Okonjo-Iweala versus Soludo: When two professors throw punches

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Okonjo-Iweala versus Soludo: When two professors throw punches

Okonjo-Iweala versus Soludo: When two professors throw punches
February 03
18:43 2015

It is a proven African saying that where two elephants fight, the grasses are always at the receiving ends. But when two professors, whose intellects about economy have been appraised as world-class, contend with each other, individual egos are certainly bound to be bruised. This seems to be playing out between Professor Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister, and Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

That Professor Soludo’s article, titled Buhari vs Jonathan: Beyond the election, would stir the hornet nest was expected. Such would have not have faded into oblivion without reactions from the corridors of power, especially at a time like when the political atmosphere is tensely charged and the two front-running candidates in the fast approaching election are doing everything possible to garner as many votes as they could by all means. Truly Soludo’s article hit some cords: right cords with the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, and the wrong ones with the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, in which government he served as CBN governor.

Soludo had described the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration in every language but sterling. His screaming verdict on the economic scores of the government was a grim F9 (absolute failure). He also had some harsh word for opposition which campaign mantra has been all about change and the integrity of its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.

In sharp response to Soludo, Professor Okonjo-Iweala has delivered her own series of harsh punches on Soludo. In a position which reflects the Federal Government’s take, Okonjo-Iweala expressed her displeasure against Soludo’s positions which were an indictment of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, as many of the FG’s policies have come from her desk. Not only did she call Soludo names, reacting through a statement issued by her Special Adviser Communications, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu, Okonjo-Iweala said Soludo has committed “intellectual harakiri” through the controversial article. Soluso’s five year tenure as CBN governor was described as “a failure and a disaster to the banking sector.”

The Minister noted that the article was littered with abusive and unbecoming language, which shows Soludo “get derailed by misquoting economic facts and maliciously turning statistics on their head to justify a hatchet job.” Her reaction was capped with her description of Soludo as an “embittered loser in the Nigerian political space.”

Will Soludo, who was denied the governorship ticket by the PDP in 2010 in Anambra, return another salvo below the belt? Fingers are crossed and events are being paid keen attention to.

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