Bianca Ojukwu, Nigeria’s former ambassador to Spain and widow of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, has accused Willie Obiano, governor of Anambra state, of abandoning her husband.
The late Ojukwu, a war hero, was one of the founders of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), under which Obiano has been elected twice.
In an interview with Sun, Ojukwu’s widow said after using her husband’s images to campaign, the governor now feels he is no longer relevant to the party.
She accused Obiano of not revering Ojukwu the way he ought to, saying although the governor was successful as a banker, he knows little about politics.
Before joining politics, Obiano was a top director at Fidelity Bank.
“Well, it’s essentially a problem of leadership. The leader of any political party needs to understand the ethos and the bedrock on which the ideology of the party he seeks to lead is built. Governor Willie Obiano who assumed the position of APGA party national leader, and who ought to have championed this initiative to host a remembrance ceremony for Ojukwu, the pioneer national leader of APGA, and to all intents and purposes, the icon of the party, has deemed it not worthwhile to do so,” she said.
“The last remembrance event that was conducted in Anambra State to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu by APGA-led government was in March 2013 under Governor Peter Obi and Chief Victor Umeh as party chairman, but it still doesn’t stop this Anambra State government from rolling out his pictures for campaign purposes whenever the elections come up.”
Asked what she feels could be responsible for the “nonchalant attitude” of Obiano towards Ojukwu, she said: “Well, our people have this saying that a person who was not present when a corpse was buried starts to exhume the corpse from the wrong end. The fact, if one has to be candid, is that Governor Obiano was a stranger to our political party who knew next to nothing about APGA’s founding principles, ideology and history.
“The iconic status of Ojukwu as party symbol also happens to be one such casualty and I will use a simple example with regards to party branding which exposes the mindset of this current APGA governor to buttress this point. Obiano declared that he had his own ideas regarding re-inventing APGA as a major political force, but I expressed grave reservations concerning his approach and strategy.
“For starters, there is hardly anybody in Anambra State and beyond, who doesn’t know that APGA, as a political party, is inextricably intertwined with the personality of Ojukwu as its brand. It is a party for which he laboured right to his twilight hours, hence he is generally referred to as APGA’s eternal leader. You can then imagine how dumbfounded I was, when, a short while after he won re-election for a second term as governor, having campaigned with Ojukwu’s pictures blazing through every billboard in the state, as well as on APGA campaign buses, party uniforms and other paraphernalia, Obiano casually informed me that he would be phasing out all APGA party uniforms that displayed Ojukwu’s image as had been the normal tradition with APGA apparel and would be replacing them with party uniforms that would be branded solely with his own image or with a cockerel as symbol, since according to him, Ojukwu was no longer relevant to the party and (I quote him), that he could no longer continue to tie the fate and fortunes of APGA to the memory of a dead man.
“Well, whatever he meant by it, I considered the remark to be rather unfortunate and to say the least, laughable… thought his reasoning was acutely flawed and I considered his contemptuous reference to Ojukwu, before me, merely as a ‘dead man’ who was no longer relevant to APGA deeply offensive and disrespectful. It became obvious to me that Obiano (a relatively unknown banker living out his retirement in America) had forgotten so soon how he went about from community to community, pleading with the people of Anambra state who have great sentimental attachment to the Igbo hero, to vote for him in deference to Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. This raises several questions. Was he now saying that he was not aware of the fact that Ojukwu was deceased when he was using the man’s image to canvass for votes? Even more, did he not visit the same Ojukwu’s grave to pour libations and pray for a favourable outcome for his elections? Are the pictures of that visit not there for all to see?”
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