Eposing Paul Onomuakpokpo's Ignorance

Nothing can be so disheartening like coming across a poorly written and uninformed article by somebody who should be in the know. It hurts the ego of the pen profession and exposes the shallow thinking of persons in such categories who were hitherto regarded as eggheads or the shining lights of the profession.

Honestly, it is painful to notice that there are still some persons who reason like babies when nature generously confers the status and respect of an adult on them. Can we call it betrayal?

Anyway, in 2012, I was privileged to be among few Africans selected to put few questions across to World Bank Recruiters on issues concerning the African Youths. So, coming from a country that idolizes mediocrity, shadows and elevated trivial matters over salient issues, I was tempted to ask whether World Bank Group had certain slots exclusively reserved for young African considering the fact that the continent is one of the most underdeveloped one in the world? But, I was hugely shocked by the answer I got! The recruiters told me in plain terms that World Bank has no quota for nationalities; rather it recruits best brains from the 189 member countries.

Similarly, as an alumnus of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), I was made to understand that one of the major bottlenecks hindering Least Developed Countries (LDC's) from having better deals during negotiation rounds of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which metamorphosed to World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 was because the LDC countries focus more on Special and Differential Treatments during negotiations instead of Equal Treatments which will make it impossible for any WTO member country not to enjoy full benefits accruable to others.

But by focusing on Special and Differential Treatments, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries will continue with the Agricultural Subsidy they make for their citizens while allowing the LDC countries a measure of freedom to formulate policies that suit their own domestic needs.

The bitter truth is that, it is the LDC countries that loose because their main exports are agro-allied products which are highly subsidized in their destination market by member countries of the OECD. It is because of this truth that made the United States Government to introduce the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which was recently extended. AGOA encourages duty-free entrance of agricultural produce to America by eligible African Countries.

Perhaps, the LDC countries fail to acknowledge the fact that if they stick to equal treatments instead of the usual Special and Differential Treatments during rounds of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN), it will open up the market of the OECD member nations to them. By this, it will increase and improve the production capacity of the LDC countries through training opportunities and transfer of knowledge and technology.

It will also create the right condition for trade and investments to flourish in the LDC countries should they decide to only depend on royalties from signatories and agreements.

Hence, I decided to use the above anecdotes to correct the negative narratives and wrong impressions created against the Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of Interior, Retired Lieutenant General Abdurahman Bellow Dambazau by Mr. Paul Onomuakpokpo in his incoherent and clown-like article entitled: ''Dambazau's Bigotry'' published in some Nigerian media.

In the infamous article, Mr. Onomuakpokpo hallucinated that the Minister is only appointing those who shared his religious and ethnic ties to positions of authority. In his desperate attempt to incite Nigerians against the Minister and President Buhari, Mr. Onomuakpokpo tried several times to exhume already buried matters in his point finding voyage to achieve his predetermined objectives as well as appealing to certain interests.

In fact, Mr. Onomuakpokpo is the paradox of what he is accusing General Dambazau of doing. The only difference is that, he lacks the opportunity to shamelessly advertise it as he had done by exposing his ignorance in the said article. This is because; the Holy Book said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.

Therefore, for publicly admitting that he lacks the knowledge of how government operates, I think I have a duty to save the pen profession from embarrassments brought to it by Mr. Paul Onomuakpokpo.

First, I want to let him know that anything that has to do with the recruitment, promotion, sacking and retirement of any government worker or civil servant is diligently handled by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and not a Minister!

Also, the appointment of anybody to high profile offices in the country are done by the President on the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission just as the appointments of the Chief Justice of the Federation and other high ranking members of the judiciary is done by Mr. President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC)

Furthermore, while this piece is not intended to hold brief for the Minister or the President, it will be right that we look at the positions the current Controller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Mohammed Bandede and the Controller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Mr. Ahmed Ja'afaru both occupied before their promotion. Mr. Bandede was a Deputy Controller-General at the Immigration Headquarters, Abuja.

He was promoted to that position to replace Mr. Martin Kure Abeshi who recently retired from the service haven completed the mandatory 35 years of Service, while Mr. Ahmed Ja'afaru got promoted to that position haven served as Assistant Controller-General of the Prison Service at it Headquarters in Abuja.

The promotion was necessitated following the retirement of Dr. Peter Ezenwa Ekpendu who completed the mandatory 35 years of service. It is however instructive to note that while retiring, Dr. Ekpendu specially thanked General Dambazau for bringing human face to the Ministry. He acknowledged the efforts of the Minister at decongesting the Nigerian Prison which currently have about 65, 000 inmates of which about 70 percent are awaiting trial.

Probably, one point Mr. Paul Onomuakpokpo failed to recognize before exposing his personal hatred for General Dambazau in his article is the fact that the Civil Service Commission has their yardstick or criteria for promotion of which optimal performance recorded in the employee's secreet file plays a role.

Besides, while Mr. Paul Onomuakpokpo failed to recognize the giant strides of General Dambazau in the Ministry of Interior probably because of envy, I think I should mention few areas of the concept I would call 'Dambazauism' have effected real change.

These are; introduction of tertiary education through partnership with the National Open University (NOU) to prison inmates, decentralization of passport renewal and application processes to state headquarters of NIS, adopting multinational approach to finding permanent solutions to long existed herdsmen-farmers crisis which now have international outlook among others.

May be the myopic and jaundiced judgments of Mr. Onomuakpokpo against General Dambazau was based on the simple fact that he inaugurated and decorated the new heads of the nation's Para-military organizations on behalf of President Buhari.

In conclusion I want to restate my earlier statement that while the essence of this article is not to hold brief for General Dambazau or anybody, it is right to state that next time, before Mr. Paul Onomuakpokpo and others who share similar iconoclastic beliefs with him decides to advertise their ignorance and hatred for people, they should do a simple research to be armed with facts to avoid the kind of excoriating remarks their public blunder would bring upon the pen profession and the nation at large.

Comrade Edwin Uhara is a Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator

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Articles by Edwin Uhara