Dissecting Victor Umeh’s interview on Peter Obi ~ by Valentine Obienyem
I am almost sure that my boss would be against this reply to Chief Victor Umeh. If he raises objection, I shall tell him what I have always told him: amidst pacifist inclinations, one must always correct factual details at all times. “If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots,” I believe that Napoleon Bonaparte was right, silence is not golden all the time, especially when, if one keeps silence, they will heap all manner of lies on one. Who says you cannot beat one and tell him not to cry?
Anybody following Peter Obi’s interviews would see that he strives to avoid answering questions on people like Chief Victor Umeh, Gov. Willie Obiano, APGA and Anambra State, even when asked direct questions. In the case of Chief Victor Umeh, I understand that he was the one who demanded to be asked a question on Mr. Peter Obi. Even when the interviewer did not want that, he found a way of linking the question he was asked to Mr. Peter Obi. What does he want to achieve by that?
The working of Obi’s mind was made clear in his last interview. When asked to make comments on Anambra State, he said he was now in Premier League and his pre-occupation was how to contribute to the growth of the country by offering advice and other related efforts. I have at least accompanied him to three top rated Universities in the world, including Yale University where he spoke to the world. Would Victor Umeh’s eternal pre-occupation be Mr. Peter Obi? Would he not grow?
Here is what he said about Obi and my reply to him.
THE QUESTION that was asked him: “What will you say is your lowest point in the past 58 years?“
CHIEF VICTOR UMEH: My lowest point was Peter Obi’s betrayal of my relationship with him as my brother. It is a very sour point for me.
VAL: What do you mean? It is not you, neither am I the one that will decide who betrayed who. The unattached, objective ones who have followed the relationship should better do so. I hope you got me right?
CHIEF VICTOR UMEH: Obi came to me in 2001 here in Enugu to solicit for my support; that he wanted to run for governorship. I asked him critical questions and he told me that he will be fair to everybody, will be tenacious in the struggle and will never let me down. So, I took him on, everything about him becoming governor was driven by me, everybody in Nigeria knows that.
VAL: Anybody contesting in an election visits people as part of consultations? In this present dispensation, for example, 5 persons contesting in Anambra elections have visited me in my house, recognising me as a stakeholder that should be consulted. Would it be right to use the visit as an instrument of blackmail as Umeh does always? I think it is the poverty of the mind to recount such a visit the way Chief Victor Umeh does. Does it mean he is still intoxicated by Obi’s visit?
Why did he not tell us that Obi ended up paying the rent of the same Boy-Quarters-like apartment he was living in when Obi visited him? After knowing Obi, he ended up living in one of the most imposing residential houses in Enugu.
How do you define fairness to everybody? Was Obi not fair to everybody? Did he not develop all the parts of the State? When he returned schools to the Church, which people like Chief Victor Umeh opposed, did he not give money proportionally? Even to sectors for development, he was fair to them. Did he not develop all sectors simultaneously?
Chief Umeh said everything about Obi becoming the governor was driven by him. I have heard many people, such as Prince Arthur Eze, Prince Nicolas Ukachukwu, Chief Chris Uba, make the same claims. You people – the claimants – should meet among yourselves and determine who actually made him governor so that we can have a central person we could refer to. The irony of it all is that these claimants could not even deliver themselves when they directly contested in elections. When Obi aspired to be VP, Anambra People gave the PDP 95% votes, the highest in the country, you people should also decide who pulled that one as well.
ChIEF VICTOR UMEH: It was Professor ABC Nwosu who referred him to come and meet me to lead the struggle for him. We had all kinds of difficulties; you have seen how he got into office in the first instance after three years in court driven by me. I had to become chairman of APGA not by my wish but to save his mandate. I fought with Professor Maurice Iwu when he wanted to deny Obi participation in the 2010 governorship election for the second term; I fought him in court and overwhelmed him. A truce was brokered because I had a court judgment which Iwu was disobeying when the court had affirmed Chekwas Okorie’s expulsion from the party and Iwu continued to recognize Chekwas to put another candidate against Peter Obi in APGA in 2010. I fought through, won at the Court of Appeal and I was able get Ojukwu’s support for Obi and we won the second term election for him.
