Ulaga Awka: The tragedy of Anambra state. By Valentine Obienyem
“Whenever Obi is asked about his greatest achievement in Anambra State, he refers to his ability to have changed the psyche of the people. However, he made the mistake of supporting the bearer of the old psyche. It is therefore a lesson for us all that when one tries to change an institution without changing the nature of men, the unchanged man’s nature in no distant time surfaces in those institutions”.
This is a reaction to what was published about Mr. Peter Obi (unprovoked attack) on the back page of The Sun newspaper on Friday, February 26, 2021.
I had used Odogwu for him, but I received vehement protests enlightening me that Odogwu as a genre of masquerade is action-packed; while Ulaga prances around the village square aimlessly without any purpose other than frolicking with women and girls who are barely nubile.
I read snippets from those who carry the canes for Ulaga Awka (e-rats) and as such share in his mischief on how saintly Ulaga Awka is for not dealing with Mr. Peter Obi the way Governor Hope Uzodimma of IMO state dealt with his predecessor Governor Rochas Okorocha. It is the height of indiscretion for them to pour such obloquy on their principal’s colleague. But their principal is long used to false writings that shower him with flattery which his aides are aware he knows how to lick up.
What shall we say of their recent actions? Perhaps nothing rapturous but to see it as yet another proof of their generous delusion that they have the capacity to destroy Mr. Peter Obi. What if Gov. Hope allows his aides the same indiscretion and they go as far as resurrecting unsavoury scandals revolving around the “bottle” and other related stories, risqué and otherwise? Why would they rope in Mr. Peter Obi who is busy daily inhaling the heat of the moment and exhaling wisdom as could be seen in his routine lectures? What would they say Mr. Peter Obi has done to them again? Are such write-ups part of the component of the public apology they say their Ulaga made or further test of its authenticity? They tried to present Mr. Peter Obi as the aggressor, when all known evidence points to the contrary.
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 Ulaga Awka, like some little demons without respect for the holy water, were hounding 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, saying that he was not likely to survive the kind of treatment meted out to Obi by Ulaga. 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! What if I had told him about the phone calls and threats, all recorded, by the Ulaga to kill him and his entire family? What about the silly and open lies that 7 Billion was demanded? What about the antics of not recognising his presence at public events? What about the cancellation of all on-going contracts of those he even wrongly perceived as close to Obi? What about the cancellation of all the cheques Obi wrote at the twilight of his tenure that were not even part of the money handed to him?
The final submission of the Ulaga tribe is that Obiano ought to deal with Obi the way Hope is dealing with Rochas – confiscating his property, perhaps after the dizzy feeling that all his wickedness appear not to have broken Obi’s spirit. I do not want to go into the propriety of seizing Rocha’s property but I just want to point out how bad it is when those elected to govern states stagnate her growth under the incubus of primitive acquisition. Obi is not guilty of that and so far many Governors and those in authority desirous of leaving positive marks as he did in Anambra State draw from his experience and stand on his shoulders to see what true governance is. The man who should literally be sitting on his lap is here sending his e-rats to draw comparison between Okorocha and Obi.
Ulaga 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. We still have his letters to that effect. 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 who ensured he did not die of hunger. It was Chief Okey Ezibe that paid his air fare to Nigeria and supplemented monthly allowances Obi gave him during electioneering because of other costly indulgences that needed to be financed after practically everything, including hotel accommodation were paid for him. After all, one of the girls who served him at Trig Point Hotel where he was lodged, in what became routine line of appointment, became his Special Assistant!
On the day he was sworn in as Governor, Ulaga Awka did not even see Mr. Peter Obi (his immediate predecessor and benefactor) off to his car, despite being urged on by Senator Uche Ekwunife that apart from it being protocol, it was also a way of expressing gratitude for what Obi had done for him. This shocking action was the first cock’s crow of the things to come and they came in torrents!
During his first Executive Council (ExCo) Meeting, Ulaga Awka 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 as much as made a reference to Obi in whatever they said or did. After he issued the threat, Chief Joe-Martins Uzodike was sacked because he protested that approving 5 Billion Naira to celebrated first 100 days in office was scandalous adding that under Obi, not more than 100 Million would be approved for the same purpose. He is alive and can attest to this.
This is coming from a man who was elected 100% on the strength of Obi’s performance and who also campaigned for him.Today, when the likes of Arc. Callistus Ilozumba, Chief. Barr. Joemartins Uzodike, Dr. Patrick Obi and Prof. Stella Chinyere Okunna recall the gory past, one can see goose pimples all over them.
