First it began with a rosy relationship that began from their days at the financial institution where Peter Obi was the chief financial investor and Willie Obiano was the Managing Director. The two gentlemen understood each other’s capabilities and abilities including inabilities. The relationship somehow resulted to the gubernatorial candidacy of Willie Obiano in the election that eventually brought about his take over of power from Peter Obi. He had Peter Obi’s full blessing. The two were fine and all was well under their joint political umbrella of the All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA].
Then, it happened. Out of nowhere unexpectedly, the former Governor of Anambra State under the APGA platform of whom the late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu pledged his last support for as the true APGA chieftain – announced his exit from the APGA and entry into the dreaded Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. The same PDP that had been responsible for rigging out the APGA during the 1999 political outing of the late Ojukwu as its presidential candidate. The PDP rigged in Chris Ngige in Anambra State and other gubernatorial candidates in the other south east states. Partly, through Ojukwu’s influence, APGA’s mandate was recovered in Anambra and Peter Obi was sworn-in as the governor. And Peter Obi knowing the towering effect of Ojukwu on the people of Anambra State and beyond, exploited it to the fullest extent until the death of Ojukwu. With Ojukwu’s death, Peter Obi dumped APGA and headed southwards for the PDP.
Instead of opening his true reasons for dumping the APGA to PDP, Peter Obi began a new campaign. He opened the door to campaign of calumny against the new governor of Anambra State. Peter Obi made the claim that the newly sworn-in governor chased him out of the party. He made the claim at several public gathering in his typical deceptive puppy-like demeanor. The coated attack on the governor marked the start of hostilities against the governor by Peter Obi and his surrogates – Valentine Obienyem, Mazi Odera, and others.
It did not take time for Peter Obi to unload his legendary milky-way claim that he had left the sum of N75billion for the incoming governor. He initially said it was all in cash. But when pressed by some media persons, he coiled back on his claim indicating that N75billion was not all cash but cash and investments. His surrogates continued to explain what and how they left N75billion. With each attempt, they came across as increasingly desperate to prove a point that was unclear because the benefit of proving that such monies were left behind does little to enhance delivery of governance in the State. So, to what point? Could it be that all Peter Obi wanted was just to malign the new governor?
With the outrageous claim came more outrageous claims. The duo of Valentine Obienyem and Mazi Odera [Stan Chira] took on the garnet of daily write ups on the person of the new governor. They went from calling him a drunkard to calling his wife, a mad woman who had mental issues. They lobbed stones and political Molotov-cocktails daily under the watchful instructions of the former governor – who had served his eight year term without the similar interference from Chris Ngige. The new Governor who came to the throne partly through the making of Peter Obi felt caged and uneasy to response to the claims made against his person. He did not want to let out the wrong impression about not being grateful for the honor bestowed on him.
But Peter Obi through his boys and surrogates refused to leave the stage like every other governor had done after their term in office had expired. They became increasingly emboldened in the weightiness of their allegations on the governor. They elevated their claim to say the governor was financially too extravagant and that he spent the larger percentage of the state resources on purchasing champagne and on night parties. They claimed he increased his security votes to over N1billion. The outrageous claims were unrelenting. And because Governor Obiano did not want to join issues, the Peter Obi boys saw a clear unhindered path to write their hearts away.
They even raised hell when Governor Obiano initiated the three vehicular flyovers in Awka. Peter Obi was first to crack the joke that Obiano would never be able to finish the project in four years. “Where will he find the money“? The duo of Mazi Odera and Valentine Obienyem took the cue and began a daily write up of caricatures and innuendos suggesting a drunkard Governor had taken on a task he can not finish in four years. Their write ups suggested the Governor was too drunk to know the state does not have the money for such a massive project. The attacks were unprecedented. But Obiano remained focused mute. With a little over a year, Obiano completed the projects and vehicles began plying the flyover. Peter Obi and his boys, like pack of scavengers ran, tails between their legs. And Instead of keeping silent, Peter Obi sent Mazi Odera to point faults at the quality of the work. As instructed, Mazi Odera without an iota of self shame or respect, launched another set of daily write ups pointing to what he saw as cracks in the concrete walls of the flyover. He was simply ignored.
With all the effort put forth by Peter Obi to malign Obiano, the question ought to be why? Why is Peter Obi hellbent on discrediting Obiano, his supposed godson? Why has Peter Obi dedicated the last two years to maligning the governor? Why would he not just walk away from the stage? He has had his eight years in office?
Obiano has done reasonably well in administering good governance in Anambra State. There is no question about that.
His efforts in checkmating kidnapping remains a landmark achievement. His security conference of the entire south east governors did a lot to checkmate the menace of kidnapping in the entire southeast. His efforts to open the agricultural potential of Anambra State marks another milestone for Anambra and his administration. Presently, Anambra has become one of the leading rice producers in West Africa. His efforts in attracting new businesses to Anambra State has exceeded all of his predecessors. The State capital has gradually begun to resemble a state capital through Obiano’s town planning efforts and beautification campaign. The transportation systems in Anambra has never enjoyed so much organization and support. Obiano’s effort in transport sector has brought about heavily subsidized transport systems through the many State owned buses that transport passengers from the many rural areas to all the urban areas in Anambra such as Ekwulobia, Nnewi, Onitsha and Awka.
The Obiano efforts are more. Recently, he launched an all Igbo radio station. The station is to help sustain the culture of the people of the state.
Anambra is doing well under Obiano. With more encouragement and constructive criticism, where necessary, Anambra will do even better. Peter Obi and his surrogates must understand this.