AFTER about seven years of superficial veiling of the strained relationship between Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State and his immediate predecessor, Chief Peter Obi, the veneer restraints and pretexts appear to have fallen overboard; the recent decoys deployed by Obi’s media handlers in seeking to grimly smear the image of Governor Obiano in the consciousness of the public so suggests.
Very recently, the social media space was awash with reports of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s purported placement of Gov. Willie Obiano in their watch-list. The commission was said to have formally written the Immigration Services advising them to keep tabs on the governor and ensure that he does not escape abroad after handing over power to his successor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, on the 17th of March, 2022.
These speculations were predicated on trumped-up allegations of financial crimes against the governor. How puerile! One wonders why and how such primly discreet investigative duty of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission can or should be conceived, planned, monitored and almost executed on the media space, majorly on social media.
A close investigation points to ex-governor Obi’s camp as the source of the disinformation designed to malign Obiano, but which to greater measures, ridicules the sponsor and the corporate image of the nation’s foremost economic and financial ethos gatekeepers – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In their obsession to undermine the nobility of Gov. Obiano’s person and impugn the respect and privileges of his office, these Obiano’s unkindest detractors would neither spare the integrity of hallowed agencies of government, nor mind the collateral maleficent injuries and revulsions their deliberate lies cause the public.
In what appears Obi’s final push to get at Gov. Obiano before his tenure rounds off, his men have chosen a suicide-like struggle in trying to unearth and impose validity on their age-long speculative media charges of financial impropriety against the governor.
The persistent efforts of Obi’s men to force their unending lies against Obiano into the consciousness of the public make discerning minds to ruminate over the root of the seemingly intractable feud that would not allow the governor and his predecessor peaceable thoughts about each other. Nobody is deceived by the deafening figures and weighty accusations bandied by Obi’s men on which Obiano’s purported hound rests.
It is notable that since Obi, who ruled Anambra State for eight years under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) handed over to Obiano on March 17, 2014, and jumped ship to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) (October, 2014), the relationship between the two illustrious sons of Anambra has increasingly been in tatters.
This, despite the efforts of respected personages across the clergy, traditional stools and public service to bridge the gap between the two and stem the predictable conflict amongst the numerous admirers of the two feuding political leaders.
Although Chief Obi has repeatedly made public pronouncements that he holds nothing against his successor, it is public knowledge that he has been seething over Obiano’s failure or refusal to refund him over N7bn he claimed he expended on the electioneering that produced Obiano as his successor. This core subject of Obi’s anger was disclosed by the same voices from Obi’s camp, who have ever since the disagreement resumed maintained surreptitious calls for Obiano’s head; investing heavily in sponsored media distractions of his government, and vainly insisting always on pronouncing non-performance verdict on the governor.
It all started with Obi’s hyped claim of N75b bequest to Obiano. This was so slyly sold to the public by Obi’s men that Obiano’s belated sound rebuttal of the validity hardly corrected the popular impression that had quickly taken a life of its own. It is of remarkable note that when engaged at enlightened fora, the same Obi’s men did openly submit to Obiano’s superior position that there was no such cash legacy. But they would mischievously go back to the false claim with the belief that the public already fell for the bait.
Based on that assumed initial moral high ground, they would latch on the phantom N75b bequest each time they dream-up unsubstantiated vicious attacks on Obiano, hoping always to mine from the naivety of the gullible public. But Anambra people, who know and understand their ex-governor very well, would not be deceived in perpetuity by Obi. They would not be pulled by the nose by the man whose negative wishes for Obiano have left bereft of fair judgment of an administration into whose hands he dutifully laboured to entrust Anambra.
Obiano’s sin against Obi, for which his crucifixion is sought by his benefactor-in-chief, could only be compared to Senator Chris Ngige’s ‘mortal sin’ against the Uba’s which caused the liberation of Anambra State from the morbid stranglehold of voracious godfathers who would not let Anambra be. Ngige suffered untold woes and made huge personal sacrifices to live his conviction for free and better Anambra. Today, Obiano is on the throes of vile ambushes tactically deployed by a subtle but vicious capitalist godfather who would not let his (godfather’s) presumed gains go without putting up a good fight. And the godfather cares less how much goes into the ruinous fight insofar as the target suffers commensurate character bruises.
This explains the abysmal condemnation Obiano and his administration suffer in Obi’s hand. In the many years of Anambra’s acclaim as the safest state in Nigeria, Obi’s men find it very hard to commend the gargantuan feat; Anambra Schools win almost every winnable academic trophy under Obiano’s watch, it is Obi’s labour; Obiano changes the infrastructural bearing of Awka, and these deliberate naysayers, talking through their hats, would announce the collapse of the three flyovers along the Amawbia-Awka axis of the express way, even before the flyovers were completed; they would readily offer the bill of quantities and imaginary cost of the construction.
The list of Obi’s negative insinuations against Obiano abound. Neither the imposing International Convention Centre almost completed in Awka, nor the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport built and made functional by Chief Willie Obiano in record time of less than two years could elicit any kind sentiment from Obi’s camp.
Rather, Obi’s men would barefacedly lie that Obiano selfishly built the airport in his hometown; they would dispel a project that was Obi’s missed dream as a white elephant venture. Shouldn’t there be a limit to anger, envy, sense of loss or other human passions? The instances of Obi’s struggle to negate everything Obiano expose the ex-governor’s inane affectation in judging his successor. Such profoundly subjective judgments are therefore suspect and cannot be trusted by discerning minds.
If I were Chief Peter Obi, I would rather advise a positive critique of Chief Willie Obiano’s government. This will make room for objective critiquing of the low and high points of the administration. Only this approach will show Obi a statesman whose interest in national politics is public knowledge. Obi should spare the rest of us the victimhood he is nursing over the poor returns his godfather enterprise yields him. Obi should know that he is not and cannot be as saintly as he would want the public to believe. His repeated attacks on Obiano against Obiano’s unbleached amenable disposition to peace in their fold is a worrisome backlash on Obi’s public image.
It is only ennobling for the aggressor here to sheath his sword in his interest and that of society. Obiano might not be the best thing to have happened to Anambra; neither Ngige, Obi nor any before them was. But Obiano’s sincerity of purpose in governance, his compassionate heart and his ingenuous choices in governance have unarguably offered the state some of the best things it craves after, topmost of which are high sense of safety and freedom (the outburst of insecurity surrounding the gubernatorial election, regardless), the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport, the widely celebrated choice of a successor in Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who, he truly believes, is greater than he (Obiano) is; and more importantly, an emboldened Anambra spirit. Chief Obiano is finishing strong, no doubt; and no amount of willful subterfuge by whosoever will deny him the reward of his impactful labour in service to Anambra and ndi Anambra.
Anarado write from Adazi-Nnukwu, Anambra State