A few days after Ulaga 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 not just ridiculous but idiotic.
Ulaga Awka commenced governance by removing all posters and bill-boards of Obi from the State.
He would come to the ExCo meeting stating that he smelt misappropriation of funds and charged members to look for anything possible that would indict Obi. To this end, he sponsored over 25 petitions against Peter Obi to the EFCC, but each of them lacked merit, and wound up been ignored.
Tortures are measured from the angle or circle it is coming from. But psychological torture is worse than physical torture. Imagine Okorocha who was not a party to Hope’s emergence and an Ulaga Awka who 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 and dollars that have since been stolen or squandered and is still even being denied. If you deny receiving money and it can be proved, the inference is that the money has been stolen!
The wicked antics of Ulaga Awka are deadlier than whatever Hope has done.
If Hope met the amount of money Ulaga Awka met in the Imo treasury, he would celebrate Okorocha and forgive his other failings! Ulaga Awka inherited billions, no outstanding debts in salaries, pensions and payments for contracts done! All he has succeeded in doing is abandoning all on-going contracts. Curiously, some contracts for which mobilisation were paid were never started.
The first meeting Ulaga 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 Ulaga Awka, who could have been responsible for making such hateful and vicious calls?
What Peter Obi has borne from the venomous attacks by Ulaga Awka are incomparable in Nigerian politics. We thank God for making Obi strong. I know a lot of insiders who broke down because of what they believed was great injustice meted out to Obi, but it was Obi who consoled them in the end. He often says to such individuals that God allows everything to happen for a purpose.
Beyond threatening his ExCo, aides and cronies, how can one explain Ulaga Awka’s, the great “penitent” 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 the “repentant” Ulaga Awka fought against Peter Obi becoming the Vice-President of the country. It is on record that he “invested” billions 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, Ulaga 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 he be his replacement. When it was explained to him that Obi was so appointed on his personal qualification and not as Governor of Anambra State, Ulaga Awka ignorantly stated that he too was qualified for this strategic appointment.
The inability of the South-East Governors’ Forum to make him the Chairman caused him to stop attending their meetings. His narrow-mindedness leaves us baffled most a times.
Going further, it also beats the imagination that about 80% of Ulaga Awka’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 still being engaged with a singular purpose to vilify Peter Obi.
Some years ago, the back and some inside pages of Newspapers earned millions of Naira from the Anambra State Treasury by providing space for hack writers, including Ulaga Awka’s present Commissioner for Information, to pour obloquy on Peter Obi.
I pity the youth being engaged for this unholy task. I see them as thoughtless youths disturbed and unbalanced, for a time, by the sudden growth and experiences of puberty. In the fullness of time, they will mature and their reasoning capacity will match their bodies.
Since Obi was unfazed by the attacks against him, Ulaga Awka took the battle to Obi’s home town by conniving with the judiciary 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.
Ulaga 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 Obi is interested in PG’s politics or how 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, Ulaga 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. Over 60% percent of the projects he claims to have executed are projects started and completed by Obi.
With the on-going altercation between Hope and Okorocha in Imo State, many discerning Nigerians ask why Ulaga 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? Why are they so obsessed that even when Obi uses his personal experience to illustrate his points, they say he is referring to the Ulaga?
In five presentations, Ulaga Awka is 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” (This (here) is an interlude or point for an applause) is always a part of his speeches. Can’t he even think for himself?
In his seven years as Governor so far, Ulaga Awka has been craving and paying for some of the exact awards Peter Obi received, without replicating the toils that attracted those awards. Who remembers how he boasted that he would secure Papal Knight higher than the one granted Obi during the investiture of Obi in 2014 and how in 2020 he falsely claimed he had been invested by the Pope himself? Soon after Obi won Thisday ”Governor of the Decade” Award, Ulaga 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. Such useless contrived competitions that have no economic value take him to the ninth heaven.
Indeed, what Okorocha is supposedly going through in the hands of Hope in Imo pales into insignificance in comparison with the sustained, vicious attacks of Ulaga 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 Ulaga Awka from travelling the day he planned?
Wise men learn from any situation. The seven wasted years we experienced in Anambra state is a lesson that some mistakes are better not made. Whenever Obi is asked about his greatest achievement in Anambra State, he refers to his ability to have changed the psyche of the people. However, he made the mistake of supporting the bearer of the old psyche. It is therefore a lesson for us all that when one tries to change an institution without changing the nature of men, the unchanged man’s nature in no distant time resurrect in those institutions. This is the present tragedy of Anambra State.