By Joe C. Anatune
Our attention has been drawn to a funny but fallacious and libellous propaganda by the agitated PDP media team in Anambra, making a bogus claim that some people donated N2 billion to Prof. Soludo for a hospital project in 2008, and that after the foundation ceremony, the hospital was not built. We are not surprised (indeed we expected a push-back) especially after Ndi Anambra widely celebrated and continue to celebrate Soludo’s donation of N10m in support of the State Government’s fight against COVID-19.
Opposition politicians, especially of the PDP, were rattled by the public acclaim and goodwill towards Soludo and needed to fabricate some mud. Who else but their media hack writer, Ikechukwu Onyia (media aide of one of the PDP Governorship aspirants), was called to duty and he did not disappoint, except that this time, his lies and fabrications are too obvious and laughable. The opposition politicians don’t want Gov Obiano’s initiative on COVID-19 to succeed and are afraid that Soludo’s donation and appeal could spur greater response by Ndi Anambra. They decided to try to change the narrative and momentum. But they have failed, as thousands of Ndi Anambra are already energized to contribute even in their communities, etc.
Here are the facts. In December 2008, at the memorial service of his late mother, Soludo announced a project to construct a Diagnostics hospital plus a Nursing School, in honour of his late mum who died during the civil war probably due to poor medical services. Prof. Soludo announced that the project was estimated to cost N2 billion then. Several people in attendance made PLEDGES, including a prominent Anambra politician who PLEDGED to fund the construction of the Nursing School building, and a company pledged to construct the Diagnostics Building.
The fact is that as at today, 98% of those PLEDGES, still remain what they were, PLEDGES. We challenge Ikechukwu Onyia and his sponsors to name the person(s) or corporates that “gave Soludo N2 billion within one week”. As a responsible public servant who valued his integrity, Prof. Soludo did not use his office as CBN Governor to start soliciting for fund. He left those who made pledges to their conscience and to redeem at their own convenience. We all remember the unprecedented global financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009 and the hardships faced by many individuals, companies and even banks at that time. Since Soludo left office later in 2009, he has repeatedly reminded those who pledged and most of them have continued to indicate “commitment to redeem the pledge”, but yet to do so.
But in spite of the disappointments, a magnificent 120-bed hospital building, together with a Doctors Quarters building are standing at the hospital site, undergoing various stages of finishing. After waiting for years for those pledges to be redeemed, Prof. Soludo has used his wide networks and contacts to mobilize resources to embark on a hospital complex much bigger in scope than the original concept— for the benefit of Ndi Anambra and Nigeria. The hospital is to be managed by the Church, and expected to possibly become a teaching hospital of one of the new universities. According to Prof. Soludo, during the official commissioning of the hospital, the actual contributors will be formally recognized.
At that time, we hope that Ikechukwu Onyia and his sponsors will eat the humble pie and apologize to Prof. Soludo for their highly libellous propaganda. The great Zik of Africa, Rt. Hon (Dr.) Nnamdi Azikiwe always reminded us that in journalism, facts are sacred but comments are free. In this case Ikechukwu Onyia and his sponsors manufactured both the facts and the comments, all in the name of politics. Politicians who are afraid of Soludo know that they won’t be able to match him in the field when the time comes and that most Anambra people are yearning for him, and hence their only game is to throw mud. They can’t match his scorecard in community, state, national, and international development nor match his ideas and plans for the future. Unfortunately for them, this time, you can’t stop an act whose time has come, and Ndi Anambra are ready for them! Who can battle with the Lord?