VAL: Prof. ABC Nwosu is still talking very highly of Obi because he is driven by altruism. He gave Obi over 20 names he should consult and he consulted all of them. The way Chief Umeh talks, you may think he was the only one that was consulted. How did you drive three years in court? What did you do that others did not do? Did you contribute to the money paid to lawyers? No! Were you part of election funding? No! The truth is that you were paid for everything you did, including appearing as a witness.
I did not know you people at that time, but perhaps I was the one who wrote in Obi’s support more than any other person did. When he won and he called me to support him, he once told me that his respect for me was borne out of the fact that I was the only person that supported him during the struggle even when he did not know me nor bought pure water for me.
I learnt that during electioneering, Chief Umeh did not talk, he followed around like every other person. It was only Ojukwu, Mr. Peter Obi, and Chekwas that talked.
If Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu were alive, he would shudder. It was only Obi, Ojukwu, I and a few others that knew how Obi became a candidate. Chief Umeh was not even aware.
Thanks to President Yar-Adua and Ojukwu that played the fatherly role. If you remember, rather than Umeh signing Obi’s nomination form as the party Chairman, it was Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu that signed it.
We knew Umeh pretended to be helping when he had another agenda. Just like when Obi was impeached, he fought against his coming back and told many people that visited him that the interregnum governor had already done a lot for him. Umeh told them the interregnum governor gave you money, bought this and that for you, bought cars for you and your wife. Eventually, when it appeared to you that Obi would win, you turned 360 degrees.
I remember when Obi won the court case, how you told us to wait for Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu at Enugu to join us in merriment. On a second thought, Obi called Ojukwu who asked him what the court said. When Obi told him that the court directed he should take over immediately, Ojukwu asked us to start coming to Awka immediately and take over, that was how we departed for Awka. But in your typical lies, just as you did in this interview, and as I read in one of your interviews, you claimed you were the one that asked Obi to start coming to Awka.
CHIEF VICTOR UMEH: I played a major role to get him back from impeachment. I was the one that saw the need to seek for interpretation of his tenure, I did and I drove it. There are too many things that cannot be contained in this interview, I did all that and he got a second term in office and tragically, he turned against me because I told him to conduct local government election so that our party people will get into those cadres for the party to have flesh. Because at that time it was Obi as Governor, House of Assembly Members 30, PDP, nobody in the local government, no caretaker, nothing. So, APGA was operating with only Governor, so myself and Ojukwu gave him that as a condition for his second term even when Ojukwu had revolted that he wasn’t going to support him again instead he preferred Emeka Etiaba-the son to the former Deputy Governor. I had to intervene to get my boss to see reason why we should continue with Peter. So, I saved him in all his travails and very tragically because Ojukwu died in 2011, he felt he can now muscle me.
VAL: Not true, you rather worked against him because you did not want him to return, evidence abound. You are still telling lies of being the person that mooted the idea of tenure interpretation, when it actually came from Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, himself and Mr. Femi Falana, SAN. Are you jealous of Obi always being recognised as the person that first went for tenure interpretation? Should they start adding that Sen. Victor Umeh was the first person that mooted the idea of tenure interpretation or what?
You said it was Local Government Election That caused problem between you and Obi, but have you lost your voice? As Chairman of APGA, you did not remind Gov. Obiano to conduct Local Government election. As a member of APGA’s BOT, you are yet to remind him that. What is now the problem? Case closed!
The last time you got your courage back and made statements tangentially against Obiano, the hordes charged towards you like Spanish Armada brandishing every type of weapon including the threat to stop your monthly pay, that you quickly made and preached peace.
On Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s endorsement of another person, all I can is that he did certain things he ought not to and would ordinarily not have done because people like you were feeding him with wrong information. When he eventually knew the truth from the likes of Prof. ABC Nwosu about Obi, he took Obi as the best thing that has happened to governance in Nigeria. This culminated in his request that the people of the State should vote in Obi as his “last wish.”
When Ojukwu died, you rushed to London with Chief Rochas Okorocha to bring back his mortal remains. Did his wife not stop you saying Ojukwu instructed that Obi should be the person to be informed if anything happened? Did Obi not do everything a son would do for his father? He formed a burial Committee headed by the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, which included Comrade Uche Chukwemerije, Prof. ABS Nwosu and Sen. Ben Obi that culminated on Ojukwu receiving the best burial in Africa!
To show you how you people were deceiving Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, let me quote some paragraphs from one of my published articles.
