Willie Obiano – striking a pose – wearing clothing with Governor Peter Obi’s head.
With the volatility of the Anambra gubernatorial exercise approaching its breaking point, desperation levels within the various political camps have begun exhibiting symptoms indicative of grand schemes prepped and tucked beneath the immediate surface away from the immediate grasp of the ordinary indigene of Anambra and its political class.
Information available to 247ureports.com obtained through a consortium of sources knowledgeable of the affairs of the State government under the current administration of Governor Peter Obi reveal that the reason Governor remains near adamant to hoist the person of Willie Obiano as a governor to take over the governorship mantle. The recent commissioning of the oil and gas activities at the Aguleri axis of Anambra State by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan on August 30, 2012 Orient Petroleum was revealed as the clandestine reason behind the Peter Obi administration’s insistence on Willie Obiano’s candidacy under the All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA].
Among the sources who spoke to 247ureports.com was Major K. C. Obi [rtd] – an indigene of the same community as Willie Obiano. Major Obi who retired during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency revealed that the information available to him conclusively suggests that Governor Peter Obi through his controlling share interest at Fidelity Bank intends to “take over” financial control of Orient Petroleum through a privatization Act. He stated that Governor Obi intends to use a “son of the area” and a “trusted” colleague from Fidelity Bank to achieve his ambition.
He lamented that oil barges are being ferried away from the oil facility at Aguleri – Otu without the necessarily procedural policies being followed. “The operation there looks suspect” said the retired Major as he continued to add that the general Anambra population ought to be made aware of what is at stake in the upcoming elections. “There are no records of what is going on at the oil facility”.
On the day of the Commissioning – with Peter Obi and Goodluck Jonathan
He continued to add that “Peter Obi wants to use Obiano to buy out Anambra Shares in the Oil venture using the combine force Fidelity Bank and his political godson, Willie”. Cursory information appears to confirm the revelations of the retired Major. A visit to the Orient Petroleum office located in Awka by our correspondent revealed the secrecy with which the operations at the oil facility is caged. The operators at the office were not able and/or willing to disclose the pumping status of the oil facility. They were not readily willing to clarify whether the oil barges that had been moved from the oil facility –were actually sold or stored.
As a caveat, the refinery was initiated by the then Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration in 2001 under Board Directorship of former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku. This was following exploratory exercise by the multinational company, SAFRAP, now Total Plc that first struck oil 45 years ago.
Both the administrations of Chinwoke Mbadinuju and Chris Ngige invested significantly into the foundational development the oil refinery. Under the Peter Obi administration, the investment in the oil facility continued. About N4.6billion was invested in the oil company – through the purchase of shares worth over N4billion and through other financial grants. Other states such as Enugu, Rivers and Kogi also invested in the company. Anambra is said to own the lion share of the company.
The refinery is expected to refine at the full scale capacity of 55,000 bpd in a few months when fully operational – and will draw feedstock from OPL 915 and 916 estimated by Orient Petroleum to contain 1billion bbls Oil/Condensate and 30 TCF Gas. It will produce PMS, DPK, AGO and LPG. According Orient Petroleum’s financial forecast, it is estimated that in 2013 it will record a revenue of N346.78billion. For this reason, business investors, including the governor of Anambra, took immediate interest.
In talking with one of the Executive Director of Orient Petroleum, Engineer I. E. Akuezumba who was a former head of Asset Management at Shell Nigeria – he confirmed that one of the oil wells is currently operational – and that it is producing oil. “The well is producing oil. The actual pumping rate is what we can’t give you over the telephone. You would need to contact the government”, stated the Executive Director as he explained that the flooding of 2012 hampered the operations at the oil facility.
It is against this backdrop that the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi told the people of Anambra State that the governorship seat would be move to the north senatorial district of Anambra – in order to create a political balance within the three senatorial zones. When Gov. Obi first espoused the idea, the people of Anambra north senatorial district welcomed the idea with full embrace. Unaware that the governor had already made up his mind on the choice candidate [in the person of his former Fidelity Bank employee], the monarchs and other influential personalities within the north senatorial district convened a forum to select unanimously the person who they will present to Governor Obi as their choice candidate from the north. The governor, as gathered, gave his blessings to the forum.
