.Lamido Sanusi

In March, some Unknown Gunmen, otherwise known as Evangelists by the children of God, attacked Soludo’s campaign team. They murdered three policemen.

They were unknown but their message was known. The Great One, a messiah sent by God, who had claimed ownership of the power of life and death in Biafra, had said there would be no elections in Anambra. So the boys came to enforce the supreme directive.

This is not to suggest that the Great One sent the evangelists to murder anyone because the Great One is infallible. He cannot commit crimes.

If Prof. Soludo were chicken-hearted, he would have fled the state.

Though he didn’t seem brave enough to call a spade a spade and boldly condemn those who attacked him, he was courageous enough to continue.

Tact, those days, meant that when umuchineke, the children of God,  jubilated, celebrated the actions of their evangelists, politicians scurried and hid under their wives’ beds.

And when newsmen found them, they would waffle and waffle and blame the federal government for high unemployment rates and for marginalizing the Igbo. But we must commend Soludo and recommend him, other intellectuals who had that whiff of death might have yielded.  

The lesson is here. In the aftermath of Soludo’s victory, the Igbo nation celebrated. Those who were vilified for insisting on elections congratulated themselves.

Some of those who cheered victorious Soludo like drunks were the very people who had cheered the Unknown Gunmen and celebrated the very idea that there should be no elections in Anambra. Soludo is therefore a message. A message of unity.

When the Anambra governorship election was declared inconclusive because Ihila couldn’t vote when others voted, many were apprehensive. Some of those who threatened to visit Nigeria with fire and brimstone, if anything happened to Soludo’s imminent victory, were the very folks who had cheered the arrival of anarchy as INEC offices and police stations were set ablaze by the Unknown Gunmen.

The very self-appointed children of God who had planned to sit at home for a week and disrupt any attempt to conduct the elections.

Now, Soludo is the property of the children of God. May the Lord’s name be praised.

Soludo could be the turning point.

If through Soludo the children of God would learn that active and massive participation in politics was a better path to redemption, then the lives and livelihoods lost while learning that lesson wouldn’t have been lost in vain.

If through Soludo the children of Gods can understand that local Igbo leaders have been more responsible for the impoverishment of the region than the real and imagined acts of marginalization orchestrated by the centre, then the political birth pangs of Soludo could be blessings in disguise.

So Soludo could be a solutionist.

When the children of God were seeing visions of Jibril and constructing conspiracy theories, Soludo accepted an appointment to Buhari’s economic advisory team. To help the economy of the country.

Then, if the children of God were asked to describe Soludo they would have dismissed him as an Intellectual who had submitted himself to the slavish service of the Janjaweed. If the uncle of the children of God, that chief from Osun, who repented a couple of months ago, had been asked the same question two years ago, he would have called Soludo a village man desperate to suck the rectum of his slave masters from Futa Jallon. That was how he described the vice president.

He would have asked Soludo to tell us who his father is?

Soludo means “follow the path of peace.” So Soludo could be a pathfinder.

The sermon had been that those who would be stupid enough to vote in the Anambra elections would be bundled like sheep and put in gwongworo trucks and offloaded in Ugwuawusa—Northern Nigeria.

Today, those who voted Soludo are now being celebrated. It’s difficult to counsel umuchineke. Because they hear from God and mere mortals don’t. But if an audit of the losses in human lives and livelihoods, wasted in the effort to frustrate the Anambra election, which the kingdom of God is now celebrating, is ever undertaken, umuchineke might weep.

Okay, it’s possible the children of God might only grieve when their mistakes affect their mothers and sisters and not other fellow Igbos, but if the pictures of the dead and maimed are displayed on the streets of the state capitals in the southeast, they might learn a little circumspection.

Those who killed Dr Chike Akunnyili killed him because he looked like a government official.

An SUV and a police escort. In their mind, killing a government official would send a message to Abuja about the determination of the children of God to enthrone lawlessness, if need be, in the quest to establish their land of milk and honey in southeast Nigeria.

If Soludo hadn’t been involved in the campaigns, he could have been moving around with a single police escort and could have fallen to those evangelists and so easily too. The converse is also true. If Dr Chike Akunyili had contested under APGA he might have won and could be the man whose victory the children of God would be celebrating now.

The message is tigbuo-zogbuo politics is barbaric. The arbitrariness of the children of God is self-mutilating. When emotionalism rules, subjugates rationalism, even the wise becomes vulnerable to tantalizing self-destruction.

Soludo now has a burden. He must make an outstanding difference so that the redemption of the children of God which his victory has started can be completed. The children of God used to think their votes couldn’t count. Soludo is proof that it can. The children of God used to distrust the system. But the system has yielded Soludo.

Though they didn’t vote, their identification with Soludo and the championship of the celebration of his victory are enough. The children of God used to think that the region was shackled by enemies from without. Now they have asked Soludo to disprove them.

If Soludo performs remarkably, the truth will be confirmed, the children of God will redirect their watchfulness away from grandiose conspiracy theorizing to local political vigilantism, to misgovernment by local leaders. But if Soludo fails, they will mock. And blame his failure on the impracticability of the system called Nigeria.

If Soludo fails, they will recede into political nihilism. In identifying with Soludo they have shown that they are not mad after all.

If Soludo succeeds, the argument for secession won’t be defeated, it will become redundant.

Soludo is a beacon of hope. It won’t be easy. Let’s pray he succeeds.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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