…Says Buhari not in support of action
…President warns against intimidation by any party
…Adds: Insecurity in Northeast, Northwest worse than in Anambra
…Boasts of APGA’s victory in Nov 6
…Says APC pays N100m to APGA lawmakers to join
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, Thursday blasted the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami for suggesting that the Federal Government may consider the possibility of declaring a state of emergency in the state if the security situation continues to degenerate.
Governor Obiano also said that Malami’s comment did not have the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, as the President never mentioned any such to him (Obiano) when two of them met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting behind closed-doors with the President, the Anambra state governor said that President Buhari warned political parties against using intimidation for the opposition parties in the November 6 governorship election in the state.
He described the comment made by the AGF as unfortunate, wondering why the Minister had not considered a declaration of emergency rule in the Northeast and Northwest especially in Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states where banditry and terrorism claim several lives virtually on daily basis.
The Governor also claimed that the lawmakers from the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, and other parties that defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, were paid N100 million each to join the party.
Reacting to the comment made by Malami that the federal government may not rule out the possibility of declaring a state of emergency if the state government did not improve the security in the state before the November 6 election, he said, “Well, that’s a very unfortunate comment by the Attorney-General. Malami. Very, very unfortunate.
“I also reported that to the President and this is not in the books for the president because he knows that Anambra has been the safest state in Nigeria for seven years plus.
“These invaders from outside Anambra state, from the neighbouring towns, we are going to deal with them. We’re already working, there’s nothing.
“Even to contemplate state of emergency is unfortunate, look at what is happening in the north; they kill dozens every day. Because less than 15 people were killed in Anambra in two weeks, is that a reason for somebody to call for a state of emergency? That’s a very unfortunate comment by Malami. I will call him to express reservation on those kinds of comments, he shouldn’t try that.
“Anambra is doing well and don’t forget that Malami is on the National Campaign Committee for the APC candidate. So, if that’s their strategy, then they have failed already. Come to the ballot box, APGA will win and win hands down. They are trying to see how they can destabilise us. No, APC has no room in Anambra, there’s no party called APC in Anambra. Anambra is APGA.”
Fielding question on the current security situation in Anambra state, the governor said, “We are doing well already. Part of the reasons why I came here is to brief some security agencies on effort I’ve made and to solicit some support in some other areas; the army, the Navy, the police in particular. The President also noted that and will give further directives.
“We are getting more boots on ground, we’re getting more equipment and I believe in less than two weeks all these things will be over.
“We’ll overwhelm and conquer all these miscreants that came from other states nearby to come and harass Anambra people. Let me stop at saying that they are from neighbouring states.”
On comparison between what is happening in the Northwest, Northeast and Anambra, Governor Obiano said, “Well, when you have malaria and when you have cancer, they are two different treatments. What we have in Anambra is malaria, so you don’t have to use a sledge-hammer to kill that. We are not near, in terms of confusion and security challenges, compared to Zamfara and co, so they are not good examples.
“The Army, police Navy, other arms-bearing people should consider the quantum of force to use. As a strategist, you don’t sit down here and order the army to carry the whole army in Nigeria to go to Anambra.
“In summary, what I’m saying is what is happening in Anambra and this election that must hold, the crisis and challenges are far from being close to challenges in the Northwest and in the Northeast, as the case may be.
“They are not going to use an overwhelming force, that’s what we’re saying, overwhelming force. But use the force required to be able to get the job done.
“The guarantee we are giving for this election is that this election will hold, we’ll have enough security to back the people and APGA’s candidate, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, will be the next governor of Anambra State.”
Responding to the question on the state government’s preparedness to protect the people and the question of leadership fairlure in the Southeast which has thrown up the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, he said the state does not any serious challenge.
“Let me take the comment on the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation. The comments by Malami is very unfortunate. He shouldn’t have made that assertion at all because we don’t have any challenge in Anambra.
“What happened for the period of two weeks is just a flash in the pan. Anambra has always been the safest state in Nigeria under my leadership for seven and a half years, so this little hiccup will not warrant his comment there.
“Why didn’t he make those comments in Kaduna, in Jos, Imo State, in Zamfara? Why is he making that kind of assertion and we have an election by the corner? There’s no reason to make that assertion” he said.
On the alleged leadership failure in the Southeast that led to emergence of IPOB activities, Governor Obiano said, “What you asked about the separatists, the answer I’m giving you is that I don’t know what you mean by leadership failure.
“My state is doing very well and as a matter of fact, you are very aware of my international cargo and passenger airport, the best in Nigeria, second longest runway after Lagos, 3.7 kilometres, tallest tower built with concrete all through and to be commissioned very soon.
“The International Conference Centre. We have leadership. So, that’s not the issue at all, but let me say this again, the comment by Honourable Attorney-General is unfortunate. He shouldn’t have made that comment because there’s no basis to make that.
“Whatever it is, I have not had challenges with whoever and whoever is causing trouble, no matter who he is, we’re going to flush out. That’s all I can tell you.”
On whether the AGF made the comment on the possibility of emergency rule without the President’s consent, he said that in his meeting with President Buhari, such an idea never came up.
He said, “I just finished meeting with the President and I mentioned it and the President didn’t suggest that.
“The President is firm, he wants a peaceful election in Anambra State. He wants a free and fair election in Anambra State, that’s the President for you. But if people in his party are going around making insinuations, using his name to do things, the President clearly told me that he does not support that full stop.”
Asked why lawmakers were defecting from the APGA and PDP to the APC, he said that those that had joined the APC went to the party to collect their own share of N100 million allegedly being distributed for the “new converts.
The Governor said, “Any time, any day, there’s no other party in Anambra, only APGA. There’s no APC. But let me tell you, it’s a ploy. Those people that went to APC now, they went to collect money because they saw the additional money, N100 million each, they are still APGA, they are giving us information on what is happening in APC. “
Asked on his take on the assertion that the unknown gunmen were being sponsored by external forces outside Southeast to cause mayhem in the zone, he said, “I’m not ready to make an assertion on what I do not know about, I’m talking about Anambra and I told you that incidents of the last few weeks are miscreants that came from neighbouring states bordering Anambra and we know them and we’re going to flush them out.
“By the way, you are aware that I have put a bounty of N20 million for anybody that will give us information that will lead to the arrest of these miscreants.
“I believe that N20 million is good enough for people to give us information and as soon as we get that information, we are going to deal ruthlessly with whoever those people are. What I can tell you is that I’m emboldened by meeting with the President today to confirm to you that Mr President is a fair man, he believes in free and fair election, he doesn’t want intimidation. He used that word to me; he said he does not want anybody to intimidate anybody, that he respects everybody.
“He gave me example that he ran for presidency three times, that it was only on the fourth time he won. So why should people be forced to do what they don’t want to do?
“So, what these members of his party are doing, the President does not support that. I can tell you that.”
Explaining on why he was at the State House, he said, “I came here this morning to brief the President on a few things. First, I thanked Mr. President for completing one segment of Umunya to Awka Road and I pleaded with him to also commence work on the other segment so that the road will be fully done.
“I also thanked him for making Anambra an oil producing state with 15 wells, commended him for the support he’s given to my administration all these years, you know, by March 17, it will be all over and I will finish my second term.
“I also commended Mr. President, for his forthrightness and the continual support with respect to things on election.
“After briefing the President on the state of political activities in Anambra, he reassured one more time that election will hold in Anambra State and that the election will be free and fair.
“The President has always made that point and to testify to that, he told me the same during my re-election and APGA won, 21 over 21.”