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Andy Uba targets another big Anambra business for destruction, as he de-markets Air Peace

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WHILE the Anambra people have yet to get over the role of Senator Andy Uba, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 6 gubernatorial election in their state, in the destruction of the famous Ibeto Cement brand founded by Chief Cletus Ibeto from Nnewi, the controversial erstwhile senator has doubled down.

  Uba was the powerful Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Matters to President Olusegun Obasanjo when the federal government took a number of punitive measures against Ibeto Cement which was then competing effectively with major cement brands like Dangote, promoted by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, then a close friend of both Obasanjo and Uba.

Uba has this time started a campaign to de-market Air Peace, West Africa’s largest airline, founded by Allen Onyema from Mbosi in Ihiala Local Government Area, also of Anambra State.  

In a document circulated on the social media by a shadowy group working for Uba, the so-called Coalition for True Democracy wrote a litany of supposed infractions by the leading airline, including what it called its collusion with the Anambra State government to commission Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport at Umueri in Anambra North Local Government Area, last Saturday.

It even took the campaign against Air Peace Chairman personally by attacking Onyema, a respected lawyer.

According to Sam Okolo, the purported leader of the phantom coalition, “more facts are emerging on the role played by Air Peace Chief Executive, Onyema Allen (sic) in the controversy surroundings (sic) the Anambra Airport”.

Air Peace had positioned two planes in Abuja and Lagos to transport passengers to Anambra, but couldn’t take off because the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) could not authorise it on grounds of insecurity in the state, prompting observers to wonder if Anambra is as insecure as such places as Maiduguri, Jos and Kaduna where the airports are open.

“It is horrifying that someone who wants to become the Anambra State governor is unabashedly leading a campaign for the destruction of Nigeria’s foremost air carrier which has brought pride, joy and employment as well as business opportunities to our people”, observes John Okoli, an air traffic controller in Canada before relocating to Nigeria five years ago.

“Those of us from Aguata could not have imagined a few days ago that Andy, our brother, could set out to frontally ruin a big business started by a fellow from the Anambra South Senatorial Zone which Andy had the privilege to represent in the Senate for a whole eight years, with all the controversy about his part in the dangerous drama which killed Ibeto Cement, also promoted by someone from the same senatorial zone”.

Angus Isima, a retired pilot and now an aviation consultant in Lagos, says that Onyema and his Air Peace deserve praise for their patriotism rather than false, misleading and mischievous allegations.

“Every onye Anambra”, he states, “knows Allen has decided to build a hanger at Anambra International Airport instead of Lagos and Asaba where he has been offered free and large swath of land.

“The hanger will service not just his large and growing fleet but also planes of other airlines and private planes, which will bring revenue to our people, create jobs and business opportunities.

“He is also working hard to attract Embraer Corporation of Brazil, the world’s fourth largest civil aircraft manufacturer, to build its African regional headquarters in Anambra State”.

Greg Okafor, a leading Lagos-based lawyer and former Ihiala Local Government Chairman, regards Uba’s de-marketing of both Air Peace and Onyema as utterly unpardonable.

“Allen has been a major donor to major development initiatives in the state without making noise about it”, he points out, citing the entrepreneur’s enormous financial assistance to the state university.

“It will be nice if Andy avails Anambra people of what he has done to uplift Anambra people, including constituency projects he attracted to places like Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Orumba North, Orumba South and even his Aguata LGAs when he was their senator.”

Dr (Mrs) Ijeoma Nsiegbu, who runs a new management consulting firm in Abuja, considers it very unfortunate that Senator Uba “has through sustained acts over the years has cut the reputation of a dedicated destroyer of businesses by fellow Anambra indigenes”.

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