When Fashola deported beggars to their respective states after rehabilitating them, it was Peter Obi as the Governor Anambra State at the time that turned the action into an ethnic firestorm by accusing Fashola of being a hater of Igbos.
This issue is relevant now that he is seeking to become the VP of Nigeria.
It is disheartening that the issue pitched Yorubas against Igbos and generated a lot of bad blood. What was shocking was the discovery that Peter Obi had also deported 29 beggars from Anambra State some months earlier. He obviously generated the ethnic war for political gains because he wanted to consolidate his political hold on Anambra State.
Now that he is seeking higher office and asking for your votes please consider this and read the following interview conducted by the Sun Newspapers.
“Fashola is more Igbo than Obi – Offor “Believes, ‘by his action and love towards me, Lagos gov is more Igbo than Obi
Anthony Williams Offor might be one of those Chinua Achebe, in his Things Fall Apart, described as men who say ‘yes’ but their Chi (gods) says ‘no’. While rounding off his academic pursuit at University of Lagos, fate dealt a crushing blow on him. He suddenly became deaf. He surmounted the obstacle and still finished his examination with excellent results.
Even though it seems that his dream had been truncated, he is not resting and has taken the bull by the horn to make sure he hears again. His hearing impairment, described by medics as, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), equally affected his speech. It is unsettling seeing this man with massive frame trying to force words from his mouth.
Offor, 35, from Anambra State, poignantly told VINCENT KALU his efforts to hear again and how it has been to Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, who happens to be of the greatest help, whereas, his own state governor, Peter Obi, continued to neglect him.
He, therefore, submitted that Fashola is detribalised and more Igbo than Obi. He also cautioned Igbo not to cast aspersions on Fashola over the said deportation of some.
How did this problem start?
Let me tell you about my self so that you can understand where I’m coming from. I’m from Anambra State and born about 35 years ago. I attended Community Primary School, Nzam in Anambra West L.G.A between 1985 and 1990. Thereafter, I went to Abbot Boys High School, Ihiala; Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha and finally Pens’ Academy, Nkpor, Onitsha, where I wrote JAMB and got admission in 2011 to read political science at University of Lagos. My problem started while writing my final year examination with one paper left.
I was not born deaf. It came suddenly. My problem started in 2004 while I was already in final year in the University of Lagos. I was in the campus one day when I suddenly started feeling feverish. I took it as one of those illnesses, which would come and go but when the condition grew worse, I contacted one of my course mates and we went to UNILAG medical centre.
At the centre, the medical personnel after the normal examination, advised us to go to a private hospital for more effective attention, saying that there were not enough drugs to treat sickness of my nature. We immediately headed to Egbuna-Adazia Hospital, Kagbuyi Street, Surulere.
While on our way, I noticed that anytime my friend spoke to me, his voice always sounded distant as if speaking from behind a wall. And when we got to the hospital, the voices of the doctors and nurses there sounded unusual, an indication that I was having difficulty in learning.
I was subsequently put on drips after some injections and moment later I slept off. By the time I woke up the following day, my hearing problem has developed into a complete hearing loss. This time you could only communicate with me either by gesticulation or by writing.
What happened from there?
My dad thought I would hear again, thinking that my problem was an after-effect of my illness. However, I got fully recovered but my deafness refused to go. The hospital referred me to another hospital, ORL, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, at Oduduwa Close, Ikate, Surulere.
The doctor, one Dr. Kunle Okupe, told my dad that there was really nothing too unusual about my situation, that some high fever could indeed cause deafness, depending on the condition of one’s eardrums.
The doctor said that I needed a hearing device called cochlear implant, which would cost me a little above one million Naira.
My dad a beer distributor promised to source the money on time and we left. About three weeks later, he died in an auto crash. This tragedy put paid to my hearing remedy. My elder brothers and relations in a bid to give my father a befitting burial, spent all that my father left.
How has life been after graduation?
I have been made to go through excruciating and heart-breaking discrimination and social stigmatisation that persons with hearing handicap are made to go through in our society. The situation is such that an average Nigerian seems to have this feeling that when one loses his or her hearing ability, he or she has also lost intelligence, wisdom and even understanding. It is almost impossible to see government establishment, ministries or parastatals that is willing to absorb someone with hearing impairment. When I wanted to join the Nigerian Customs Service as a graduate recruit in 2010, I was disqualified, for just one thing: My hearing impairment.
