There is a great gulf between “them” and us”
I am greatly delighted to be considered worthy to address this gathering hosted by the dynamic, vibrant and ever relevant Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). You have carved a niche for yourself over the years which have made you to
be eked in the consciousness of the Nigerian public more than many full state branches of the association.
I recall with fond memory the record you set with your colleagues at the Lagos Branch on in 1993 during the June 12 crisis by Marching on the Streets to protest the annulment of the June 12 elections. Those who are more knowledgeable than I do may tell us if there was any occasion before then that members of then the noble profession ever took to the streets in this country to protest on issue of national concern.
That recollection is very fitting for the time that we are as the annuler of the wish of the people, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, whose irresponsibility made you to take to the streets then has with impunity declared his intention to return and finish the outstanding business of ruination of a nation which his eight inglorious years of presiding over the affairs of Nigeria typified.
I am amongst lawyers and as such will not deny any man the right to aspire to any office in the land. It is just that there are a few things to note about this dangerous aspiration:
(i) It clearly shows that we are a nation whose moral columns have collapsed that in a period of 17 years a man who shattered the hope of many positive dimensions of the June 12 verdict and has yet to apologise to the people can still be taunting the same people all over again.
(ii) IBB's aspiration also speaks to the cycle of recycling of failure in Nigeria as seen in the fact that most of the people who messed up Nigeria in the past have either returned to power (Obasanjo) or made attempt to return (Gowon and IBB). All over the country today, archival materials are the ones still on the centre stage.
(iii) There is the arrogant gerontocratic condescence albeit built on ignorance which IBB has displayed in his first outings on the hustling. In his infamous BBC interview for instance he declared with all the congenital ignorance and audacious in-competence when he dismissed the younger generation as being politically inexperienced, poorly educated and lacking in leadership “we have seen signs that they are not capable of leading this country and so we feel we should help them. May be they are not given the proper education that is why …. A country like Nigeria cannot be ruled by people without experience. People like the Obama you have been speaking about have the experience; he started from the State House of Assembly, to the House of Representatives and to the Senate. If our youths are like this, we will say we have the requisite experience.”
What is Babangida's level of education? A school certificate obtained at a time when the Army was reserved for drop-outs and never do wells. The late Fela Anikulapo Kuti put it succinctly when he sang “If you be African man from better family, better family dem no dey join soldier force”.
A few sandwiches courses he did in the Army did not help his scholarship as he did not even know that there is nothing like a “State House of Assembly” in the political context of the USA. For the education of IBB, Obama was first elected into the Senate of Illinois State where he served between 1997-2004 before being elected into the US Senate where he served one term from 2005-2008 when he was elected the 44th president of the US. I strongly doubt if “educated” IBB can open a computer not to talk of sending an e-mail. I know a lot of members of his generation who have to be assisted to even store phone numbers on G.S.M!
And what is his claim to fame? The only successful thing IBB ever did in his life was to commit a crime, forcefully taking over the government of Nigeria. He took eight years the younger generation would have spent in leadership training via a coup he staged in 1985. It was under his reign that most of our institutions collapsed and have been on free fall till today. The Heritage press he floated has died a natural death just as a bank he has interest thing had to be bailed out by the CBN.
But perhaps the greatest harm this man did to our political system and which bears relevance to what I have been asked to discuss here today is the perversion of our political process. As a man who has a clear space between his words and actions, reminiscent of the gap in between his front teeth, IBB told the nation that he wanted to inject “new breed” into our political space but he ended up using that to open the door for the new greed. It was in that process that 419ners, drug barons and ancillary criminals took the centre stage in our political firmament.
The evils that perversion bred are still tormenting us today.
Again I have to remind myself that I'm speaking to lawyers who deal in evidence. As such in prosecuting the current political class (crass?) in Nigeria permit me to call a few prosecution witnesses whom I have sworn on earth to speak the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth.
PW1 (HON. EFFIONG ONONOKPONO)
On 26th March, 2010, I received a text message from Uyo prison which read “I am Hon. Effiong Eso Ononokpono a UPN member of the House of Representatives, 1979 – 1983. I placed an advertorial in the Nation of 24th March 2010 where I asked Governor Akpabio some questions. I was arrested the following day, arraigned in a manipulated process by the Governor and dumped in the prison where the Governor has vowed I will die. I am 70 years old and have a spinal problem. Please do something and inform other comrades”.
