..As you are all aware, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) will be in Anambra State on Thursday 30th of August, 2012, to commission the Orient Petroleum facilities and SABMiller Brewery in Onitsha.
I had raised the issue of the brewery scandal and the need for Mr. President to avoid the brewery in my article titled: “Anambra: Oil Prospects and Brewery Scandal” published online and in the Sun Newspaper of 28th August, 2012.
The Governor responded in a Radio interview on the same 28th August on SAPIENTA EXPRESS, Onitsha, calling me names without denying or debunking the facts contained in the write up. His Media Assistant issued what he believed to be a rebuttal but was indeed an admission that NEXT INTERNATIONAL LTD is owned by Governor Peter Obi but that he (Obi) resigned as a Director of the company before he was sworn in as Governor.
He also admitted that the land belonging to INTERNATIONAL STEEL COMPANY “was truly revoked for overriding public interest, for they abandoned the land for years and it dilapidated a lot, but it was not allocated to SABMiller.”
The truth is that as we speak, INTAFACT BEVERAGES LTD is in possession of the land in question and INTERNATIONAL STEEL CO has already filed a suit in the High Court of Onitsha Judicial Division against the Attorney General of Anambra State and INTAFACT BEVERAGES LTD .
I maintain, therefore, that it is illegal to revoke a parcel of land for overriding public interest and grant the same parcel of land to a private company and that it becomes immoral and symptomatic of greed, avarice and a capricious abuse of State Power when the beneficiary of the revocation is the Governor himself.
The shareholders of INTAFACT BEVERAGES LIMITED (SABMiller) in the records of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as at 22nd August, 2012, are SABMILLER NIGERIA HOLDINGS, ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNMENT and NEXT INTERNATIONAL LIMITED owned by Peter Obi and his family.
Now, I stated clearly that Governor Obi personally handled all negotiations between ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNMENT and SABMILLER Group and visited South Africa several times on the subject. And I raised the question; did SABMiller allocate the shares in INTAFACT BEVERAGES LIMITED to NEXT INTERNATIONAL LIMITED as “bribe” to further its business interest in Nigeria?
What did Governor Peter Obi have in mind when he invested N2 billion Naira of Anambra State money in a company he has direct interest?
What other assets of ANAMBRA STATE did he contribute on behalf of the state to further his own business interest?
Did NEXT INTERNATIONAL (Obi’s company) pay for the shares allotted to it in “cash or kind” and how was the payment, if any, effected?
What does Governor Peter Obi understand by the oath he swore to, on assumption of office; “that I will not allow my personal interest to influence to my official conduct or my official decisions.”
1. In the absence of clear answers to these questions from the Governor and his Team, it is safe for me to conclude that Governor Peter Obi has abused his office as Governor of Anambra State and grossly violated his Oath of Office by using his official position to pursue his business interest.
2. That he represents foreign interests in Nigeria using his position as a member of the Economic Management Team of the Federal Government and Governor of Anambra State of Nigeria.
3. That he received shares as compensation or bribe, as the case may be, for his services to the foreign interest in this case SABMILLER, through his company NEXT INTERNATIONAL LTD.
4. I do hereby state, that Governor Peter Obi’s continued membership of the EMT is not in the best interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria and if he has any modicum of INTEGRITY, he should resign his position as Governor of Anambra State.
Being A Press Briefing By Hon. Chudi Offodile former member of the House of Representatives and an indigene of Anambra State On August 29th, 2012 On Why Governor Peter Obi Of Anambra Should Resign
Newsdiaryonline.com obtained an article described by one of Governor Obi’s associates as the reaction to the allegations. We decided to run it below:
OFFODILE AND THE NSHIKO MENTALITY
By Valentine Obienyem
Nshiko is a popular marine crustacean. When you put a thousand crabs in a pot, not even one of them will come out because they will continue to pull down one another, meaning that they will remain there. It is another way of saying all motion; no movement. Having explained this, I am confident you will understand what I mean by associating Nshiko mentality with Mr. Chudi Offodile. This is one of the things that held the Igbos down over the years. Rather than support a person who is doing very well, we derive joy in pulling him down for no rational reason. This is the sickness Offodile is suffering from.
