By Valentine Obienyem
I read snippets from a number of e-rats of Agu Awka on how saintly Odogwu Awka is for not dealing with Mr. Peter Obi the way Hope dealt with Okorocha.
At the commencement of the so-far wasted seven years of the on-going tenure, some highly-placed Anambrarians invited me to their houses just to know how Mr. Obi was faring considering the way Odogwu Awka was treating him. I informed them that Obi, being conversant with human nature, did not allow such things to affect him. One of them almost shed tears, telling me that he was not likely to survive the kind of treatment meted out to Obi by Odogwu. He knew what he was saying because he was part of the negotiations that saw that incompetent being foisted on everybody! The full story of the scam that produced him will be told in due season!
Now, between Okorocha and Obi, who has suffered the worst, taking into cognizance the person undergoing the merit of his mis-governance?
Odogwu Awka was asked to come back for governorship campaign from overseas at a time he was begging to be made a board member in Orient Petroleum. Having used his retirement benefits to buy a house in the USA, he was living in penury. It was the likes of his present Chief of Staff that ensured he did not die of hunger. It was Chief Okey Ezibe that paid his air fare to Nigeria.
The least persons sponsored for elections can do is to have their own money for small expenses. Back in Nigeria, Odogwu Awka did not have money to purchase a car or even hire one for his own use nor could he afford to lodge in a hotel or engage in the pleasures he loves so much. All this, as well as the Nomination Form, were paid for him. He was practically parading Government House soliciting funds from those he saw to “feed and run around”.
During the campaigns, he delegated his Deputy (Running Mate) to sign for all monies released to him for the election.
On the day he was sworn in as Governor, Odogwu Awka did not even see Mr. Peter Obi (his immediate predecessor and benefactor off to his car, despite the urging of Senator Uche Ekwunife that it was also part of protocol aside from expressing gratitude for what Obi had done for him.
During his first Executive Council (ExCo) Meeting, OdogwuAwka told those present that he did not want anybody to mention Peter Obi’s name for any reason; that by his second year in office Obi would become a past tense. He often threatened to sack his Commissioners if they ever referred to Obi in whatever they said or did. In fact Chief Joe-martins Uzodike was sacked because of that. He is alive and can confirm that.
This is coming from a man who was elected 100% on the strength of Obi’s performance and campaign for him. Even today, when the likes of Arc. Callistus Ilozumba, Chief. Barr. Joemartins Uzodike, Dr. Patrick Obi and Prof. Stella Chinyere Okunna recall the gory tale, one could see goose pimples all over them.
A few days after Odogwu Awka was sworn in, he invited some important stakeholders and asked them to tell Peter Obi not to come to Anambra State again. His exact words were: “Two kings cannot be in the same kingdom”.
He had actually requested security agencies to stop Obi from entering the State, but they could not carry out an order they probably considered as ridiculous and lunatic.
Odogwu Awka commenced governance by contracting the removal of posters and bill-boards of Obi from Anambra State. He would come to the ExCo meeting and tell them that he smelt misappropriation of funds and charged members to look for anything possible that would indict Obi. To that end, he sponsored over 25 petitions against Peter Obi to the EFCC, but each of them lacked merit, and wound up ignobly.
Psychological torture is worse than physical torture. Tortures are also measured from the circle it is coming from. Imagine an Okorocha that did not have a hand in Hope’s emergence and an Odogwu Awka that did not contribute anything, not even words towards his election; an Okorocha alleged to have enriched himself and his cronies from the coffers of the State and an Obi whose prudence enabled him to save billions of Naira that have since been stolen and squandered.
One of Odogwu Awka’s early moves in office was to sell off Obi’s dollar savings for the State.-eyed, he shamefully started denying having met any money in the Treasury. Seven years after, all the people hear is that all inherited contracts shall be completed.
The wicked antics of Odogwu Awka are deadlier than whatever Hope has done.
If Hope met the type of money Odogwu Awka met in the Imo treasury, he would be celebrating Okorocha. Odogwu Awka had billions, no outstanding debts in salaries, pensions and payments for contracts done!
The first meeting Odogwu Awka had with Obi after he became Governor was at the Onitsha Lodge. Though the meeting was strictly between two of them, two days later, one group tagged “Omambala Brothers” placed an advertisement in several newspapers warning of a meeting where demands for campaign money were made and so on and so forth. Between Obi and Odogwu Awka, who could have been responsible for such a hateful and vicious imagination?