I raced to get a copy of the newspaper and read the advertorial where the septuagenarian was asking the Governor questions that had to do with accountability and the alleged sponsorship of violent groups by the Akwa Ibom Governor. I also searched all publications in Nigeria to see if there was a response by the State Government but there was none. At the time, I was reading a book titled “The culture of corruption: Obama and his team of tax cheats, crooks and cronies” written by Michelle Malkin. I went on the net to know the prison where the author was remanded, I found none.
It occurred to me that this was nothing but the display of raw power of one of “them” (those in power) against one of us (the citizens). I was lucky to get the phone number of the Governor which I circulated worldwide and asked people to bombard him with requests for the release of the old man. Within days, the court that remanded him for about 2 months granted him bail. This was how Weekly Insight Newspapers reported the incident:
“A High Chief in Oro nation, Hon. Effiong Eso Ononokpono, was Friday, March 26, 2010 at about 11am remanded in prison custody until May 14, 2010, by the Chief Magistrate's Court sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
Weekly Insight checks reveal that the 75-year old Okobo-born political activist was arrested on Thursday, March 25, 2010 from his Odobo-Okobo residence by a team of policemen from the State Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia, led by the Division Police Officer of Okobo, on the orders of the state government for a publication he made in page 11 of The Nation Newspaper of Thursday, March 25, 2010, titled: “Questions for Governor (Barr.) Godswill Akpabio.”
In the said publication, the former National Assembly member and close ally of Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, earned the ire of the Akwa Ibom State Chief Executive, Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio.
The elder statesman who played a prominent role in the creation of Okobo Local Government Area was arraigned in court on a two-count charge. The Charge Sheet No: MU/106/2010, tiled: “Commissioner of Police vs. Effiong Ononokpono” reads in part; “That you Effiong Ononokpono (m) on the 25th day of March, 2010 published false News in the Nation Newspaper of 25th March, 2010 to the effect that the Government of Akwa Ibom State is using public funds to sponsor cultism in Akwa Ibom State with intent to cause alarm to the public and thereby committed an offence Country to Section 66(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 38, Vol. II, Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000. “Count II, that you Effiong Ononokpono on 25th day of March, 2010 published defamatory matter in the Nation Newspaper of 25th March, 2010 to the effect that the Government of Akwa Ibom State has been paying ransom to kidnappers knowing same to be false and thereby committed an offence Country to Section 384 of the Criminal Code Cap. 38, Vol. II, Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria 2000.”
The prosecuting counsel in the matter was the Permanent Secretary in the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Justice and Solicitor-General, Mr. Donatus Archibong, while a human right lawyer, Barr. Francis Ekanem led other prominent lawyers like Joe Ukpong, Nyong Nyong and Nkeruwem Udofia to defend Ononokpono.
The trial Magistrate, Mr. Edet Obot, after hearing the motion on the bail application of the Oro High Chief by his lawyers and counter-motion by the prosecuting counsel, ordered that Chief Effiong Ononokpono be remanded in prison custody till May 14, 2010, when the court will deliver ruling on the bail application which the matter was adjourned to.
The former Honorary Adviser on Strategy to ex-governor Victor Attah, was taken to the prison in a white Toyota Hilux Van with registration no.: NPF2068C.
Weekly Insight however had a chat with the former lawmaker who represented Nigeria in the Commonwealth of Parliamentarians to get his comment and he said that while in the police custody, he was not mal-handled by men of the Police Force, adding that his house was searched by the police and nothing incriminating was found before he was taken away from his Odobo-Okobo house”.
PW2 (GREG OSU)
The misfortune of this witness who is a lawyer is that he bought a business class ticket and took a seast next to the Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel on Wednesday, March 10, 2010
“Security details attached to Governor Gbenga Daniel on Wednesday threw caution and aviation safety to the winds as they forced out Greg Osu, a lawyer, from his business class seat for daring to sit near the governor.
The incident happened in a Lagos-bound IRS Fokker 28 aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja. Osu, Daily Independent learnt, bought a business class ticket from IRS and was humiliated as Daniel's Aide de Camp (ADC) pushed him out of his seat.
