Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has denied the allegation that he demanded over N7billion from his successor, Governor Willie Obiano, describing the claim as â€œbaseless and idiotic.â€™â€™
Laughing off the allegation, Obi said he could not have demanded for such amount of money when he left N75billion in the coffers of the state, accusing those behind such rumour of merely trying their hands in unfounded claims so as to blackmail him.
The former governor, who governed Anambra State between 2006 and 2014, stated these while chatting with some journalists in Abuja wednesday.
Reacting to some recent question raised by the South-east zone of a human rights organisation, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) for him and Obiano on the management of the state by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) government especially the report that he left N75billion for his predecessor, Obi said he will address all the posers raised by the body very soon.
He said he was not surprised by attempts by some people to malign and spread falsehood about his government, stressing that he was informed a week ahead by a friend that some people were cooking up lies in a bid to blackmail him.
â€œSomebody said to me that they just came out of a meeting where it was discussed that for the upcoming election in Anambra State, that they will soon come out aggressively to blackmail me, attack my integrity, bring my person into disrepute in front of Nigerians that will make it impossible for me to campaign for the candidate of my party in this election,â€™â€™ Obi stated.
â€œI asked him, how is it going to happen? He said they have what it takes to bring persons to come to TV, newspapers and things like that. I said well, thatâ€™s fine. When they start, we will see.â€
He continued: â€œNot long after that, about a week later, I started hearing on radio, a local radio around me in Anambra State, people being put on radio owned by the state government and other people, calling me names and everything. Then suddenly, there was even news that I mentioned that I will fight the election with the last pint of my blood. And that I demanded money from the governor.â€
Dismissing the allegations, he said: â€œThe question to ask is I joined PDP in October 2014 and it is three years from now. So, at what point did I start demanding this money, because they are saying that that is the reason Iâ€™m now in PDP. Are they saying that if this money was paid to me, that I wonâ€™t campaign for PDP or what?â€
â€œIt is on record in this country, it is documented and I can prove it with every clear documented evidence that when I left office, I left over N25 billion in local investment for Anambra State. I left over N25 billion in cash at the banks, and I left $156 million in the bank in Nigeria.
â€œDo you think anybody can leave such money and then go to tell the person he is handing over to give him N7 billion, when I left over N75 billion? I would have taken it first and then give them the balance and I will still be in good shape.
â€œLet me use the dollar as example. Nobody has ever left one dollar in any state in Nigeria. I left $156 million. $30 million alone is over N7 billion. If I had taken $36 million and left $120million, I would have still been a champion. So, why will I leave the money and go and beg the person to start giving me peanut? I will take it.
â€œIt is madness for anybody to do it. Not even in a family business. I cannot leave money and then start chasing my brother to give me, not to talk of handing over to somebody who is not my brother, who can change tomorrow. I have never — Iâ€™m a Christian, Iâ€™m not supposed to swear, but I can put my hand on the Bible and say Iâ€™ve never discussed with anybody to be paid any amount. Let Obiano himself come and letâ€™s go before any church or anything and swear. I have never done that and I will never do it.â€
On the controversy that has trailed the PDP governorship primaries in the state, the former Anambra State governor argued that such controversy was not strange.
He insisted that primaries all over the world were often greeted with discontent and controversies.
He assured that the disagreements would be resolved soon.
Obi however denied the allegation that he imposed the candidate of the party, Oseloka Obaze stressing that delegates of the party voted somebody they wanted.
According to him, â€œI am not a member of PDP caretaker committee in Anambra State. I am not a delegate to the primaries, so I wonder how this came about. There were delegates that voted; they are not my brothers and sisters. Let me tell you this: the issues of primaries everywhere in the world have always been contentious, even in America. Look at the one between Clinton and Sanders. For me, I donâ€™t want to discuss the issue of party primaries, how did I anoint anyone?â€