The forum, following its deliberations, pointed to Dr. Obidigbo as their choice candidate to represent the candidate from the north. Governor Peter Obi cunningly accepted their choice as “the choice”.
But unknown to the monarchs, Gov. Obi had already become involved in preparatory exercises with Willie Obiano over the gubernatorial elections. Willie Obiano was said to be reluctant to join the race – initially – largely because of Peter Obi’s inability to secure victory for Prof Dorothy Nkem Akunyili during her senatorial race under the APGA party. He was unsure if Gov. Obi could deliver victory to him candidacy should he join the race.
It took the entrance of Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo into race under the APGA party banner – for Gov. Obi and Willie Obiano to effect a quick decision. Willie Obiano – out from obscurity – unknown to the Anambra north larger community – joined the party [APGA] – on the same day Prof Charles Soludo announced his entry into the party. With Obiano’s entrance, Gov. Peter Obi took over the reins of assuring his former employee surfaces as the APGA candidate – whether by crook or by hook. The disqualification of the major aspirants from the list of aspirations to contest the APGA primaries showcased one of the staunchest symptoms of Governor Peter Obi’s desperation to buy over Orient Petroleum and the operations.
Prof Chukwuma Soludo – former Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] – disqualified by APGA screening committee
Prof Charles Soludo, according to available information, was disqualified by the screening committee because he had been an invited guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC]. Interestingly, he was initially told that he failed to state that he had been arrested before. When Soludo presented evidence that he had never been arrested before, the screening committee switched and told him that he had an unresolved case at the EFCC – and for that reason, he was disqualified. Similar yardstick was used to disqualify other would-be contestants in the APGA gubernatorial primaries.
Governor Peter Obi who had made public that he had reserved the sum of N40billion for the Anambra gubernatorial elections to ensure his choice candidate wins – extended the sense of desperation to the execution of the APGA primaries. The manner the APGA primary was handled according to APGA stalwarts showed that the Governor was not interested in having a free and fair elections. “He had made up his mind on Obiano” said one of the APGA personalities who had contested a national seat under the APGA. He added that “Obi made his delegate list. We did not know any one the persons he brought as delegates”. He continued to add that numbers of delegates were arbitrary awarded to the other aspirants. Some of the aggrieved contestants such Honorable Uche Ekwunife were settled financially for their troubles. 247ureports.com is not certain the amount paid to Ekwunife but a competent source close to her revealed that she was settled – along with other contestants.
Honorable Uche Ekwunife – lost APGA primaries to the unknown Willie Obiano
Governor Peter Obi’s desperation to corner the ownership of Orient Petroleum was responsible for the fracas between the national APGA Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and Governor Peter Obi. The fracas was caused by Governor Peter Obi’s desire to coronate Willie Obiano as the next Governor. Chief Victor Umeh, according to his close aides, was not comfortable with the choice of Obiano – when it was initially reviewed to him in private by Governor Peter Obi – that he wanted to have his former employee at the Fidelity Bank replace him as governor. Chief Umeh rebelled and so started the fracas.
Chief Victor Umeh, National Chairman of APGA
Chief Victor Umeh then moved to seek personalities to help him fight against the intended coronation by Governor Peter Obi. He found Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of Capital Oil and Gas, Chief Ifeanyi Uba, a billionaire oil mogul – who sought interest in the gubernatorial race under the APGA party banner. But, according to folks within Ifeanyi Uba’s camp, the desperation levels within the Peter Obi group frustrated Chief Ifeanyi Uba to abandon his original desire – and to join the Labor party instead.
As the election day draws nearer, Anambra indigenes will reach decision within themselves on how Anambra State affairs will be piloted in the next four  years. They will decide on many sensitive issues that have historical not been an issue. Securing the integrity and ownership of Orient Petroleum would be among the most sensitive issue. Presently, it remains a veiled issue.