THE GARDEN AND BURDEN OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has a portion of it that is interestingly striking to the heart. God created Adam and Eve and place them in a beautiful garden with every good thing of life for their sustenance and comfort providentially available. They were however, given the responsibility to take care of the garden.
Unfortunately, Adam and Eve threw away this glorious opportunity and rare providence from God. Against God's instruction and directive, they gave in to the deception and subtlety of Satan-embodied in the Serpent. When God came to have fellowship with them in the garden as was the routine schedule, behold Adam and Eve was nowhere to be found inside the garden.
Why did Adam and eve flee the beautiful garden where they had all the comforts of life; where provision was made by God to adequately and sufficiently meet their needs? Behold the reason why Adam and Eve abandoned the garden was simply that they have violated and broken God's law. They succumbed to the devil's deceit and ate the fruit which God had asked them never to eat.
From time immemorial, history has continued to replicate this scenario; several people with great opportunities in life have continued to abandon the “garden” of plenty and of responsibility to attend to distractions and pleasurable deceptions. The Holy Bible says in Proverb 29:1 that “he that is often rebuked and yet keeps hardening his neck (heart) shall suddenly be destroyed beyond remedy. This is usually the case of so many reckless, dishonest and wicked people especially leaders all over the world”.
Most recently, for about two weeks, the duo of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Prof. abandoned Government House Asaba and indeed abandoned the state perambulating all the nooks and crannies of Abuja. This abandonment of the “garden” and of responsibility was borne out of the uneasy atmosphere of tension and apprehension that has overwhelmed the entire government of Delta State as the date draws near when the Supreme Court would decide on the application brought before it by Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru.
The move by Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Prof. Amos Utuama, governor and deputy governor respectively to abandon their state for two weeks was a desperate move to reach out to some influential individuals in Aso Rock/villa and the PDP National bigwigs to help out in their bid and quest to influence the Supreme Court's decision in their favour but eventually returned to Delta State on Friday 14th June, 2013. Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, in his usual craftiness and involvement in money laundry, prior to 2007 served as Secretary to the former governor Ibori, facilitated the illicit deals, most of the contracts that went to one of Chief Ibori's front companies, Rivbed, Sagicom or Sigaries were heavily over-inflated. His Deputy Governor Prof. Amos Utuama's name has also featured prominently in money laundering activities. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria has always been of magnanimous help in the business of “middlemanship” to settle judicial officers in the past right from the days of James Onanefe Ibori as governor of Delta State. During the tenure of James Onanefe Ibori as governor, Prof. Utuama's Prime Chambers account at Zenith Bank in Nigeria was generally used to transfer funds that helped spread bribes to a variety of lawyers and judges/justices. However, with the ongoing reforms and sanitation in the judiciary under the leadership of the current Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Honourable Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, these “mafias” from Delta State have been finding it extremely difficult to penetrate the judiciary with their “cash power” to buy justice. They and their agents for the period were roaming round Abuja with “Ghana-must-Go” sacks of cash in hard currencies meant for bribing of anybody bribeable, so long such a person could assist in influencing the Supreme Court's decision in their favour.
Their wives were not left out in this desperations; inspite of the death of the sister of Mrs. Roli Uduaghan, she abandoned family bereavement and mourning and together with the wife of the deputy governor, Mrs. Utuama travelled to Abuja too, to reach out to Nigeria's first Lady with all the “ABEG HELP US” crusade. In the course of their desperate pursuit, the wife of the deputy governor Mrs. Utuama as had never been her practice, accompanied the Nigerian First lady Mrs. Patience Dame Jonathan to the wedding ceremony of Hon. Evans Bapakaye Bipialaka, younger brother to the First Lady, thereafter they both left for Edo State to meet with Chief Tony Anenih on Monday 17th June, 2013. The outcome of all these moves and movements are centered on the First Lady to be of help.
Prior to embarking on the two week-trip, to Abuja in order to be adequately armed with “cash in hand” for a successful and smooth ride home trip, the government of Delta state awarded a hush-hush contract to resurface the Okpanam Road at Asaba that is of little or no urgent importance. Moreso that the said project was not captured in the 2013 budget and surprisingly payment was made immediately through Zenith Bank Ltd.
It is worthy of note to state that similar to the above mentioned contract awarded to get cash, the Delta State government also paid salaries for the month of May on 9th May, 2013 with the reason that it was a resolution of the State Executive Council to so do for the benefit of civil servants. Investigations however revealed that it was to create avenue to move cash from the state's treasury to augment for the Abuja “settlement” trip. The question now is, why has the same State government not paid June salaries as at 17th June, 2013? If their reason for early payment of May salaries was genuine?