Anambra and the Limits of Propaganda: the Celebration of Mediocrity; and Peter Obi: Integrity Issues are three articles written by Mr. Chudi Offodile in quick succession attacking the Governor. He reduced what was going on in Anambra State as a reign of mediocrity.
I replied him, explaining to him that he was wrong. I particularly told him that Obi has done better than him in all ramifications that he could not justifiably associate mediocrity with him. How can he, when Obi made a Second Class and he a Third (I was later corrected that he actually graduated with a pass and read a course that took 4 years then for 7 years. Because of his performance, the prospect of being asked to withdraw hovered over him)? How can he when Obi has created wealth and nursed successful institutions and Offodile is not known for any concrete achievement?
Not relenting, he published another article entitled: Anambra: Oil Projects, Brewery Scandal in the Sun newspaper of August 28st, 2012. I first learnt about the impending publication on the 26th from a former Senator, a good friend of Chudi Offodile. He spoke in confidence on what he called the scheming by Offodile and his friends to stop the President from visiting Anambra State on the 30th. At first, according to him, they wanted to condemn everything the President will come to do. On Orient, they initially planned to say that Anambra’s shares were bought using another company’s name. On the advice of some people in his group, they decided to promote Orient in order that their action would be seen as genuine.
Let it be on record that Obi has never claimed to have found Orient Petroleum, for Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju did. However, the story of Orient will be incomplete without Obi. It was under him that the Government of Anambra State injected money into the company.
Speaking in the current edition of Source magazine, the Managing Director of Orient Petroleum, Engineer Nnaemeka Nwawka said; “Anambra State Government under Obi has been very supportive. The State is one of the biggest investors in Orient petroleum. It has invested a lot of money. Governor Peter Obi realizes the benefit of this and has been pushing for its realization.’’
Similarly, the Chairman of the Board of Orient Petroleum, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, in countless fora thanked the governor for breathing a new lease of life into Orient. Writing on the same subject, Uche Ezechukwu wrote in the Sun newspaper of August 27 “Apart from investing the sum of four billion naira into the company on behalf of the state, the state governor has taken a personal and keen interest in the project and has shown other levels of commitment which has greatly catalyzed the take-off of the Orient Petroleum activities.’’
In Anambra: Oil Prospects, Brewery Scandal, Offodile wrote a bit confusedly about SABmiller, not understanding that a mother Company can use other names for businesses. SABmiller, for example, uses the name Pabod in Rivers, Ilesha brewery in Osun, Accra Brewery in Ghana. He tried to reduce the shareholding to Intafact, Anambra State and Next. He went on to write unadulterated falsehoods on how Anambra State revoked the Certificate of Occupancy of an International Steel Industry Ltd, Onitsha and allocated it to Intafact Beverages Ltd, a private company for “overriding public interest”.
At the risk of being guilty of fallacy of argumentum ad misericordiam, may I pose some question s to Chudi: Why have you decided to inflict damage on yourself? Why have you decided to reduce yourself to a state of childish restlessness? Why have you decided to be petty?
The claim that a company’s land was revoked is a blatant lie. For the record, the land where SABMiller built their facility was purchased by SABMiller from General Cotton Mills, the owners, at the cost of 550 Million Naira after relevant resolutions by the Board – this is verifiable. The transaction was handled by a known Estate agent, Okolo and Okolo, based in Onitsha. The Managing Director of the company, Chief Damian Okolo, is one of the leaders of the knights of Molumba. SABmiller paid for all the facilities of General Cotton Mill they are using.
Chudi is supposed to be a lawyer. Beyond quidquid plantatur solo solo cedit, in land law, every lawyer that is really worth the name should know the meaning of acquisition of land for overriding public interest as contained in Section 28(2) (b) of the land use Act. He ought to know that once Government owns a share in a company, it becomes a public company. Having said this, one can safely submit that Offodile commented on issues he knows nothing about. In ancient Greek society, he would have been sent on exile for corrupting public knowledge and spreading falsehoods. I understand in some cultures, his certificate as a lawyer, if any, would be withdrawn for making a statement considered infra dig of a lawyer.
