Like other Nigerians, I came across the above titled advert which was published in almost all the newspapers in the country.
The advert asked many questions bordering on whether Mr.Peter Obi really left the money they said he claimed he left. In line with investigative journalism and objectivity, I called the phone number of the group that placed the advert to clarify the issues they raised, but the phone number ostensibly given to enable concerned members of the public to contact them was not functional.
I sent an email to the address they provided and that, too, did not go. I then took the trouble to physically visit the place they gave as their address; behold there was nothing like that in the village! In sum, I have since confirmed that everything about the group is fake. The only safe conclusion is that the group is faceless and non-existent.
The Ezi Anam people, in whose community the faceless group was supposed to domicile, said they knew nothing about any such organization. It just did not exist in their community and they condemned the malicious publication through a newspaper publication that appeared on page 12 of The Sun newspaper of April 1. The publication was signed by the President General of the community Town Union, Mr. Alex Okonkwo, who commended Mr.Peter Obi for being the first Governor to remember their area in terms of road construction, provision of healthcare facilities, improvement in education, among others.
In Anambra, it is easy to verify if Obi really constructed over 800 kilometres of roads. It is easy to verify the over 700 buses given to schools in the State; the over 500 patrol vehicles bought for security agencies in the State; the over 250 patrol vehicles given to communities for security; the return of schools to their missionary owners and the grant of over N6 Billion Naira to them for the rehabilitation of those schools; the building of the first Teaching Hospital in the State; the profound transformation of missionary hospitals in the State; the provision of laboratories, sick bays, Libraries, generators, sporting equipment, INTERNET and laptop computers (over 22,000) to schools in Anambra State and he listed the befitting schools; over 1000 transformers to communities; the opening up of the tourism and commercial propensities of the State through on going shopping malls and hotels; the construction of over 30 bridges in the State; the building of the first secretariat for the State; among others.
Obi said that he left cash as well as investments made with money he saved as the Governor of the State. He took time to detail everything, including cash balances; money saved in dollars in banks for which we understand he got certified bank statements of account. Obi said that he invested US $156 Million (about 26 Billion Naira) in foreign denominated bonds. He mentioned the amount and the banks where those savings are â€“ Fidelity, Diamond and Access Banks â€“ in the full glare of the Managing Directors of those banks. If as at today, none of the banks has said it is not true, what is this faceless group of no known address talking about? Peter Obi gave N27, 000,000,000.00 (Twenty-Seven Billion Naira) as the worth of Local investment of Anambra State under him and this is verifiable. This is also not surprising, since he signed a law that made monthly saving mandatory in Anambra State. He presented certified documents indicating where the investments are. For instance, Anambra invested in SABmiller Plc, Orient Petroleum Plc, on-going malls and hotels in the State, among others. He left no liabilities in contracts as he had paid all contractors for certificates generated at the time he left office. Our investigations have shown that Next International LTD does not own one share, directly or indirectly, in Orient Petroleum. It also does not own anything in any of the Malls or Hotels being constructed in Anambra State. â€“ Onitsha, Enugu and Nnewi, Agulu.
As for Nextâ€™s shares in S A Bmiller, it is public knowledge that Next brought SABmiller to Nigeria in 1995 and has been doing business with the firm ever since. Next made them to invest in Anambra. If they had invested in another State, would anybody be talking about the interest of NEXT? The question for any reasonable person who wishes Anambra people well should ask today is: â€œIs it Peter Obi and his family that are being employed by the firm, or is it the good people ofAnambra State?There is no need being unhappy that Obi recorded and made available the money saved under Nigerian Independent Power Project (NIPP) under him. How can our people allow bad belle to becloud their sense of reasoning?
The faceless group also wrote that Obi collected N450 Million Naira as security votes monthly, when investigations long concluded show that Obi did not in his 8 years as the Governor, collect anything near to that amount. Even fiction writers must show some respect for reality!
There is no gainsaying the fact that Obi has restored the dignity of Anambra State and removed her from pariah status; that as at March 17, 2014, Chief Peter Obi did not owe any salary, gratuity or pension, but spent about 35 Billion Naira in eight years liquidating arrears of pension and gratuity owed Anambra workers since 1995; that it is now we appreciate what Dim Chukwuemeka Odumwgwu-Ojukwu saw to make him call on Anambrarians to vote for Chief Peter Obi in 2010 as his last wish. The day he was sworn-in,Ojukwu placed an advert in the newspapers that simply read: Peter Obi: Upon this Rock; that Dim later said he believed that Obi was an instrument for the restoration of the dignity of Igbo man; that everybody in Nigeria commends Obi for restoring peace toAnambra and maintaining that peace for eight year; that the day Obi presented his End of Tenure Report, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, impressed by the USA$156 Million Dollars savings, said he was sure no other State in Nigeria had such a saving. So far, no state in the federation has challenged Dangote on this matter. Let me call on the banks/Issuing Houses to clarify to us if Obi is owing them or raised bond contrary to his assurances that he did not engage in either. Let Fidelity, Diamond and Access bank tell Nigerians if under Obi, they are not holding over USA$50 Million Dollars each of Anambraâ€™smoney. We call on the faceless group to come out and engage us in public debate if they are sure of their facts.
We call on Governor Willie Obiano to focus on governance and ignore the faceless group whose agenda may be to thwart the cordial relationship between him and the former Governor.He should concentrate on delivering on his promises.
For Obi, he should forever remember that Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu told him that public service in our clime is a thankless job. He should not, because of a faceless group, fail in his fidelity to the good of the people.
Anigbo writes from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Mr. Egwu Ben Obasi, wrote from:
AFIKPO, Ebonyi State.