“We may finally appraise his attitude towards inordinate acquisition with a particular encounter with Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, one Nigerian that commanded respect across the country for his strength of character and commitment to what he believed in.
On one occasion, I accompanied Peter Obi to Ikemba’s home in Enugu to answer a query, so to speak. Some self-serving elements in APGA tried to use the old lion’s name to feather their nests through all manner of requests; indeed demands – citing Ojukwu as a principal beneficiary. In the matter at hand, Peter Obi had been ‘subpoenaed’ to explain why he refused to buy houses in Abuja for certain APGA members, including Ojukwu.
During the ‘hearing’ at which Ojukwu presided, the accusers exhausted all arguments on the desirability of their ‘project’. Nodding his head, Ojukwu, skilled in the art of discerning men’s covetousness by the air of their countenances and indeed body language, asked everybody to leave because he needed to have some rest. Some 20 minutes later, we were around 9th Mile on our way back to Awka when Peter Obi received a call from Ojukwu ‘summoning’ us back to Enugu supposedly to pick up what he had forgotten in the great man’s house.
We duly made a U-Turn; and they got into another round of meeting. Ojukwu pointedly told Peter Obi that he had heard a lot about the young man; that all he could decipher was that he, Obi, was not sharing public funds to people, which made some of them angry with the Governor. Ojukwu then urged Obi to keep it up; that what mattered in governance was service to the people and not pandering to the personal wishes of the party hierarchy.
On the original matter that brought Peter Obi to Enugu, Ojukwu disassociated himself from the demand; declaring that they only wanted to use his name to extort patronage from the Governor. He had actually called them “thieves”: ‘Look at those thieves that came here pretending they love me so much by requesting you to buy a house for me at Abuja. Do not listen to them. Always know I am with you. At over 75, tell me what I will do with a house in Abuja’.”
CHIEF VICTOR UMEH: First when I got Rochas elected in Imo State, they formed APGA Governors’ Forum and gave me the directive to dissolve the executive of APGA in Imo and Anambra States and put in place Caretaker Committees that they will give to me. They sent me letters, I have copies and I wrote them a reply after a meeting of the National Working Committee and we rejected their demand. They continued the fight, after Rochas buckled and returned to me, we continued. Tragically, Obi sponsored a useless suit to get me sacked by the then Chief Judge of Enugu State, late Justice Innocent Umezulike. While I was struggling to get the judgment set aside, Obi organized a midnight convention in Awka on April 7, 2013 to ambush the ruling of the Court of Appeal scheduled for the morning of April 8, 2013 which I won. Obi, for whose sake I never slept for one day, all trying to fight and provide support for him, removed me as National Chairman of APGA. That was the lowest point in my life; it was the highest betrayal I can ever fathom. I had to go through the courts again in a very tough fight, thank God for some men of integrity in the Nigerian Judiciary, not all judges are bad; there are credible ones. It was a fight between David and Goliath because midway Rochas Okorocha left us and joined the merger parties; leaving only I and Peter Obi. I was selling off my properties to sustain me when help wasn’t coming again from some of my allies. I did that and God who is the ultimate justifier saw me through and I defeated Obi finally at the Court of Appeal on the 15th of July 2013 and got rid of Maxi Okwu and his team, forcing him (Obi) to come back to me at the late hour of his tenure.
VAL: The ranting of a confused man! You put Obi in Anambra, Rochas in Imo and yourself where? You are always scheming on how to get personal benefits. Have you forgotten how, during the burial of Ojukwu, when you were scheming on how to milk Rochas, you publicily announced he was taking over from Ojukwu and how Obi, at the same, event, told you it was a good one? Eventually you started requesting Rochas to pay you millions. When Rochas discovered the monthly pay sent to you for APGA upkeep he almost cried that you received such and continued to creat the impression that you were receiving nothing. Yes Obi and Rochas were determined to re-position APGA, which meant extricating it from the jugular of one man – Victor Umeh. Were you born to be the perpetual Chairman? Did APGA do well under you? The worst thing that happened to APGA was the betrayal that led to the removal of the real party man: Chief Chekwas Okorie.
Because of greed, the party was finally handed over to one man as both the BOT Chairman and the leader of the party. If you want to cry for mistakes made, you know where to direct your tears, but please Obi has moved on.
