Who is Afraid of Sam Obi?

Rt. Hon Sam Obi, ersthwile Acting Governor of Delta state and substantive Speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly may be heading for trouble with his boss Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, if the feelers making the rounds are to be believed. When, on November 9, 2010, the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin city, the Edo state capital, annuled the over three years administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as governor of Delta state, the mantle of leadership immediately feel on Rt. Hon Sam Obi, who was constitutionally mandated to take over the running of the state in an acting capacity. For, about one month and twenty six days, Ag. Governor Sam Obi held sway and arguably acquitted himself to the best of his abilities. His immediate mandate was to ensure that the presence of Dr. Uduaghan was not dimished and eroded. Sam Obi did this excellently so much so that he received high praise from the National secretariat of the PDP when the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign team visited Asaba.

Sam Obi left no one in doubt that he was only holding forte for Dr. Uduaghan who he said was “on vacation” or “Sabbatical” Sam Obi was also at the fore front of the re-run campaign for Dr. Uduaghan and even headlined some important rallies Delta North. His rousing speech during the fund raising lunch for Dr. Uduaghan was excellent and intimidating, especially to the opposition, whom he told in very clear terms that “Uduaghan will win landslide”. But all his good work at that time seems to have been undone by a couple of decisions and actions which have allegedly become instruments to nail him politically. The first had to do with his style and utterances when he was Acting Governor. Many analysts noted at that time, his very direct and authoritarian language. He referred to his tenure as the’New Testament” administration and made veiled references to the fact that he was been compelled to accept ‘certain laxities which the former administration condoned’. Although he tried to gloss over these comments by reminding everyone of his military background and that he was once a soldier, the people who are supposedly after him now did not think it was funny or had anything to do with his barracks attitude. The second had to do with the N20Billion loan he took from some financial houses to run his administration. To be fair to him, Delta state witnessed a very rare and greatly welcomed cash flow in the system, especially during the yuletide period. In addition, he awarded contracts, paid for some the ones already completed a long time ago and ensured that some major projects which had appeared to be abandoned were rehabilitated. Some of the beneficairies of that loan, if reports are to be believed, were persons who were very close to the Uduaghan administration. The last was the acquisition of two bullet-proof jeeps, which many say he did without due consent from higher authorities in the state. Indeed it was rumoured that among the two luxury vehicles allegedly purchased by Rt. Hon. Obi, one was supposed to have been given to his wife, Mrs. Evelyn Obi who was the then Acting first lady of the state. Impeccable sources also hint that there was no love lost between Dr. Uduaghan’s wife and Hon. and Mrs Obi, especially over what the source claim was the alleged ‘reckless management of the state treasury in the few months spent in office as Acting governor’. Sources say that Mrs Obi may have incurred the wrath of Deaconess Sheila Uduaghan over the contract to purchase diesel for the street lights in Delta state and it was rumoured in certain quarters that the former Acting governor almost came to fisticuffs with former Federal lawmaker representing Ika Federal constituency, during one of the meetings held in Uduaghan’s private residence in Warri. Dr. Cairo Ojuogbo had allegedly admonished Obi over what he called fraudulent way Obi was dispensing the states wealth; an action for which the lanky lawmaker was said to have been showered with praises by Mrs. Uduaghan and others in the meeting for his demonstration of boldness. And so immediately after the re-run victory of Governor Uduaghan, it appears that Sam Obi may have to answer a few questions for which his interrogators may have already found him guilty, even before he defends himself. For starters, some government house sources have hinted at an allleged feud between governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Rt. Hon. Sam Obi over what the sources suggest as alleged corrupt manner he (Obi) administered the state during his tenure as Acting governor. The sources have even speculated that a plot is afoot to perfect the impeachment of Sam Obi when the House of Assembly resumes sitting in february. There has also been mention of setting up Rt. Hon Sam Obi with the of Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) through petitions. Indeed, if feelers reaching Delta Focus is anything to go by then the alleged plot to impeach Speaker Sam Obi has almost been perfected and is only awaiting the endorsement of certain key members of the house have whose signatures is expected to put a final seal on the deal. But what many analysts have zeroed in on as the real crux of the matter is the relationship between Sam Obi and former SSG Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa. Governor Uduaghan is said to be already unhappy with the way Sam Obi managed the treasury and the purchase of the two bullet-proof jeeps, but what had hit the nail on the head is the said to be the unflinching loyalty which Sam Obi has for Dr. Okowa. Delta Focus was reliably informed that state chairman of PDP, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi did not approve of the purchase of the two expensive vehicles as well as the style of Obi’s administration. In fact in one of his first meetings as Acting Governor with Local Government Chairmen, Obi flayed Chairman Nwaoboshi for the way and manner he had condoned laxity among party officials who should lead by example. This was a very embarassing moment for the Oracle turned Miracle and from that day onwards the Acting governor and the PDP boss never maintained any cordial relationship. The matter was further aggravated when it was time for the PDP to choose candidates for the April elections. The party leadership led by Governor Uduaghan and Chairman Nwaoboshi had allegedly picked Dr. (Mrs.) Mariam Ali as its prefered candidate for the Delta North senatorial seat, but the obvious candidate of choice for the rest of Delta North was Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, whom Chief Nwaoboshi perceived to be his arch enemy. The scenario which played out duringb the Delta North PDP primaries is enough testimony to this assumption. So as Deltans wait for the House of Assembly to resume sitting, many are wondering what will be the fate of Rt. Hon Sam Obi, who was sworn-in as Speaker only a few months ago. Will he go the same way as the other Delta North Speakers viz: Olisa Imegwu and Martin Okonta? Only time will tell.

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