The passenger, who resisted threats from the ADC and other security details on board, was persuaded by the pilot of the aircraft to move to the economy seat. After several minutes of heated argument, the aircraft took off from Abuja at about 9:02 a.m. and landed at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, at about 10:12 a.m. On landing in Lagos the security details threatened to hand Osu over to the police, a development that caused another scene at the Police Post of the MMA2 terminal, where police detained the passenger for questioning.
Other passengers, who witnessed the development on board the flight, mobilised and went to the Police Post at MMA2 as well as the Divisional Police Station at Beesam. Between 10:12 a.m. when the aircraft arrived, and 2 p.m. police officers attached to the Beesam Police Station and other units battled to resolve the issue, as Osu threatened to sue the Ogun State government for the treatment meted to him by security details attached to the Ogun State governor.
Narrating his ordeal, he said, “I am a lawyer, my name is Greg Osu, and they are saying that I bought a business class, secured a seat beside the governor of Ogun State, and for that they pushed me out. This is the bad experience we go through everyday, I got on board, seated close to the governor, and the ADC pushed me out, saying I can't seat near the governor, there were only four seats on the plane, and the four seats were occupied.
“They claimed they have the apparatus to deal with and coerce me, that is how we got to the police station. I am a lawyer; we will see how the case will go. They threatened to deal with me,” Osu said.
An eyewitness, Emeka Okafor, said: “I was sitting at the exit by the wings, I saw the gentleman standing up, picking up his things to move to another seat and was talking to one of the cabin attendants of the plane, saying: 'why are you people embarrassing me, I am supposed to sit on the business class seat, why are you moving me to the economy seat', then he picked up his things and was going. As he was going, of course, he was not happy, he got agitated and was still talking, I heard the security detail attached to Gbenga Daniel talking, shouting at the passenger, asking him why are you talking like this, you are embarrassing the governor, he said.
“Don't you know you are embarrassing the governor, the passenger insisted, saying I have a right to sit on my seat, I paid for it, if the governor does not want anybody to sit near him, he should have flown on a chartered flight or better still buy his own private jet.” And the security details started abusing the passenger, threatening to beat him up when they got down from the aircraft. By that time I had to get up and appeal to the security details to leave the man alone, I then went to the captain on board and shouted, saying: is there no captain in charge of this flight, can he take control of this aircraft? Of course, the captain identified himself, and he calmed everybody down.”
Another eyewitness, Mr. Ike Ehie, a passenger on the flight said, “I am a visiting professor in the School of Business at the American University of Nigeria, Yola. I was on that IRS Airline flight, I saw everything that happened.
“We were sitting on the same row in the economy cabin of the aircraft, I just saw the passenger standing up, I thought he did not have a seat, and I was asking him how come the airline over-sold their seats, and the passenger told me that the Ogun State governor was near the seat he was allocated, he was forced out of the seat.”
The Ogun State Governor in his defence has told different stories. One was that his aides asked the lawyer to vacate his seat because he was reeling of alcohol. In another breadth it was said that the Governor wanted his newspapers to occupy that seat.
A few days after this incident I was on the same flight with Rtd. Col. Mike Torrey who was military Administrator of Ondo State years back. He was sitting two seats behind me and came towards me. He introduced himself and I got up to greet him. But I was wondering in my mind if he would not have asked me to vacate my seat for his newspapers in the days of power.
PW 3 (AKIN OYEDELE)
This journalist narrow escaped being kidnapped recently in Ibadan for writing a story which Governor Alao Akala did not find palatable. Listen to his story:
“Three policemen in mufti purporting to come from the Criminal Investigation Bureau traced me to a cyber café at Agbowo shopping complex, opposite University of Ibadan, around 6.20pm on Thursday.
Two were dressed in suit, while one of them was dressed in native buba and sokoto.
Two of them accosted me and said my attention was needed at their 'station.'
I introduced myself to them as a journalist and the Head of Ibadan Office of the PUNCH Newspaper. The one in buba smiled at what could be regarded as my ignorance of their real mission and said, “Yes, we know you are a journalist. But your attention is needed at our station.”
Still perturbed, I told them I was not doing anything illegal and allowed them access to all the websites that I had opened on my laptop, which were those of newspapers, Yahoo, Google and Facebook.I also showed them my identity card and presented a copy of my complimentary card, which they collected.
