OHITOTO'S OUTLANDISH DEFENCE OF A WOBBLING ADMINISTRATION
In a move largely viewed by unbiased observers as a subtle attempt to position himself for appointment in Governor Tanko Al-Makura's yet-to-be reconstituted cabinet, Mohammed Ohitoto, Director of Research and Publications, Nasarawa State Ministry of Information recently went wacko, spinning a web of lies in defence of the incumbent CPC administration in the state.
Reading his (Ohitoto's) favour-seeking article titled ''Impact of Al-Makura's Policies'' in some national dailies recently, I was simply dumb-founded that in this jet age, some people could still elect to twist facts in an attempt to score cheap political points with a view to currying favour from those in power.
To those who have been observing the misfortune that has befallen Nasarawa State under the present CPC administration, Mohammed Ohitoto's jaundiced hatchet job was like a thunderbolt, striking all with utter disbelief and consternation. The writer did not reckon with the fact that some of us as indigenes of the state have been following Al-Makura's trajectory in power and have come to the painful conclusion that unless a miracle happens, there is the likelihood that he will leave the state worse than he met it.
The author in his desperation to ingratiate himself with the governor, ostensibly for an appointment in the soon-to-be-reconstituted cabinet wrote: 'realising that Nasarawa state is virtually a civil service state with over 70% of the population being farmers, artisans and petty traders, he (Al-makura) took a decision, without any prompting from the parents of secondary school final year students to pay NECO fees for all final year students in public schools''.
He arrogantly sounded as if the policy of payment of NECO fees for indigent students was Al-Makura's brainchild, forgetting that it was a carryover from the immediate past PDP administration led by Aliyu Akwe Doma. Ohitoto must be told in no uncertain terms that nobody begrudges him the right to defend his benefactor, but such defence must be cast on a tablet of stone with concrete achievements as proof.
He also allowed parochial sentiments to becloud his sense of reasoning when he passed off stated intentions as epitomized in government's plan to purchase food stuff and send directly to all government boarding schools in the state as an achievement. According to Ohitoto, ''following reports that boarding students were not properly fed in schools across the state, the governor quickly intervened by establishing a new feeding formula, where food stuff is purchased and sent to the respective schools, and the students are the better for it.'' This is blatant falsehood as the policy is yet to be implemented in the state.
I almost puked when this government apologist equally crowed from the rooftop, in a manner of speaking, celebrating Al-Makura's so-called free medical services for pregnant women and children under five years. Is this the same programme that even Al-Makura's former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe pooh-poohed as a non-starter that Ohitoto is celebrating or another one? What a shame!
Ohitoto, obviously a CPC quisling, was simply economical with the truth when he asserted that the administration of Governor Tanko Al-Makura has ''acquired a number of road-making vehicles and dispatched same to the Headquarters of the three senatorial zones of the state, preparatory to commencing the rural road projects''. The truth of the matter is that the vehicles were sent to the zones last year just to hoodwink the people. If not, why has work not commenced on the numerous rural roads that are dotted with life-threatening potholes?
Even on the issue of water supply that writer tried to make a capital out of, it is only in Lafia that one can say there is a semblance of constant supply. In Keffi, it took a well-publicized media statement from the State Water Board to calm the frayed nerves of students of the state university who were threatening to embark on mass protest over acute shortage of water supply. So for the author to conclude that ''taps have begun to flow again with abundance and frequency not witnessed in the past'' is not only uncharitable, but a calculated attempt to bamboozle the people of the state.
The writer stirred the hornet's nest when he accused adversaries of the CPC administration of ''greed, avarice, corruptive tendencies and other forms of business as usual'', stressing that ''they would want the ugly culture of treating the limited resources of the state as a war booty to be shared among so-called stakeholders'' to the detriment of the poor and hoi polloi. What a convenient way of shifting attention from the woeful performance of an administration that held so much promise on assumption of office in 2011!
I wholeheartedly agree with Adamu Isiaka Mohammed when he wrote in a piece titled ''Al-Makura: Groping In The Dark Three Months After'' (The Road, August 18, 2011) that ''if truly Al-Makura is the face of Nasarawa State, then too bad, for that face is not really appealing to behold. Methinks, it is a dreadful face of unspeakable violence, of disrespect for traditional rulers, custodians of people's culture, and a face of indecision and confusion. That cannot be the face of a state that was gradually making its mark in the comity of states before the ascension of Al-Makura to the cockpit of power under controversial circumstances.
Judging from the forgoing, Mohammed Ohitoto's futile attempt at white-washing the CPC administration in Nasarawa State is as laughable as the apprentice thief who broke into a shop and stole last year's calendar. From all indications, the people of the state are obviously angry with this administration, an angst that is both palpable and pervasive because it is too detached from them on account of its evident failure to deliver on its campaign promises, the puerile defence of Ohitoto and his ilk notwithstanding.
-Oyanki is Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nasarwa State Chapter.