By Mokwugo Okolo
Joe-Martins Uzodike and Valentine Obienyem are two of a kind. They are similar, yet different. One is a stripling and the other a full grown man, maybe at the wrong side of fifty. Both are lawyers, but did not get to their present position, plying the litigation trade. As a matter of fact, they make up the number of unwieldy lawyers who may never see any court room till the end of time. Both of them worked in Peter Obi’s government in different capacities as information managers. Neither was exceptional in that work. Their achievement, at best, was middling. They bumbled through the office most of the time and reflected neither colour nor personality associated with image making. They were also not winsome and hadn’t the good fortune of being endowed with height by nature. Since both of them left office, they have worked harder than any enemy, real and imagined, to slander the government of Chief Willie Obiano.
Both of them have a Machiavellian disposition. What differs is their approach to issues. While Joe Martins is without circumspection and can betray emotions as quickly as they assail him, Valentine wears a mask. When Joe is set on vengeance (as is the case since he lost his job with the government and had his hope of getting a new one at the federal level dashed with the loss of the presidential election by PDP) he has become a pitiable sight. He talks nineteen to the dozen, throwing tantrums alongside. As it stands he can do virtually anything, including aligning with Obi whom he has little opinion for just to avenge himself of the termination of his appointment.
Valentine on his part is taciturn and parades no remarkable traits. He is cowardly by nature and prefers to work behind the curtain. This explains the avalanche of pennames with which he writes deliberate falsehood against perceived enemies. He can be vicious and hates truth, especially if it threatens his selfish interests. By some clever scheme he was able to work himself into Obi and have since cashed on the man’s clannishness to personal gain. He has effectively used his prosaic writings to flatter the man out of his senses. His middling achievements he makes him believe are lofty. Valentine tunes Obi like a radio concocts lies to suit his fancy. If his lies fail to bring him money he mindlessly causes the man to have bad press. In the confusion he reaps bountifully. If however his boss, through his uncharitable attitude brought trouble to himself, Valentine will latch onto it like a leech and deepen the chasm. By the last count he has brought his boss more political enemies than friends. He holds an unenviable feat as the worst media aide in the history of Anambra State. Many people turned against his boss because of Valentine’s poison pen letters. He also doubles as a hatchet man for his master. The N250 million saga is a case in hand. Valentine is so vicious that Obi’s wife is said to detest him. She once denied him access to her house in London and asked him to go elsewhere and sleep. Valentine is vindictive. He seeps like kerosene and controls with the sleight of a fox.
My cousin, a driver in Obi’s convoy once told me a chilling story about Valentine. He confessed to me that he prays daily never to serve people like Obi and Valentine again in his lifetime. He told the story of how Valentine’s wife delivered his second baby. He said that as the women got into labour, it fell on him to take her to hospital. Before they could get to the hospital the woman delivered in his car. He told me the trauma he underwent managing the situation and cleaning up the “birthing pool”. The effort, he told me, was never acknowledged much less rewarded by Valentine. He has since sworn to disregard him and never to greet him should he run into him in an occasion. He also told me that it took an appeal from them (drivers in the convoy of Obi) to the Catholic Bishop of Onitsha, His Grace, Dr. Valeria Okeke for Obi to give them N100, 000 as severance package after 8 years of service. I was shocked. Maybe that was why Professor Soludo described Obi as circulating poverty in the 8 years he held sway in the state.
This story may not be necessary, but it serves to expose the young man who will stoke fire of hatred just to feather his nest. It also marks him out as a hatchet man. Such a person has nothing meaningful to offer the public except hate and lies. These unwholesome traits he shares in good measure with Joe Martins. They have sworn to lies and wickedness against the government. In their profane ways they compare Obi’s micromanaging attitude in governance to the shared responsibility which Obiano introduced to the good of the state. It may take some hard lessons for them to realize that their man has no political capital. He is no longer on the saddle, but saddled by events with his political career hitting the nadir. If the rumour making round is anything to go by, he will soon defect to APC. This will make him one of the worst defectors followed closely by his new found political ally Uche Ekwunife. I read what a great leader Joe-Martins Uzodike is trying to make of Obi while trying to diminish Obiano. Since he was relieved of his appointment, he has spared nothing in diatribe against the people’s governor. I shall return to Joe in my subsequent write-ups. I will open a window into his criticisms of the governor and let ndi Anambra judge. Maybe If Obiano had allowed Obi and the like of Joe Martins to run ring around his government and strangulate it he won’t be a wicked man. To get the true picture of the damage Valentine has caused Obi, an interview with these notable sons and daughters of Anambra like Soludo, Andy Ubah, Chris Ngige, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Victor Umeh, Arthur Eze, Dame Etiaba, Okey Ndibe, Emeka Etiaba and Uche Ekwunife will shed some light. Today Valentine and his boss tag along Uche Ekwunife whom he once described as a poisoned chalice. His efforts in criminal violation of others’ reputation earned him over 20 plots of land in Isiagu, a house in Ngozika estate and Abuja, a ware house in Enugu (where he distributes Interfact line of products), a paper business in Awka, and many fat bank accounts in the banks. A lady banker once told me how he wanted to bait her with a N10 million deposit and how he took the money away when she refused. It is amazing how Obi allowed such character to wield undue influence over his political life.
Maybe there is a secret the public is yet to know. Whatever secret, nobody with the mindset of Valentine and Joe Martins is suited for public office. They are simply selfish.
Mokwugwo Okolo wrote in from Akwa Village, Ihiala