CHIEF VICTOR UMEH: It’s the worst thing anybody can do but I still thank God that I survived him. He’s still waging that war of attrition against me till this date but I can assure you that God will see me through all of them.
VAL: It is for the people to determine who is fighting who. Are you not among the three APGA people that requested Obi to leave APGA? He has since left and hardly mentions any of you in interviews, but in any interview you do not mention his name, you will have goose pimples.
To listen to how Obi’s interviews look like, I have attached his last interview for readers to evaluate (https://youtu.be/QTqe9eOdTCM). Any name-calling? Any playing to the gallery? Any false representation? Any lies? Please let Umeh see it for the much required tutorials on the techniques of good interviews.
I know your life ambition is to go to the Senate, but having sold APGA “ito kobo”, are you even sure you will still get their nomination? Mark my words!
LAST LINE FROM VAL:
It is an irony of history to read Chief Victor Umeh vomit falsehoods. Here is a man who met Obi at a time he was nobody and Obi was already on the Board of many companies, including three banks (he was Chairman of one of them). At that time, Chief Victor Umeh who worked as PA to Chief Gab. Chukwuma( he was using a Volvo official car), was newly employed by Chief Ofiadulu as PA. He lived in Abakpa, but Ofiadulu hired a house at Anam Street for him and made him acting treasurer of the PDP when the treasurer died. Ofiadulu was one of those Prof ABC Nwosu requested Obi to meet, he merely included Chief Victor Umeh because it was belived Umeh was close to his boss, Ofiadulu, who bought new 505 for him as an official car.
When Obi inherited Umeh from Ofiadulu, he started paying the house rent. It was Obi who bought him the first Mercedes 190 he owned. It was Obi who procured his first official passport and paid for his first overseas trip.
The problem he had with Obi had nothing to do with Local Government election, it was because of his acquisitive tendencies which was alien to Obi. People like Arc Callistus Ilozumba, Benji Uba, Chief Nwobu Alor can testify to this. Umeh wanted money to build houses in Enugu, Aguluzigbo, to buy houses in Abuja, Lagos and other places.
If not for his tendency to save money, would Obi have ended saving over 75 Billion Naira? Remember that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala said he was the only Governor that supported savings. It was possible because it was only Arc Callistus Ilozumba, The Commissioner for Finance, AG; Prof, Chinyere Okunna and Mrs Nwadu, that actually knew he was saving.
What Chief Victor Umeh is doing is condemnable and is not good for Igbo Unity. When the President of the ADB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina was threatened, all Yorubas came to his rescue. Today, people like Chief Victor Umeh are treating one of the few men with impeccable characters that Igbos could export in a cavalier manner. I will leave him with the words of Chief Patrick Chidolue entitled ‘Peter Obi’ for his instruction as I beg him to leave Obi alone and face his business.
“PETER Obi as reacted by Chief Chidolue, an excerpt..
He is the only product we have now in Igbo land that can be marketed to the whole Nigeria at the moment. I therefore call on well meaning Igbos to know that, irrespective of any deferences in our opinion. We have to use the right weapon to fight for development of this country. He has been accepted by Nigerians and the world. Let us all promote him and through him, with God, we can make Nigeria great again.
The last time IGBO’S where in-charge in Nigeria, Nigeria was far ahead of Malaysia, Singapore, China, Indian’s where cleaners and teachers in Nigeria Hospitals and school. We can do it again, but who can we use now to get there other than PETER OBI. We should start consultations now with the Yoruba political elites, with Northern Political elites, our brothers in South South, our friends in Middle belt. We need to show Nigerians, what the children of this country stand to benefit if Nigeria becomes developed. The security, emploment, happiness and good life that it promises. This country can not afford another 4yrs of mismanagement.
Peter Obi is already marketed and accepted in Nigeria, he is an easy work for us to sell.
Therefore, I will lead Nzuko Umunna to the leadership of Ohanaeze to take this onerous project of Good Governance to make Nigeria great again. Ohanaeze will handle the regional cultural institutions. Our religious leaders will reach out to other religious bodies, our political institutions will bury their deferences and in unison approach other political units. Therefore, we will in unison ask Nigeria to support a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction and present our candidate with a promise for holistic development and prudence.
May God help us in this Great Nigerian project.”
Watch video on Peter Obi’s interview: