The defaming bloggers of the Anambra State Government

By Ejike Anyaduba

It is fairly reasonable to say that a pattern of defaming the government of Anambra State is currently trending on the net. A tribe of bloggers, goaded by interest not readily fathomable, have continued to calumniate the state for some time now. Evidence of this can be gleaned from rehashed old lies and concocted new ones published daily in their blogospheres. Streaming all through the over half a dozen of such badly written articles are allegations of cronyism, waste, and vainglory against the government. The bloggers hide under the false notion of critiquing the government to avenge themselves of denial by the administration to engage them as online media consultants. They have since attacked governor Obiano with fierceness of a surly mastiff.

I have read a number of offending stories from their blogospheres. None can pass muster for a critical work. At best they are all defamatory. My decision to write a rebuttal came after I had personal discussions with some people. Though there are those who believe the bloggers and their blackmailing pieces should be ignored. Those who hold this view gave as reason that the fire of blackmail will naturally burn out if it is not stoked by a reply. This argument seems plausible, but the fact that lies repeatedly told easily assume the form of truth makes rebuttal, however sparingly, an encouraging option. Some of the rehashed lies can be read in the following articles: Behind the scene-how Obiano emerged governor of Anambra state; Betrayal in Awka- Obiano sets to play fast one on Obi; Champaign governor Obiano in chains; The looting of Anambra-Governor Obiano takes nepotism to high heavens; Revealed-Obiano bribed Anambra Lawmakers with N300million.The writers of the stories are not in doubt what they want to achieve. The defamation of the state government becomes the recurring motif. Nothing was to encumber it, including offending the sensibilities on the minds of readers. Some of the allegations against the governor are just laughable.

The governor is said to be in love with Champaign. Assuming - without conceding this allegation – ndi Anambra will like to know if this has impeded his call to duty? Whether those before him were not without indulgence? Whether a good number of them were not known lechers, aggrandizers and sybarites? Whether they were crucified or their “sins” made a public matter?

It is strange how this custodian of the public good, who could not raise a whimper when the state treasury was emptied over a coquettish smile, is now quibbling over the sipping of Champaign. He also howling over alleged N300 million, said to be used by the governor to lobby for the approval of a supplementary budget. He described as short the 6 months gap between two approvals. But he fails to tell his readers if no governor before Obiano asked for a supplementary approval within the stated time or earlier. Whether some of the governors did not spend twice as much to either avert impeachment or to keep the hawks away from government?

It is strange how this blogger who admitted that his source in the State Assembly was not happy over the supplementary approval - even after partaking in sharing of the alleged money – was not worried about the behavior of his source. This story is not significantly different from the one he wrote in an earlier publication. Quoting, possibly, another source from the House, the blogger claimed Governor Obiano bought the legislators houses in the US, including the malcontent who allegedly revealed the information to him. The question is what would a trained journalist - sworn to inviolable ethics of the profession- do in this circumstance?

Ever ready to cause the government down by prognosticating doom where none exists, the defamer, painted a picture of a state under threat of bankruptcy by a spendthrift governor. He wrote: “Governor Obiano is already discussing the possibility of borrowing and raising bonds to finance his projects”. He went further to call these projects white elephant, including the three flyovers under construction in Awka, the state capital. This can only come from someone with a questionable disposition. Discussing loan possibilities, and dismissing the efforts of the governor at giving Awka a befitting status of a State capital as white elephant projects, is as inciting as the guy is cynical.

There are two reasons why this blogger's shots were in the wild. One is that the allegation of loan taking is a little presumptuous. What if it is never taken? How does he hope to recant the sarcastic note in this report? Two is that a governor cannot take a loan without the consent of members of the state Assembly. Even as taking of loan is not wrong - but the use to which it is put - there is nothing suggesting the government wants to borrow and raise bond to finance its projects.

He claimed the bankruptcy fear is being expressed by ndi Anambra not long after a glorious reign. This claim is simply risible. Not even a sworn enemy of Obiano would deny the governor has brought the State to some reckoning. The euphoric feeling of security, especially in some flashpoint areas like Upper Iweka and Fegge, both in Onitsha is endemic. Today the howling success travels beyond the borders of the state. He cleverly put words in the mouths of imaginary interviewees to suggest that the state is failing even when the bankrupting indices like owing arrears of salaries, inability to finance projects etc. are not manifest anywhere in the State.

As uninspiring as his argument, he also claimed that the senatorial ambition of Chief Victor Umeh is part of the problem of the state. He explained this problem thus. Umeh made Obiano governor and the latter will now reciprocate by helping Umeh to the senate and then the governorship after his (Obiano's) tenure. Either this blogger is unintelligent or inciteful. Unintelligent to have concocted such lies, and inciteful to wish others to believe him. Either way he is as uninspiring as he has failed to impress his readers with the following sweeping claims. One is that the governor has offered the APGA central zone senatorial ticket to Umeh. Two is that he made available to whopping sum of N40million monthly to the APGA chair. Three is that the governor is ready to break the state vault just to make sure that Uche Ekwunife is defeated in the senatorial election. Without intent on insult, the blogger is afflicted with the disease of presumption. What assurance does he have that Ekwunife will be a senatorial candidate come 2015 elections? What makes him think that the governor, and not Ekwunife's peripatetic journey from the PDP through PPA to APGA and back to the PDP has not done her enough harm? Few politicians, if any, can beat this unenviable record in the state.

Other allegations like appropriating part of the supplementary budget as security vote for the governor's re-election and apportioning N800million to himself in the manner of oil producing states are neither here nor there. I wonder what the blogger meant when he wrote that Obiano and Umeh last month sold off APGA to President Goodluck Jonathan. Who sold the party to the same Jonathan in 2011? How could the governor have pleaded with the defected members of APGA to return when a good number of them are making frantic effort to return to the party, having realized, rather late, the uncertainty in the PDP.

Finally, this blogger betrayed a vengeful heart by already gloating that the government will fail. He wrote: “He is busy trying to impress people by many pronouncements, he will soon discover that you cannot govern a state by flag-offs without money or intention of financing the projects to completion”. Except for this blogger and others of his ilk, the government has done well and does not intend to overshoot itself. It is understandable how painful it is when a business proposal, as was the case with this blogger's, goes awry. It takes a mature heart not to throw tantrums. Let those who lost take solace in this eternal saying of Roger Cardinal Etchegary that “earth has no sorrow heaven cannot heal”.

Ejike Anyaduba

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."