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Between the two Obis, Etiabas and I

By Dozie Iweka
WHEN Comfort Obi wrote that she doubted my identity because of my rejoinder to her article, I was surprised for I thought I was merely helping her out by correcting some false impressions she ‘innocently’ had when she wrote her article on Dame Etiaba and her son, especially as she had also stated her admiration for Dame Etiaba in the same piece.

I am, however, not too sure that Comfort read my article for further issues she raised are alien to my rejoinder. I never said she did not embark on any investigation before writing her opinion. Of course she carried out her investigation and bingo, stumbled into Valentine Obienyem’s interview. At least she was gracious enough to admit so in ‘Go, Etiaba Go’.

What I wrote in my rejoinder was simply that she failed to seek the other side of the argument from the Etiabas, for the sake of fair play and balance. With her latest intervention, yet again that assertion remains so. It is my sincerely held belief that injustice done to one is injustice done to all, particularly if left unchal-lenged.

In the unlikely event that Comfort actually doubts my identity, let her please ask the very people whose oral representation, documents and interviews she has solely been relying on since January 2007, for they know me only too well.

The Iweka family in Umuota Obosi is not a family that cannot be easily traced.

Emeka was in that Obi-Etiaba legal team from day one and started the trial stage with Dr. Ikpeazu the same day. It was a fact that the lawyers in their legal team that were based in Onitsha, dealt with the pre trial matters before Emeka tidied up in Lagos to rejoin the same day as Ikpeazu who though was based in Onitsha, was unfortunately bereaved at the time.

Emeka was part of the collation of the governorship election results used as evidence and submitted same to the tribunal before the pre-trial commenced.

His mother was also a candidate rigged out too, wasn’t she? Comfort listen to this new one: Emeka helped in the recruitment of some of the lawyers appearing for the Obi-Etiaba legal team and a particular case in point was that of Barrister Ezeuko (SAN) whose consultation fee Emeka personally paid and still has the receipt till today.

Emeka took a sabbatical from his practice for two and half years over the Obi-Etiaba election petition matter. In contrast, Peter Obi only made three appearances at the tribunal and court hearings in the two and half years hearing on the election matter.

Comfort should ask APGA members why Emeka is today referred to as ‘Ogba tulu Enyi’ APGA [Giant Killer], if not for his advocacy exploits against the Ngige-INEC senior advocates at the tribunal in Awka.

I never said Emeka Etiaba introduced Onyechi Ikpeazu to His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi as that did not happen. Please I urge Comfort to really read my article for she will discover what I said and that remains the truth for the truth never changes.

I wrote that Emeka Etiaba drafted Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) who had moved on after the election petition matter, to fight the impeachment.

Ikpeazu was Obi’s lawyer prior to that impeachment, but was done with Obi, Ngige and INEC election matter by then.

He had moved on with his life at the time of the impeachment and was running his very busy and lucrative practice. It was Emeka’s intervention that convinced Ikpeazu to return to the trenches once more from Abuja for Governor Obi.

Comfort never even bothered to call Ikpeazu to verify my assertion and I can’t understand her obsession and constant rush to judgment against the Etiabas. Very strange indeed.

I also mentioned Hon. Ben

Chuks Nwosu who has already granted an interview confirming Emeka’s role. It was also never my assertion that Emeka introduced Ben Chuks to Governor Obi. Ben Chuks in his interview confirmed he has known Gov. Obi for 31 years.

The point here is that Gov. Obi knowing Ikpeazu from CKC days changes nothing about my recollection of Emeka’s role on appealing to Ikpeazu to take on the new brief.

The fact also still remains that as with Comfort’s three previous publications against the Etiabas, this fourth time again her assumptions were utterly false principally because she relied on the same source she has always relied on, to the exclusion of the family that she has always written about.

She did not even get in touch with Dame Etiaba, her son Emeka or any of their aides and perhaps she did not need to as her mind was probably already made up against them months ago.

Please Comfort, your assertion that Onyechi employed Emeka is totally false too. At no time did that happen and for record purposes, Emeka employs over 30 legal, para- legal and administrative staff and has run his own law firm since 1989.

Comfort can at least verify that simple fact before her next editorial against Emeka and his mother. Emeka and Onyechi are partners at Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, Etiaba & Co, a firm of legal practitioners still in existence today, located at Area 8, Garki, Abuja . There is a fundamental difference between being someone’s partner and being his employee.

That Emeka Etiaba prevailed on anyone to help out in foiling the impeachment was never mentioned as a test of who knew anyone earlier but to give a factual account of what really transpired and to dispel Comfort’s conclusion that the Etiabas worked against Obi.

Mr. Iweka, a commentator on national issues, writes from Obosi, Anambra State.


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