Obi to Umahi: Your inciting accusations divisive, distracting

The Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi, has reacted to allegations of instigation  from the Federal Government over his position that trillions of Naira Coastal Highway project is not a priority in today’s Nigeria.

Obi who insisted that his position on it remained, said “allegation of his inciting the people is divisive action to distract from the main issue he raised.

He maintained that such a project now would lead to loss of jobs and would increase hunger and spread poverty in a troubled land already, adding that priority should be put on internal roads first to move the economy.

The former Anambra state governor also reacted to the demolition which took place during his tenure and said the circumstances were different and wondered why they were not addressing the issue of poverty spreading like wildfire.

Obi said, “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. 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.

“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.”