After scanning through the websites, they insisted that my attention was needed at their 'station,' which they said was the CIB, at the Eleyele headquarters of the Oyo State Police Command. One of them, a hefty man in suit, strolled out to make and receive calls intermittently while my ordeal lasted.
When they insisted that I should shut down my laptop and follow them, I complied. At this point, the Guardian correspondent, Mrs. Iyabo Lawal, called me and I took the opportunity to narrate everything to her.
Another colleague of mine, Mr. Tunde Sanni of ThisDay, called me almost immediately and the men at that stage became uncomfortable with my calls.
The hefty man told me to stop receiving or making calls. Just as we took three steps on our way out of the cyber cafe, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Abraham Ojo, called me and asked me what was happening. I said happening how? This was because in my naivety, I could not immediately connect him or the state government with what was happening.
The CPS said, “I heard some people came to arrest you; they should have released you by now. It was a mix-up, ignore it. I hope you are not recording me? You too, you are too far away from us. I just spoke with Bisi Oladele too now (The Nation correspondent) . Hand over the phone to one of them.”
In a state of disbelief and utter shock, I complied with his directive and the hefty man spoke with him. The only thing that filtered out to me from their conversation was that “we told him we are from the CIB.”
At the end of the call, the man apologised to me and said it was a “mix-up” and they left.
The men came in a blue Peugeot station wagon pilot car with registration number Oyo 37A01.
Not quite five minutes after they departed, the Aide-de-Camp to the governor, whom I never spoke with on the telephone, called me and again apologised for the “embarrassment.”
He said, “We are sorry. We heard that somebody mentioned the name of our oga, the governor, at the cyber café, that was why we sent those people to go and bring the person to come and explain why he was mentioning our oga's name. Please, try and see me tomorrow, it is very important. We are sorry.”
Except they had planted spies around me, how they traced me to the cyber café is still a puzzle. But for their apparent change of mind, I would not know what they planned to do with me and why.
The Police Public Relations Officer in charge of the state command, Miss Bisi Okuwobi, later called me, apparently on account of the alarm already raised by my colleagues.
The PPRO said, “We did not send anybody to invite you to the CIB. Nobody from here (command's headquarters) sent anybody after you.”
You would have thought for a moment that this was happening in Uganda.
PW 4 (IKENNA IWUOHA)
Without intentionally reserving the worst for the last, listen to this journalist who suffered brutality in the hands of Governor Ohakim of Imo State who has been in the news lately for beating people up anywhere he steps.
“On this day, this writer (Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha) had distributed a document in the internet and media houses through e-mails. I entitled the document “OPERATION RESCUE IMO FROM BONDAGE”. In that document I reeled out 100 (one hundred) reasons why Imo people should reject the Ohakim evilcractic, jezebelic and fraud-infested leadership.
On the 9 th of January 2010 this writer (Mr. Ikenna samuelson Iwuoha) wrote a letter to the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly. In that letter I urged the Speaker to set up a special probe panel that would invite me to come and prove my allegations of fraud and criminalities against Chief Ikedi Ohakim. I also copied over 54,000 people through the internet.
Few days later I followed my desire to expose the criminal activities of Governor Ikedi Ohakim by posting an article in the internet, media organizations and to prominent Nigerians. I entitled that articles “STOP CHASING THE WIND: LET US FOLLOW PRECEDENCE”.
On the 18th of January 2010 I sent a reminder letter to the speaker of Imo State House of Assembly still urging him to set up a probe panel that would invite me to prove that Chief Ikedi ohakim is a monumental criminal. On the 19 th of January 2010 I posted another article in the internet entitled “WILL FRAUDSTERS AND MONEY LAUNDERERS
CONTEST ELECTIONS IN IMO STATE? PART ONE”.
