By Esther Anthony
The people of Anambra State, Nigerians all over the world, as well as the international community were shocked to the bones when on March 17, 2022, the Inauguration ceremony of the sixth elected Governor of Anambra state, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, was temporarily disrupted by what could be called a show of shame between two important women in the arena, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the late Biafran War Lord and leader of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, wife of Ex-Governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano.
Mrs Obiano, who arrived at the venue of the Inauguration ceremony, about an hour later than her husband, Willie Obiano was seen exchanging pleasantries with seated guests, after she arrived. Shortly after, she was seen leaving her seat to walk all the way to Bianca’s seat. Apparently, the exchange they had wasn’t a pleasant one as it led to Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu slapping Mrs Obiano. It took the intervention of some guests to have the situation under control.
She was loud and threw caution to the wind as she verbally lashed out to the former beauty queen, calling her unprintable names, even though the inaugural address was being read and dignitaries were watching.
Eventually, she was practically dragged to the front seat where her husband, Willie Obiano was seated and she gave eye witnesses, yet another shocker when she aggressively snapped at her husband, the Ex-governor when he asked her to be seated as the inaugural address was being read and she was being a distraction.
The debate that has been ongoing since March 17, is whether the fisticuffs between both women was personal or party related.
What readily comes to mind is the Anambra South senatorial election where Bianca lost the ticket to Nicholas Ukachukwu under controversial circumstances that eventually led to the division of the party.
The fact that Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu was allegedly supported by Mrs Obiano came as a shock to most people, considering that Bianca was the wife of the late leader of the party and aside from that, assurances had been given her that she would fly the ticket. This explains Bianca’s grouse with the party and naturally, her frosty relationship with the former first lady.
After she lost in the election she stayed away from APGA related activities which moved the party to take the decision to make peace with her before the last gubernatorial election in the state, that brought in Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
Bianca’s anger for the way certain things played out in the party was not a secret, as she always expressed her sentiments on her Facebook page. The recent post she made on Facebook on her late husband’s posthumous birthday, on November 4, 2021. This was exactly two days before the last Anambra gubernatorial election.
She wrote: ‘I am filled with concern and anxiety about the current state of the legacy you left us; our party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance’.
‘Today I hear the bells tolling, and the chimes send shivers down my spine’.
‘Today, chaos reigns supreme in our once stable party. Our party faithful are despondent and embittered and many of them have taken their fate in their own hands by bolting away from our party like rats deserting a sinking ship’.
In the letter, she expressed her sadness at what she described as Governor Obiano’s hijack of the party, stressing that the party faithful cared less about the suffering masses like her late husband did in his time, concluding that the party had thrown away his vision on which he laid its foundation.
Another factor that should not be ignored is the fact that Bianca felt that her husband’s spirit was insulted each time APGA merely used him for campaign purposes as that was the only time they remembered him. As if that was not enough, they completely expunged his image from the APGA Party uniform and other insignia and replaced the late Biafran Warlord’s image with that of former Governor Obiano. This was also captured in Bianca’s letter to her late husband.
Her words: ‘Nna Anyi (our father), they removed your image from our party uniform, boldly labeling you a dead man who was no longer relevant, even to the beloved party you nurtured.’
While speaking to newsmen back then, she lamented, ‘It is most unfortunate that Gov. Obiano decided to remove the picture of Ojukwu and replace same with his picture just to drive home his statement that `he would no longer tie the fate and fortunes of APGA to the memory of a dead man’, obviously in reference to my husband’.
Moving forward, Bianca intentionally refused to attend the APGA campaign flag-off out of anger and her absence was felt by all present.
These were enough for the leadership of APGA to consider forming a committee that would find ways to make peace with the her. Shortly after, an APGA Peace, Reconciliation and Outreach committee was formed and Chief Victor Umeh, in the company of the Anambra House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Victor Okafor paid a visit to Bianca at her home, in Enugu to mend fences once and for all.
Chief Umeh, who led the delegation pleaded with Bianca to be a part of the pursuit for victory for the party which was the hope of the Igbo people politically even as he called on the Spirit of her late husband and party leader to be with them through the journey so that the party will come out stronger from it challenges.
Bianca accepted the Olive Branch but explained that the situation that the party found itself was one that could have been averted and regretted that previous efforts made to appease aggrieved members made no headway. She however promised to follow the path of peace by letting bygones be bygones.
Her words: ‘I am very much looking forward to putting behind the dark history of the party and the bad experiences that so many of its members have had and still experiencing’.
‘We are all looking forward to moving towards a future uncontaminated with the bad memories of the past’.
‘We believe that on November 6, we should have a new governor in Anambra under APGA and we will put behind this very sad chapter of our party’s history,” Mrs Ojukwu concluded.
One might be right to say that the fight between Mrs Obiano and Mrs Ojukwu was more than viral videos flying about showed the world. It seems that that internal problems in APGA played a part in that show of shame exhibited by the two women.
Unfortunately, after Prof Soludo’s Inauguration, former Governor, Willie Obiano was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and whisked to their head office in Abuja the next morning for interrogation. There is no official statement yet, as to why they have arrested him, but all fingers point towards issues of misappropriation of funds.
Nigerians are however shocked at the unprofessionalism of the anti-graft agency as a video of the embattled former governor surfaced on social media showing him in his shorts as he discussed with his former Chief of Protocol and Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Uzuegbunam Okagbue while in detention. The question on the lips of every Nigerian is why the former governor is being humiliated in such manner as taking a video of him in that mood and releasing the video was a violation of his privacy and leaves a question mark on the possibility of his arrest being politically motivated.