By Joemartins Ositadinma Uzodike
In recent times, Awka procured the state-owned Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) to produce two damaging documentaries on the former Gov. Peter Obi.
The two documentaries cost Awka almost half a Billion Naira to mass produce and air on different media houses. They were also freely distributed to the people of the State and even beyond.
I understand that often, ABS is compelled against their will and even against broadcast ethics, by Awka to use such materials, sometimes threats of sack are applied.
Today, as I woke up, I received different text messages that ABS commentary after the news was on Obi. I understand that the commentary was actually brought by a Media aide to the Governor. It is suspected that it was written in the Governor’s office, but without surety of the actual aide that wrote it.
The commentary came under the false name of Obiora Aghadinuno. Except stopped, which is not likely, it will be on air after the news at 9 am, 3:30 pm, 6:30pm and 9 pm.
In my usual efforts to get factual details, I called somebody in Awka, who said he did not listen to the commentary, but that it was likely to be a false information. He predicated his position, according to him, on the fact that ABS news commentaries on Mondays are on their editorials, which normally bear no name. Therefore, it means that today’s commentary is special to Awka.
The commentary was a frontal attack on the former Governor in words as if they were describing a common criminal. The commentary accused him of running a parallel Government by visiting schools and donating money to them. The commentary also accused him of shunning state functions. I will re-post the press conference by Obiano’s former Special Adviser, which is the most comprehensive and correct details of the relationship between Obi and Obiano since Obi left office. Strangely, the commentary also suspected his philanthropic gestures.
As the Governor of Anambra State, Obi noticed that with the right and continued support, the institutions of State in Anambra will do very well. In fact, as the Governor, he started calling on Anambra people to channel the resources they would otherwise use for Epicurean indulgence to support the State in various forms. He accompanied most of those that supported the State to present their support to institutions that benefitted. You will recall that when Chief Emma Bishop Okonkwo Foundation donated ambulances to the State, he made him to accompany him to deliver them to those that benefitted. This is a way of telling them that the State appreciated their support.
As a former Governor, Obi now appeals to wealthy institutions and organizations to give him money. He donates the money to schools and worthy causes. Since he left office, he has donated to the poverty programme of Anglican Diocese of Ekwulobia, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, and Methodist Church in the State, among many others. He has visited and/or donated money to schools in the North and other South-East States. He has been to Obollo Eke and Adani, remote parts of Enugu State. After each visit, the people of the State would write him, thanking him, and encouraging him to even do more.
Being from Anambra, Obi gives a chunk of the donation to schools in the State. Last week, he visited St. Augustine Primary and secondary School, Nkpor. Curiously, Awka sponsored a commentary against such gestures, even when he visits only Church-owned schools.
Obi does not shroud such visits in secrecy for supporting institutions to appreciate and offer more support.
Why is Awka so paranoid about Obi? They went to the extent of saying that he was not known for philanthropy. Obi engages in inconspicuous philanthropy believing that when ones left hands gives alms that the right should not know about that. Let me give just one example. Before he became Governor in 2006, he was the highest donor to the new St. Patrick Cathedral, Awka. In fact, against his wishes, the former Bishop of the Diocese, the late Most Rev.
Simon Okafor announced it publicly during the dedication. That was how people got to know about that. A man who single handed sponsored the election of Awka as a Governor cannot be said to be stingy, without differentiating between that and prudence.
The commentary raised the issue of 75 Billion (cash and investment) Naira left by Obi. I am happy the issue will continue to re-occur. In fact, now that Governors are only bequeathing debts to their States, the magic of how Obi, in spite of all his achievements, managed to save Billions should be a National discourse. If I were Obi, I would visit the moon and say it for the entire world to hear, simply because Awka goes about telling people that no money was left.
I have told the story of a deity whose temple was damaged by an earthquake. The custodian of the deity helped in its final destruction saying it was a shame that a god, the deity, could not even defend his own temple. Former leaders must be prepared at all times to defend their legacies, especially when there is deliberate move to obliterate them. How can you explain that projects Obi did in his first tenure are re-commissioned today by Awka after replacing the initial plaques?
Let those close to Awka drum it into his ears that he is simply competing with himself, which is not necessary.
