A response to Obiano: The Face of Wickedness
“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” … Joe Martins Uzodike
The above quote taken from the last paragraph of Joe Martins Uzodike’s 12-page drivel against Governor Willie Obiano aptly sums up the actual motive behind his attack. It also effectively places a heavy moral burden on his shoulders. Uzodike, immediate past Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism in Anambra State is deeply pained at losing the position of privilege and influence he had occupied for years. In the process, he cheekily breaks the code of silence of professional information managers and spins a bitter narrative in an open display of extreme unprofessionalism that lowers the esteem of the office he once occupied. Nevertheless, had Uzodike’s long epistle of hate been only about a sudden loss of privilege, it would have been easy to sympathize with him. Unfortunately, the long tendentious piece titled Obiano: The Face of Wickedness drips with bile, lies, malice and fecal jeremaid that if not refuted might be mistaken as a factual account by some segments of the audience.
In truth, reading Uzodike’s poisonous piece, I felt absolute pity for him. I could not easily get over the mental picture of the once powerful Joe martins Uzodike, now a broken man, weeping like a hapless widow in the public space. Where has dignity gone? Where has pride fled to? Whatever happened to manliness?
But then again, I reasoned that had Uzodike (Buzuzu as he is fondly called) acted with wisdom, he would probably have chosen the path of honour and chewed his sorrow in silence. However, he didn’t for obvious reasons. For one, Uzodike who is quick to preach the gospel of gratitude to others never seems to play by his own rules. As a Special Adviser to Governor Obiano on Politics, Uzodike was the ultimate enemy within. He led the Fifth Columnists that infiltrated the inner sanctum of governance, laying landmines for Obiano and digging up dirt from unknown places to splash on social media and embarrass the governor to demystify the symbol of political leadership in Anambra State.
For another, Uzodike is obviously afflicted by an uncommon post-exit-from-office disorder which took a turn to the worse when his dream of a high-profile appointment at the federal level suffered a stillbirth with President Jonathan’s failure to win his second term bid. Determined not to go down in silence, Uzodike has shown that he never fights fair, choosing to lash out at the man who never commanded his loyalty for one day all through his stint as Special Adviser on Politics. In so doing, he unwittingly drove the final nail in his own political coffin.
Now, a look at the particulars of Buzuzu’s hokum will tell us how –
- The Charge of wickedness – Uzodike says that Willie Obiano is the face of wickedness. And I wonder how that can be. Beyond giving him an opportunity to prove himself by appointing him as his Special Adviser, which he rewarded with an outright betrayal, what else did Obiano do wrong? And come to think of it, Uzodike likes to make a song and dance of his role as Obiano’s campaign DG but in actuality, he was so deliberately ineffective in that role that Hon Dubem Obaze had to be appointed to give verve to the campaign. Party insiders know that Uzodike never believed in the candidacy of Willie Obiano. His standard response to requests from the foot soldiers who played prominent roles in the campaign was that he was not in office to work but to make money – a brazen, mercantile and uncouth response. This same man as the Commissioner for Information, assiduously worked for the slow death of the organs of information dissemination in the state. For instance, Uzodike bought three re-furbished generators for ABS that broke down in less than one month after installation. What could be more wicked than that? Is it the very idea of playing the mole in government, the cankerworm, gnawing insidiously at the heart of your beneficiary while blowing a cool breeze to lull him into a false sense of safety? All through his stint, Obiano and his wife were the subject of cruel attacks on social media as the battalion of attack-dogs Buzuzu funded carried his instructions to the letter. And when he was finally asked to join his guerilla team fully and lead his current calumny campaign, he began to kick. Now, can wickedness be any shade darker than Joe Martins Uzodike?
- The Charge of Obiano not putting a kobo into his campaign – It is incredulous that Uzodike should speak with so much authority on a process in which his ineffectiveness was pointedly colossal. Is it really possible for anyone in Nigeria to run for public office without putting in a kobo in the campaign process? Uzodike has conveniently forgotten that I was personally involved in the entire campaign effort and that myself and Emeka Ozumba were drafted in to run a structure that made up for the inadequacies of his own feeble efforts. I can personally testify that Uzodike headed a campaign effort that had no media plan. Uzodike had no TV commercial to sell the Obiano candidacy. Whatever was seen on television that looked like a commercial was sponsored by Obiano’s friends. Buzuzu was too abuzz with hatred for Obiano to even do what was professionally expected of him. And I make bold to say that the question of who actually was Willlie Obiano was not answered until Ozumba and I resumed work. The entire storification of the Obiano candidacy, playing up his promise and strength was done by Emeka Ozumba and myself. Truth be told, Joe Martins Uzodike actually worked against the Obiano candidacy and continued to work against the Obiano administration until he found himself incapable of holding down his bitterness and then committed the gaffe in a radio programme that led to his eventual ouster. I still recall with vividness, his thunderous arguments with a colleague each time he tried to malign the governor even when he was serving as a Special Adviser. What more could be cruel?
