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Published On: Fri, Apr 17th, 2015

Before Val Obienyem Destroys what is left of Peter Obi’s image – By Ejimonu Udenka


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Val Obienyem, a man who owes his name recognition merely to his association with Mr. Peter Obi has become very irritable lately and for reasons best known to him, has been threading on the “obscene and contemptible.” The vituperations he has been directing at the Anambra seat of power and the person of the governor have brought to the fore the disdain Mr. Obienyem has for either the office left by his boss barely a year ago, or the current occupant.

Prior to the recent rant, Mr. Obienyem had applied every gimmick possible in the social media, using all manner of proxies to concoct lies and attack governor Obiano with a view to whittling down his burgeoning profile as a performer, and sustain the myth of the Peter Obi legacy. His actions were executed without regard to Chief Obiano’s steadfast pursuit of the Continuity policy which brought him into office and the development strides evident in Awka capital and across the state.

Having functioned as a Media Aide to the former governor of Anambra State for eight years, one would have expected Mr. Obienyem to have understood the rudiments of the trade. Though a lawyer, Val has been wearing the toga of an Image manager  for his brother governor Obi, hence it has become necessary to draw his attention to the fact that today’s media Aide does much more than prepare press releases, set up press conferences, and handle responses to media questions and deal with negative publicity. These demonstrable skills are necessary for the job but they are largely tactical. In fact, what makes the most impact for clients and bosses desirous of courting the public glare like Mr. Obi has done  requires a well-thought out strategic direction in order to be sustainable.

Often I imagine how high Mr. Peter Obi’s reputational capital would have soared had his minders taken-up the gauntlet to craft an exit strategy that would enable him build and push a pan-Igbo agenda across the South-East. Undoubtedly, the gap goes a long way in explaining the quality of thinking around the office and the value-adding potentials of Mr. Obienyem while Mr. Obi presided over Anambra. What is in evidence so far is the fact Obi must have worked in company of purposelessly vindictive characters who never really got over the shock of leaving office. Had Mr. Obienyem and few of the denizens around the then governor Obi, mined the positives effectively, this constant look over the shoulder to define and protect Mr. Peter Obi’s legacy wouldn’t have been necessary, because history undoubtedly ensures there is a space for us all. 

Unfortunately, Val, having grown accustomed to the skewed perception of his boss as the best thing that ever happened to Anambra, never fathomed that anyone could dare dominate the space called Anambra in the way and manner the current governor and successor to his beloved Peter had. It is no longer news that Chief Willie Obiano, Akpokuodike, arrived the scene as a manager of men and resources with a suave disposition and in barely one year, vacuumed the cobwebs of delicately woven fabric of deceptively austere style that dictated governance in the state even whilst enriching a few.  

There is no doubt that Akpokuodike’s giant strides have not gone down well with Mr. Obienyem, hence his tantrums and ignoble dance like nwanza who dared his god

 to a wrestling bout.  Though inconsequential in the scheme of things, Mr. Obienyem tends to forget that he is not Mr. Peter Obi who is well placed to fend for himself should the need arise. But then, there are yet no cause for alarm, save for Val’s deliberate distortions in the media aimed at setting Obi and Obiano against each other.  

It is obvious that Val is taking his job too seriously hence he does not know where to draw the line. My humble advise is that he should beware, like the Soldier and statesman, Charles Joseph de Ligne, rightly observed “One could forgive the fiend for becoming a torrent, but to become an earthquake was really too much.”Val should thread softly, since throwing darts at one’s elder does not secure the place of his peers.

Over time, I followed the former governor Peter Obi and Governor Willie Obiano’s assumed spat and I have drawn the conclusion that it was largely restricted to the social media space where hirelings and unschooled lieutenants dominate.  I was very comfortable when I realized that Obiano’s media Aides remained largely aloof to the gossips fuelled by proxies, until recently when I read their reaction in main-stream rebuttal of Mr. Obienyem’s attack which he had carried on with on Facebook. Again, my advice to the governor’s Aides is to avoid getting sucked into the fray as that might distract them from the objective of publicizing good governance.  To Val, I say back-track from this ignoble path, less you drag your boss further down. He doesn’t need such now.

 

After all, it was the German Composer Ludwig van Beethoven who said on hearing that Napoleon had declared himself an Emperor, “He is an ordinary human being after all!…now he will put himself above everyone else and become a tyrant.” Peter Obi is now a respected citizen of Anambra. Let him enjoy the accolades that come with the office he once held, any attempt to pull down another in other to assert his pre-eminence would be counterproductive.

 

Udenka writes from Orumba North LGA (ejimonu247@gmail.com)

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