Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha has denied claim of having an altercation with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the Second Niger Bridge.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu had in a statement released in reponse to Obasanjo’s criticism of the Buhari-led administration, alleged that Obasanjo deceived the south-east during the flag-off for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge.
Shehu had also claimed that the Obi of Onitsha had an altercation with the former president after being called a liar.
“Obasanjo laid the sod for the bridge in his first term as elected President and work never started.
“When he sought re-election for his second term in office, he returned to the site to turn the sod for the bridge the second time. When the Obi of Onitsha, forthright and scholarly, reminded him that he had done this in the past, Obasanjo told the foremost Southeast traditional ruler that he was a liar, in the full presence of the Chiefs and Oracles in his palace.”
However in a statement released by the Chinyelugo Anionwu, chief of staff to the Onitsha traditional council, the Obi of Onitsha stated that he was never involved in any sod turning ceremony for the second River Niger Bridge during the first tenure of President Obasanjo.
“His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, CFR, mni, Obi of Onitsha, by his position as traditional and natural ruler, should normally not engage publicly in high level discourse on affairs of State between two of our highly respected national leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR.
“However, the Palace deems it absolutely necessary to ensure that public statements relating to our monarch are factually correct.
“Accordingly, the Palace would like to state categorically that His Majesty was never involved in any sod turning ceremony for the second River Niger Bridge during the first tenure of President Obasanjo as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, therefore, could not have engaged in any altercation with the then President as stated in the above press release.
“The only involvement of His Majesty with President Obasanjo regarding the Second River Niger Bridge was at the very tail end of his second term as President during a low-keyed flag-off of the project when His Majesty prayed that the succeeding administration would construct the bridge expeditiously.
“Onitsha people will continue to express their utmost gratitude to President Buhari and his Government for successfully constructing the magnificent bridge.”