The Obi of Onitsha, Prof. Nnaemeka Achebe, has said the Presidency distorted facts on his position on the Second Niger Bridge in its response to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 elections.
The Eagle Online recalls that Prof. Achebe was reacting to a statement by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu.
In the statement on Monday, Shehu compared President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements to those of Obasanjo.
He said when Obasanjo sought re-election for his second term in office, he returned to the site of the Second Niger Bridge to turn the sod for the second time and that when the Obi of Onitsha reminded him that he had done this in the past, the former president told Prof. Achebe that he was a liar in the presence of the chiefs.
But in a statement by his Chief of Staff, Chinyelugo Anionwu, Achebe said he was never involved in any sod turning ceremony for the Bridge during the first tenure of Obasanjo and, therefore, could not have engaged in any altercation with the then president.
He said in the statement: “His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, CFR, mni, Obi of Onitsha, by his position as traditional and natural ruler, should normally not engage publicly in high level discourse on affairs of State between two of our highly respected national leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR.
“However, the Palace deems it absolutely necessary to ensure that public statements relating to our monarch are factually correct. Accordingly, the Palace would like to state categorically that His Majesty was never involved in any sod turning ceremony for the second River Niger Bridge during the first tenure of President Obasanjo as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, therefore, could not have engaged in any altercation with the then President as stated in the above press release.
“The only involvement of His Majesty with President Obasanjo regarding the Second River Niger Bridge was at the very tail end of his second term as President during a low-keyed flag-off of the project when His Majesty prayed that the succeeding administration would construct the bridge expeditiously.
“Onitsha people will continue to express their utmost gratitude to President Buhari and his Government for successfully constructing the magnificent bridge.”