The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has responded to the criticism against him by Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State.
Mr Obi is a former governor of Anambra State.
Mr Soludo had, on Thursday, while appearing as a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today, said the value of investments made by Mr Obi while he was the governor of the state was “worth next to nothing.”
Several persons, believed to be supporters of the LP candidate, condemned Mr Soludo for the comments.
However, in a long statement on Monday, the governor said he stood by his words and accused Mr Obi’s supporters of “bullying everyone who expresses the slightest of dissent.”
Mr Soludo, a professor of economics, also criticised Mr Obi for rebuffing entreaties to return to All Progressives Grand Alliance where he was offered the party’s presidential ticket, according to Mr Soludo.
The governor predicted that Mr Obi would not win the 2023 presidential election, citing “lack of political structure” and poor voting strength of the South-east, where the LP candidate hails from.
But responding on Monday, Mr Obi said although investments are bound to go up and down, a company where he made some of the investments as governor was still in business and has provided job opportunities to several residents of the state.
“The one (investment) they (Soludo) said is worthless, is that we invested N3.5 billion in International Breweries… That facility is there, employing directly and indirectly over 10,000 Anambarians. The shares were at a time being sold at N50. Today the shares are about N5 or so. Maybe, that was what was referred to (by Soludo). But that was less than five percent of what I left,” he said.“When you spread your investment, some will go up, some will come down but overall, the company is still there, the company is still doing well. It is still part of the global chain.”
Mr Obi spoke at the 2022 Lagos Business School Alumni Conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
A video clip of the conference was posted on Channels TV’s Facebook page.
The LP candidate also claimed that, aside from the investment in International Breweries, his administration saved $50 million each in Access, defunct Diamond and Fidelity banks with an interest rate of at least 6.5 per cent.
He mentioned similar investments he made for the state in other companies.
“If you calculate (all of them) today, the money (invested) would have been about N60 billion,” Mr Obi said.
The former governor said he exited office as governor of the state leaving behind some savings of about N75 billion in state treasury and that he was not owing any contractor and supplier who had executed their jobs.
‘You’re a professor, you should do better than me’
The LP candidate said despite the criticisms, Mr Soludo remains his brother and close associate.
“For other things which I didn’t succeed, God has given him (Soludo) opportunity to do it and succeed.
“So, if there is anything pending, governance doesn’t finish. People are still in government in America. So, you stop where you will stop, other people will continue from there,” Mr Obi stated.
“He (Soludo) is the governor of my state. He is (also) my senior brother, he is even more intelligent than me, (because) he is a professor. I am a trader. So, he knows more and will be able to do things better than I did it.
“I have done my little own as a trader, now the professor is there. He will do his own as a professor. The schools I didn’t roof, he will roof them. That’s how government goes,” the LP candidate added.