On that same 19 th of January 2010 by 3:34pm, the Commissioner of Police in Imo State (Mr. Aloysius Okorie) called my telephone number requesting that I should come and see him for “brief” discussion. So I agreed with the Police Commissioner that I would come and see him on Friday 22 nd of January 2010 by 9:00am. The following day being 20 th of January 2010 by 5:30pm I personally called the police boss to reconfirm my appointment with him on Friday 22 nd January 2010. I was therefore dumbfounded and flabbergasted the following morning Thursday, 21 st January 2010 by 6:31am when I heard a knock at my personal apartment (Plot 98 Ikenegbu Layout Extension Owerri). When I drew my curtain, behold I saw five heavily armed men. The men told me that the Police boss asked them to bring me along with them. I quickly objected telling them that my appointment with the Police Commissioner was on Friday 22 nd of January 2010. The armed men pulled their guns at me telling me to open my iron protector. I told them off by saying “Taaa”. I picked my phone and called the Police Commissioner by 6:34am. I asked Police Commissioner Aloysius Okorie when my appointment with him was to the hearing of those heavily armed men. The Police Commissioner said “tomorrow Friday by 9:00am”. He went further to add “I thought we had agreed on Friday 22nd January 2010”. Why this sudden call. I now told CP Aloysius Okorie that before me were five heavily armed men saying that he asked them to bring me to his office. The police Commissioner responded by saying “Em, Em, Em, Ok, Ok follow them”. I then told the police Commissioner that I would follow them but should anything happen to me that I would hold him responsible. I also told him that those armed men would remain outside while I dressed up. I also told the police boss that I would inform my people all over Nigeria of the development. The Police Commissioner then pleaded with me to hand over my phone to those men so that he would talk to them. I responded by telling him that I was not a “mugu”.
So I made calls to my people nationwide informing them of the development. After that, I instructed my wife (Chioma) to get me water for bathing which she did. I took my bath and dressed up. Of course I left my phone in my house. I knew that Ikedi Ohakim was the person looking for me based on Police Commissioner' s “Em, Em, Em, Ok, Ok, follow them”. My 5 1/2yrs (Five and half) old son Nwachinemerem was in the palour, so I told him, “Ogbuefi let me go and see that foolish man”. The little boy nodded his head. I then asked him “who is that foolish man?” my son responded “Dr Ikedi Ohakim”. The armed men were shocked. So I opened my iron protector and followed them. When we came outside my compound I saw a PRADO JEEP with registration number Imo 849 NKR, I told those men that I know the jeep to be among the Governors convoy. So I entered the car and we drove off. When we got to government house owerri by 7:04am, the driver of the jeep diverted to the multi-purpose hall where he packed. So the leader of the team that picked me up made a call to “somebody” informing him that I was with them at the multi-purpose hall premises. On three different occasions those armed men asked me about my phone of which I responded that I was with it.
By 9:00am, a call came to those armed men that Chief Ikedi Ohakim was in his Office. By 9:03am the Chief security Officer to the Governor walked to where we were packed. The driver of the jeep came down while Chief security officer entered the jeep. He turned back and asked “ My friend, who are you?” I responded “I am Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha”. The CSO nodded his head and drove off and entered the Governor's lodge and packed. I came down and I was marched straight to Ohakim's Office. When I entered the governor's Office, I saw Ikedi Ohakim. He quickly shouted “lock the door, lock the door”. The door was locked leaving me only with Ohakim and his CSO in the office. The CSO pulled his gun at me. Ikedi Ohakim on his own shouted at me to pull off my clothes completely. At that point I knew that I was in danger, so I played along. As I was removing my clothes, Ohakim stood up from the Office chair and came to me and forcefully removed my clothes. Another young man of about 33yrs wearing an ash coloured suit came into the governor's office to assist Ikedi Ohakim to completely remove my clothes. I became completely naked before Ikedi Ohakim in the office of the Governor. The young man then left the Governor Office. The CSO was still pointing a gun at me. Then Ikedi Ohakim gave me a blow on my mouth, he gave me a head butt. He hit me with his hands and legs severally. Then Ohakim went to his office table and brought a “koboko” (horse whip). He started to flog me all over my body. After he ordered me to lie down on the rug in the office and I obeyed. Ikedi Ohakim flogged, flogged and flogged me ruthlessly, heartlessly and without mercy. He kicked me severally without mercy. He kicked me severally with his shoes. He also marched me with his shoes. The pains was much. I cried, cried and called on Almighty God to come to my rescue. Ikedi Ohakim personally brutalized me right inside his office. I must have received well over 120 strokes of koboko. My blood completely stained the rug in the governor's office. I was in pains. I saw hell with my two eyes, Almighty God did not allow me to die. Ikedi Ohakim continued to flog me. His brother Emma Ohakim walked in and said “Chinekee, His Excellency, His Excellency”. Ikedi Ohakim said to his brother “Emma, this is Ikenna Samuelson I will kill him today”. Emma simply left the Office.
