Former Governor of Anambra State and Vice-Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), , Mr Peter Obi’s aide Valentine Obienyem has debunked a statement by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that the people of the South-East rejected Obi as the running mate for PDP Presidential Candidate for the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Speaking to the press on Saturday during a seminar by the Laity of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province at DRAAC Centre Enugu, the aide, Obienyem, observed: “If after the outpouring of good wishes, universal elation and ecstatic reactions as many people across the country declared Obi’s nomination as a prelude to a new dawn; and somebody still talked in terms of his being ‘rejected’, that the person is simply being mischievous at best and devious at worst.”
Admitting that an issue or two were raised when Obi’s name was announced, Obienyem explained that even as the likes of Oshiomhole began to misinterpret those issues, those who actually raised them asserted unequivocally that Obi was, indeed, one of the best Igbo men for the position. Their only problem then was that of not being consulted in the spirit of conviviality, he said.
According to Obienyem, “I followed Obi on his courtesy visits to the Governors and several leaders of the South-East and I shed tears of joy when I saw how emotional they all were as they received him. Some tagged Obi an ‘Iconic Igbo son’, while others described him as ‘an exemplary Igbo son’, among other moving epithets.”
Insisting that Oshiomhole’s recent troubles with his party and elsewhere might have distracted him from determining the facts, Obienyem noted: “It is an irony that Oshiomhole’s statement came two days after who-is-who in Igboland led by the Chairman of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, gathered in Enugu to give the final imprimatur to the Alhaji Atiku/Obi ticket as they showered encomiums on Alhaji Atiku for Obi’s choice, which, recalling what Obi did in Anambra State, they said was the best choice. How else should the likes of Oshiomhole know that Obi’s nomination is a turning point in the history of politicking in the South-East and the entire country at large?”
Continuing, Obienyem doubted that Oshiomhole was actually briefed or read the papers to have a glimpse of what happened in Enugu: “I doubt if he understood what happened in Enugu, how some elderly Igbo leaders braced all odds and travelled from wide and near to attend the meeting. Consider the galaxy of Igbo stars that were in attendance – Professor Ben Nwabueze, Ambassador George Obiozor, Chief Nnia Nwodo (Ohanaeze Ndigbo President), Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Professor ABC Nwosu, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Ben Obi, Chief Achike Udenwa, Professor Mrs. Uche Azikiwe, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Senator Theodore Orji, Chief Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Chief Garry Igariwey, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, Professor Osita Ogbu, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Lawrence Nwuruku, Professor Walter Ofonagoro, Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa, Commodore James Aneke (rtd.), Professor Elochukwu Amucheazi, Professor Uzodinma Nwala, Senator Adolphus Wabara, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke (rtd.), Igwe Afred Achebe (Obi of Onitsha), Professor Anya O. Anya, Professor Chudi Uwazurike, Maj.-Gen. Obi Umahi (rtd.), Uzodinma Okpara (son of the former Premier of the Eastern Region), Esom Nwafor Orizu (daughter of the former Ag. President of Nigeria) and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.”
Concluding, Obienyem said that if after the Igbo leaders afore-mentioned openly endorsed Obi and somebody talks about division among the Igbos, the person is clearly acting out another agenda and does not wish Ndi Igbo well.