Gov. Peter Obi is leaving no stone upturned to protect free funds from Anambra for his bank; Fidelity…… and his deftly move is already jeopardizing the future of the bank. Younewsng learnt, Customers are planning to withdraw funds for fear of the future. This is not the best of times for Reginald Ihejiahi, CEO/MD of Fidelity Bank PLC to manage the crisis of confidence created.
It is interesting to note the uncanny connection which Fidelity Bank has in the unfolding imbroglio within the APGA and within the pending tussle for who to become the next governor of Anambra State. Following the consolidation exercise, available records show that Fidelity Bank was not able to post a profitable year until Governor Peter Obi’s accession to the seat of Governor in Anambra State. Nearly one year after Governor Peter Obi became governor, Fidelity Bank posted an increase of 219 per cent profit after tax for the third quarter ended March 31, 2007. Fidelity Bank’s growth remained astronomical in the following years. In 2013, Fidelity Bank announced a profit before tax of N11.2 billion for the half year ended 30th June, 2013, representing 13.3 percent growth over N9.88 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2012. In 2012, Fidelity Bank announced a growth of 608 percent in its profit after tax for the financial year ended December 31, 2012.
Prior to becoming the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi held the controlling shares at Fidelity Bank and was the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank. He still retains ownership of the bank..
What may or may not be coincidence is the emergence of Willie Obiano [from Anambra North] who was – Until recently, Chief Obiano was the number two man at Fidelity Bank Plc, as the Executive Director in charge of Business Banking. Chief Obiano also holds the revered title of Otunba Atayase of Ilemeso-Ekiti in Ekiti State. He hails from Aguleri.
Willie Obiano joined APGA the same day Soludo joined. He was a reluctant to join the race. But he was egged on by Fidelity Bank to join the race.
Prior to Obiano’s final decision to join the race, Governor Peter Obi had presented alternatives to the Bank – in the persons of Oseloka Obaze and Chinedu Idigo. Both are from Anambra north. But the Bank was said to be unsure of guaranteed loyalty from the two would-be candidates. In the meantime, both Governor Peter Obi and Fidelity Bank exerted pressure on Willie Obiano to join the race. But Obiano was concerned that he may not have the financial muscle or popularity to win a general election in Anambra State. He was also unsure on whether Peter Obi could deliver him.
But Soludo’s entrance changed the desperation decibel for Peter Obi, Fidelity Bank and Obiano.
Gov. Peter Obi’s original plan was to hand over power to someone that would retain Fidelity Bank as the main banker for the State – and to simultaneously deliver Anambra State to the win column for President Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan in the 2015 presidential elections. This would mean delivering the Anambra to the PDP candidate or to a Fidelity Bank friendly candidate such as Willie Obiano – a top boss at Fidelity Bank.
The recent disqualification of a few would-be aspirants of the All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA] may have yet to be fully understood by the spectators of the political goings on in the Anambra Theater. Information available to younewsng gathered through a consortium of highly competent sources indicate that the recent disqualification of six  would-be aspirants from the APGA has more to do with the sedation of APGA as a potent political party – than mere disqualification of a few candidates. The details point directly to the noxious mix of intrigues emanating firstly, from the desire of the national ruling party to ‘recapture’ Anambra State – and secondly, from the desire of the veiled godfather of Anambra State Governor, Fidelity Bank, to maintain their financial grip on the State.
As a caveat, the background to the surprising disqualification reaches far to the period when Governor Peter Obi and APGA National Chairman Chief Victor Umeh were at loggerheads over the control of APGA – and over what the fate of APGA would be post Peter Obi administration. It was popularly believed Governor Peter Obi wanted to anoint a political godson to take on the controls of Anambra – while Chief Victor Umeh wanted for a more sellable individual to be presented as the APGA candidate. The divergent desires by the two men caused a fracture within the party.
The inclusion of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo as a potential aspirant did not augur well with Governor Peter Obi – who reportedly was still bent on achieving his original plans – which had caused problems with Chief Victor Umeh.
It was with this foreground that Governor Peter Obi left the closed door agreement [reached with the select Igbo leaders] to meet with the President to brief him on the resolutions. He impressed on the President that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo had been asked to join the party to contest the primaries under APGA for the gubernatorial ticket.
Following Peter Obi’s briefing of President Jonathan, the President was reported to have told Peter Obi that Soludo should not be given the ticket under APGA. The President then told Peter Obi to relay the message to Victor Umeh. Peter Obi then asked the President whether he [Peter Obi] should quote him to Victor Umeh, the President answered yes. Peter Obi then returned to Victor Umeh with the message from Mr. President.
With President Jonathan’s interjection, the previously reached agreement became nullified.
On Sunday August 11, 2013, few days remaining to the screening exercise, Chief Victor Umeh placed a call to Professor Soludo asking him to withdraw from the contest. Minutes after Chief Victor Umeh’s call, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu called Professor Soludo asking him to step out of the contest – that the President does not want him to contest for the elections. But Professor Soludo was unyielding. Soludo told both Bianca Ojukwu and Victor Umeh that he would not withdraw – that he rather be defeated at the primaries.
Certain that if allowed to participate at the primaries that Soludo might win, the APGA leadership opted for disqualification at the screening stage.
During the screening exercise, the actions of the 3-man panel depicted what their real intentions were. At first, they called on Soludo to inform him that he will be disqualified based on an ‘incorrect’ answer he gave on one of the questions on the application form. The question was whether he had been arrested before. Soludo had answered no. The screening committee believed that he lied – that he had been arrested by the agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC]. To which, Soludo responded by providing the letter of invitation dated December 2012 which the EFCC had written to him requesting of him to visit the EFCC office to clarify some issues – the letter given him 21-days to show up. With the presentation of the letter, the committee switched and responded that since he is being investigated by the EFCC, he cannot contest for the gubernatorial elections under the APGA.
Interestingly, when one of the members of the 3-man panel raised an objection on the grounds being illegal and unconstitutional – he was shunned by the other two members – stating that “this is not law, this is politics”. With this, Soludo’s fate in APGA was sealed. Governor Peter Obi got his wish and President Jonathan got his wish.