Awka and the needless paranoia about Peter Obi, By Valentine Obienyem

Posted by News Express | 12 May 2015 | 4,038 times

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In recent times, Awka procured the state-owned Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) to produce two damaging documentaries on the former Gov. Peter Obi.

The two documentaries cost Awka almost half a Billion Naira to mass produce and air on different media houses. They were also freely distributed to the people of the state and even beyond.

I understand that often, ABS is compelled against their will and even against broadcast ethics, by Awka to use such materials, sometimes threats of sack are applied.

Yesterday, as I woke up, I received different text messages that ABS commentary after the news was on Obi. I understand that the commentary was actually brought by a Media Aide to the Governor. It is suspected that it was written in the Governor’s Office, but without surety of the actual aide that wrote it. The commentary came under the false name of Obiora Aghadinuno.

In my usual efforts to get factual details, I called somebody in Awka, who said he did not listen to the commentary, but that it was likely to be a false information. He predicated his position, according to him, on the fact that ABS news commentaries on Mondays are on their editorials, which normally bear no name. Therefore, it means that today’s commentary is special to Awka.


The commentary was a frontal attack on the former Governor in words as if they were describing a common criminal. The commentary accused him of running a parallel Government by visiting schools and donating money to them. The commentary also accused him of shunning state functions. Strangely, the commentary also suspected his philanthropic gestures.

As the Governor of Anambra State, Obi noticed that with the right and continued support, the institutions of state in Anambra will do very well. In fact, as the Governor, he started calling on Anambra people to channel the resources they would otherwise use for Epicurean indulgence to support the state in various forms. He accompanied most of those that supported the state to present their support to institutions that benefitted. You will recall that when Chief Emma Bishop Okonkwo Foundation donated ambulances to the state, he made him to accompany him to deliver them to those that benefitted. This is a way of telling them that the state appreciated their support.

As a former Governor, Obi now appeals to wealthy institutions and organisations to give him money. He donates the money to schools and worthy causes. Since he left office, he has donated to the poverty programme of Anglican Diocese of Ekwulobia, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, and Methodist Church in the state, among many others. He has visited and/or donated money to schools in the North and other South-East states. He has been to Obollo Eke and Adani, remote parts of Enugu State. After each visit, the people of the state would write him, thanking him, and encouraging him to even do more.

Being from Anambra, Obi gives a chunk of the donation to schools in the state. Last week, he visited St. Augustine Primary and secondary School, Nkpor. Curiously, Awka sponsored a commentary against such gestures, even when he visits only Church-owned schools.

Obi does not shroud such visits in secrecy for supporting institutions to appreciate and offer more support.

Why is Awka so paranoid about Obi? They went to the extent of saying that he was not known for philanthropy. Obi engages in inconspicuous philanthropy believing that when one’s left hand gives alms that the right should not know about that. Let me give just one example. Before he became Governor in 2006, he was the highest donor to the new St. Patrick Cathedral, Awka. In fact, against his wishes, the former Bishop of the Diocese, the late Most Rev. Simon Okafor, announced it publicly during the dedication. That was how people got to know about that. A man who single-handedly sponsored the election of Awka as a Governor cannot be said to be stingy, without differentiating between that and prudence.

The commentary raised the issue of 75 Billion (cash and investment) Naira left by Obi. I am happy the issue will continue to re-occur. In fact, now that governors are only bequeathing debts to their states, the magic of how Obi, in spite of all his achievements, managed to save billions should be a national discourse. If I were Obi, I would visit the moon and say it for the entire world to hear, simply because Awka goes about telling people that no money was left.

I have told the story of a deity whose temple was damaged by an earthquake. The custodian of the deity helped in its final destruction saying it was a shame that a god, the deity, could not even defend his own temple. Former leaders must be prepared at all times to defend their legacies, especially when there is deliberate move to obliterate them. How can you explain that projects Obi did in his first tenure are re-commissioned today by Awka after replacing the initial plaques?

Let those close to Awka drum it into his ears that he is simply competing with himself, which is not necessary.

I am sure Awka apologists will come on with their usual attacks. They even named me as one of the enemies of Awka for attempting to correct their mis-information. Oya, over to you! Go on and accuse me of driving a wedge between Awka and Obi, when what I have done is to correct the destructive commentary Awka sponsored against him.

I may not have answered all the questions raised by the commentary and for this I call for your understanding as we may together sympathise with Tai T’ung, who in the thirteenth century issued his History of Chinese Writing with these words: “Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished.” For the same reason, Ibn Ichallakan apologised for the flaws in his book, The Obituaries of Men of Note, saying that, “Allah has not permitted any book to be faultless except the Koran.” Pardon the faults in this write-up.

Obienyem is Media Aide to ex-Governor Peter Obi. Photo shows Peter Obi and incumbent Governor Willie Obiano when the going was good.

Source: News Express

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