Aspirants: Soludo offered us N35m each to withdraw

Twelve aggrieved Anambra State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirants yesterday alleged that former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Chukwuma Soludo offered them N35 million each to withdraw from the race. But in a swift reaction, Soludo described their allegation as baseless and arrant nonsense.

Also yesterday, 36 former aspirants as well as Senators and House of Representatives members from Anambra State declared their support for Soludo before the national leadership of the PDP in Abuja.

Twelve of the 23 aspirants who earlier rejected alleged imposition of Soludo as governorship candidate by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party said they were not for sale.

Briefing newsmen on behalf of the 12 aspirants who described themselves as the ‘Integrity Group’, Mr Chuma Nwofor said: “We are addressing the press today because of reports in several newspapers that some of our people have abandoned this pursuit for proper conduct of primaries in Anambra State and the rejection of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as our candidate.

“I want to say that that is not correct. Our people are still intact because we are determined to bring about change in our party. We will not condone this kind of madness or imposition on the good people of Anambra State. We have traversed the whole of the state, campaigning and going round, only for the party to make a fool of us and impose a candidate on us.

“That, we reject. We have also decided that this group will not just be aspirants. We are enlarging this group. We have the former chairman, Chief Uchenna Emordi; he is part of us. We have the former chairman of the party, Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, who is also part of us. We also have former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Ozi Eguadu. Others are coming to join us.

“These are stakeholders in the party. They want to say that this is wrong and it is unacceptable to us and we will not condone it in any form or disguise. No matter how much people have advised him to offer to us, we are not for sale.

“We are the ‘Integrity Group’ and our mission is to correct the anomalies in our party. We are not for sale. As you’re aware, he has offered some of our people N35 million to sell their positions and also bring their people to him. We have told him point blank that it is not acceptable to us.”


: Who offered money to you?

Nwofor: Soludo.


: How much to be precise?

Nwofor: N35million.


: For what purpose?

Nwofor: That I will trade him my position, and I want to say precisely that we need to look beyond what we are doing today. We are discussing the future of Anambra State. The delegates we are talking about are Anambrarians and no other person.

“Let it be clear to everybody that we are not ready to change our stand. Our stand remains firm and our resolution and resolve is consistent with what we believe in and nothing will alter or change that.”

Nwofor disowned the group of six who said they were not part of the former 23 aspirants challenging Soludo’s candidature and that their signatures were forged.

He alleged that Deacon Bernard Obi, who addressed the press on the issue, did not get the consent of some of the people he alleged were part of his group.

He said: “I have given you the telephone numbers of Dr Emeka Eze and Dr Amanchukwu Ezike, who are members of this group, because I don’t want anything to be done through proxy. They never at anytime said that their signatures were forged and that they are no longer part of the group. So I have given you their numbers so that you can contact them directly and hear from them. We also have Dr Alex Obiogbolu. He didn’t sign the first one but he is here to indicate to you that he is part of the group.”

One of the aspirants, Mr. Samuel Ikefuna, called this reporter and disowned the Deacon Bernard Obi group.

Other members of the Nwofor group are: Hon Basil Iwuoba, Chinyere Agagbo, Sir Valentine Ozigboh, Princess Kate Egwu, Engr. Ifeanyi Best Dim, Mrs Love Ijeoma Ibe, Mrs Victoria Nwankwu, Dr. Amanchukwu Ezike, Dr. Nkoli Imoh, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu and Dr. Carol Nwonsu.

But Soludo denied ever meeting with any aspirants or Nwofor in particular.

He said: “First and foremost, I never met with any aspirant. Chuma Nwofor, I have never met him except in the context of the meetings of the aspirants that were called.

“Since Friday, last week, I have never met him. I have never seen him. That is absolute nonsense, to negotiate what? The nomination process has ended. What is it about?

“The reconciliation process is on, but nothing about negotiation. Negotiation is that we first of all win an election. The basic point I want to say to you is that I think I find that a little bit funny, ridiculous and I’m just hearing that from you for the first time.

“I can’t even believe that he could say that because if he said so, then he knows that he was obviously knowingly lying bare-facedly. Let him show where I called him. When you called somebody’s phone, it should show.”

On whether he has plans to discuss with the aggrieved aspirants, Soludo said: “Maybe he is saying that because, according to him, he feels maybe I haven’t called him, I haven’t talked to him and so he has a chance to go and fabricate anything. But that is not the way things should be done.

“We have a plan to reach everybody, if we haven’t reached him, we will certainly reach him at some point. But so far I haven’t spoken to him and he knows that. If I have spoken with him, it should be on his phone and he should be able to show you.”

Meanwhile, 36 former aspirants and Anambra legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives have declared their support for the candidature of Soludo.

The National Vice-Chairman (South East) PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, in his speech before presenting Soludo to the national leadership of the party said 36 aspirants had decided to back Soludo and that all of them were present at the venue.

Metuh said majority of Anambra stakeholders have accepted the nomination of Soludo, and that they have set up a reconciliation committee to calm frayed nerves.

However, when the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, asked the aspirants that have stepped down to stand up for recognition, only about 13 stood up.

Ogbulafor therefore urged Soludo to reach out to all other aspirants and bring them on board if the party must achieve its objective in Anambra State next year.