THE PROBLEM IS NOT SOLUDO BUT OBI’s SERIAL LIES

Politics

By Dr Nick Obidiukwu

Professor Charles Soludo had barely finished his interview with Channels Television when the media thugs and supporters of Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, descended on the Anambra State Governor with characteristic bile. What vitriol Obi’s social media gangs spared the Governor was what their dark minds did not conjure up.

Mr Obi’s rampaging supporters could not live with the indictment that it did not make sense to save when a State lacked critical infrastructure and people were coping with hunger and poor healthcare. And it grated their ears that the value of the controversial investment in a brewery had drastically depreciated.

Obi, who had lately metamorphosed into a candidate of regional and generational anger, was bound to contend with the consequences of his serial lies some time. Mr Obi had the ambition to be a politician of distinction; the model citizen with superior moral and political records. A tall dream.
Perhaps, he actually tried to walk the talk. But who is free of human frailties? Rather, Mr Obi thought himself smart, crafty and always some steps ahead of his peers. He had made an impression. He could therefore fill in the gaps with some fiction, lies and distortions. With his the boy – is – good image and media appeal, it would be a hell of a time for anybody trying to deconstruct him.

In the instant case, Obi provoked the reaction of Soludo and others with continued lies about his handover package in 2014. Whereas he handed over N44b in cash, savings and investment and debt of over N127b, he deceives the public with the figure of N75b. See Vanguard newspaper of November 15, 2015 for the Obiano administration’s repudiation of N75b handover. Part of the wrongful and inadmissible entries of the phantom N75b assets are these old investments that predated Obi’s government by decades. Emenite Industries, Enugu, is one instance. N1.4b was invested in Intafact Beverages but recorded as N3.5b. Donor agency counterpart funds were included as investment! Same for N2.2b agriculture loans given to farmers! All these were part of the assets inherited by the next government! If the announcement on this flawed documents had been made just once, the errors would easily be passed over as an oversight. But Obi and his propaganda team have persisted in publicizing the disinformation, thereby underlining the deliberateness of their action.

On the brewery investment, it’s not a scandal for Obi and his media mob that Anambra State money was ploughed into a business in which their hero is a part – owner. On top of that, Obi’s propaganda organs periodically told the world that it invested 20m dollars. Anambra State Commissioner of Finance, Ifeatu Onejeme was forced to issue a statement clarifying that the true equity investment was 12m dollars. Obi and his riot squad would not apologize for their misconduct. Rather, his propagandists abused the Commissioner as they have abused Professor Soludo for speaking up.

Dame Virgy Etiaba was to be punished for her perceived closeness to the impeachment actors of 2006. She was put on media trial for squandering N17b in the three months she acted as Governor. It eventually turned out that the State’s account balance at the time Etiaba took over was about N8b.

All in the bid to be seen as a super achiever, Obi has without sting of conscience been saying that he neither borrowed as Governor nor left debts behind for his successor. Is there no limit to duplicity?

Mercifully, perceptive Nigerians have begun to see through the posturing. Farooq Kperogi wrote thus in Tribune of October 20, 2022. “He (Obi)
lies a lot—like other politicians. He claims he never borrowed as a governor and that he left a surplus when he left office as a governor. Records at the Debt Management Office don’t support this. Anambra’s External Debt was $15 million by December 2007. At the time Obi left office in June 2014, the state’s external debt climbed up to an astronomical $41 million. That’s a 173 percent jump!”

It’s also a similar case with the noise of not owing anybody while handing over in 2014. Local government staff pension was owed, ABS pension was owed, Water Corporation salaries were owed. Contractors were owed.

So resolute and so cunning has Obi been in this project of self glorification that the Obiano administration spent valuable time correcting the distortions his predecessor dropped around at every opportunity.

And there are many other pontifications like having only one wristwatch, two pairs of shoes and not using bullet – proof vehicles.

In the face of Obi’s wilful determination to misrepresent facts, it would have been irresponsible of Soludo to allow the former Governor get away with his falsification of Anambra’s public records. Free flow of verified information is a basic requirement for good governance and progressive society.

If the exposure of Mr Obi’s lies has hurt his presidential ambition, he has only himself to blame. He should leave Soludo alone and deal with his penchant for playing to the gallery

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