I am sure Awka apologists will come on with their usual attacks. They even named me as one of the enemies of Awka for attempting to correct their mis-information. Oya, over to you. Go on and accuse me of driving a wedge between Awka and Obi, when what I have done is to correct the destructive commentary Awka sponsored against him.
I may not have answered all the questions raised by the commentary and for this I call for your understanding as we may together sympathize with Tai T’ung, who in the thirteenth century issued his History of Chinese Writing with these words: “Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished.” For the same reason, Ibn Ichallakan apologised for the flaws in his book, The Obituaries of Men of Note saying that, “ Allah has not permitted any book to be faultless except the Koran.” Pardon the faults in this write-up.
As for those who are still confused on the relationship between Obi and Awka, May I respectfully refer you to Barr. Joe-Martins Uzodike’s Press Conference, which is the entire truth about the state of affairs . Here we go!
The above is by Fact Finders…
PRESS BRIEFING BY CHIEF BARR. JOEMARTINS OSITADINMA UZODIKE FCAI FCIPR, DIRECTOR GENERAL WILLIE OBIANO CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION ON HIS REMOVAL AS SPECIAL ADVISER (POLITICAL) BY GOVERNOR WILLIE M. OBIANO ON 26TH JANUARY 2015
OBIANO: THE FACE OF WICKEDNESS
Since I was removed from office as the Special Adviser on Politics to Gov. Willie Obiano, I decided to keep quiet, waiting for an appropriate time to tell my own story. However, the same ingratitude which led to my being removed from office has continued. It has now become inevitable for me to go behind the scene and share with you the real Chief Willie Obiano.
What we are witnessing in Anambra State today is a level of ingratitude that has not been contemplated even by the nine out of the ten lepers that were cured by our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 17:11-19). We witness the highest exemplification of greed, wickedness and perfidy in Anambra today and this is the story of Mr. Peter Obi and Chief Willie Obiano. This is the only reason I was relieved of my position. Before now, Chief Obiano had requested me to resign, simply because I was telling him the bitter truth he hates to hear.
Mr. Peter Obi started his political career and pitched tent with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). It is on record that he paid for the party’s first offices in Anambra State and its 21 Local Governments. He made a house available in Abuja, which became the abode of APGA leadership. It is also on record that the first overseas trip by APGA leadership was fully paid by Mr. Peter Obi. Obi paid for all his campaign and for the court cases that he prosecuted when his mandate was stolen. He always told us that he was ready to spend his last kobo to rebuild Anambra State.
Throughout his days in office, amidst trials and tribulations, he remained focused and committed to the welfare and progress of Anambra State. He strived for every penny of the State to be properly applied or saved for the future. As a Governor, he ensured equity and fairness in the State. Throughout his governorship, he travelled mostly economy class, carried his bags and abolished all sort of revenue loss and unnecessary offices. He never had fleet of cars and bullet proof vehicles. He lived his life and tried to rebuild the State. This brought him into conflict with those who saw politics as business.
It is on record that all we are witnessing in Anambra today, whether in education where the State is now the number one; in health where Obi for the first time built a teaching hospital for the State; in governance, where he built the first secretariat, among others were all as a result of his plans.
Uniquely for the first time in the history of Nigeria, he established a savings culture, which made it possible for him to save 75 Billion Naira for the State in investment, cash, Local currency and foreign currency.
Due to his spirit of fairness and Justice, Obi decided that the governorship should go to the North that has not governed for a day. This stance brought to him all sort of hatred, including the fight that ensued between him and Chief Victor Umeh, who had expressed the desire to take over from him, after the completion of his tenure. This led to the removal of Umeh and the legal battle that followed.
After the legal battle, which the Appeal Court decided in favour of Umeh, all those around Mr. Peter Obi, including myself, decided that it was time for him to leave APGA alone and move on. Relying on the promise to Ojukwu that he will never abandon him throughout his life and to hand over to APGA Government, Obi decided to remain in APGA and ensured it won the election. He advised us to support those contesting election under APGA- Oselloka Obaze, Chinedu Idigo, Paul Odenigbo and Chike Obidigbo. He appealed to us that any of them that emerged should be supported by all. However, after his reconciliation with Umeh, who voluntarily, but with sinister motive came to apologize to Obi and insisted that all the people contesting election should be dropped for a neutral person.