The CSO also continued to point his gun at me. When the pains became unbearable, I decided to take a risk. I boldly grabbed Ikedi ohakim legs. I shouted at him as follows, “What you are doing to me in this office is wrong”. “You are abusing the office of the Governor” “you are desecrating the office of the Governor of Imo State”. “Moreover my wife is from your place Mbano, conversely you are my children's Nnaochie”. This was the miracle that saved me from Ikedi Ohakim's brutality. He stopped beating and flogging me. He then shifted a chair and sat down with the koboko still in his hands. I was seriously in pains. Then Ikedi Ohakim started to shout “Samuelson you have disgraced me in this country. You have finished me. I will kill you and nothing would happen. I will prove to you that I am not an ordinary Governor. I know those sponsoring you. But you must mention their names to me with your mouth”. Then flogging started again. Ohakim flogged and flogged me that I became helpless. So I begged him to leave me alone. But Ohakim said he would leave me alone on his conditions. He brought out a copy of NATIONAL DAILY Newspaper of 1 – 7 December 2009 edition with the caption “HOW OHAKIM LOOTS IMO STATE. Then Ikedi Ohakim said to me “Samuelson, look at how you disgraced the Governor of Imo State”. “Your own Governor”. “You have finished me in this country”. “I no longer have respect in this State.” “What have I done to you?” “They sent you to come and monitor all my activities”. “Why must you team up with my enemies against me”.
Then Ohakim brought out another document entitled “HOW OHAKIM LOOTS IMO STATE PART TWO”. HE SHOWED IT TO ME AND SAID, “SAMUELSON, WHO WROTE THIS PETITION AGAINST ME TO THE Office of the Inspector General of Police”? He then ordered me to read the contents of that petition to the Office of Inspector general of Police. I refused so he started to flog me again. I pleaded with him to leave me alone. Then Ohakim said “Samuelson you must cooperate with me”. “I want to call a press conference where you will come and denounce those allegations against me. Once you do that, I will give you anything you want. Ohakim continued “last Christmas I gave scholarship to 60 people in my home town OKOHIA, so I can give you anything. “Just do me a favour”. Then the CSO still pointing a gun at me said “just cooperate with his Excellency”. Ikedi Ohakim continued his sermon by saying “Samuelson, where is your laptop, your numerous e-mail addresses, their passwords, flash drive and documents. I did not respond but continued to look at the man who says he is the Governor of Imo State. We stared at each other for about 15 seconds. Then the next thing I saw was tears flowing from Ikedi Ohakim's eyes. At this point I was moved but I stood my ground because I know Ohakim and his antics too well.
The CSO then told the Governor that Commissioner of Police and another person was coming. Ikedi Ohakim then told me to put on my boxers only. I was in pains but I managed to put on my boxers and sat on the rug. The Commissioner of Police Aloysius okorie walked into the Governors Office with a woman I later discovered to be the State Director of SSS.
