We received the recent press statement issued by Mr. Valentine Obienyem, the Media Aide to the former governor of Anambra State, Sir Peter Obi, calling for restraint in the relentless media attacks on the person and family of the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, with HOPE and CONCERN.
We are hopeful that, perhaps former governor Obi has finally come to realise the moral imperatives of Governor Obiano’s press statement issued on September 16 this year under the title: THE SOCIAL MEDIA WAR IN ANAMBRA STATE: A CALL FOR RESTRAINT. In that statement, Governor Obiano had appealed for caution and understanding from some highly placed citizens of the state who had taken up the ignoble task of circulating false, malicious and misleading stories about his family and administration on social media. In the said statement, Governor Obiano had also ordered his Social Media Team and all his supporters to refrain from any bitter exchanges with people whose sole aim was to heat up the political space in Anambra State with false and negative stories. He also directed all his supporters to focus on creating awareness on the great policies, programmes and achievements of his administration.
In the same vein, the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor had also appealed for peace and urged Sir Obi to rein in his supporters and allow Governor Obiano to concentrate on the task of leading Anambra State. Sadly, Bishop Ezeokafor’s weighty intervention was totally ignored.
As it turned out, Governor Obiano’s statesmanlike attempt rise above the deluge of insults and act as the governor of every onye Anambra irrespective of political, religious or socio-cultural inclination was wrongly interpreted as a sign of weakness. And rather than lay down their arms and work for a better Anambra State, these elements who have since been established to have very strong links with former governor Obi had intensified their attacks on Governor Obiano, flooding the social media with photo-shopped, misleading images of him and his family and circulating extremely false stories on his administration. Unfortunately, nothing is sacred to them; not only did they publish a cruel story alleging that Governor Obiano’s beautiful wife Ebelechukwu had died, they also widely circulated scurrilous lies, defaming and maligning some prominent Igwes and Bishops in the state. Curiously, while they carried out all these mindless attacks on innocent citizens and sacred religious and traditional institutions in the state on behalf of their boss, there was no “call for restraint” from former governor Obi.
From all indication, former governor Obi only began to see the need for restraint after the Obiano’s administration had finally cleared the air on the phantom N75bn he purportedly left behind. We are concerned that Obi’s sudden olive branch is in fact, a Greek gift! We worry that his sudden appeal for restraint is a diversionary strategy intended to discourage Ndi Anambra from asking hard questions about so many things that were thrown up since Governor Obiano broke his silence on the N75bn claim. Our worry deepens even more when we realise that while Obi is appealing for restraint in the open, his Media Aides are busy planting false stories in the nation’s newspapers, levelling preposterous allegations about “gold beds” and fictitious kitchenware. We are worried about the seeming streak of insincerity, beginning from the dubious claims over the contentious N75bn to the brazen attempts to force-feed Ndi Anambra with morsels of salacious lies and fabrications that no true Knight of the Catholic Church would give his support to, whether overtly or covertly.
While we do not doubt the inevitability of former governor Obi and his retinue of media aides finally accepting the imperatives of peace, we wish to state clearly that the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano had suffered regrettably vicious attacks on social media for 19 months and only rose to refute the falsehood of the contentious N75bn a fortnight ago. And now that the records have been set straight, Governor Obiano has once again directed his Media Aides and supporters to concentrate their efforts on creating awareness on the policies and programmes of his administration.
SSA to the Governor on Media