Val Obienyem’s Rancid Tales on Amansea-Ndiukwuenu-Awa-Ufuma-Awgbu Road Project.
Seven years after leaving office, former governor Peter Obi and his boogeyman, Valentine Obienyem, are still fighting to discredit the administration of Governor Willie Obiano. It would not have mattered at all if Obi’s actions were informed by a desire for a better Anambra State. The fact is that Obi is bitter because Obiano did not empty the treasury of Anambra State to pay the sum of N7billion he purportedly spent on Obiano’s election into office. In several statements to the press, Obi’s former Commissioner, Mr Joe Martins Uzodike (Buzzuzu) had declared that Obi would not let Obiano breathe until the N7bn electoral debt was paid. So, it is important to note that Obi’s destructive campaign against his successor through Obienyem will not end any moment soon. Anyone who is interested in finding out why Valentine Obienyem will never stop his attacks on Obiano must have this background in mind.
Obienyem’s recent rant over Amansea-Ndiukwuenu-Awa- Ufuma- Awgbu Road came from this same vendetta. Obienyem’s vituperations have nothing to do with any genuine wish to see development in Anambra State. The idea is to paint an ugly picture of the Obiano administration. In fact, the aim is to create the impression that the administration has failed. And to achieve that, Obienyem made so many false claims about the road. His claim that Obi had completed the three bridges on the road before he handed over to Obiano is an annoying lie. To keep the records straight, when Obiano took over on March 17, 2014, the only thing done on the road was the clearing of the site of the first bridge and the laying of foundation for the piling. So, Obieneyem lied through his teeth when he claimed that “Under Obi, some of the bridges were already completed.” There are three bridges and several culverts on the road. Governor Obiano built the two major bridges and culverts plus the heavy earthwork on the road from one end to the other. The 26.4km long road has a 75 meters bridge at Uzo, 45 meters at Ndiukwuenu and 45 meters bridge at the end of 4.km spur linking Okpeze, Amaetiti and Awgbu. Obienyem’s penchant to claim every meaningful project in Anambra State for Peter Obi is nauseating. The inhabitants of the communities connected by the road are not deceived. They know who did what for them.
Sad as it might be, Obienyem’s diet of lies and half-truths has misled one Eric Chinedu Omazu into writing a piece of falsehood that casts question marks on his claim to any intellectual achievements whatsoever. Omazu who wears his PhD title like a clown wears an ill-fitting costume penned a patchy diatribe in which he claimed that construction work on Amansea-Ndiukwuenu-Awa Road project was stalled because Governor Obiano was quarreling over land with Ndiukwuenu. According to him, “the piece of land regarded as the Mamu River Forest Reserve, located in Ndiukwuenu, is the main reason why that road has remained undone.” Pushing the false narrative a little further, Omazu revealed his utter lack of depth when he wrote “Obiano and his former Commissioner for Land, Nnamdi Onukwuba were shocked to see a forest reserve, less than 500 meters away from Awka South.” Now, what manner of PhD holder is it that does not know that the 1978 Land Use Act vested all urban land within a state in the state governor? A land that is less than 500 meters from Awka South is an urban land. As such, the governor of Anambra State has power over such land. There should be no quarrel at all. This should have been clear to Omazu. Another incoherent quip in Omazu’s unkind commentary is the statement that the governor and his former Commissioner for Land were shocked to see a forest reserve. He even compounded his own misery by admitting that the forest reserve has been in dispute between Anambra and Enugu states. How can the governor of Anambra State and the Commissioner of Land not know a piece of real estate that is a source of dispute between the state and its neighbor?
The fact about the Mamu River Forest Reserve however is that three clans in Ndiukwuenu claim that the Reserve is their ancestral land. The clans are Uzo, Ubani and Okpueze. However, the Forest Reserve belongs to the Federal Government but the Government of Anambra State had wanted to acquire a part of it for a special project that would benefit the people of Ndiukwuenu and the state in general. The plan ran into a hitch when the three clans could not resolve the issue of how to share the compensation proposed by the state. In the ensuing stalemate, an indigene of the town known as Onwa came up with the claim that the disputed reserve originally belonged to his forefathers. He also claimed that he was in possession of documents from the National Archives in Enugu which showed his grandfather as signatory to the agreement that ceded the land to the Federal Government. On the basis of that claim, he took the feuding clans to court over the land. The dispute is still a subject of litigation to this day.
It is therefore extremely irresponsible for anyone to allege that Governor Obiano is punishing the people of Ndiukwuenu because of the Mamu River Forest Reserve. It is on record that Ndiukwuenu is a beneficiary of the Community-Choose-Your-Project initiative from the governor which ensured that Ndiukwuenu has a modern clinic. It is also on record that the town had no secondary school until the Obiano administration made it possible.
It is sad that Chinedu Omazu cannot see the lack of logic in his submission that the Amansea-Ndiukwuenu-Awa-Ufuma-Okpeze-Awgbu Road Project would not be completed because Governor Obiano is aggrieved with the people of Ndiukwuenu. If he is aggrieved with Ndiukwuenu, is he also aggrieved with Amansea, Awa, Ufuma, Okpeze and Awgbu communities?
Ekene Okoye of Ministry of Lands writes from Nawfia Anambra State