- On the Charge of Obiano not knowing anybody in APGA – This is a very trite point but let’s just assume that it is worth our time to engage it. What does Uzodike really mean by this? If Obiano knew Governor Peter Obi, Chief Victor Umeh, Joe Martins Uzodike and a host of other party chieftains, who else was he supposed to know? However, no one is contesting that until his return from America, Willie Obiano had led his life as an astute technocrat. He was not involved in partisan politics. And lest we forget, it was this squeaky clean background that made him a clear favourite for the post. The party wanted an outsider that would have the strength of character to engender true reforms. Obiano fit the bill perfectly at the time. So, why should Uzodike turn around to talk as though everyone has been blighted by his peculiar memory loss?
- On the claim that Peter Obi and his wife begged Uche Ekwunife to allow Obiano – Honestly, if I were Uzodike, I wouldn’t put out this kind of argument. This is a meaningless hyperbole that can only work against his paymaster. I consider it demeaning to even imagine Governor Peter Obi bringing the weight of his office to utter disrepute by bowing before anybody for any reason whatsoever. Is Uzodike sincerely telling us about the kind of effete government they ran or simply lying to garnish his grievance? Does Uzodike have to lie to make a point? Is this a product of wisdom and experience or an irrational act of an emotive man? I leave the audience to judge.
- On the Charge of diverting campaign Funds to re-build his Country Home – This is also one of the utterly frivolous charges leveled against Obiano. Most people are aware that Obiano had a very successful banking career and a wise retirement plan. He was living in absolute comfort in Houston when he was chosen by party elders to serve Ndi Anambra. He demonstrated rare clairvoyance when he built the impressive Gech Auditorium in his large compound which became something of a fulfilled self-prophecy as it transformed into a mini state house when he was sworn in as governor. The truth is that Joe Martins Uzodike knows all these things but he chose to lie about them in pure revenge. We all know that when revenge is the motive, there is little fidelity to facts.
- On the Sack of Obi’s Commissioners – Again, my elder brother, Uzodike showed a poor grasp of the nuances of governance when he made this point. It is utterly delusional that Buzuzu had actually hoped that Obiano would retain every member of Obi’s cabinet for a long period of time. Haba! There is nowhere in our contemporary democratic experience where a governor has retained the entire cabinet of his successor throughout the duration of his own administration. Buzuzu should count himself lucky not to have been eased out when his erstwhile colleagues had to go. It is a normal administrative re-arrangement that helps the new man to come into the fullness of his office and eventually become his own man. It is even to Obiano’s credit that in the spirit of continuity, he still retains the services of some key members of Obi’s cabinet to date. Happily, none of them has played the same ignoble role that led to Uzodike’s ouster.
- On the Charge of Working against Obi’s Appointment as Aviation Minister – As a former Commissioner for Information, Uzodike should not be reminded of the journalism maxim which says that facts are sacred while comments are free. It is therefore embarrassing to see that almost all through his tirade, Uzodike paid scant attention to this maxim. For instance, he made a very wide-off-the-mark allegation that Obiano spent millions of naira to frustrate Obi’s bid for the position of Aviation Minister without adducing any evidence to substantiate his claim. Should we just believe his story because he told it? Is it not common knowledge that in the past one year, Governor Obiano has been so extremely busy to earn the trust and confidence of Ndi Anambra that the last thing he would do is to embark on a frivolous chase of imaginary enemies? Again, Uzodike seems to have forgotten that with Obiano’s background as a chartered accountant and a respected internal auditor, he cannot engage in a reckless spending of public funds in pursuit of a personal vendetta. But we can all forgive Buzuzu, seeing that people remember only what they choose to when their mission is destructive.
- Uzodike’s Embarrassing Inconsistency – A careful reader of Uzodike’s lengthy drivel can easily see that it is strewn with lies. And being a poor author who is solely blinded by his thirst for revenge, he had no patience to let anyone who is detached from his emotional baggage read through his epistle before rushing to share it. For instance, in one of his long winding paragraphs, he recalled that after he was appointed Special Adviser on Politics, he met Governor Obiano only once. In his own words, “I was never able to meet him again despite all my efforts through texts, email and the Chief of Staff and other eminent emissaries.” Yet in so many other places, he claimed that he had advised the governor against taking certain decisions that he considered wrong. He even quoted Obiano extensively in one instance, showing that he must have carried a tape recorder when they met or activated his phone’s recorder anytime they spoke on phone with a view to using it against him at some future date. Whatever was the case, he gave himself away when he wrote – “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.” Pray, how did Buzuzu know that Obiano thumped his chest when he spoke if he was not physically present with him? Yet he dubiously wrote that he was never able to meet him again despite titanic efforts. Such a tasteless lies! Buzuzu has been buzzing around with boats about a book he has written on his experience with Obiano. I hope that the book will not be published with such poorly conceived lies and inaccuracies. We are waiting for that book though.
