MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
After reading through the lengthy write-up by the Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo in defence or so, of his earlier statement during his interview with Arise Television wherein, he made a passing denigration on ex-governor Peter Obi’s investment effort while in office as “worthless,” I instantly remembered Salmon Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ of the 1980s.
For those who may have lost memory of the incident or not heard of it at all, Sir Ahmed Salmon Rushdie, an Indian-born British-American novelist had in 1988 published his fourth book titled ‘Satanic Verses’. The book falls within the magic realism genre.
The novelist Rushdie came from a liberal Muslim family but later turned atheist. The Satanic Verses are words of ‘satanic suggestion’ which the Islamic Prophet Mohammad was alleged to have mistaken for divine revelation.
Those who were around in 1988 when the book was made public could recall the great danger the publication had exposed Rushdie to, because he was quite insensitive to the feelings of the Muslim world whose Prophet was cast in bad light in that publication.
The matter took a different turn when those who supported Rushdie’s intellectual liberty came in ideological and near physical confrontation with those opposed to Rushdie’s book. Though I was a fresh undergraduate then, but I could recall how the Satanic Verses issue prompted Prof. Wole Soyinka, a Novel Laurette to write his article titled THE FIFTH HORSEMAN against Ayatollah Komeini of Iran or so, for daring to pass death sentence on Salmon Rushdie for writing against Prophet Mohammad. In turn, Soyinka got a bashing from another Islamic defender in an article titled THE FIFTH COLUMNIST. The rest is now history.
Now, how does Soludo’s write up against Obi compares with Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, one may ask? I dare posit that if Soludo; a professor has good sense of history, he should not have chosen a time as this, to criticize Peter Obi whose presidential ambition has already received a global support even if it is only on Social Media as Soludo and his admirers would want us to believe.
Soludo who ought to be Peter Obi’s closest supporter threw caution to the wind ostensibly due to some nocturnal ambition being oiled by those who would want the Igbo race to be believe that no Igbo man is yet qualified to rule Nigeria. What Soludo has done to Obi’s teaming supporters across the length of Nigeria equates to what Salmon Rushdie’s Satanic Verses has done to Muslim faithfuls.
For non-Ibos in Nigeria who always feel that the average Igbo man cannot be trusted because he can sell his brother for money, Soludo has just proved them right. Otherwise, why should a sitting Governor of Igbo extraction wake up in broad day light to castigate his brother at a time many non Igbos at home and in the Diaspora are itching to have Peter Obi as Nigeria’s next president.
Who is Soludo trying to please with his sanctimonious postulations in a bad economic system he helped to create as an economic adviser?
Those Igbo brothers of ours like Soludo who toe the same path to discredit Peter Obi at this critical time of electioneering for whatever reason should know that nature has a way of checkmating them. If they cannot vote for Obi, why should they go to town to work against him rather than keep their peace?
The Professor of Economics has spoken all the good grammar to tell us why Peter Obi should not be the next President but he forgot that he has only succeeded in telling the world that he cannot be trusted if he could do this to his own brother whom most Nigerians across tribes and religion consider as more competent and dynamic among other presidential candidates, to bring Nigeria back to the path of sanity.
Unarguably, many hatchet writers with the urge to satisfy their stomach infrastructural needs are already in town to support Soludo in his misguided adventure, but the truth remains that no matter the text book theories Soludo and his likes put forward to discredit Peter Obi and dampen the spirit of his supporters, the suffering masses of Nigeria already know who their enemies are.
If Soludo and those who clap for him for helping them to wittle down Obi’s increasing popularity (among the electorate) for the sake of their corruption driven principals on primitive accumulation drive, think they have carried the day, I have some advice for them. Take it or leave it, Peter Obi’s presidential ambition can only be stopped by the Almighty God Himself, certainly not millions of Soludo and those who do not see beyond their “social media mob.”
Having stirred the hornet nest in the political space, Professor Soludo should not expect good sleep in the days ahead as his Satanic Verses will surely hunt him like Salmon Rushdie.