After several days of prolonged meetings and intervention of the elders, it was agreed that Obi should nominate other neutral persons. At this stage, he brought in Chief Willie Obiano and Tony Nnaecheta. Both were not members of APGA.
After retirement from Fidelity Bank and with no job, Chief Willie Obiano relocated to the USA. His ambition, which he pleaded with Obi to help him realise was to be made a Board member of Orient Petroleum. Obi paid for his trip back to Nigeria. and asked Mr. Lawrence Chinweuba, his former Special Adviser, to register him as an APGA member in his village. Obi also got Arc. Callistus Ilozumba to go to Abuja and purchase forms for Governorship election for him. He did exactly the same for Tony Nnaecheta.
On his arrival to Nigeria, Mr. Peter Obi brought him and Tony Nnaecheta to the Party. Eventually, as campaigns started, I was made the Director-General. So if there is anybody that knows about the campaign, it is me. I know how it was prosecuted and can affirm as follows:
- Between the time Obiano came back from the USA and the day he was elected, he did not put 1 kobo into the election.
- Until he was brought back by Obi, he hardly knew anybody in APGA.
- On the day of the primaries, which everybody knew would have been won by Hon. Uche Ekwunife, it was Obi and his wife that were on their knees pleading with Uche Ekwunife to allow Obiano, who eventually emerged.
- Throughout the campaign, as to ensure accountability, Mr. Obi requested Chief Willie Obiano to appoint somebody to be able to manage the resources he would make available. He nominated his Deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke who, with Mr.
Dubem Obaze, signed all the money that were released. Obiano also authorized all expenditure.
- During campaign, Obi did not receive funds from donors, rather all those that wanted to donate were asked to do so through Obiano.
- Obiano did not spend any money he received from donors, but rather continued to collect daily feeding allowance from the campaign funds provided by Obi.
- While we were busy campaigning, he was using the money he collected to re-build and furnish his house in the Village, drink expensive champagnes and frolic on his own.
It is clear to everybody that nobody voted for Chief Willie Obiano. Anambra people, in voting for APGA, said it clearly that they were voting for Obi’s third tenure. They hoped that anybody brought by Obi will be, like him, totally committed, humble and simple. Obi went ahead to charge his Exco members to ensure they worked hard enough to deliver Obiano. To this end, almost all of them worked relentlessly to achieve this and even committed huge sums of money to energize the campaign and win grass-roots support in their respective localities. This was in the spirit of continuity for which the Exco members were expected to work with Obiano for at least two years to stabilize his government. However, on assumption of office after swearing in, the Governor sacked the commissioners after two weeks despite my advice.
Immediately after the elections were fought and won, Obiano started to show signs of unprecedented ingratitude. First, he collected all the remaining money and said he was travelling to the USA to rest.
He took ingratitude to another level on the day of handover. Not even Obiano, his wife or relations thought it necessary to see Obi off to the airport. Shocking still was that one week after the handover; he did not call Obi on phone, because as a DG of his Campaign Organization, I reminded him how important that was. When I later reminded him of the need to call Obi, he merely told me that he was too busy with a number of issues and that he wanted to move on quickly with appointments and other matters in other not to lose track.
Eventually, he appointed me his Special Adviser on Politics. In my first meeting with him (later I was never able to meet him again despite all my efforts through texts, emails and the Chief of Staff and other eminent emissaries), he told me that his one aim is to become the greatest Igbo man/politician. He said he was sure to achieve that since his becoming the Governor was an act of God, he interpreted it that God wants to use him to re-build Nigeria. He said I should help him to work to diminish Obi’s popularity. He laid his game plan bare: to make sure Obi got no federal appointment and by replicating everything Obi did while in office. He was sure he would achieve that since he told me the unexpended billions Obi left for him, when other Governors usually put their states in debt before bowing out. Much as I tried to advise him that all the things he mentioned were not necessary, you could see in him a mind made up. I left him that day very unhappy at the perfidy of man. I however believed he would realize the futility of his plans in due time.
When we were about to celebrate his 100 days in office, I advised that we bring Obi to deliver the lecture, he was so annoyed that he angrily asked me to resign rather than mention Obi’s name to him.