Immediately they walked in, Ohakim stood up and said “CP Aloysius Okorie, Samuelson has confessed”. I was shocked at Ohakim's statement to Commissioner of Police. Ikedi Ohakim then started shouting and saying all sorts of things. At a point Ohakim said “it is Willie Amadi that caused their problem for me, Owu kwa willie Amadi ooo”. “He destroyed your kerosene business at Douglas road and you now turned around to focus on me.” I smiled in my mind because I never had my kerosene business at Douglas road. I had my kerosene businesses at Prefab, Aladinma, Ikenegbu Layout and inside the market. Thereafter, Ohakim said before the Commissioner of Police and the State Director of SSS “Samuelson just cooperate with me and I will restore your business. I can do anything for you”. The Commissioner of Police Aloysius Okorie then told me “Ikenna look at your Governor and cooperate with him”. The state director of SSS said to me “My son why don't you cooperate with his Excellency”. I did not say anything. At a point I turned to the Commissioner of Police and said “Nna-anyi Ukwu Aloysius Okorie, you have put yourself into trouble. I followed those armed men because you asked me to follow them. My people will, hold you responsible if anything happens to me. Just look at my body”. Then the Police boss told Ohakim that I called him when those men came to pick me and that I made calls to people. At that point Ohakim ordered me to wear my clothes which I did painfully. The CSO led me out of the Governor Office. At the corridor I saw the chief press secretary to the Governor Mr Henry Ekpe. I also saw Mr. Chikwem Onuoha, the boy that does money laundering for Ohakim. I also saw four other people whose names I cannot readily re-collect. At this point let me say that Mr. Henry Ekpe pitied me. He saw my condition. When I was to enter the PRADO jeep (Imo 849 NKR), I staggered, Mr. Henry Ekpe said “jide nu ya aka ka ohara ida” meaning hold him properly so he does not fall. The CSO drove off to another section of Government House. At that section I sat on the veranda while the CSO pulled his gun at me and demanded for my laptop, my email addresses, passwords etc. I did not respond but just stared at him. He continued to demand for those things. Then I said to him “please leave me alone I am tired. “Tell your Governor that I would like to see him one on one”. The CSO left and drove off. The security men there came to me and said “Ndo nnu” meaning “sorry you hear”. They now brought water and poured on my head. They also used water top soothe my back. Honestly I was in severe pains. The CSO drove in and saw what they were to me and shouted “what are you people doing”. He ordered them to put me in the car. The CSO and three other people in the car drove me straight to the Commissioner of Police Office. The CSO then handed me over to the Police boss and left. The Commissioner of Police and the State Director of SSS were in the Office when CSO handed me over to the Commissioner of Police.
The Commissioner of Police asked me to sit down which I did. I said to the police boss “you have put yourself into trouble. I followed those men because you asked me to follow them. Look at my body” The Commissioner of Police with his own mouth and in the presence of the woman who is the State Director of SSS said “Ikenna when you were led out of the Governor's Office I told His Excellency that he did wrong by personally beating you up”. I then told the police boss to be ready to repeat what he just said when the time comes, because I would fight to the end. I added “As for that foolish Ikedi Ohakim I will deal with him”. The police boss said to me “Ikenna, look at what you are saying in my Office”. “Just cooperate with His Excellency and everything will be ok. The woman who is the State Director of SSS then showed me that petition I wrote to the Inspector general of Police and said “Did you actually write this petition?. I looked at her and said “I signed it with my name, my address is there, my phone number is there, I attached my passport. Therefore I take full responsibility of that petition. Ikedi Ohakim is a criminal”. Both the Commissioner of Police and the woman just looked at me and said simultaneously Na – Wao.
Then the woman said to me “My son you are very intelligent. I want to investigate the governor myself. So hand over the documents to me so that I can do proper investigation” . I just looked at her and did not say anything. After a while the police Commissioner then sent for a senior Police officer who now took me to his office. When I told the man how Ohakim beat me up in his office. The man was shocked. He left me in his office with another police officer looking after me. He later came back and handed me over to another officer who wanted to interrogate me but I told him that I can only respond if my lawyers were around.
I was thereafter locked up at the CIB police cell containing 48 people. The next day I was brought out to get ready for court. I wrote my statement narrating what happened from my house to the time the Governor personally beat me up. In that statement I owned up to be the writer of that petition against the Governor to the Inspector general of Police. And my readiness to prove all my allegation against the Governor. Suddenly the police said that they won't take me to court again. That it will be Monday 25 th of January 2010. I was then locked up again. On Monday 25/1/2010 I was taken to court where a three court charge was read against me. Of course I pleaded not guilty. I was refused bail and was therefore reminded in prison custody till 2/2/2010.
When I appeared in court on 2/2/2010 six new court charges were added to the earlier three. So hey have a nine court charges against me. I was later granted bail to the sum of N500,000. The next hearing is on the 19 th of February 2010. I am 100% sure that the koboko which Ikedi used to flog me was poisoned. I say this because I am seriously in pains and receiving treatment in a private hospital. Nonetheless I make bold to say that the lion is back.