In his Anambra and the Limits of Propaganda, Offodile wrote: “Talking about investment in the state, the governor is known to be a successful trader before he became governor. If the state is so attractive for business, what informed the decision of his own company NEXT International to invest over N12 billion building the two largest shopping malls in Abuja, one in Mabushi and the other in Central Area, opposite federal ministry of transport? The governor announced proudly that this year, he will pay N32 million as tax in Anambra State. Why invest and create employment outside the state and then pay tax in Anambra State? It is a very strange way of doing things. Anambra State needs the investment and jobs that the governor outsourced to Abuja and other places.’’
My interest in the quote is not to state that the mall at central area he referred to was long completed before Obi became governor, not to start telling him all over again that Obi resigned in all the companies he has interest in before being sworn-in as the Governor or debunk other lies of his, but to show you how he criticized the governor that a company he has interest in is not investing in Anambra State. Now that company is being vilified for investing in Anambra state to create employment by the same Offodile. What actually does Offodile want? Clearly he is prepared to destroy Anambra State and Anambra people in his personal, wicked and senseless vendetta against Peter Obi, whom he described as an agent of light sent to Anambra by God, when he got the ticket to contest the senatorial election under APGA. This is more than double standard. He even failed to mention the names of 5 other companies, including the one owned by a Deltan and a Lagosian that invested in the company. He should also tell us if the investment is by Next or by Peter Obi as a governor.
Next, for the avoidance of doubt, is a reputable company that has engaged in business for over 20 years with SABmiller and they needed it as part of the Anambra experience to boost their confidence. If they had invested in other states, who says that next would not have been part of it? The important thing is that the transaction was transparent and above board.
Reading Offodile, he is merely saying that Next, Fidelity, Nestle, Diamond Bank, Enterprise Bank and almost all the companies in Nigeria, for Obi has interests in many of them, should stop business in Nigeria because he is a governor. He could have as well asked the president not to commission Orient Petroleum because Obi has shares in it as well as most of his Commissioners and aides, including myself that answered to the call for all of us to invest in it and achieve the Anambra dream.
On the allegation of Governor Obi personally handling all negotiations between Anambra State and SABMiller group and visited South Africa several times on the subject, as an insider, I accompanied the governor to South Africa and London. Since having made up their mind to invest in Nigeria, the question was where among competing locations. Each State Governor pulled all strings for her State to be favoured. Now that Obi got it, see what this Offodile of a man is shamelessly writing!
Once they settled on sitting the company in Anambra, negotiations were between the government team then made up of the Commissioner for lands, Barr Peter Afuba; the Commissioner for Justice; Barr Emmanuel Chukwuma and the Commissioner for Finance, Eze Echesi and the SABMiller team. Doing negotiations, SABmiller, as with the company’s policy, made it clear that local investors must be part of their business.
SABMiller has invested in other states in Nigeria, without their people trying in any way to jeopardize their business. Does it mean those states do not have an Offodile or could it be that their Offodiles are more patriotic and understanding to respect what will be of benefit to their people? We are talking of a fortune 500 company that has investment in 75 countries, with market capitalization trying to hit 100 Billion Dollars.
If you recall, the last time the president came to Anambra and commissioned Juhel pharmaceutical company and Innoson Motor manufacturing company, the same people said he should not come on the reason that they were Obi’s companies.
For Offodile’s information, the President will also commission Orange Drugs facility as well as Krisoral, the first company that is into manufacturing of Roll over Pilfer-proof caps and HDP caps – Two big facilities. Added to SABmiller, the 3 companies have the capacity to employ over 1500 direct labour and over 10,000 indirect labour. Rather than celebrate this development, the likes of Offodile are agitated.
The Governor, in analyzing the Anambra situation, uses the story of the devil that was cast out of a man by Jesus Christ in the Bible. Legion, as the Devil told us he was called, on their exit, they entered a herd of swine and caused maximum damage. The likes of Offodile belong to the old order being driven out of Anambra State. They are on their exit and are trying to cause collateral damage, but the man they are dealing with is very capable of containing them. At least, if the likes of Offodile cannot attract anything to Anambra State, they have the honourable duty to commend those doing so or remain quiet.
Valentine Obienyem, Akwa, Anambra State