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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

When Lying Against Obiano Backfired, Eye Witness Account



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By Francis Igbokwe, reporting from Awka

A poorly hatched plan to smear the governor of Anambra State, Chief
Willie Obiano went awry midweek when the general public was informed
that the photographs of a private jet captured on the tarmac of the
Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu which were earlier published
as images of the aircraft the governor had chartered for a trip to
Abuja were actually pictures of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s
private jet. I was at the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu that morning
and witnessed it all.

Governor Willie Obiano boarding the Arik flight
Governor Willie Obiano boarding the Arik flight

While I waited for my Arik Airline flight to Abuja that morning, I saw
Valentine Obienyem, the media aide of former governor Peter Obi
snapping away with his camera at the parked aircraft while his boss
performed airport formalities with the visiting former Vice President.
Some eagle-eyed airport security operatives detected and accosted
Obienyem. A mild drama ensued between him and the operatives,
attracting attention but it was quickly resolved. However, moments
later, images of the aircraft flooded the social media from APGA
Alaigbo with a story that Obiano had chartered the jet for his trip to
Abuja. The story which ran under the heading “Obiano still chartering
flights” alleged that Governor Obiano had just flown out of Enugu with
13 aides in the private jet which those of us at the airport at the
time could still see parked on the tarmac while governor Obiano waited
for the same Arik flight to Abuja in the VIP Lounge. The story further
claimed that Obiano had spent $15,000 to charter the private jet that
would take him to a scheduled meeting in Abuja with some northerners
then concluded with the usual attacks on the governor’s person and
achievements. I was horrified to read that. It suddenly dawned on me
that most of the stories I had read on Facebook and elsewhere by APGA
Alaigbo may have been written by Valentine Obienyem. The dubious story
about the private jet was fabricated to create the impression that
Obiano was wasting money on chartered flights in the midst of
recession. But Obienyem and his sponsors had failed to think this one
through and created a terrible mess out of it.

Valentine Obienyem
Valentine Obienyem

As a journalist from Anambra State, I was horrified to see first-hand
and for the first time, the web of lies that Val Obienyem and his
internet boys have been weaving around my governor which I now deeply
regret that I had believed all along to be true. I am one of the many
Anambrarians who erroneously follow APGA Alaigbo on Facebook thinking
that his stories which are always critical of governor Obiano were
factual and true. But I felt gutted and disgusted that morning when I
noticed how Obienyem had cleverly framed governor Obiano up with a
totally false story that was made believable by the fact that the
governor was at the airport that morning and that there was a private
jet on the tarmac. I felt pity for the governor who has been
repeatedly cast in bad light by “clever” people like Obienyem and his
colleagues in an attempt to turn the people against him. I felt even
greater pity for him as I watched him boarding the same aircraft with
me from my window seat that morning while the private jet that he was
accused of hiring was still parked on the tarmac.

Indeed, after watching that sordid airport drama by Obienyem, I
decided that I would not forgive myself if I failed to write what I
saw and share with my fellow Anambrarians and other Nigerians before
it is too late. I personally think that Obienyem and his boys are
trying too hard and have gone too far in their efforts to frustrate
Obiano’s second term bid. I also think that creating such a
controversy over former Vice President Atiku’s aircraft is tasteless
and cruel. I learned that the Vice President had landed in Enugu on
his way to the 5th Nnamdi Azikiwe Annual Lecture holding in Awka that
morning. The former Vice President deserved more respect from his
hosts than Obienyem and his boys had accorded him with the noise over
his aeroplane. I am therefore not surprised to read somewhere that
Atiku had raised a very strong objection about that maltreatment to
former governor Peter Obi who is strongly believed to be sponsoring
the appalling activities of Obienyem and Stanley Chira who is the man
behind the mask known as APGA Alaigbo. If you ask me, I would advise
that our people should avoid a scenario like this because it does not
dignify us as a state that prides itself as the Light of the Nation.

Mazi Odera
Mazi Odera, Stan Chira, APGA Alaigbo, Oeraigbo, etc

As a concerned citizen of Anambra State, I also think that the time
has come to tell our former governor, Peter Obi to leave his successor
alone. It is no longer hidden that Obi is the one sponsoring the
endless campaign of calumny against Obiano for almost two years now.
Like so many Anambrarians, I had doubted this for a very long time
thinking that attacks on Obiano were fair criticism until I saw
Obienyem’s disingenuous airport drama last Wednesday morning. It
became clear to me that Obi is desperate to force Obiano out of the
Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia for reasons that many believe have to do
with his personal ego. It is said that Obi wants to show that he alone
decides who should rule Anambra State after him and how long each
ruler will rule.
I am personally horrified that a Papal Knight like Peter Obi who likes
travelling to Rome very often and taking pictures with Catholic nuns,
finds it impossible to forgive our governor even after he had tendered
a public apology to him before the dead body of their former principal
and fellow old boys in Onitsha in August this year. I consider it
ironic that Obi’s public rating rose recently after a famous public
speech on governance but he is busy trying to destabilize the
government of his home state which he helped establish.
I have followed politics in my home state for some time and I know
that people don’t always play by the rule. However, I am riled by the
fact that Obi who was distracted for a long time when he was governor
and even suffered impeachment has now become the most consistent
detractor of his successor, deploying his media aides to go after the
governor and create obstacles that will prevent him from his plan to
develop Anambra State from where Obi had left it almost three years
ago. My dear Anambrarians, I don’t know what to make of this. That is
why I decided to write what I saw at the airport that morning. I think
that governor Obiano is a victim of Peter Obi’s megalomania!

Francis Igbokwe can be reached at igbokwe2012@gmail.com

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