UDUAGHAN’S LEGACY; LAUDABLE OR LAUGHABLE?

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It is a clear fact that the ignorant cannot lead wisely; the indolent and recluse cannot provide effective leadership; the pusillanimous can only achieve what is mean; the ungenerous and uncompassionate leader will only succeed in alienating the people and render poor services; a knowledgeable leadership is always high in the esteem of reputable men of noble sentiments. The above are the words of N.S.S. Iwe and apply so much to the “illegal” administration led by Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan.

Anyone who knew Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan prior to 1999, would agree with me that he was a man absolutely void of patriotic fervor, quality, attraction, generousity, honesty and integrity. He was a man characterized by selfishness cum self-centredness, cruelty, dishonesty and unpatriotism; a miser and a recluse. In fact he was an undisputable epitome of failure, as he was an unsuccessful practicing medical doctor.

It is pertinent to note that the failure of the present government of Delta State is a direct function of the characteristic nature and attitudinal disposition of the man at the helm of affairs- Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan. When it comes to effective leadership and good governance, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan is an ignoramous; he is a blind man who wants to lead people who have good eyes. He is administratively inept and ideologically deficient.

It is an unforgiveable sin for any leader to use his followership to further his own little selfish ends. No human being, however simple-minded, enjoys being used as a tool, hence such a leadership always ends up in disaster… some people do not only need material sufficiency, they also equally need and demand and expect moral leadership from their leaders. Moral leadership always manifests itself in the style of leadership; either corrupt and flambouyant, or clean and humble.

When the Appeal Court sitting in Benin City Edo State on Tuesday, 9th November, 2010 annulled the 2007 governorship election which never held in the first place, and Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan was sent packing out of government house, fear and shock gripped and overwhelmed him beyond his widest imaginations. It is worthy of note to reflect on the immediate and initial impact the annulment of that election had on the man called Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan; He went about hypocritically, both in person and in proxy begging for pardon and forgiveness-his own words; “for all those who said they called me on phone and I refused to pick/answer their calls I am sorry; for those who said they sent me SMS /text messages and I didn't reply, I am sorry; for those who said I didn't perform well enough, I am sorry; for those who said I didn't perform at all, I am sorry; for those who said I was arrogant and high-handed, I am sorry”.

Sequel to the above, some persons concluded and posited that Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan was now a repentant prodigal son who deserved to be forgiven-though not to the extent of re-electing him anyway, but at least to not write petitions against him to relevant anti graft agencies. We learnt that he went to Aso Rock to beg for forgiveness from Mr. President and pledged an unwavering loyalty to him (Mr. President) even though everyone knows he is not pro-Jonathan. However, in sharp contrast to the false repentance and humility expressed only in word of mouth by Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, as soon as the PDP succeeded in re-rigging him into office in the Re-run election held on Thursday 6th January, 2011 through the overriding influence and approval of Mr. President (basically in order not to lose Delta State to the opposition), his language changed immediately back to the high-handed, arrogant, wicked Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan that we have always known. He came up to declare that all those who never liked him were in for serious trouble and even went as far as telling those Local Government areas where he lost woefully in the election, particularly Udu LGA that they should go to the beneficiary of their votes to develop their area, as they won't smell any government presence or impact in Udu kingdom as long as he remained governor of Delta State-a trip round Udu will help you pass your own judgment as touching the fulfillment of this promise. The present state of roads and infrastructural absence in Udu kingdom is self revealing. He also in a church at ASbraka declared that he had so much power as a governor-power to kill, demolish and destroy lives and property and that he had not even exercised up to ten percent (10%) of this power. Can we call these words apologetic, humble, and reasonable from a repentant heart?

As for Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, selfishness and acute self-centeredness is his nature. Prior to the 2007 governorship elections, a former residential neighbour of Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan recounted some of Uduaghan's ill characteristics displayed many years ago while they were residing in DSC, Ovwian Aladja. He told us in that forum that the emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan as governor would spell doom for Delta State. He further stated that Uduaghan was the type that begs you to help him with something, with a promise to return, repay or refund after use, but would never fulfill that promise; he was the type that would ask you for matches to light up say stove, but would prefer you give him the match box with a promise to return it after use but would end up seizing it to himself at the end of the day.

This former neighbor also told us that in one instance he was returning from Agbarho one fateful day, driving on his Volkswagen beetle car, when he saw Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan standing by his car (which also a Volkswagen Beetle) somewhere around DSC roundabout, looking dazed and confused. He stopped and crossed over to meet Doctor and when he enquired of the problem, Uduaghan told him he had a flat tyre and had no spare to replace it, and there was no vulcanizer around to fix the bad tyre. As a concerned and caring neighbor, this man crossed the road again to his car and brought out his spare which he offered Uduaghan to enable him (Uduaghan) drive home and to return it after fixing his bad tyre, but unfortunately that tyre never came back to the original owner. The man however confessed to us that though it was unfortunate, he was not surprised as he knew well enough that, that was Uduaghan's way of life, but only decided to take the risk to help a selfish and wicked man.

