When I did a rebuttal titled “Who is Afraid of Soludo?’’ on the unmerited vituperations of one Onyia and his paymasters on Prof. Cee Cee Soludo, one jaundiced reader thundered, Who is Joe Anatune?’ The reader under reference was making a puerile attempt like Onyia and his gang to project that Joe Anatune is a pseudonym. This angered many of my friends, relatives, colleagues and many young and not too young men and women who had passed through my tutelage in the exacting business of brands building. I had to restrain them when I learnt they were drumming for war with the said reader in my defence. I laughed it off as a price one pays when one refuses to join the maddening crowd of those that always seek to hug the limelight

I restrained them because I am just a miniscule of the multitude of men and women of Anambra and Igboland who want Soludo as Anambra State Governor for continuity, after Governor Willie Obiano. I have encountered many of them too numerous to name. One thing is common in all of us: belief.

We all believe that given the circumstances the world finds itself and further exacerbated by the dim prospects of the post-corona virus pandemic, Anambra needs the qualities that Soludo have to navigate through the emerging new world- the new normal if you prefer and its challenges. More importantly, we believe he will take Anambra to the civilized world and bring the world to Anambra. The men and women – Hon Chinedu Obidigwe, Obassy, Peter Azolibe, Chinedu Glamour Nwoye, Sir Jude Emecheta, Nelson Omeugha, Lady Amaka Obi, Arthur Nwachukwu,Chief Obiajulu Nwoye, Sir Egbebuike Uche, Dr Jude Mgbemena, Sir Alex Okoli,Deacon Samuel Anatune, Emenike Ezenduka,Chief Francis Okonkwo, Chukwudi Nwobu, Dr Chima Okoli, Prince Chidi Nwafor, Henry Arinze, Prof Jason Nwankwo, Chief Tony Onyima, Bar Richard Iheke and many more are doing something legendary and unprecedented in the political history of Anambra State. We are not just loyalists, but believers in the Soludo brand and its essence.

Every day, we get interrogated and sometimes harassed on why we are doing what the disciples and the apostles did in Christendom. We would list out BANKING CONSOLIDATION, NEEDS, SEEDS, AFC, THE CBN BRANCHES IN AWKA, UMUAHIA, ASABA, UNEC BUSINESS SCHOOL, ETC as functional attributes of the Soludo brand.

And above all, we believe in him, because he has proven consistently to be one of the prodigious thinkers and doers of our time. The above landmarks and many more, as well as his proven integrity, are the core essence or DNA of the Soludo brand. We will come back to these in more details another day.

Day in day out, we reach out marketing our belief, and the good news is that today, we have built what my friend Chike Nwegbe (he is a believer too) often refers to as the ‘critical mass’. Young men like Mazi Ejimofor have no issues proudly tagging themselves as Soludo apostles in their various social media handles. Belief is why many youth organisations are stomping the nooks and corners of Anambra, asking Governor Obiano to please ‘’give us Soludo’’.

Human history in essence, is the history of human belief, because it helps to make one see what he or she wants and energises one to get it. In fact, John Stuart Mill probably had us in mind when he once wrote, “one person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety–nine who have only interests.’’ Now imagine the force when the critical mass has belief.

In all these, Soludo is yet to make a formal declaration of intent but has asked all of us plodding him to put him in prayers. Even his party, APGA, has made it public that he has not informed them of his interest, neither has any other aspirant done so. He has continuously begged to be excused to face his assignments as a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee and Chairman, Anambra V-2070; two assignments that give him elbow room to serve the interests of the common man in the streets.

But we keep plodding him because we believe he CAN – for Anambra and for generations yet unborn. Ironically, the foregoing have become Soludo’s cross.

Not long ago, one Louis Nwokolo, in his article, “Anambra: Investigation Uncovers More Plots to Stop Soludo’s Gubernatorial Ambition,” catalogued all the plans to stop Soludo’s undeclared governorship bid by the rattled opposition, who the mention of Soludo sends jitters down their spines. Soludo’s place in the mind and soul of the critical mass hurtfully follows the opposition everywhere they go, like a second shadow. We hear they are often asked “What of Soludo?’’ wherever and whenever they go to solicit support for their bids.

The rub-off is that they have all caught Soludophobia and for them, the only cure is to throw mud and more mud. Unfortunately, the critical mass is not buying their concocted lies. And for the opposition, that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

Anatune writes from Awa in Orumba North LGA, Anambra State


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