By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Anambra State Government on Friday denounced claim that Governor Willie Obiano has a hand in the re-arrest of leader of the Indigenous People of Biabra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The government, in a statement issued by Don Adinuba, Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, said the people and Government of Anambra State were surprised to see a report in SaharaReporters, an online publication, claiming that Governor Obiano was one of two governors who allegedly financed the re-arrest in a foreign land of Kanu.
“The SaharaReporters publication was based on a statement credited to Emma Powerful, the IPOB spokesman. We are also surprised that SaharaReporters could publish such a statement without bothering to hear from the Anambra State government in order to balance its story.
“A cardinal principle of journalism is “always hear the other side”. If the online newspaper had attempted to speak to any state government official, it would certainly have stepped down the story because it is not worth the space allotted to it.
“According to the Nigerian government, Mazi Kanu was rearrested last month in an operation by Interpol and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency. It is a trite fact that as a subnational government, the Anambra State administration does not deal with any of these two organizations either directly or indirectly. The question of Anambra State financing their operations makes neither reason nor rhythm,” the statement said.
The government said it was also surprising that Emma Powerful had yet to deny the statement ascribed to him, suggesting that he, indeed, made the allegation.
“If he did make the claim, not only is it clearly wrong, it is obviously without the authorization of the IPOB leadership which knows better about what the Anambra State can do or cannot do on certain matters.
“It is too much of a stretch to think that the Anambra State Government, which receives one of the lowest allocations in the country from the federation account every month and is building about the most modern airport in Africa in record time and building Africa’s largest conference centre with 10,000 sitting capacity as well as a modern stadium in the capital city, among other capital intensive projects being developed without borrowing a kobo from any bank anywhere in the world, would still have money to fritter away, all the more so at a time of global economic crisis which has seen a well-developed country like the United Kingdom slip into its worst recession in 300 years.
“Anambra State under Governor Obiano’s leadership has a well-established record of service, courage and solidarity in the Southeastern affairs as well as the affairs of the Igbo-speaking world. Governor Obiano led the whole of the former Eastern Nigerian Region to conduct on January 12, 2015 the official funeral of victims of the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967 -70.
“Though the historic and solemn ceremony in Awka was well attended, most top politicians kept away for obvious reasons. The few exceptions included the former venerable Dr Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria’s former Vice President from 1979-1983.
“When the Nigeria Correctional Service chose, for inexplicable reasons, to transfer the most hardened of Boko Haram terrorists to Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, most politicians who knew of the profound implications kept quiet. But not Governor Obiano who mobilized all our people like one man to stop the action,” the statement said.
It added that in May, 2018, the Anambra State Government hosted the Igbo Summit in Awka which pointedly defined the Igbo position on the restructuring of the Nigerian polity.
It said the Chairman of the Committee which organized it was Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor who is now the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state.
“Governor Obi hosted the summit which was broadcast live on national television networks whereas many top government officers not only declined to host it but declined physical participation. Of course, the Anambra State Government’s relationships with such families as those of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and Colonel Emmanuel Nwobosi, Ojukwu’s Personal Assistant and arguably most devoted aide right from the Biafra War to the latter’s death last year, remain exemplary.
“Needless to state, Governor Obiano is the national Leader and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the only party with Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu as its Eternal and Undisputed Leader,” the government said.
The statement added that Anambra State Government recognised its place in history and that these are turbulent times for everyone, including people from the Igbo-speaking world.
“We need peace, unity and solidarity to make progress. The crave for baseless demonization must now come to an end,” it stated.