MY STAND - APGA’S DENIAL OF THE SECRET DOCUMENT WITH WILLIE OBAINO AND MATTERS ARISING
I do not wish to have responded to the denial of the report published exclusively on Elombah.com about a document which was leaked to me, alleging that the National Chairman of APGA, Victor Umeh signed an agreement with its gubernatorial candidate, Willie Obaino, which was reported by my humble self. But the circumstances surrounding the denial by APGA and some statement credited to Philip Chinwuba and Hope for Nigeria media gives room for this release.
Let us begin with APGA's denial of such document and agree with them that the report leaked to Elombah.com is fake. For the avoidance of doubt, I personally contacted Victor Umeh on his mobile phone number that ends with ********757 to ask him for his confirmation on the story on Sunday afternoon by 3.12pm but never got a reply from him as at the time of going to press at night, even when the text message sent to him showed 'delivered'. Wouldn't it have been better for Umeh to reply then instead of today when the story has gone viral? Can it be said that I never gave a right of hearing?
I personally take exception to number 2 of the press release issued by APGA stating that Chief Austin Ndigwe is not a member of APGA. In case Umeh forgot, may I remind him that Ndigwe is a founding member of APGA alongside Chief Prince Arthur Eze and they personally drafted relatively known Peter Obi into the race that made him a governor today? Ndigwe is a special adviser to Umeh as well! I still do not fault their rebuttal.
The number 3 of the press release denies Chief Onwuka Ukwah as the National Deputy Chairman of APGA. When we got the leak, I read it well and in the report, I can't remember mentioning him as the National Deputy Chairman, but reported that he is the National Deputy Chairman (South), as was written in the agreement. I still do not fault their rebuttal.
On the issue of Philip Chinwuba, who I was told wrote some comment on media site, which were sent to me; let the record be set straight. We didn't mention N576 billion, but N5.76 billion, which was the calculation of the alleged N120 million monthly for four years. To answer him on how much Anambra receives from the Federal Government; the state receives roughly N3 billion monthly with a monthly internally generated revenue of N400 to N500 million monthly. If the agreement therefore 'is' true, the money can easily be paid to Umeh without a blink of an eye. On the part of Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, I understand that the name 'Anyanwu” was put in bracket, which is a title likened to 'onwa', and not part of her name as Philip and Hope for Nigeria would want to turn the report into. I still do not fault their rebuttal.
Philip spoke to me from London over what he called a 'baseless' write up and wanted to know how authentic it is. As it's customary, I replied him that I got across to Umeh alone, (Ndigwe not included) but he never replied, hence I had to file the report, but would like to hear from Obaino his position on the report. Phil, as I will call him noted that he has spoken to Obaino and he refutes it, to which I replied that I want to hear from him personally and would want him to send Obaino's Phone number to me for me to do a follow up and not a 'retraction', which he promised to send but never did. When Phil's 'principal' refuse to respond to journalistic inquiry, it doesn't make it gutter journalism, but a failure on those managing his media affairs, beside it doesn't cost a dime to get Obaino's number if I mean to, but of what use is it when I have contacted one of the party who allegedly signed the document and he didn't respond? I still do not fault their rebuttal.
Elombah.com is very different from 247ureporter.com, just as Fejiro Oliver is different from Ikenna Ezenekwe, thus I find it baffling that the report is linked to the latter, when it is obvious that the source of all the other media is form Elombah.com. This is where Hope for Nigeria (HFN) got it all wrong. No place was in the document or report that mentioned willie to be 'willy', neither can we say or not say that the document was forged. HFN claims to have experts who tracked the source of the document and I dare them to mention who did. More laughable is the statement that the document was distributed to “6 specific All Progressive Congress (APC) bloggers who have taken the whole of Sunday, 20th of October, 2013 to reproduce, post, sharing this mud-slinging documents”.
This is not only a lie by HFN , but a condemnable one. On Sunday that the report was published exclusively on Elombah.com, only secretsreporters.blogspot.com and 247ureports.com picked the story from Elombah.com. Wherefore lies the other 3 media that published it? I do not belong to any political party, neither do I sympathize with any; as a matter of fact, I had written about APC in an unpleasant write up titled, “Scream no eureka yet for APC birth”, which never went down well with them. HFN did no forensic examination on the report and it's such a pity that they could lie to the public, in a bid to make their media hi-tech. Without defending Ikenna, I dare say that he is not the arrow head of the report or document, neither am I. I reported a leaked document, with signatures of people clearly shown, even when I have never seen their signatures before. If I was to report, it should be on Peter Obi who has held an innocent man, Bonaventure Mokwe captive in SARS, not Obaino who has done no wrong yet in the political system, but we have to do the job, no matter whose ox is gored.
We do not always have to condemn everything simply because it does not suit us or those we are favorably disposed to. I did not expect anyone to keep quiet over the issue, as I expected back lashing and vinegar, while others appraise it for what it is. If Ngige never had a problem with Chris Uba, we did never had known what transpired; if Joe, the media man of Stella Oduah never owned up to her buying of bullet proof cars, we would have been crucifying sahara reporters; if documents were not used to back up the sexcapdes of Sanusi Lamido, we did have been calling for premium times head.
Still yet, let us take APGA rebuttal for what it is while we wait for the election and governance. This is my story; this is my stand.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist can be reached on [email protected] and +2348026797588 (sms only please). Engage him on twitter @fejirooliver86 and Facebook; fejirooliver86. Like our Facebook page- secretsreporters