There is a reason this column is titled “From The Fence” and has remained so for a long time, though I have questioned myself at times if I might be a coward for writing from the fence instead of picking this or that side. Is it better to buy fights or to show the paths of peace?
This question on my stance arose again in Soludo’s now-viral article “History Beckons And I Will Not Be Silent -1”. In one of the paragraphs he wrote “Everyone knows that I don’t follow the winds nor one to succumb to bullies, nor shy away from a good fight especially when weighty matters of principles and future of the people are involved. One lesson I learnt from my former boss and mentor, President Obasanjo, is never to be on the fence. I learnt that one must always take a stand: for better or for worse. I do so with every sense of humility, and leave history to judge.
He almost converted and brought me down from the fence with these lines, but no, I will remain on the fence. I will only come down from the fence when it is a question of humanity rather than strong humans. I will only come down when parties involved in any issue say the whole truth without hiding certain information that could impact the final verdict lest I judge the guilty to be innocent and the innocent to be guilty. This reminds me of a quote from the Indian Judge, JR Midha who said that in the court of justice, it is actually the judge who is on trial as both parties (plaintiff and defendant alike) know the truth (which the judge doesn’t know).
I believe that every matter can be settled if every party airs their thoughts completely without being disdained by the other party and nobly without disparaging the other party.
Prelude to the last Anambra gubernatorial election, I wrote a piece titled “Anambra and the burden of wisdom” where I opined through records and results that Anambra is an A-list state with excellent human resource. It was even said then that the caliber of contestants would make it difficult to choose who will be the next governor, though at that time there were signs of unhealthy rivalry and I suggested that it was illogical or rather ironic that a state with such glowing prospects should be bedeviled with corporate and political commotion. I concluded by advising that whatever the outcome of the fair election, those involved, winners and losers alike, should avoid unnecessary litigations and work for the greater good of Anambra.
Soludo’s letter shows that he is a bosom friend of Peter Obi, something Obi himself collaborated in his response to Soludo’s opinion; Obi said despite what he wrote, Soludo is a very close friend, his brother and will always remain his brother. But Soludo left little to be imagined from his very long letter; he continuously punched and hid in the over 23 paragraphs.
One takeaway from the letter is that Soludo has some grievances with Peter Obi, this is normal, such scenarios are witnessed even in the dearest of friendships. Even couples in love have misunderstandings from time to time, how much more friends and even official relationships. Peter Obi himself might also have grievances before now towards Soludo but has not had reasons to voice them out in the way and manner Soludo has done.
People have asked questions regarding the letter; what does Soludo hope to achieve, does he have a paymaster behind the scene, is it out of jealousy for Peter Obi and in summary, was the letter necessary.
The answers will remain a yes or no depending on those who give answers and their interests, but one thing is certain, it was a blend of pride and unabated anger that brought about such long piece from Soludo. Governor Soludo might have had some points worth listening to, but the manner and platform which he chose to speak goes a long way to determine how his message will be viewed.
After the backlash he received for his comment during the interview on Channels TV, where he said that Peter Obi’s investment in Anambra is almost worth next to nothing today, he should have let sleeping dogs lie since it was not Peter Obi who attacked him but the social media army who Peter Obi has no control over. Peter Obi had even cautioned them time and time again to be ethical in their engagements with opponents.
So Soludo responded through the long letter to call the bluff of the online army and let them know that he is not a coward as he said. It is worthy of note that he titled the piece (1), which means he plans to write more; maybe if he feels attacked enough again he will pen the second (2) part.
It is clear that there’s a steam in his heart and it is ringing now like a whistling kettle, he has poured the content on Peter obi, who has responded like a closed tea cup, refusing to take in and brew the content poured on him, (maybe that’s why Obi’s nickname is “Okwute”, meaning stone), it is hoped that Soludo and Obi will take a break, maybe a cold shower and take their hearts away from the burner, so the heat dies down.