By Chioma Gabriel
Former governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi has dismissed Soludo as a man hunted by his past for stating that he (Obi) built no signature project in Anambra State during his tenure.
Speaking through his Media Assistant, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, Obi described the article by Professor Charles Soludo as full of evidence of one who is still nursing deep hatred against those he wrongly assumed were responsible for not renewing his appointment as the Governor of the Central Bank and those that thwarted his move towards becoming the Governor of Anambra State last year.
Obienyem in his response agreed with some vital points raised by Soludo but regretted that the aim of the write-up was not to instruct or contribute to positive national discourse, but to hit back at those he is nursing secret grudges against.
Obienyem recalled how Soludo in 2013, said he was the foundation upon which the new Anambra State was built, and went on to commend him on how he changed the fortunes of the state.
He wondered why Soludo would just turn around so soon to declare that the tragedy of Obi’s tenure was that he built no signature project by which his regime would be remembered but saved money in the midst of hunger thereby impoverishing the people of the State.
Obienyem said it was surprising that a renowned economist as Soludo, who in the same write up, prided himself of saving $45billion in the nation’s external reserves when he was the Central Bank Governor in the same article should condemn Obi for saving money for Anambra State, questioning the wisdom of savings where there were things that needed to be done.
“When he said he saved $45bn, does it mean that at that time Nigeria’s problems were over? Now oil price is falling and state’s allocation are bound to fall, Soludo should be told that the money Obi saved will be used to cushion the effect, among others reasons for states to save at all times. He also talked about clearing Nigerian debts without acknowledging that the architect of it is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is still part of Jonathan’s Government”.
On Obi leaving no signature project, Obienyem said that Soludo merely displayed his ignorance of what true development is, insisting that development is nothing if it does not involve the totality of man.
“Talking about signature project, Obi has them in abundance. He built over 30 bridges, built the State Secretariat, built the teaching hospital, built the permanent site of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, rebuilt Iyienu, Borromeo hospitals, Holy Rosary and St Joseph hospitals; and Our Lady of Lourdes among many hospitals with signature structures dotting them.
“Beyond the foregoing”, Obienyem continued, “Soludo should be told that Obi did much more in areas that are far more important than mere structures. He returned schools to the Church and committed billions that could build any form of signature project of Soludo’s imagination. Because of this, Anambra State is today the number one in external examinations in the country.
Moreover, he changed the psyche of the people of the State and removed Anambra State from her pariah status to one of the exemplary States in the country.”
Regretting how unstable Soludo has become in his opinions, Obienyem said that the same Soludo, on the Tuesday, the 23rd of July, 2013 described Mr. Peter Obi, during the memorial thanksgiving mass at St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Isuofia, in honour of Soludo’s mother-in-law , as a man of destiny whose disciplined and God-fearing life has insured his success in life.