Reports from some Uduaghan's aides also revealed that after the PDP Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting held on 10th May, 2013, the Chairman Chief Tony Anenih and the Party's Acting Secretary met with the former EFCC Chairperson, Mrs. Farida Waziri at Protea Hotel, Abuja to discuss how she could assist in meeting with the Chief Justice of Nigeria as they believe Mrs. Waziri is a close friend of the CJN. The reports also informed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has always been of help to Uduaghan in matters like this was also approached for assistance and to render help, along with Justice Alfa Belgore, met with Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed at a function in Kano. These bigwigs were also asked to reach out to Great Ogboru to persuasively advice him to shelve the pursuit of the case as the Supreme Court had already compromised and that he (Ogboru) should wait for 2015.
This is a clear semblance of the Ibori Ex-convict Saga where the retired Justice Muhammadu Uwais' led 5-man panel of the National Judicial council allowed James Onanefe Ibori to be sworn in as governor on 29th May, 2003 against a petition filed to the National Judicial Council and following the fresh trial, the Supreme Court under his (Justice Muhammadu Uwais, Rtd) headship, confirmed both the High Court and Court of Appeal's decisions that the then governor James Onanefe Ibori was not sufficiently identified thereby clearing him (Ibori) of the Ex-convict allegation irrespective of the infallible proofs and evidences before the Apex Court. Today the whole world now knows the truth about Ibori been a two-time convict in UK courts prior to his emergence as governor of Delta State in 1999 and 2003 respectively.
The Holy Bible says in Proverbs 28:1, the wicked run away when no one is chasing them; but the godly are as bold as lions (New Living Translation). When those who claimed to have been duly elected by the majority of the people are running helter once they hear the mention of the courts, then you don't need a prophet to tell you that something fundamental is wrong with that acclaimed electoral victory. This was why Tam David West asserted that, “he who succeeds through the backdoor usually has his exit through the window, not through the front door”. A clear conscience, they say fears no accusations. If you truly won an election in a credible way and through due process, you don't need to fear any kind or level of litigations. The man who claimed to have won election as governor should not run away from the “garden” because the scheduled time of God's visitation is near; rather he should focus on dressing up the “garden” which is his responsibility especially if he truly believes that he was placed in that garden by God (through the people). Delta State has suffered so much injustice in the hands of criminal politicians and made possible by ungodly elements in the Nigerian Judiciary. The bulk of the trouble came to the fore when James Onanefe Ibori, A.K.A Odidigborigbo of Africa; a notable criminal who imposed himself as a fearless, trained mafia with the ability to get whatever he wanted from anybody, anywhere, any time and at whatever cost- which inspired him to go as far as fighting tooth and nail along with the likes of his Cousin and successor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to ensure that Goodluck Jonathan was not sworn in as Acting President at the period of the Late President Yar' Adua's long absence resulting from ill health which eventually led to his (Yar' Adua's) demise - a fight he however lost for obvious reasons. This attitude of the Ex-convict, his cousin Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has displayed in the just concluded Nigeria Governors' Forum Election where he worked against the President and his party's directive.
Remember the words of Abraham Lincoln, you can fool all the people some of them, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. The game is now set on the open field for all and sundry to watch. Again the integrity of reputable and highly esteemed members of the judiciary is at stake. Will they fall to the bait of the “HIGHEST BIDDER” of stay on the side of Justice for the people? Only time shall tell.
The person that is being put to task is the Honourable Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar and is being called upon to demonstrate impartiality. She has assured Nigerians that she would implement zero tolerance for corrupt members of the judiciary that she inherited. Also, she had promised to fight corruption and to restructure the judicial system. Improper conduct by judicial officers is definitely a matter of utmost concern. This, in the past months, the National Judicial Council under the headship of the CJN, Honourable Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, has meted discipline/or suspension on some of the judges/justices either because they compromised their office or because they were guilty of denigrating their professional integrity. This internally generated moral purge must continue as there are still some corrupt judges/justices even at the Apex Court. These corrupt judges/justices must be disciplined, dismissed or suspended for the grouse injustices they meted on the people of Delta State, home and diaspora and lovers of democracy. The urgent need to restore confidence in the judicial system, a system so full of rot is now as Deltans, Nigeria and the international communities still expects the law, truth and good conscience to stand. It is pertinent to state here that a society is just only if it guarantees the greatest happiness to the greatest number of its members. The majority of the people of Delta State have been unhappy and conditioned for perpetual injustice. The people of Delta State have been made slaves and have been consistently denied right to chose a credible leader to steer the ship of the state. This slavery has been made to continue by the inability of electoral umpires and the judiciary to stand for the truth; but one thing they must remember, according to Abraham Lincoln is that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under a just God, cannot long retain it”.
The reason for the above according to Abraham Lincoln again, is that “if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong, because according to Agamemnon willingly, no one chooses the yoke of slavery”.
In conclusion, I say the good people of Delta State cry for justice, fairness, equity and freedom from every form of slavery and injustice and they indeed deserve to enjoy a fair share of their rights to this highly desired justice and freedom.
Comrade Omonigho Akpahwe is a public affairs analyst and writes from Benin City, Edo State.