Day Prof Chukwuma Soludo sneezed – By Tony Okafor

April 18, 2020
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Sneezing is an involuntary action.

It is the act of expelling a sudden and uncontrollable burst of air through the nose and mouth. Sneezing can occur for a variety of reasons that have in common an irritation of the lining (mucous membranes) of the nose or throat. It is rarely a sign of a serious illness. Many environmental triggers can lead to sneezing, including air pollutants, pollen, dry air, and dust. Spicy foods scientists say can sometimes cause sneezing.

Allergies, colds, and the flu are common causes of sneezing. Some people may sneeze as a reaction to exposure to bright light (known as a photic sneeze reflex).

Depending upon the reason for the sneezing, symptoms can include burning, itchy, or watery eyes. I have seem some people who would sneeze when they are hungry or annoyed.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus disease which had its origin in Wuha in the republic of China, sneezing as an involuntary action can attract public beating. In fact, it is now a risk to try to sneeze in the public without caution. It is no longer seen as an involuntary action. It is now regarded as an atomic weapon for mass destruction via COVID-19, which if given the patent I would like to call, for the records COVID-20, for it was around February, 2020 or thereabouts that the pandemic was imported into Nigeria via an Italian businessman

Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo,a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria took that risk of sneezing in the public recently in Anambra State, his home state.

Soludo was not wearing any facemask when the involuntary action occurred. .

Soludo’s case was caused by an environmental trigger as a result of the call by the Anambra State Government for donations to assist the state to prevent the spread COVID-19 in the state. Soludo patriotically answered the call and donated N10 million in that direction.

His name came second on the donation chart after the corporate donation of N28.5 million by the United Bank for Africa.

That patriotic involuntary action has turned out to be Soludo’s big sneeze that was later subjected to the laboratory for viral and bacterial analysis cum testing. The result came out in some hours and Soludo tested POSITIVE in the opposition party’s laboratory diagnosis – he was accused of misappropriation of an action that happened in 2008 or so.

The allegation came from one Ikechukwu Onyia, a media aide to a 2021 governorship aspirant in the state, Chris Azubogu.

Onyia called to question Soludo’s donation, asking him to account for donations made to him in 2008 by individuals and organisations to build a medical facility in memory of his late mother, Madam Mgbafor Soludo in Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Onyia alleged, “In 2008, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the then Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, assembled high profile individuals and corporate organisations for the purpose of celebrating his late mother, Mgbafor Soludo who died in 1968 and also raising fund to build an internationally rated hospital in the memory of the late mother, Mgbafor Soludo. During the fund raising, banks donated about N100 million each, governors and so many high profile individuals also donated.

“Soludo raked in about N2billion for a Mother and Child Hospital which was to be built at Isuofia. On 26th December, 2008, Soludo again moved high profile individuals to his village for a memorial church service and foundation laying ceremony for the hospital, officiated by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Bishop Rt Rev, Paulinus Ezeokafor at St Theresa Catholic Church, Isuofia. According to Soludo that day ( 26th December, 2008), the Hospital was a way of paying back his mother and in fulfillment of her wish for improved healthcare services, which she never had the privilege to enjoy … the hospital was also meant to support the Governor Obi’s efforts in that sector.

“Twelve years after raising this fund for the international standard hospital in Isuofia, Soludo could not produce this hospital. Imagine a world class hospital built with about N2billion in 2009 and the impact it will have today as we get battle-ready to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, our dear Soludo has donated N10million for fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Anambra State and also promised to mobilize friends to also donate. I thank Soludo for doing that, but the question remains, are we building a society where there is no consquencies for bad behaviour/fraud and I believe that we should stand up and question actions/inactions of public office holders if we must build a society that can take care of itself.

But facts have emerged that the reason the multimillion hospital project initiated by Soludo has not been finished after 12 years of commencement was because most of the people who made pledges did not redeem them.

Despite the hiccup, few gigantic structures have been completed through personal efforts of Soludo and there are indications that the hospital might serve as the teaching hospital for a university that would soon take off in Anambra State.

A public affairs analyst, Mr. Joe Anatune described as unfortunate, an attempt to politicize the hospital project by those who were already becoming jittery of Soludo’s popularity as the November 2021 governorship election approaches.

 Soludo is among those said to be aspiring to govern Anambra State after the expiration of Governor Willie Obiano’s tenure in 2022.

Soludo has lived a quiet life, minding his business as we say it in Nigeria, after some attempts in the past to play major political roles to lead Anambra State.

Even when he had good chances to contest the outcome of some electoral decisions in the state he declined in the overall interst of the state.

Rather from the background, Soludo  has been assisting the government in Awka with his ideas and knowledge that made him the best graduating student at the University of Nigeria where he made a super first class degree in economics and later became a professor of economics in the institution before the age of 38.

Now that only sneezing is causing this hyper flu in Anambra State, what will become of  the situation when Soludo may decide to inject cough and catarrh into the whole political  environment in the state? Time will tell.

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