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Go, Etiaba go!

By Comfort Obi

I HAD willed myself not to write on this topic because I have a lot of respect for Her Excellency, Dame Virgy Etiaba, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State. Like me, she is of the Anglican Communion. And more, she is my sister-Knight.

I have, therefore, unlike me, had some restrictions. I still do. But each time I read her son, Emeka Etiaba, a lawyer, in the national newspapers and/or magazines, the immorality of what he is doing hits me smack on the face. And I ask: What is going on?

I have never met him. And I never took note of him, until he sent an e-mail to me complaining about a story The Source’s Anambra State Correspondent wrote. But may 1 state that everything in me revolts against what he is doing.

He wants to be the governor of Anambra State. Good. But to do that, he is challenging Governor Peter Obi. Etiaba’s mother is Obi’s deputy. Both are of APGA, and Emeka Etiaba wants to realise his dream in APGA.

He has granted interviews to every medium, almost, including this magazine. Now, he has embarked on visits to media houses, with The Champion group as his starting-point!

What this guy is doing stinks to high heavens. It is not that he is not fit to contest. He is. He is also educationally qualified.

He, perhaps, may be capable. But how does he deal with the moral aspect of what he is doing? And how does his mother deal with this moral burden?

Here is a son of the Deputy Governor of a state, challenging the Governor of the state, when his mother still occupies that position! The only explanation one can give is that, perhaps, both are moles in APGA, whose brief is to destabilise the party.

For long, the story has been that Deputy Governor Etiaba is, allegedly, working against her boss. It started when Governor Obi was illegally impeached.

Allegations were made over how much money she was spending to see that Obi did not come back to office. She had begun to enjoy the power of being an executive governor.

Having tasted it, and, indeed, made history as Nigeria’s first female state governor, voted for, or not, she wanted to stay on. Initially, I never believed that she worked against Obi.

Initially, I defended her, everywhere, to high heavens. But events, and especially, her son’s immoral entry into the governorship race of the state, under APGA, prove otherwise.

And so, Madam Deputy Governor has some questions to answer, especially after the interview granted the Daily Sun by Obi’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Valentine Obienyem.

Obienyem, it will be recalled, also briefly served Etiaba in the same capacity, believing that it was the same government. He was wrong. He quit when he realised that Dame Etiaba was working against Obi’s return to office.

He raised serious moral questions about her. He called her a betrayer. And he gave instances. He revealed that Dame Etiaba’s government paid the legal fees of the lawyers hired by then House of Assembly to fight against Obi.

He said Etiaba’s government doubled the legal fees of one of Obi’s lawyers to stop him from handling Obi’s case. He revealed that Etiaba’s government, after Obi’s impeachment, allegedly wrote several petitions against him to the EFCC.

He revealed that she sacked the then Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Peter Afuba, for filing in court, on behalf of the government, what would have aided Obi to go back to office.

He revealed that to get him, Obienyem, to work against Obi, he was given the sum of N5 million, and another N20 million, to proceed to Lagos and mount, in the media, a campaign of calumny against Obi. That was the day he resigned.

He also revealed, among other things, that even when the Appeal Court declared Obi the winner, Etiaba did not want to let Obi into the Government House, hoping that a contrary order would come, but for the combined force of Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and the factional chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh. What does Deputy Governor Etiaba say about these allegations?

On the part of her son, Emeka   Etiaba, who, under her nose, is challenging her boss, the story is not any different. He lived with Obi in the same house inside Government House when Obi became governor. Indeed, he lived with him until the day Obi was impeached.

That was the day he surprisingly disappeared from the house, and set up an opposition camp. What did he know about the impeachment? Where has trust gone? Whatever happened to friendship? Where has morals gone?

Indeed, even while he was living with Obi in the same house, allegations are that he was working against him, leaking information to those who wanted Obi out, and at least, on one occasion during the beginning of the impeachment process, allegedly, deliberately misadvised him.

If this guy wants to be governor, and especially, to contest under APGA, the moral thing to do is to get his mother to quit office, and stop the pretence of being Obi’s deputy.

She cannot plead ignorance of what her son is doing. And she cannot plead that her son is an adult who can make his own decisions. That will be throwing morals to the dogs. What moral lessons are they teaching children?

The most bewildering aspect is that Dame Etiaba still attends functions (as Obi’s deputy), and still attends the weekly state executive council meetings.

All these, inspite of the stories making the rounds that while the meetings are on, she uses her phone most of the time. And the more serious allegation that even before the meetings are over, decisions reached are already on the internet. Who leaks them?

I don’t know how Obi has managed to tolerate, and work with Dame Etiaba. I don’t know how he manages to see her face, perhaps, everyday. I don’t know how he greets her as “Ma” each time they see.

But I do know that not many state governors will tolerate this ugly situation. Given the circumstances, the only thing left for Dame Etiaba is to resign from office. She should – even if it is to keep her dignity, for whatever it is worth!

Ms.  Obi is the publisher of The Source Magazine.


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