Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the elected Anambra State Governor, took his oath of office in Awka last Wednesday (March 17th). It was a low-key event according to online reports. The out-gone Governor, Willie Obiano, his wife, Ebelechukwu ‘Osodieme’, and many other dignitaries graced the occasion. Governor Soludo is expected to usher in a change in Anambra State given his sterling character, administrative qualities and sound understanding and management of economic issues.
As a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Soludo has distinguished himself as a technocrat with glorious antecedents. He has already hit the ground running having prepared himself for the hard task ahead. We are convinced that Ndi-Anambra will witness a new lease of life under Soludo after eight years of uninspiring leadership under Obiano.
Of course we believe he is the best man for the job. No one would have done it better in our reckoning! Not Andy Uba or Ifeanyi Ubah. Or even the PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo, though a gentleman with inspiring character.
Anambra State is a ‘special’ state in the land of the rising sun! Its people are very proud of their cultural heritage. It is about the richest state among the five Igbo-speaking states. Great Nigerians that contributed to national development had come from the great state east of the Niger. The late Nnamdi Azikiwe, the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the late great novelist, Chinua Achebe and the popular billionaire-businessman, Obi Cubana.
Just recently following the conclusion of the official handing-over ceremony in Awka ex-Governor Obiano was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Lagos as he sought to board a flight for Houston, the United States. Even before his second consecutive tenure had lapsed the EFCC had issued what amounted to an impending arrest warrant last November placing Obiano on a watch-list and mandating the Immigration Service to be on the look-out for him anytime he sought to ‘escape’ abroad.
Obiano cannot be said to be the first former Governor to be arrested or invited over for questioning over graft-related offenses. Governors in Nigeria are executive looters and they steal without conscience! The list is long but it included the former Ekiti State garrulous Governor, Ayo Fayose, former Edo State Governor, Lucky Igbinedion, former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva and many others.
But beyond the apprehension of the ex-Anambra Chief Executive and the inauguration of a new Governor what made headlines across the land was the slapping contest featuring the overbearing wife of the former Governor, Ebelechukwu ‘Osodieme’ Obiano and the wife of the late Biafran warlord, Bianca Ojukwu.
According to online reports and video that has since gone viral Mrs Obiano had suddenly stood up from where she sat with her husband sauntering towards Bianca and an altercation soon led to exchange of slaps with Ebele drawing the first ‘blood’! She was seen hitting Bianca with a right hand and the elegant widow retaliated without hesitation.
Now, no one knew what exactly transpired leading to the slapping show of shame but suffice to speculate that there was no love lost between the two women. Bianca Ojukwu has had a frosty relationship with the former Governor and she had criticized his administrative style on more than one occasion.
Bianca had always spoken out against the desecration of the values under the Obiano leadership in Anambra state. And she railed against the deliberate policy of downplaying the Ojukwu post-humous influence and legacy in APGA.
Perhaps, Ebele Obiano must have taken offense against the criticisms directed at her husband by the Ojukwu widow. The political link here is unmistakable. Here is a woman whose late heroic husband remains the founder of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) party in Anambra State. And the opposite Eve happens to be the glamorous wife of a Governor whose tenure had just expired.
What ‘Osodieme’ Obiano did was unconscionable and deplorable. Was she jealous of Bianca? Or Ebele was overtaken by the thuggish mentality? Why would a woman whose husband occupied a high exalted position as Governor descend so low as to hit a fellow woman before a gathering featuring guests within and from outside the state? What was Ebelechukwu thinking?
Was she frustrated that the executive end had come? Or that the ‘party’ at the Government House had abruptly come to an end? Something must be morally wrong with a former First Lady of a State acting like a thug or a hoodlum?
It is a big shame for the Obiano family. Even as Governor it was known that Willie was not in total control of his household! And his wife was as uncontrollable as possible. Scandals had mounted over her excesses and sense of glamour. She was once likened to the glamorous wife of the late Filipino President, Imelda Marcos.
Now that the plans of the Obianos to retire in Houston, Texas, armed with billions of stolen funds had hit a brickwall with the breadwinner taken in, it remains to be seen how the embattled family would bounce back from the present travails.
If the two women had been left to fight it out there is no certainty that Ebele would have beaten Bianca to a pulp. Maybe Ebele is very good at holding hairs of her foes or using her manicured nails to ‘design’ the face or body of her victims! As a former Miss Nigeria Bianca could have defended herself throwing into the battle whatever she had.
The public slapping shame in Awka had dented the good image of the state. ‘Osodieme’ bears full responsibility for bringing the state to disrepute. She must be sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others.
If ex-Governor Willie Obiano cannot control his wife in public then one wonders who really is the ‘husband’ at the home front!
We express our solidarity with Bianca Ojukwu and hail her courage in the face of a pre-meditated attack from a ‘wounded’ lioness. Long live the Ikemba legacy in Anambra state in particular and Biafraland in general!