Early this year, some of my former course mates learnt of my situation and decided to intervene; they got me registered at the Military Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos. Here after the necessary examinations, the doctors again said the same thing. I need cochlea implant. They said I need to undergo surgery but this time the price has gone up to N2.2 million. The military hospital in January transferred me to B.S.A. Hearing and Speech Centre, Owodunni Street, Ikeja. I have undergone the necessary test preparatory to the surgery but I have not got the money for the needed surgery. I need help. Please, Nigerians, help me. I need the help of everybody concerned so that I can hear again and live a better life. It will be a tragedy if I am allowed to die with my dreams because of this hearing problem. I don’t want to die this way.
Has there been any public support and what are you doing in this direction.?
Offor, presented letter dated May 2, 2011 signed by Clinical audiologist of B.S.A Hearing Consult, Dr Simeon Afolabi.
The letter titled, ‘Re: Treatment of Mr. Anthony W. Offor’ reads in part:
‘Preliminary examination on him showed in the audiogram that he had a blockage of left eardrum caused by a thick blood clot. The right ear, though normal, also needs chemical washing and cleansing. Further medical examination also confirmed the recommendation of the Military Hospital that he required a Cochlea Implant, in this case, the left ear.
‘We succeeded in softening the blood clotted left eardrum but no frequency could be derived and so under such situation, the implant is inevitable to restore his hearing. Normally, an implant into both ears cost N4.4 million, but since the surgery is for only the left ear, we put the figure at N2.2 million in which an initial deposit of N200, 000 has so far been made.
‘We have discontinued further treatment from June after he said he needed some time to source for money. This is our position regarding Mr. Offor.’
Since the doctor said, it was only the left ear that surgery would be carried out at the cost of N2.2 million. Based on this, I wrote to Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola and presented my case. Within a very short time, I got a response, the governor approved the amount for me and a cheque to that effect was issued.
When I went to for the surgery, the team of doctors assembled said both ears would under go surgery and the amount came to N4.4million.
At that point I believed that it wasn’t logical to approach Fashola again. I decided to approach my state governor, Peter Obi.
How did you go to Governor Obi?
The League of Anambra Professionals (LAP), after hearing my story through its secretary general, Emmanuel C. Ileka wrote a letter to Governor Peter Obi telling him of my heart- touching case and the need to come to my assistance. The letter was dated on December 4, 2012 and delivered. On December 31, 2012, I wrote another letter and even attached the one written by Anambra League of Professionals and sent to the governor. The person that signed and received it was one Nworah I. C. Till today, I have not heard from the governor concerning the letters.
So, between Fashola and Obi, who is more Igbo? To me, Fashola by his action and love towards me is more Igbo than Obi. That is why I have dismissed Igbos attacking him for the said deportation of Igbos to Anambra. What Lagos State government did was not deportation. Lagos sent back those who constituted nuisance in the state. It will be wrong for Igbos and others to cast aspersion on Fashola for sending destitute back to their states.”
PETER OBI AT A GLANCE
*Former Governor of Anambra State
*Has vast knowledge of global and local economics as well as being a financial expert
*Born on 19th July, 1961
*Attended the Christ the King College, Onitsha
*University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
*Also a graduate of several international and national institutions such as:
*Lagos Business School
*Harvard Business School
*London School of Economics
*Columbia Business School
*Institute of Management, Switzerland
*Kellogg Graduate School
*Oxford University and Cambridge University.
*He was Chairman, Board of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC);
*Former Chairman, Fidelity Bank PLC; *Former Chairman, Guardian Express Mortgage Bank;
*Former Chairman, Future Views Securities;
*Former Chairman, Paymaster Nigeria;
*Former Chairman, Next International Nigeria;
*Former Director, Guardian Express Bank PLC;
*Former Director, Chams Nigeria PLC; *Former Director, Emerging Capital: *Former Director, Card Centre PLC
*Member, British Institute of Directors (IOD),
*Member, Nigerian Chartered Institute of Bankers;
*Member, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).