The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, was yesterday allegedly stopped by Anambra State Government from holding a meeting in Agulu.
The news which first was taken as a rumour was confirmed when the people of the town, already seated for the meeting at 1p.m. were asked by the President General of the town, Mr. Andy Orakwue to leave the hall of Agulu Town Union Building on the terse reason that the meeting had been called off.
However, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Mr. James Eze dismissed the story as unreasonable, pointing out that if no such action was taken against Obi in an election he was involved in, how would such be when he was not a contestant.
“It fails all logic to vend such stories. How can the government stop him? The Governor does not even have the power to do so and would never do so. Peter Obi held several meetings when he was contesting as Vice President and has been holding more and nobody stopped him so why should the government stop his meeting when he is not a candidate. Stopping his meeting is akin to stopping him from visiting Anambra and that did not and cannot happen. It is not true,” Eze said.
The President General was alleged to be under pressure to call off the meeting by security agents even when he explained that it was a routine meeting with the people, carefully chosen to hold before those that came home for elections would start returning to their bases.
The President General who presented the agenda which had “Thank you by the Vice Presidential Candidate, discussion on the planned empowerment of the people of the town by Mr. Peter Obi, and Peter Obi’s Mentorship Programme” as the only three items to security agents to convince them that it had no political undertone, was asked to call off the meeting in his own interest, since the order came from the government.
The Special Adviser on Media to the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP, Valentine Obienyem, when contacted confirmed the story.
According to Mr. Obienyem, “His Excellency received many calls from security agencies on the meeting. Saddened by so violation of freedom of association contrary to the constitution, Obi said they had not given him enough reasons not to meet with his people. He even went on to demand they send their agents to monitor the meeting which had nothing to do with politics, but they would not listen, saying the order came from the government.
“Obi did not want to obey clear illegality as happened when the same people tried to stop him from coming to the state on flimsy reasons, but, alas, after much pressure, the subdued President General had to call it off. The irony of the situation is that the government said they were bent on making sure Obi loses his constituency even when Obi is not so much keen on which party wins the House of Assembly as his major concern now has to do with national issues.”
Reacting to the development in a letter by Good Governance Vanguard signed by its Chairman, Mr. Maduagwu Eric-kenny and Chief Emma Ejidike, the group said that “His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi is an illustrious son of Agulu, we are proud of him and he has every right to hold meeting and associate with his people.” The group warned those interfering with Obi’s fundamental right and freedom of association to desist from such illegality.