Apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has condemned last week’s reported attempt to arrest the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in London, the UK, as a move by political enemies.
Ohanaeze said any plot to embarrass and pull down Peter Obi, because he had decided to legally pursue the mandate believed to have been given him by Nigerians, will continue to fail.
Obi was said to have been interrogated at Heathrow Airport, London, on April 7, over his identity.
Obi disclosed this to longtime ally, Prof. Stella Okunna, who served under him in many capacities when he was the governor of Anambra State.
The sole aim of faking Obi’s identity was to use his name to commit crime in London and other parts of the world so as to get him implicated in dubious and criminal activities and rope him into any number of offences to get him out of the political space, Ohanaeze held.
In her account of what Obi told her, as narrated in her Facebook account, Prof. Okunna, in the piece she titled: “What Peter Obi is going through: does any human being deserve this type of shocking intimidation and emotional torture?”, narrates:
“Today 11/04/2023, I was shocked beyond words to hear from His Excellency, Mr. Peter what he went through when his British Airways plane landed at Heathrow Airport, London, in the early morning of Friday 07/04/2023.
“He was talking to me at the official opening of the Specialist Hospital of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters, Nkpor.
“He had arrived at the event after flying in from London, his presence heralded by the usual ‘ear-splitting’ ovation that accompanies him everywhere nowadays.
“As the ‘Most Outstanding Pillar of the Foundation/Hospital’, the Reverend Sisters were full of expectations that he would attend; so were we (members of the Governing Board of the IHM Sisters Healthcare System), although there was also anxiety about whether he would be able to make it, being outside Nigeria.
“I actually had no idea he had travelled out of the country, until the ovation over his presence in a London Church went viral on the Internet.
“I would never have imagined he would be able to go anywhere so soon after his energy-sapping marathon visits on 06/04 to Paul University, Regina Caeli Hospital and other health facilities, where he went about touching lives in his usual quiet philanthropic manner.
“His whirlwind activities that day in Anambra State and beyond were another eloquent testimony to Peter Obi’s incredible stamina and multi-tasking capacity.
“To be able to fly out of the country that night, made this capacity even more incredible.
“Landing in London, Peter Obi joined the usual queue to pass through Immigration, and that was when his ordeal began.
“He was stopped and questioned for a long time and subsequently handed a detention note and told to wait for further interrogation and investigation. This was terribly unusual for a man who had lived honourably in the UK for a long time.
“In the face of this harassment, some well-meaning Nigerians, knowing who he is, raised their voices in protest, demanding to know why he was being treated that way.
“Then came the shocking revelation by the Immigration Officer who told him that his identity ‘WAS DUPLICATED’. This revelation has definitely set off alarm bells.
“For people who are knowledgeable about such matters, this is a very dangerous development because the implication is that someone is impersonating Peter Obi.
“And that someone could implicate Obi in all manner of dubious and even criminal activities, and rope him into any number of offences; he could get Obi framed for one criminal act or another.
“The frightening scenario of what can happen is unimaginable!
“This is the height of it all for a man who has been under sundry intimidation and emotional torture: bugging of his phone and those of his wife and children; keeping him constantly under surveillance; calling him names; putting him under severe pressure to leave (run away from) the country; wrongly accusing him of negative things he knows absolutely nothing about etc.
“As he was telling me his ‘Heathrow tale of woe’ at Nkpor today, I could see a man who was in severe pain and and under unbearable stress, who many would expect to be at the point of despair.
“But, as he confirmed, he is ready to suffer this pain and is as determined as ever to pursue the path which he has chosen to enable him arrive at the destination which well-meaning people in Nigeria and far far beyond are expecting him to arrive at.
“This is the destination where Nigerians will be able to live in a secure and productive country which they (particularly the younger generations) will be proud to call their own.
“I suppose he told me all this confidentially. My very sincere apologies, Your Excellency, for ‘breaking’ this confidentiality, but history beckons and I cannot keep quiet,” Prof. Okunna was quoted as saying.
Reacting to this, Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemned “the embarrassment and evil plots to rope Peter Obi”, saying all of them will fail.
“It is very unfortunate for those who want to rope in Obi and embarrass him. However, it was good it happened. After this, there will not be such a thing again anywhere in the world as they have been exposed.
“They have exposed their plots to the whole world. But whoever is playing such is wasting time and energy.
“It is very clear to the world that the man is a man of integrity and law abiding, who had been pursuing his mandate legally. So, any plot to rope him I and embarrass him will continue to fail. They are being exposed.
“It is unfortunate that some Nigerians still want us back wards. But we will resist it, Nigerians will resist it, the youths will resist it because they want a future,” Ohanaeze said through the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alex Chidozie Ogbonnia.