Joe Martin’s Dance of Shame
Joe-Martins Uzodike does not cease to amaze me. He is one politician who is not afraid to speak his mind on an issue. He shoots straight and can hang tough where compromise should suffice. His latest philippics on the government of Anambra State are vintage him, bilious and without circumspection. His allegations against the governor are as confounding as the man is controversial.
I know Joe Martins by reputation. I have followed his career trajectory from his days in Enugu up till his appointment as Anambra Commissioner for Information. For some of us who know him, we felt he could have functioned better in sports rather than information management. Nonetheless, he did his job without any claim worked without achieving much. To say that he almost ran Anambra Broadcasting Station (ABS) aground was to state the obvious. Hundreds of staff of the radio station was laid off. During the governorship election that ushered in Obiano Joe, like every other person, worked to ensure continuity. He worked as the director general of the campaign organization, ably assisted by Dubem Obaze.
Joe’s appointment which was meant to strengthen the new government rather than bring it progress enveloped it with regrets. Arrogant and a bit condescending, Joe Martins saw his position as sinecure and worked to undermine the government. His hope of being made the commissioner for Local Government has been dashed. In his grandiloquence he boasted he was only on assignment with APGA government and would return to the PDP in due time – that only his head was APGA while his entire body was PDP. Consequently, he began anti-party activities and shirked much of his duties to the government. Joe would travel out of the country without recourse to official permission and attended EXCO meetings rather sparingly. Beyond belief, he hosted PDP stalwarts like Senator Andy Ubah, Uche Ekwunife, Ifeanyi Ubah a number of times and dressed in resplendent PDP colours when President Jonathan visited the state within the period.
To many his removal was long overdue. Being a gadfly and acting no less, he has continued to throw feeble punches here and there. In the last days his conspiratorial, vindictive, boastful and garrulous nature has become more audacious maybe to compensate for another dashed hope for a job in the presidency. His latest tirade title Obiano: The face of wickedness is to confirm him as an empty vessel with mere clacking sound. Obi whom he has found a worthy ally he treated with disdain even while serving as his commissioner. Surprisingly, Joe saw his condign removal from office as an act of ingratitude and likened himself to Jesus whom the nine lepers, healed of their infirmities, withheld gratitude. Eager to cast himself and his ally in good light he backgrounded APGA’s growth as solely Obi’s effort, and the election of Obiano, as his own making. Nothing can be more grandstanding by Joe Martins in trying to mitigate Obi’s shameless defection to the PDP as a collective decision.
In a more audacious effort to ingratiate himself with master Joe wrote that the election of Obiano was a vote for Obi’s third tenure. He may have lost his sense of judgment or, worst still, has taken sycophancy to irredeemable height. It is surprising where Joe got the idea from. Evidence on ground suggests that most people who are not happy that President Jonathan lost his second bid are consoled that Obi’s overweening ambition was checked. If Uzodike thinks otherwise he should walk the streets of Nigeria and sample people’s opinion.
Joe claimed that Obi did everything from paying for Obiano’s air ticket to his feeding just to drive home his vengeance. But that was churlish. Willie did not become impecunious on retirement. Joe Martins forgot that Willie did not leave Fidelity bank a cashier. That anything he could not afford was by choice. Again the claim that Willie’s splendid home in Aguleri became serviceable on account of campaign funds was outright defamation. Accusing Willie of drinking expensive champagnes and frolicking, an indulgence which he, Joe, is a past master is a classical case of pot calling kettle black. Readers should ask Joe why he kept his family in Enugu all through his commissionership and the little time he served as an adviser. Joe never slept once in Awka. He must return to the warmth of his mistresses in Awka Etiti no matter the time of the night. This is a story for another day.
Joe reduced his shameless narrative further by accusing Willie of ingratitude simply because he did not wind down government activities just to see Obi off to the airport. Nothing could be more stupid when he also accused the governor, still grappling with the responsibilities of elected office, of not abandoning same in order to be calling Obi on phone.
Joe must be in delirium with his cognitive dissonance enabled to write: “He said I should help him to work to diminish Obi’s popularity. He laid his game plan bare; to make sure Obi got no federal appointment and by replicating everything Obi did while in office”. He also claimed Willie directed all EXCO members to severe relationship with Obi as though such matters require no circumspection. By this submission Joe is trying to call a governor of a state a Simple Simon who would entrust a crowd of EXCO members, including him (Joe) with a reputation for garrulity, with personal secret. The revisionist in Joe Martins took the better of him when he wrote that Obi’s failure to secure ministerial appointment was as a result of “sponsoring people to the tune of hundreds of millions of Naira to ensure Obi was not appointed a minister”. This negates the general belief that Obi lost out because he was not a card carrying member of the PDP for which reason he defected to the party soon after.
He reechoed with flippancy the refrain of saved billions in the bank. “He was sure he would achieve that since he told me the unexpended billions Obi left for him, when other governors usually put their states in debt before bowing out”. As controversial as the claim and counter claim over the bank deposit, it would have been great if Joe Martins had told ndi Anambra how many additional wage bill Obiano inherited.
Continuing his concoction of lies and half truth, he said was relieved of his office simply because he went on radio to canvass support for Jonathan and to correct a confusing jingle. Truth is that his radio program was a climax of his many anti-party activities ranging from hosting PDP stalwarts through mobilizing support for the party while working for APGA. Joe also believes that since Obi left office no meaningful project has been going on. Ndi Anambra will want to know if security of life and property is not among meaningful projects. Or whether all the construction works going on in every nook and cranny of the state are optical illusion.
Joe Martin’s accusations seem inexhaustible, many of them completely puerile. It serves no purpose to rebut some of them. They are simply inane. Otherwise how can anybody, much less Joe Martins, claim Obi did not appoint his relations to office? This lie has sufficed for long, but those who know can testify to Obi’s relations in government both in Awka and Abuja. It is needless listing them here.
There have been other lies willfully concocted to defame the government. One of them is the charge of profligacy against the Obiano government. Those who peddle this rumour have supported it with intense prayer just to have their hate-wish of a failed state come true.
Obiano and Obi are diametrical opposites and their governments cannot be compared. Anybody still doing that, just like Joe has done, may find himself arguing for Obiano. He has given governance human face.