- On the Charge that Investors have not Invested 1 Kobo in Anambra State – It is pathetic that Uzodike does not feel any stab of conscience when he spews his numerous lies. It is common knowledge that since signing the necessary agreements with the government of Anambra State, Coched Farms Limited, Ekcel Farms Limited, UDIPPCO Limited and Richborn Auto Industries Limited have all moved into Anambra State to begin operations. All these were widely reported in the media and are well known to Ndi Anambra. All these were accomplished in one year. All these investments came into a once dreaded state. Surely, Uzodike will have a rethink of his many lies someday.
- The Charge of Wastefulness – This is also another poorly conceived accusation which flies in the face of the solid achievements on the ground. What sense does it make to accuse a sitting governor of wastefulness when he is meeting all his financial obligations and executing projects that his predecessor dared not dream of? How can Buzuzu point a finger at a man whose adroit management of the resources of the state has led to an increase in workers’ salaries after one year in office? Is that how a wasteful governor runs his state? Buzuzu evidently thinks that he is addressing people who cannot make any deductive reasoning on their own but have to be led by the hand. Otherwise, he would have known that we are all witnesses to the changing landscape of Awka. By my reckoning, that is not a sign of wastefulness. Uzodike should save himself the heartache of comparing Obi’s lifestyle to Obiano’s. They are two separate individuals with totally different lifestyles and no lifestyle is better than the other. China’s Mao Zedong once declared, “Let a thousand flowers bloom,” while making an appeal for a world that is more accommodating of the many differences in life. Peter Obi and Willie Obiano are different persons. Everyone cannot live a puritanical life like the one portrayed by Peter Obi. Buzuzu ought to know this.
- On the Redeployment of Permanent Secretaries – Redeployment is a standard administrative procedure in any organized establishment. It goes with the territory. Uzodike is not making any earth shaking revelation in saying that the permanent secretaries in Lagos and Abuja were redeployed. But as we now know, everything is grist to the mill of a vengeful man.
- The Charge on Christmas Light – Uzodike over-reached himself with the claim that Governor Obiano spent N1bn on Christmas lights last year. This lie is as laughable as his charge of wastefulness. He has evidently forgotten that most people are aware that the governor had appealed to banks, construction companies and other corporates and wealthy individuals to assist the state by adopting the nearest roundabout or public space to decorate for Christmas. Because he is loved and trusted by the people, there was a rush to identify with his initiative by many companies and individuals. Still, if Uzodike has any hard evidence to prove that Governor Obiano actually spent N1bn on Christmas decoration, he is free to publish that.
- On the N75bn – Since their recent political misadventure in Abuja, former Governor Obi and his handlers have returned to seek for a new foothold in Anambra State with a basket of lies and half-truths. The most embarrassing of their recent gambit is the adoption of the N75bn he purportedly handed over to Obiano as their new swansong. Obi himself has been moving around radio stations to remind Ndi Anambra that he left N75bn in his handover note. A corollary to this seeming anxiety to perpetuate his legacy is the fact that at no time has Governor Obiano or his spokesmen challenged this hefty claim. Quite naturally, that bridge shall be crossed one day, but this is neither the time nor the place. The question then is, why does Obi feel extremely anxious to drum up this particular legacy? Is Anambra State not better today than he left it? Are workers’ salaries not being paid regularly even with the increment? And perhaps more importantly, has anyone complained to them that the state has become insolvent? Or is there something hidden under the carpet that they hope to conceal by regularly waving this particular legacy in our faces? Whatever the case may be, it remains the prerogative of the Governor of Anambra State to clear the air on what he inherited from his predecessor. It is also his choice to decide if it is necessary to break his silence and when it is appropriate to break that silence on it. Until then, Joe Martins Uzodike and his friends can carry on with their dance in the market square!
In conclusion, Joe Martins Uzodike’s diet of lies and despicable attempts to malign the Governor of Anambra State and expose him to ridicule is one of the regrettable learning curves of our nascent democracy. Nevertheless, one would have hoped that Uzodike and his sponsors would have enough wisdom to lick their brutal electoral wounds in dignified silence. But that has not been the case. Rather, they are hell bent on distracting Governor Obiano from his mission of building a state that will become the pride of the race in the next couple of years. The good thing though is that their ignoble mission has failed because their motive is as clear as daylight.
Senior Special Assistant on Media