At this point and juncture let me state it very clearly that this debilitating monster called Ikedi Ohakim has done his worst. I will go to any length to take my own pound of flesh raised to the power 1000. I must prove my allegations against him. I will unearth everything about Ikedi Ohakim and his fraud infested leadership. In short I will jail him. At least he knows that I have the ability.
The battle is now full blown. Ikedi Ohakim has given me the bullet to shoot him. Ikedi Ohakim is now in my firing range”.
From the testimonies of my witnesses, just tips of the iceberg from what our people go through daily as a result of the disconnect between “them” and “us”! Submit as follows:-
(1) Governance in Nigeria is more about those in offices and less about the people. Even the language of those in government depicts this clearly. Instead of “our government” it “my administration” ; in place of “govern” they use “rule”.
(2) This disconnect has made “them” to consider their own comfort and greed as the fundamental objective of governance. I saw a Governor from the South-South States the other day taking the CNN reporter round the Government House he has just built for himself instead of roads he has constructed or the schools he built (if any).
(3) Given the fact that they are totally disconnected from the people, those in government in Nigeria behave as if they have another country. Even the colonialists who came from other lands did not display the kind of reckless abandoning of our internal colonialists. The late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured this again when he sand “white man rule us many years, we get electricity constantly, our people take over dem come build Kanji dam. Since dem build the dam, no electricity for town”. Today Nigeria with a population of 150m people generate only 3,000mw of electricity compare with Ghana's 12,000mw for 23m people, Brazil's 188m people and 93,000mw, South Africa's 37,000mw to 43m people and South Korea 43,000mw for a population of 37m people. The scandal of the century broke out as Nigeria was to spend N64b (about $425m) to build a 4km runway when ordinary air conditioners donated by banks are not maintain to function at our “International Airport” in Ikeja. It is on record that the Muritala Muhammed International Airport built under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo's first coming costed $500m while the Schippol Aiport which was the same design with our own but built on water was only $250m.
50 years into independence, our Universities don't rank even in Africa anymore and we now record less than 2% pass at NECO examinations. It doesn't bother “them” as their own children school everywhere but Nigeria!
(4) That a worrying effect of this disconnect is the sense of abandonment Nigerians feel which have disconnected them in turns from their social realities. Until the emergence of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), it was as if social mobility was frozen in Nigeria given the way the Turai cabal treated Nigeria in the days President Umaru Yar'adua spent in a Saudi Hospital.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
The source of the disconnect between the people in government and the governed is to be largely located within the process through which these officials emerge. It is not rocket science to understand that a man that takes office through rigged elections, the hallmark of electoral public service of deviants like Maurice Iwu, does not owe the people anything as they are of no value to him than the ballot boxes displayed on elections day to fulfill all righteousness.
In hoping to connect the people with those in government, the sacred bond has to be the sanctity of the ballot box. We have screamed “electoral reform” for years now but it is getting clear by the day that power concedes nothing except demanded. The time has come for us to be ready to use our sweat and blood to demand for electoral reform. Let us know for once that when a man steals your votes, he has stolen your person and you are no more than a thing. A diplomat told me recently that when his embassy monitored the 2007 elections, it was discovered that total voters turn-out throughout Nigeria was 20% but the subsequent results released showed 60%. The implication of that is that for every person who comes out to vote, 2 fictitious voters are used to reduce him or her to a thing.
We must change all that and ensure that our politics returns to issues and welfare of the people. There are all manners of fight going on mostly within the ruling party at the moment, but nothing is about the people in all of these.
Added to that is the need for us to change the social and political order that lionises criminals which we presently operate. A ranking senator, Senator Nuhu Aliyu once got up on the floor of the senate to say there were criminals in the hallowed chambers. He was forced to recant because an armed robber he was arrested as Deputy Inspector General of Police but became a “distinguished colleague” with him was not convicted.
Yes, there are many criminals, who are political celebrities in Nigeria today whom we all know but can't do anything about because our criminal justice administration is so timid to apprehend them.
Learned men of the bar and their guests, until we get out of the “poor man wey steal maggi you go see him face for crime fighter, big man wey steal money you no go see him face for crime fighter” (apology to the African China) there cannot be a proper connect in society. The law plays a crucial role in this.
(Being a presentation by 'Yinka Odumakin at the Annual Week of the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on 29th April, 3020 at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja.)