Politics

I refuse to be reduced to the level of those who wallow in ethnic politics, Peter Obi to Umahi, others 

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Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last election, has set the record straight regarding the demolition of structures for road construction during his time as governor of Anambra State.

Recall that David Umahi, the Minister of Works had accused Obi of hypocrisy following his condemnation of federal government’s decision to demolish Landmark beach and other investments along the proposed Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

Umahi who spoke to stakeholders in Lagos on Wednesday, had particularly argued that Obi also demolished a fence of a brewery during road construction in Onitsha, and was inciting the Igbo against the Bola Tinubu administration, and accusation that did not go down well with many.

But in a post via his X account on Thursday, Obi said those making the comparisons were being deliberately mischievous, as according to him, the only structures he demolished were those built on existing roads without approval.

“It has come to my attention, and I strongly denounce the distortion of facts surrounding my actions and statements during my tenure as governor of Anambra State, particularly concerning the ongoing demolitions for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal super highway,” Obi wrote.

“I aim to address these issues directly, devoid of political rhetoric, to ensure clarity for all. Let me be unequivocal: during my governorship, I made it abundantly clear that all structures obstructing existing roads and lacking approval would be removed.

“The circulated video clearly stated this, and I only initiated removal when construction had already commenced. Any insinuation otherwise is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth.

“I challenge anyone to verify and show me where the demolished structures on existing roads or ongoing businesses were not encroaching on the road and built without government approval while I served as governor.

“To provide further clarity, consider concrete examples. I decisively demolished the Onitsha North local government headquarters situated on the only existing stadium, relocated, and built a brand new structure for the local government office away from the stadium.

“This action was necessary to restore the stadium to its original purpose as a sporting facility for the people. Subsequently, the stadium was rightfully named after the first owner of the first football club figure in Nigerian sports, Chuba Ikpeazu, as a tribute to our commitment to honoring our heroes. Similarly, the Onitsha South Stadium, the sole local playing ground for the community, was converted into a local government office. Recognizing the importance of recreational spaces, I reverted it to its original status by demolishing and relocating the local government office. I then renovated the stadium and renamed it after the longest-serving Green Eagles captain, Godwin Achebe.

“My actions were strategic, aiming to prioritize the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure over projects that risked disruption and destruction. This approach aimed to safeguard the livelihoods of Nigerians and ensure the efficient use of resources. It is crucial to clarify the false comparisons drawn between my actions on Brewery Road and the current coastal super highway project. I never proposed creating a new road that would disrupt existing structures.

“Instead, I focused on removing obstructions on existing roads to enhance accessibility and safety for all. The ongoing destruction and disruption of jobs and livelihoods associated with the Lagos-Calabar coastal road construction sharply contrasts with my administration’s efforts to improve infrastructure while minimizing adverse impacts on communities. Regarding allegations of incitement against the government, I firmly reject these unfounded accusations aimed at tarnishing my character.

“My focus is on fostering constructive dialogue and inclusivity, rather than engaging in divisive politics. Claims of incitement are baseless distractions. I have always advocated for unity and advancement, refusing to partake in reactionary divisive politics.

“I refuse to be reduced to the level of those who wallow in ethnic politics. Worse still, I have never and can never descend so low as to base my political aspirations on any sectional or ethnic interest.

“My commitment to serving with integrity remains steadfast, and I encourage all Nigerians to unite for a prosperous future. In conclusion, I stand by my record as governor and reject any attempts to distort the narrative for political gain.

“My commitment remains unwavering: to advocate for the rights and well-being of all Nigerians, ensuring that development initiatives prioritize the needs of the people. Most importantly, I will continue to insist that our national resources be applied with maximum frugality.”

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