Recently I met with a young man who gave a similar story told to him by a medical doctor who was Uduaghan's colleague at DSC many years ago. He said the doctor told them how about five of the collectively asked a young man who was into Arts and Printing to design complementary cards for each of them with the negotiated and agreed cost for each person's work being five thousand naira (N5,000). While four of them made part payments, Uduaghan asked the printer to finish the work before he would pay, and would pay in full on delivery; but to the disappointment of these colleagues of his (including the one who told this story), while the others were paying their balance to the printer on delivery of the job, Uduaghan brought out just a thousand naira (N1,000) and insisted that that was all he could pay and that the printer should accept it that way. The rest of what happened would be a story for another day.

As you read this article, I am sure you are no longer surprised at what you see in Delta State today- why there is nothing to show for the huge allocations that have come to Delta State since Uduaghan assumed office as governor in 2007 (illegally , though). It is longer surprising that all we could witness today are diversion and embezzlement of public funds for personal use, incessant abandonment of projects, and completion of projects only on paper and bill boards. For the past six years, Delta State has been under a demonic siege crying for divine intervention.

What a shame that the Delta State Government under the “illegal” leadership of Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan has consistently failed to implement state budget for six consecutive years. The 2013 budget is the worst so far in terms of implementation. Contracts are not paid except contracting firms owned by the governor and his political associates, whether directly or indirectly owned. Impress and subventions are not provided for Ministries, Departments and Parastatals. Today, the State is grounded; all funds meant for projects, “unappointed” and pseudo Boards, and local government funds are being mopped up in accounts set aside for massive bribery- to settle judges in the never-ending court cases.

Tension is rising to new heights after the Deputy Governor was denied access to the current Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) when he paid an unscheduled and unceremonious visit to the no-nonesense CJN; and most worrisome for the state governor is fact that the governor is consistently finding it difficult to get the support and cooperation of Mr. President through the chief of staff to assist in settling the judiciary; but had been asked to go and settle his judicial problems by himself. He is now fighting tooth and nail to get the sympathy of the First Lady of Nigeria if peradventure help could come from Mr. President through her.

It is shameful enough to know that it is only in Delta State that projects are completed only on the pages of newspapers and billboards. It is also a shame that it is only in Delta State that duration of contracts are calculated in terms of “dry months”, that applicants/job seekers would pay application fees to seek for job in the Asaba International Airport; that simple Bus Stops would take over six years to be completed; infact it is shameful for a State Government to celebrate that construction of Bus Stops could be termed a major achievement (when in the first place and in the real sense, the Bus Stops ought to be Local Government projects in my opinion).

It is indeed quite shameful that it is only in Delta State that a governor can shamelessly tag a project as “Junction Improvement Project”, when he spoke about the work going on at the Enerhen Junction, and also stating that at the completion of the project, Enerhen junction was going to look like London. I beg to ask here; what sense does it make for only Enerhen Junction to look like London in the entire state? If Enerhen junction becomes like London, what happens to Jakpa junction, Airport Juction, Refinery junction (Effurun), Deco junction, Iyara junction, Ginuwa junction, Esisi junction (Warri) Odibo roundabout, Orhuwhorun junction (Udu), cable point, traffic light junction (Asaba), Olympia junction in Sapele etc. When Enerhen junction has been transformed to look like London, everybody would relocate there and tourist would come from all over the world to Enerhen junction and Delta without oil would become a reality-Does this really make any sense?

It is a shame that it is only in Delta State that a massively important project such as the Okumagba Estate-Deco Road project could see only five percent (5%) of the entire project touched by the contractor after six years, leaving the remaining ninety-five percent (95%) untouched and still going on air to celebrate it as a major achievement. It is indeed also very shameful that in a debate prior to governorship elections a governor would admit and own up that building major infrastructure like hospitals in the rural riverine areas was a mere waste of state resources and public funds as the inhabitants would not maximize the use of the facilities due the extremely low population, whereas we were taught in school as early as in primary and secondary school days that such projects are required in rural areas to avoid extreme rural-urban migration and to urbanize the rural areas as well; but at the elections, results from the riverine areas gave higher vote casts than highly populated, big urban cities. No wonder it is believed in Delta State today that crabs, fishes, oysters, prawns, crayfishes, periwinkles and other sea animals participate in elections in Delta State, like we grew up to hear that cows are counted during census in the northern part of Nigeria.

