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UCHE EZECHUKWU'S SWINDLE (1)

By NBF News
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•Uche Ezechukwu
At the back page of the Daily Sun of Monday, February 7, 2011, Uche Ezechukwu took an unwarranted swipe on the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi. Reading through this piece, one could easily notice the writer's venom as he did not hide his sentiments at all.

For him, whatever is the calamity that has lately befallen Ndigbo, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA),and even Okwesilieze Nwodo, who recently resigned his chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was caused by this Governor (Obi) of Anambra State.

But the questions which immediately come to mind are: is there any truth in what Ezechukwu has written? Did he actually write those things from a point of conviction? Or was he hired to do a hatchet job? Does he love the Igbo man more than Governor Obi does?

The truth of the matter is that contrary to Ezechukwu's unwarranted and unnecessary vituperations against His Excellency, the welfare of the Igbo man is what is uppermost in the governor's mind. Or how else can one describe a governor who, for the first time, has brought together the five South-East Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Anambra states under one brotherly umbrella despite their different political affiliations.

This scenario has made it possible for the governors to collectively fight the cause of their geo-political zone in such areas as erosion menace, the poor road network and inadequate power supply. This is the reason, why for the first time ever, he has been asked by his brother Governors in the South-East to remain their Chairman, thus suspending the principle of rotation which had characterized the leadership of the body prior to his emergence.

As if this recognition was not prestigious enough, the Nigerian Governors' Forum appointed him the Deputy Chairman of their body. Ezechukwu would want the world to believe that APGA 'had been hijacked by a band of usurpers' who 'instead of growing it like the Yoruba nation is doing with Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), had squeezed it into a corner-shop, to the extent that today, APGA is appropriately known as Agulu Progressive Peoples Alliance'.

But this is far from the reality on the ground. The truth of the matter is that it is Mr. Peter Obi who has brought life to APGA; he has grown it, nurtured it and made it a Party worth its onions. How can Ezechukwu describe in uncomplimentary terms a party which seasoned politicians and political office holders - members of state Houses of Assemblies, House of Representatives, current Senators, etc have been embracing in droves?.

On the planned endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by APGA, this party will not be the first party to do this in Nigeria. In 2003, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (APP) as it was then called, endorsed the Alliance for Democracy (AD) presidential candidate, Chief Olu Falae even as it (the APP, now ANPP) had earlier announced its own candidate - Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

In Ezechukwu's opinion, the appointment of Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu as Mr. President's Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs is yet another 'offence' committed by Governor Obi against Ndigbo. But we all know that this appointment was made by Mr. President and the person so appointed works with Mr. President. Her portfolio is the Diaspora – issues pertaining to persons living outside Nigerian shores including the United Kingdom where her husband is currently receiving medical treatment.

In an age of Information and Communication technology such as ours, Mrs Ojukwu can perform her duties from any part of the world! This much was also mentioned in some of the media reports on her appointment. Now, why should Ezechukwu shout blue murder and hold this appointment against Governor Peter Obi? On Mrs. Ojukwu's recent home-coming, she simply visited Nigeria because her children had to return to school after the Christmas/New Year vacation. Since, they are still very young, she needed to be around to arrange their resumption at school.

The concern shown by Governor Peter Obi at the outset of Ikemba's recent ailment was legendary. He ensured that he was often in Enugu to see for himself how Ezeigbo was responding to treatment at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu to which he was rushed immediately his condition changed.

It was he (the Governor) who arranged for his transfer to a United Kingdom hospital, paid for the air ambulance which conveyed him there, ensured that the Akanu Ibiam Airport was good enough for his airlift and that the aircraft was on ground before Ezeigbo was brought there for the UK-bound trip.

If Ezechukwu were really a lover of Ndigbo as he would want the world to believe, his diction while describing the condition of Ikemba would have shown that. No one has captured the weakness of Ezechukwu as a columnist more than Ethelbert Okere. Writing in the THISDAY Newspaper of October 15, 2010 while responding to an Ezechukwu piece, 'The Owerri Debacle', Okere noted thus: 'My good friend, Ezechukwu is not a cheap writer, but he knows that I know of this practice to inject a dose of fiction into an article for more effect and drama.

Yes. It is done, though it is unethical. Ezechukwu, whom I had worked with at the famous Newbreed magazine, merely took liberty of that unconventional convention. He knows that that aspect of his article never happened'. Okere's statements say it all. Many of the claims Ezechukwu made in his write-ups never happened. He simply manufactured them. This is anathema! I rest my case.

•Udah is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra State.