Last week, Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano set the cyberspace on fire, when he donned a pair of torn jeans trousers in a picture that showed him welcoming former Aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode. But such tacky dress sense of the first family in the state is fast becoming a cause for concern, reports David-Chyddy Eleke
The Obianos, the Anambra first family is not new to controversies emanating from their dress pattern, and may not be willing still to jettison the kind of dressings that they feel comfortable in, because of criticisms. As governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano’s performance has been relative, depending on who is rating him. But what no one can take away from the former banker and top flight chattered accountant is the fact that in all facets of governance, he has discharged above average.
Beyond providing infrastructure in diverse parts of the state and also ensuring prompt payment of salaries to the state workforce, another thing he does well is pleasing himself with the latest fashion trends. Chief Obiano is not alone in this. His wife, the state’s first lady, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano is all by herself a fashion statement.
The duo is so good in this that beyond governance, they can consider another passion: modeling. This will give them the opportunity to walk the runways as they desire.
In August 2019, the first lady set tongues wagging, when she appeared at a public function, wearing a pair of Gucci sunglasses, said to be worth N1million. Mrs. Obiano had attended the event with her husband, Governor Willie Obiano, and was pictured in the company of the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
It was the funeral mass of the late Chief Michael Chukwuka Onyema, father of the owner of Air Peace, Allen Onyema at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mbosi, Ihiala, Anambra State.
The first lady was spotted wearing a pair of Gucci glasses valued at $2,755 – a brand was tagged “Limited edition mask sunglasses with crystals” by its makers. It was gathered that according to Gucci, the overall quantity of the Made-in-Italy sunglasses is a mere 100 pieces.
“Please note, these sunglasses are part of a limited edition collection of 100 pieces,” Gucci reportedly stated on its website. The designer eyewear is also said to come with complete protection from the sun with its 100% UVA/UVB specification. The Limited Edition mask sunglasses, the makers also said, are accessorised with crystals, and at $2,755, the eyeglasses stood at N995,932.50 as at last year, when she purchased it.
Though there had been argument about the eyeglasses and its cost, some people dismissed it, saying she was an adult and could wear what she felt comfortable in, the argument had quickly led local producers producing and selling the eyeglasses at very ridiculous rates.
However, in February 2020, it was the turn of her husband, the governor to get in the news over his fashion sense. Appearing on the red carpet of the closing event of the Nigeria Police Games hosted in Anambra State, Obiano donned a pair of white jeans trousers, a multicolored flowery long sleeve shirt, with a pair of blazers atop it. He didn’t stop at that, he matched his dressing with a pair of ankle length boots and accompanied it with a walking stick.
While many thought he looked fashionable in the outfit, other criticised him, even to the extent of saying the combination of his clothing was tardy and uncomplimentary.
One thing that has almost stood the governor out, however, is that he does not pay heed to gossips and would continually do the things that gives him joy, including how he dresses. For a man, who has been criticised previously for what many will describe as outlandish dressing, Obiano still pleases himself with what he feels comfortable in.
Just last week, a picture of the governor and his wife welcoming former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode to the governor’s lodge in Onitsha showed him wearing a pair of torn jeans trousers, what many people will call crazy jeans, another multicolored flowery long sleeve shirt and a fez cap.
This too sent tongues wagging, with many describing it as irresponsible dressing for a governor, while many others have commended the governor’s ability to breakaway from the straightjacket lifestyle of many public office holders to live his normal life.
Mr Edmond Igwe writing on social media said, “Governors and other public office holders are also human beings. We should not let them lose their lives totally, because they came into position of authority. For me, I personally like big men, who dress casually. Let’s cut them some slack please. It is this kind of criticisms about everything they do that make some of them (public office holders) to become heady and arrogant.”
Igwe continued: “I have seen big men, who even though they enjoy the attention that comes with their position, when they come together they complain about the freedom that their position has robbed them of. They are also human beings, and there’s nothing wrong with them living their normal life.
“The picture in question was even taken in the home of the governor. Are you saying he does not have the right to wear even a simple dress when he is in his house? Does he have to rush into the room to wear suit, because he is receiving a former minister in his own house,” Igwe queried.
But, for another respondent writing under the name, Simon Bazz, Obiano has demeaned the people of Anambra by his dressing.
He wrote: “I do not know why Obiano likes disgracing the people of Anambra so much. How can a governor wear torn jeans in a picture he knows will be in the public domain? The day he became the governor of Anambra State is the day he lost his right to be a private individual.
“It is even worse that he was standing in front of the official seal of government. I don’t know who advises him on what to wear, because all these kinds of dresses he puts on amount to disgrace on Anambra people. It is not the first time, so he must stop.”
In reaction to the condemnation that the dressing witnessed, the media aides of the governor went to work. The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr James Eze posted about 20 pictures of the governor in different dresses, and accompanying them with the words written in Igbo to state that Obiano is not naïve, when it comes to fashion. Also, Mr Ifeanyi Aniagoh, an aide of the governor stated that he would for one week post a picture of the governor each day to convey his dress sense.
As the heat of the argument dies down, one thing that is sure is that Chief Obiano enjoys making fashion statements, and as far as he continues to experiment with dress sense, he will always come out beautiful in most cases, and in others, he may never fail to make fashion blunders.