It is a shame to note that since 2007, when Uduaghan assumed office as governor of Delta State, crime rate, illiteracy, poverty, moral decadence, infrastructural decay etc are on a consistent rise and upward surge with a corresponding political and governmental hypocrisy. Suffice to say that the “rule for effective governance is simple; when there is a problem, you fix it”. That is the job you have been sent to do and you cannot wait for someone else to do it for you. This is because good governance depends on ability to take responsibility by both administration as well as people. Good governance is not a fire-fighting or crisis management; instead of opting for ad-hoc solutions the need of the hour is to tackle the root cause of the problems.

To prove that his hands are not clean, Uduaghan has refused to pay a visit-not even a short one to the United Kingdom; not even a solidarity visit to his cousin and predecessor, Chief James Ibori. His refusal to go to the Uk is the fact that from confessions made by Mrs. Nkoyo Ibori and other substantial evidences before the UK authorities, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan is a senior accomplice and part and parcel of all the criminal charges involving his predecessor. The day he enters the Uk, that day he goes to jail.

Uduaghan's consistent refusal to conduct local government elections since illegally seizing power and assuming office in 2007, and a second term in 2011 is a clear proof of his lack of transparency, anti-democratic and unpatriotic tendencies. The uncertainties surrounding the true costs and duration and, or completion dates of major projects like the Asaba International Airport, Ughelli-Asaba Dualization project, Osubi-Eku dualization projects etc are self explanatory of the nature of the man at the helm of affairs.

Good governance is treating development as mass movement in order to see that fruits of development reach the poor and the downtrodden. Understanding strengths and weaknesses is very essential in setting forth a clean administration and for sustainable and lasting solutions; but a government like the Uduaghan-led administration has continued to boast of strengths and has consistently refused to admit wrongs, shortcomings, lapses and weaknesses. What a shame!

One thing Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan and his political associates with whom he has conspired to ground the economy of the state should know is that the progressives of Delta origin, home and abroad are keeping all Details of records of their numerous atrocities and iniquities. We have audio and video tapes of all broadcasts, speeches, comments, statements etc of the people in power in Delta State which they cannot deny when they'll eventually face the music in due season. They should also be aware that many of their aides, relatives, friends and allies are also either our friends, relations, former classmates etc and are very much in touch with ourselves. We get tangible and reliable information and evidences of their recklessness and wastefulness of public funds and state resources. We have in at our disposal, undisputable facts, figures and evidences of their corrupt practices, that any court of competent jurisdiction can rely on.

We'll show to the whole world all electoral manipulations, political wickedness, and governmental hypocrisy they have perpetrated over the years; and that good governance, democracy and modernity cannot be imported or imposed from outside. We the progressives are very confident and hopeful of a better Delta State after Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan. A Delta State where the will of the people would prevail; where there will be a perpetual will to allot to every man his due. According to Abraham Lincoln, "No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent” Deltans have spoken times without number that Uduaghan does not have their consent, yet he remained till date as governor, imposed by the powers that be on the people of Delta State, and against their will for that matter.

I commend and salute the patience and tolerance of the opposition in Delta State who have consistently refused to apply the law or principle of an eye for an eye, because it's a law or principle that leaves everyone blind. They have decided to fight their course within the ambits of the law, using only legally recognized means and instruments to front their grievances and register their pains. The main opposition has exercised unparalleled restraint and maintained rare calmness in the midst of high level provocations from the ruling party. They have refused to embrace violence, thuggery and other destructive method of registering and, or expressing one's pains or grievances. They believe in the rule of law despite the massive failure of the judiciary; the hope is that someday, the judiciary will wake up to her responsibility after due internal and self sanitization and cleansing, as the one ongoing now.

Since the beginning of the world, evil has never lasted forever or indefinitely and has never prevailed over good. Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan and his associates have no hiding place. Divine judgment is near; the end is near for evil and all workers of iniquity. They cannot escape the wrath of God that is coming very soon. I know that Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan does not have a contrite heart or spirit to be able to feel and genuinely express remorse and repentance, and as such cannot obtain forgiveness from God and man.

Deltans, never, ever give up the fight to oust unpopular election riggers and inefficient leadership and enthronement of a people-oriented leadership that would engender and foster good governance, and consequently bring conspicuous development and joy to the majority of the people of the state like we see happening in Edo state today under the giant strides of the Comrade Adams Oshiomole-led government. There is hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel! Keep praying and hoping; the time to celebrate is very near. Remain steadfast and patriotic to the course of justice to enthrone good governance.

Long live Delta State!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Comrade Omonigho Akpahwe is a public affairs analyst, an indigene of Delta State, resident in Benin City, and writes from Benin City, Edo State.

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

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Articles by Omonigho Akpahwe