By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
Chuka Obele was the Secretary of the Action Committee of Nigeria, JACON, then headed by Chief Gani Fawehinmi .He was the ex Publicity SecretaryÂ ofÂ Nigeria Bar Association,Onitsha branch andÂ Â then itsÂ Vice Chairman.HeÂ later becameÂ Â the Acting ChairmanÂ and subsequentlyÂ the Chairman .He was known to be very vocal both during the military and civilian era as depicted in this interview.
As anÂ activist in Anambra and in the entire country, what are your general concerns on the present unfolding drama in Anambra?
My immediate anxiety is what appears clearly as a consistent pattern of the PDP to intimidate and ultimately overrun Anambra state come February 6, 2010.
The volume of money deployed by the partyâ€™s gubernatorial aspirants to emerge as the partyâ€™s standard bearer for the 2010 election is sufficient to attract the immediate attention of the anti-graft agency, particularly the provocating sums allegedly spent by its controversial candidate, Soludo to get the notorious Mr Fix It Anenih and other party moguls attend his luncheon for which it was said he spent sums running into hundreds of millions .He got the entire NWC, NEC to endorse him and we know what that translates to in naira and kobo.
The other day, a relative of mine who until recently was an Andy Uba acolyte was singing the Soludo song. My enquiry revealed the former professor had doled out 50k to him and over 20,000 stalwarts of low cadre people. Most APGA chieftains across the state who days ago were rooting for Obi have decamped on the strength of the mouth watering inducement.
IÂ remember a former chieftain of APGA who less than a week earlier was on air urging Anambra people to return Obi for second termÂ suddenly became a Soludo coordinator and he is everywhere singing Soludoâ€™s lullabies .This is a man whose entire salary and allowances as CBN governorÂ was 12m NairaÂ per year.
Today, he is said to own an hotel in Enugu worth billions of naira and so many choice properties in London. Soludo has literally swept away the already weak structures of Obi to his fold. Thirty five PDP aspirants saidÂ he gave them 35million naira each toÂ support the Soludo /Anosike ticket. In civilized climes, the man should beÂ very close to jail.
MyÂ other worry is the violence that has overwhelmed us already even many months prior the election. Till date, neither Soludo nor hisfamily has made any complaint explaining how their patriarch was allegedly abducted in the presence of over ten police men posted as security details in their village home.
Viewed againstÂ the backdrop that the abduction occurred at 8pm,the entire saga calls for a thorough investigation to unravel inter alia, how the print media some of which go to press earlier than 5pm of the previous day could have all ran the story in their first edition the next morning.
If the abduction is found to have been stage -managed by Soludo,Â then it portends a far greater danger and clearly manifest not only the desperation of the man to becomeÂ governor thereby giving credence to accusations that heÂ wants to clothe himself with the legal shield provided by section 308 of the constitution of our land but also the depravity of a man who will rule us for fourÂ years .
Anambra is in trouble if the 2010 guber election is held. These politicians are ready to deploy rocket launchers against their opponents. Their behavior shows their scantyÂ regard for our votes.Â It is a case of once you emerge as PDP candidate, you are in as governor. Well, I blameÂ this attitude on the present governor who squandered a great opportunity to put a halt on the PDP shenanigans. The governor isÂ hypocritical, insincere and dishonest and hisÂ governance hasÂ thrown the government house doors wide open.
The appeal court was supposed to sit and rule on the case of Andy Uba last Thursday but it ended not ruling. As a result, rumors abound as to why it was postponed. What is your take on that?
My guess is that the learned justices must have thought it wise to postpone its session that day as a result of what I perceive as an unwarranted instigation of the violenceÂ against them by the Anambra state Governor. From all quarters, this Governor sponsored and procured an unprecedentedÂ vicious attacks on the integrity of the learned justices threatening fire and brim stone.
The Ikemba NnewiÂ joined the fray when he issued a declaration of war not only against the justices but also the Nigerian state, should the court decide the case against the interest of his pay master Peter Obi. Ojukwuâ€™s declaration was reported to have been handsomely procured and funded by Obi and was flanked on the conference day by stalwarts of Obi faction of APGA including its factional national chairman.
What do you expect the justices to do when pseudo human rights individuals and groups promoted and funded by the governor wereÂ procured by the state government to accuse the justices of having compromisedÂ to the tune of tens of millions of naira to deliver judgement in Ubaâ€™s favour.
It was alleged that the state security service obtainedÂ intelligence report that over 20,000Â Agulueri and Umuleri warriors were recruited to storm the court with the objective of burning it down in collusion withÂ some dissident MASSOB elements who were also recruited for the same purpose and somebody high in office called me to advise that I stay far from the precincts of the court as there was a likelihood of a bloody bedlam. I was compelled also to inform friends who were likely to be in the court on that.
I must beÂ honest with you, these attacks are not only unjustified and despicable but also raises the question how Peter Obi managed to peruse the copy of the judgement that was yet to be delivered that he is busy deploying the resources of the state to intimidate andÂ the appellate justices into reversing it.
In 2006, Obi had also confided in me three days to the judgement in his court of appeal election case against Dr Ngige that the judgement was going to beÂ in his favour. It does appear therefore that Obi must have been involved in compromising these justices. But I can tell you that this isÂ a dangerous precedent, our courts must not be subjected to this type of blackmail.
Justice must be rendered to all without fear or favour. That is the oath these justices swore to before exercisingÂ the powers attached to the judicialÂ office. The apex court has not become extinct but is still available to aggrieved litigants.
IÂ was shocked to read a rather defamatory petition addressed to the justices in which they were accused of receiving tens of millions from Andy Uba. I pity these justices who cannot be heard save through their judgements and rulings in the courts. I believe that they shelved the court session because of the threats to their lives.
What is your take onÂ Ojukwuâ€™s threat of civil war?
Ojukwu and Peter Obi must be told in clear words that the state is bigger than any individual and the ambition of such persons. This was my exact words against Andy Uba when he sought and procured the unlawful impeachment of Obi.
While I concede to Ojukwu and Peter Obi their rights to agitateÂ for their pockets, they should be ready to make their children and relatives in Agulu and Nnewi the foot soldiers in any civil war they wish to start.
Obi can organize his Agulu people, those who are ready to commit suicide for his cause to agitate for self-determination and when they succeed, Obi can become their first governor- general, first prime- minister or president or as he may choose to designate himself.
After all, he likes being scored as first in everything: first governor to shake hands with primary school students; first to present cartons of chalks to them; first to be seen riding with okada drivers while presenting them with crash helmets.
He was also the first to build and paint fences around public parks in Onitsha; first to sleep in some villages in Omabala region of the state and the first to receive and shake hands with the US ambassador who visited the state.
Ojukwu should be advised not to allow whatever remained of his reputation as a leader to be finally smeared with the mud.