An ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, once stated that, “the superior man is only distressed by the limitations of his ability…not by the fact that men do not recognize the ability he has.”
It is no longer news that Nigeria dosen’t recognize the talents she possesses – more so when the individual is an Igbo. In fact, Nigeria might actually be that “evil and “error” happening “under the sun” which the wise man saw many years ago, wherein “fools are put in many high positions, while the rich (wise) occupy the low ones” (Ecc. 10:5-6).
In Nigeria things are operated upside down: for example, crude oil are found in the south but refineries are built in the north; rivers are found in the south but dry ports are built in the north; cows are reared in the north but grazing lands are demanded in the south; persons like Soludo are despised in the country while mediocres are appointed in the cabinet.
Having obtained First Class in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Soludo became one of the smartest students in his school graduating as the best student in his bachelor, master’s and doctorate degrees respectively, becoming a professor of economics at the age of 38 in 1998.
Prior to his joining the government in 2003, he has been a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institute, Oxford University, Cambridge University, the University of Warwick, as well as the Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, US, engaging in teaching and research in macro econometric modelling, panel data econometrics, among others
Soludo was also a consultant to the World Bank, IMF, ADF, UNDP, DFID, USAID, among other international and financial institutions. His first appointment as Special Adviser to former President Obasanjo was said to have been suggested by one of the international organizations.
His stint as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was not without effect. His radical and intellectual reformations carried out in 2005 in a bid to consolidate the banking sector earned him a global recognition, with people juxtaposing his name to the processes as a mark of honour such as “con-soludo-tion,” instead of “consolidation,” while the successful banks are called “consoludoted” banks.
These reformations made the banking sector stronger, healthier and buffeted against the financial crisis which would later hit the world in 2008.
In May 2009, as his tenure was gearing towards an end at the CBN, the then President Umaru Musa Yar’adua – who himself was a scholar despite being a fulani – had developed a special love for the person of Soludo. He tried everything within his power to re-appoint him for a second term, but the northern forces – who were seriously grinning over the audacity of Soludo to bring down the “Bank of the North” – had warned Yar’adua not to try it.
In a letter, personally signed by Yar’adua at the eve of his exit and published in virtually all the national dailies, Yar’adua passionately commended his services and likened him to a role model to the youths and incoming generation.
In an effort to still retain his services, Yar’adua discreetly promised him that he will ensure he becomes the next governor of Anambra State in the then coming gubernatorial election in 2010. Unfortunately, by November 2009, Yar’adua fell ill and by May 2010, he died. But the king’s successor did not recognize the “Joseph” called Soludo, and “the rest” they say, “is history.” This story is kept for another day.
After his exit from the bank, some forces tried to make mess of his achievements. Firing the first salvo was his successor and current emir of Kano, who was brought in by the embittered cabal in the north. Subsequently, the currency polymer scandals were circulated in the media during his foray into politics of Anambra State. And as I earlier said, the king’s successor was not disposed to his ambition, and the EFCC invited him for questionings.
Now in 2015 when the king’s successor was trying to go for his own second term, Soludo decided to take his pound of flesh. However as an intellectual, he didn’t blindly support his opponent, who is a herdsman, but he did reminded the king’s successor that he too could as well contribute to his retirement from the villa.
This he proved in his thought provoking article entitled “Buhari vs Jonathan: Beyond the Elections” – this article infuriated the then coordinating minister of economy, Okonjo-Iweala – who out of the slip of tongue called her brother Soludo an “intellectual hara-kiri” whose tenure at the CBN was a “disaster.” Chaii… the pressure of the election nearly tore brothers and sisters apart.
In his rejoinder, Soludo, now unleashed a damning article against the economy under Okonjo – but NOT at the person of Okonjo. This article was very powerful and damning that madam Okonjo decided to sheathe the sword and told journalists that she didn’t want “to join issues” with Soludo. With this, Soludo now soft-pedalled and withdrew from shooting further.
Meanwhile the Kings successor who was already apprehensive, quickly exonerated Soludo in the media. And within hours, the EFCC called Soludo and gave him a clean bill of health over his stewardship at the CBN.
As a visionary philosopher, Soludo had envisioned the nepotistic tendency of the incoming administration and quickly made it public that he is not interested in any of the herdsman appointments.
Since then, Soludo has seldom been seen in public functions.
Chike Nnamani is a writer and public affairs analyst, who writes for political and societal reawakening in Africa.
By Chike Nnamani