What Peter Obi has borne from the venomous attacks by Odogwu Awka are incomarable in Nigerian politics. We thank God for making Obi strong. I know a lot of insiders that broke down while feeling for Obi such that Obi was even the one consoling them. He often tells such people that God allows everything to happen for a purpose.
Beyond threatening his ExCo, aides and cronies, how can one explain Odogwu Awka committing half a billion Naira for one Egbuna Amuta to produce video clips on Peter Obi and distributing them freely across Anambra State and to his friends and cronies? Furthermore, many Nigerians observed with dismay the vehemence with which Odogwu Awka fought against Peter Obi becoming the Vice-President of the country. It is on record that he “invested” millions of Naira from the State treasury in that hate campaign; using the likes of Ulasi from Nnewi as anchor.
How many Nigerians know that in the early months of his tenure, Odogwu Awka wrote to the then President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan requesting that Peter Obi be removed as a member of the Economic Management Team and a member of the Agric Committee and be replaced by himself. When it was explained to him that Obi was so appointed on his personal qualification and not as Governor, Anambra State, Odogwu Awka ignorantly insisted that he too was qualified for that strategic appointment.
Going further, it also beats the imagination that about 80% of Odogwu Akwa’s over 2,000 assistants (e-rats) were appointed because they shouted “Obi is a fool” on Facebook. Many more of such e-rats are being engaged with a singular purpose to vilify Peter Obi. Some years back, the back and some inside pages of Newspapers earned millions of Naira from the Anambra State Treasury by providing space for hack writers, including Odogwu Awka’s present Commissioner for Information, to pour obloquy on Peter Obi.
When it appeared that Obi was unfazed by the attacks against him, Odogwu Awka took the battle to Obi’s home town by conniving with the then Chief Judge of the State to relocate a Court meant for Agulu to another town. He also abandoned all on-going projects in Agulu; he only managed to complete the Agulu Lake Hotel, while abandoning its accompanying infrastructure. Interestingly, funds had been set aside by the Obi administration for the project’s completion.
Odogwu Awka has been fanning the embers of disunity in Agulu by manipulating the process of electing a President-General (PG) for the town with his Caretaker contrivance. How he thinks that will affect Peter Obi also beats the imagination as he has no idea of the nature and resilience of the people. If he likes, let him even appoint caretakers in all the villages in Agulu and get them continue shouting “ we are searching for peace”, in a town that has remained peaceful.
It is on record that the Obi administration completed all the projects it inherited from the Chris Ngige administration. Alas, Odogwu Awka has neglected practically all the worthy projects he inherited from Peter Obi, including the strategic Awka and Nnewi Malls that are currently being taken-over by the private sector.
With the on-going altercation between Hope and Okorocha in Imo State, many discerning Nigerians ask why Odogwu Awka’s aides are drawing comparisons between their principal and Peter Obi. They even made allusion to Obi’s often empirical and scholarly presentations.
Why are they so unhappy over presentations Nigerians look forward to everyday? In five incarnations, Odogwu Awka would not be able to replicate one among those almost routine presentations of Obi. I follow some of the speeches they write for him, where interjections such as “Ana akukwa aka n’ ebea” (There is supposed to be some clapping at this point) always form part of his speeches. Can’t he even think for himself?
In his seven years as Governor so far, Odogwu Awka has been craving and paying for some of the exact awards Peter Obi received, without replicating the toils that attracted those awards. For instance, soon after Obi won Thisday Governor of the Decade Award, Odogwu Awka’s aides are seeking an organisation that will give him something similar by the end of the year – for a huge price, of course.
Indeed, what Okorocha is supposedly going through at the hands of Hope in Imo pales into insignificance in comparison with the sustained, vicious attacks of Odogwu Awka and his cohorts against Peter Obi in Anambra State. Now on the verge of paranoia, who would be surprised to hear that it was Obi who instigated the USA authorities to stop Odogwu Awka from travelling the day he planned.
An objective character appraisal of Odogwu Awka and Hope of Imo will be very revealing.
With his tenure running out, Odogwu Awka and his aides might well be wondering how to explain the 5%-completion stage of the various “roads” he flagged off with fanfare. Would they count them as liabilities or assets?
These and more are all coming from a man who supposedly rendered a public apology. The silliness of man shall be revealed in the fullness of time.
*Obienyem is SA (Media) to Peter Obi