers down their spine at the news of the entry of Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo into the governorship race for the 2010 election.
Perhaps the hardest punch on them was the report by the Daily Trust Newspaper of that day which came up with the banner headline:Â “Anambra 2010: PDP to Adopt Soludo”.
According to the report jointly written by the paperâ€™s correspondents in Awka and Abuja, the former Governor of Central Bank was being touted by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a consensus candidate of the Party for the 2010 governorship election which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed for February next year since the tenure of Governor Peter Obi would wind up by March.
The paper said that the choice of Soludo as a consensus candidate for Anambra PDP was made after the leaders of the Party had considered all available options as it concerns the many aspirants seeking the Partyâ€™s mandate.
Soludo it reported was found to be the one whose candidacy would foster unity in view of the bitter rivalry and division among those who had earlier shown interest and considering the unmatchable track records of his achievements both as Economic Adviser to then President Olusegun Obasanjo and as the Governor of the Central Bank, his candidacy they believe would give the PDP easy victory next year.
But those desperate Anambra politicians had embarked on some dirty intrigues, one of which was to send thousands of text messages to people not to attend a dinner to mark the end of Soludoâ€™s tenure as the Governor of Central Bank which was organised by a Committee of Friends of Soludo at the Transcorps Hilton Abuja that Wednesday evening.
The propelling factor for their action was fear. Like they say in Igbo land, when a big masquerade appears, the featherweight masquerades would run for cover. Soludo is certainly the largest cock in Anambra political kindred today.
In the evening, however, the Lagos Hall of the hotel where the dinner took place was filled to the brim with hundreds of other guests who could not get seats standing outside just to honour the genius who President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua once described as an â€œinspiration to an entire generationâ€.
From Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President of Nigeria, Chief Tony Anenih, a PDP colossus who is also known as ‘Mr. Fix It’ and Alhaji Mangal, the trio who signed the invitation cards for the event to Mike Aondoakaa, the Attorney General of Nigeria and Minister of Justice, Senator Emma Anosike, Senator Jonathan Ziwingina and former Senate President Anyim Pius AnyimÂ it was a gathering of the most distinguished.
Senator Jonathan Ziwingina in his speech said he would have wished that the rumour of Soludoâ€™s interest in Anambra politics should be false because Soludo to him was bigger than the dream of being a governor.
He described the former CBN Governor as an epitome of service and excellence, adding that Anambra politicians are too complex, too dirty and too dangerous for a decent man like Soludo to associate with, saying they would make all attempts to tarnish his good reputation. â€œSoludo is better at serving Nigeria and Africa than serving Anambra which is a small place, crisis-ridden and full of wahala. Soludo is too much for Anambra,â€ the Senator said.
â€œSoludo is an extremely exemplary Nigerian who at all times has the capacity, delivery and eloquence with a thorough and detailed knowledge to convince you of what he wants to do. He was always on top of his job and does not require consulting anybody or any book before giving you answer to any question. Public officers in Nigeria should emulate Soludo who always has a compelling presence, a compelling attention and a compelling victory at all times,â€ Ziwingina concluded.
In very brief and moving speeches Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Tony Anenih and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim both agreed that Soludo was an exceptional Nigerian who has provided quality and exemplary service to Nigeria and contributed immensely to nation building even at an age that could still be useful in many fields of the peopleâ€™s life.
And in what appeared like a tacit endorsement from a higher influence, Chief Tony Anenih told Soludo: â€œCharles, I wish you well. I want to assure you that when you need us, we will be there,â€ with the crowd roaring in agreement.
I have no doubt in my mind that millions of Nigerians would support people like Prof. Charles Soludo to get involved in politics both at the state and national levels, in spite of the inherent danger of attack by the crooks and hawks of power.
Mr.Â Â Melah, a commentator on national issues, writes from Abuja.