Working towards his self-conceived ambition, he ordered that anything bearing Obi’s image should be removed. He immediately directed that tons of his cloths should be printed to substitute it for Obi’s own. He ordered that all assets bought by Obi, such as towing vans, trucks, should be re-branded and inscribed ‘Willie is Working.” During the EXCO meeting of 13th of October, 2014, he openly directed all EXCO members to severe all relationship with Obi. I went back to tell him that what he was doing was not good not just because of politics, for I mentioned it to him that with his attitude, no Nigerian would like to deal with him where trust is essential, but he replied that two kings cannot reign in the same Kingdom, that one must die or at least go on exile. At this time, he was going to Abuja and was sponsoring people to the tune of hundreds of Millions of Naira to ensure Obi was not appointed a Minister.
When Obi did not get a Ministerial appointment, it was rumored that he would be made the State Coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, he told me that he had been able to convince Mr. President not to do so. He said specifically that even though he does not believe in Jonathan as “the man is bereft of ideas”, that he must make sure Obi did not secure any appointment with him. When it was also rumored that Obi would be made the Zonal Coordinator, he told me equally that he had dealt with it, that the appointment would not come after all. In fact he told me that the President had already appointed Chief Theodore Orji and himself to co-ordinate the South-East and that the President told him, if not that he belonged to a different party that he would have preferred him because Orji, as he put it, “is a woeful failure not trusted by his people.”
As this was raging on, I called a few people in Government to intervene. One of them reached to various groups, including Anambra Elders’ Forum, Anglican and Catholic Bishops, among others. Catholic Bishops in the State took up the gauntlet and called them to a meeting on the 25th of August, 2014.
He came to the meeting with Chief Victor Umeh. During the meeting, the Bishops asked him what they needed from Obi. They requested strongly that Obi should leave the Party for them. He came back and boasted to us how he dealt with Mr. Peter Obi and how he talked to him like a child. When I told him that they should not have made that request, he reminded me that two kings cannot reign in the same kingdom. ‘I want him to go, since if he leaves I will become the Party Leader as well as the Chairman of its Board of Trustees, fund the party and ensure APGA wins Imo and Abia States and make in-roads into other States. This, he noted, will prepare him for the bigger task in 2019, when he would have become the most important Igbo politician.” He went as far as striking his chest saying “Ndi Igbo ga ama na abum nnukwu Nmanwu, na Akpokuedike abata go n’ogbo.”
After listening to what I consider as delusional confession, I invited a few of my colleagues to go and meet Mr. Peter Obi and find out the veracity of what Obiano said. Obi said that the meeting with the Bishops was confidential, but that since Obiano has made it public, he confirmed that they actually requested him to leave APGA for them.
I went home a sad man, but still believing that the situation would change, but it continued.
Right from the celebration of his first 100 days in office, I told him that he needed Mr. Peter Obi.
When eventually I was invited to a radio programme and I was asked if Obi’s leaving APGA was of any consequence, I said yes, since he was the backbone of the party for 12 years. You will recall that in December 2013, the party gave him an award as the Most Faithful Party Member. I also called for support for Jonathan and attempted correcting a jingle confusing people on how to vote for Jonathan during election. However, the next day I was relieved of my position, which I was glad he did, since I was tired of witnessing his exhibition of unparalleled wickedness.
I decided to write this piece when I saw the video Anambra State Government and APGA leadership sponsored against Obi entitled “Obi: the Inconsistency of a Man”, which I understand the State Government budgeted over N350 Million for the mass production of 5 million copies for free distribution.
As I conclude, I want people to ponder on how a man who never thought of being Governor is so wicked that all he wishes for a person that made him a governor is death. The 9 lepers Jesus cured that did not come back to thank Him at least went their way and did not join other Jews to crucify Christ.
Today, Anambra State is in a State of planlessness. All meaningful projects going on in the State are those started by Obi. Projects are done haphazard. He does not make inputs into projects unlike during the time of Obi, when he was always at the centre of the planning and executing of projects.
It is pertinent to state clearly that despite Obi’s giant strides that led to Anambra State having then best network of roads in the State and his non-indebtedness to banks, Obi still left 75 Billion Naira in cash and investment for the State in three parts:
- Local Currency
- Foreign Currency
Now, consider the following:
- While the local Currency component totaling close to N30 Billion naira in cash has been spent, the assets/investment are being sold to companies of doubtful ownership, like the Onitsha Hotel and Convention Centre.
