Akinyili vs. Soludo: Indeed, Laughable!
Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
By traditional or cultural rights it's supposed to be a family affair, but since Mrs. Dora Akunyili, the Minister of Information, Federal Republic of Nigeria has brought it to the public through the media, I think, we have to put our mouth.
Akunyili categorically said (not an allegation) that Mr. Chukwuma Soludo, the former Central Bank of Nigeria Czar called thugs for her to stop her from paying her said last obeisance to her late elder sister who happened to be Soludo's mother-in-law during the deceased burial few days ago.
But Akunyili didn't tell us whether she saw Soludo leading the thugs to her and was commandeering them to attack her, or tell us that the thugs were shouting at her that they were sent by Soludo. She didn't also tell us how she escaped the thugs at her late sister's village unhurt before going to her father's hometown where she said that the thugs also followed her to, but they were dispersed by her security operatives.
Does Akunyili harbour any ill feelings for Soludo? She sounded like one. I list expected that any wise person, especially coming from the Igbo extraction, could act in such a perfidious way as Akunyili has done in that matter. She might be of the view of bringing Soludo to the cleaners, but has finally brought herself. How can someone whom the world sees to be wise turn to tailor the garb of wildness? Do Ndi-Igbo not have norms and ties again?
Ndi-Igbo have a tradition that it was not in the hand of a woman to bring out such a family matter to the public, except as the feminists are agitating for the gender equality they cannot define. And I don't think that gender egalitarianism meant that a submissive woman should not know herself. Akunyili has a husband. What I expected her do was discuss the matter with her hubby later, whom I believe was in attendance. It would be the duty of the husband to summon Soludo before Soludo's kinsmen to tell them why he assembled the thugs for the wife. Akunyili didn't do that because she is the national Information Minister, and can inform the world about anything ÔÇô personal or national? Do Ndi-Igbo not say, "Ike anaghi eme n'ogo?" Meaning, "One does not exhibit might where an in-law is".
In that line, I have always argued that that one is a professor doesn't make the person knowledgeable. The person might speak all the grammar in the universe but might not be knowledgeable of the culture and tradition of his or her people. Or, does it mean that immediately one is a professor, s/he should throw caution to the wind and be bigger than his or her kinsmen? Well, in Igboland, kinsmen are like the hairs at the anus region, whoever that shave them must incur the wrath of rashes.
Akunyili should stop telling us of how Soludo has been against her since he failed in the February 6 election with Soludo viewing that she was the brain behind his failure. Why did she not broadcast it to the world earlier? Was February, July? Was Akunyili's statement not like giving a good dog a bad name to attract the verdict of the people so that the dog would be killed?
Since the news filtered the air, I have been asking, was there a secret or an open squabble between Soludo and Akunyili before her said Soludo's thugs came after her? And if we must agree that they came, how did she escape them unhurt because, she told us that she has not seen such number of thugs before all her life. However, that implies that Akunyili had been seeing thugs and knew what thugs were all about.
To me, Akunyili's statements were not weighty and they lacked in substance. Akunyili's statements were like the story my papa used that tell me that as kids, whenever they were fighting, the one that was beating would be shouting that the person he was beating had beaten him pulp blue whenever somebody was coming to separate them. This may bring pity to the shouter and he will escape the anger of the separator.
I have learnt that many of the Nigerian women holding federal or state appointments, their husbands always swallow spit instead of caution them of their aberrations when perceived. The husbands to such women lack the will-power to separate public office from home office where their wives are.
Perhaps, Akunyili had something she wants to teach Nigerians that took place in the said election that Soludo contested and failed. Let her come forward, because she is sounding loquaciously than a diplomat I had thought she was. No wonder Soludo, through his aide, Bonaventure Meluh saw Akunyili's unedited utterances against Soludo as laughable. Akunyili should apologise to Nigerians for using her office, the Information Ministry, to fight a family battle.
I think Akunyili should go to Hajia Turai Yar'Adua and learn how to keep family matters secret from public knowledge. Akunyili should understand that that one is well read does not mean the person should be breaking etiquette.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author and Media Consultant, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State, Nigeria.