- Today, the 156 Million Dollars (about 26 Billion Naira) saved in foreign currency is valued over 38 Billion Naira due to interest accrued and rate of exchange. Ask Obiano if he has added one dollar to the savings after one year in office.
- Thank God Obi asked his Commissioners to submit the statement of accounts of Anambra State before the handover, otherwise Obiano should be man enough to deny that no money was left for him, which is what he goes about telling people.
- He said he had attracted almost 2 Billion Dollars to the State, ask him if any of those organizations he has continued to sign MoUs with has invested 1 kobo in the State.
- While Mr. Obi supported local industries, example being the purchase of INNOSON Vehicles for Anambra monarchs, Schools, towns and organizations, Obiano buys vehicles from India. He should tell us the reason.
- While Obi had none of his family members in Government, Obiano appointed all his family members to the generation he could remember and relations in Government. He even created non-existent posts to accommodate them.
- Today, unlike in the past, what we have in Anambra State is a Government lacking planning, enmeshed in drunkenness and womanizing
- Anambra today spends more money in advertising projects, mostly done by his Predecessor and passing them off as his.
- Let Anambrarians ask Obiano how much Peter Obi used as security vote and how much he collects today. At least there is N700,000,0000 (seven Hundred Million Naira) difference.
- Obi flew economy, but today the Governor and his wife charter separate planes wherever they travel to, both within and outside the country not minding the cost or the wastefulness. Obi stayed in average hotels where he paid less than N100,000 per day, but today Obiano stays in Transcorp Nicon where about N500,000 is paid per day.
- As Governor Obi offered UNDP the Anambra Lodge to use at Abuja and the State reaped tremendous fruits from the relationship, today Obiano has given them quit notice and is threatening to evict them by force.
- Because Obi was more concerned with executing projects, he did not commission most of his projects, what Obiano does is to commission and claim that his Government did them, example is the Lab at the Ministry of Works and the Revenue House both in Awka that were recently commissioned.
- It may sound incredible, but the Anambra State Permanent Secretary in Lagos was posted back to Awka because he allowed the office to use their old pilot vehicle to run errands for Obi.
- The one at Abuja was also re-posted to Awka because they felt she is close to Obi
- Against EXCO advice, he goes about flagging off road construction without paying mobilization on them. He knows fully that the State does not have money for all the projects thus bulldozers and caterpillars leave the sites after the flag-off is over.
- Prudence is never his watchword. Against all advice, Governor Obiano through the office of the First Lady spent sums close to N1billion on Christmas lights/decorations and fireworks whereas many roads in Anambra State are begging for rehabilitation.
- To avoid unnecessarily plunging the State into debt, I cautioned him against borrowing money, but he said to me that it was necessary. In fact he is waiting to do so after election.
- He recently contributed vehicles and cash to the APC campaign and yet he has not bought a bicycle for the man that made him Governor nor Jonathan’s PDP he said he was supporting.
Ndi Anambra, Ladies and gentlemen, how do you advise a man who feels that he has finally arrived and does not have any need for advice? How do you advise a man who never allowed you into his office? How do you relate with a person who is full of ingratitude for the man who made him and us who worked tirelessly to enthrone him? Though a brother and friend, he has refused to see any of those who contributed funds to his campaign and has refused to call and say thank you to a campaign organization that installed him? Is this not ingratitude excelsis?
If you were in my shoes what else would you do but to accept your sack and move on. I have accepted my fate and I have equally moved on. However, I still expect that one day my brother and friend, Governor Willie Obiano will appreciate my efforts in enthroning him and extend to me and all that worked for him the ‘dividends of democracy’ and acknowledge the truism that without His Excellency Governor Obi there would never have been His Excellency Governor Obiano and power would not have shifted from Agulu to Aguleri.
Thank you and God bless Anambra State.
JOEMARTINS OSITADINMA UZODIKE BARR. (CHIEF)
- FORMER HON. COMMISSIONER, MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, CULTURE AND TOURISM 2012-2014
- FORMER DIRECTOR GENERAL, WILLIE OBIANO CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION
- SPECIAL ADVISER (POLITICAL) 2014-2015