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Patriotism And Honesty: Necessaries In Social Criticism

By Monday Eze

I read with bated breaths the unbridled arrogance and disrespect of Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo against the office and the person of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR as well as Chibueze-Agbo's tirades against the office and person of the Governor of Ebonyi state, His Excellency, Chief David Nweze Umahi in Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo's open letter to President Buhari dated 13th September, 2017 which was well-advertised on social media platforms. I knew Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo in 2003 when he aspired for the ANPP chairmanship ticket for Ohaukwu LGA while the wife of his youth contested the governorship of Ebonyi state under the National Conscience Party. At the end of the 2003 general elections, His wife had reasons to hide from the police and other law-enforcement agencies while Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo lived in Abakaliki Federal Prisons! He is yet to return the precious books I lent him for the nourishment of his soul for the duration of his tenancy in prison. I have told this factual story to show why I had ignored the tirades of this young man who believed and still believes that villainy and rabble - rousing are all that makes one a social critic or crusader. Before I set the records straight for the benefit of the reading public whose minds Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo's infamous letter was designed to corrupt, I want to say that patriotism, honesty and commitment to the common good are the basic qualifications of a true social critic or crusader. So, all those who come on social media to peddle lies like Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo should know that they are villains and not critics.

Having said that, I invite you, dear reader to join me to expose the packs of fallacies, brazen lies and affronts on truth and on the authorities in our country in this infantile epistle.

Akubaaroha Youth Assembly (A.Y.A.) is a non-governmental organization duly registered with Cooperative Affairs Commission (CAC) as a platform for constructive advocacy, sustenance of good governance, rule of law, peace and as an apparatus for the empowerment of our teaming youths, especially the downtrodden. It is worthy of note that all the members of AYA are youths of proven integrity who work hard on their respective areas of calling to earn decent living. Contrary to the infantile and baseless claims and allegations of Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo, security agencies and well-meaning Ebonyians have continued to applaud the commitment of members of A.Y.A. to the sustenance of peace and security of lives and property in Ebonyi state through ancilliary surveillance and intelligence services in support of conventional security agencies. A case in point was recently when members of the group were said to have successfully foiled an attempt to kidnap a local journalist.

The allegation that Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state was asked by the CBN director of corporate communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Muazu to "clear salary arrears" is fallacious as Ebonyi state has always been among the nine states in Nigeria where workers have never been owed salaries since 29th May, 2015. That allegation has equally given the maker out as a pathological liar. This is true given the fact that Governor Umahi has consistently maintained the exceptional labour-friendly profile of being the only governor who pays workers salaries before the 20th day of every month in addition to an annual mega bonus known as 13th month salaries in Ebonyi labour parlance.

Furthermore, if Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo had a scintilla of patriotism in him and was not bent on crass villainy and mischief, he should have known that the alleged admonition of governors of poverty-stricken states by the director of press, Federal Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambata, did not apply to Ebonyi state where Governor Umahi whose human-faced administration created the ministry of Economic empowerment and Job creation and had through it empowered youths and women numbering 3000 with the sum of #250,000.00 only respectively to enable them farm or trade; trained six Ebonyi youths in Abuja on horticulture and provided each of them with necessary logistics and a million naira take-off grant; empowered each of 3710 Ebonyi widows with #100,000.00 only; placed over 100 widows on a monthly stipend of ten thousand naira only; employed 85 physically challenged persons; sponsored 508 Ebonyians to the three-month entrepreneurship training certificate programme of the Southeast Entrepreneurship Centre to enable each of them upon submission of bankable business plan in any area involving production / processing to access MSMDF funds from CBN to the tune of #3 million; encouraged over 12,000 civil servants to embrace farming as a means of alternative income so as to benefit from programmes of FADAMA III and IFAD for which the sum of #1 billion has been mapped out; is empowering even Ebonyians in the Diaspora with #130 million naira only and 130 modern tricycles through the Street-to-skill programme and has appointed over 250 Ebonyi women and youths as technical assistants in a first-of-its-kind stomach infrastructure in the history of Ebonyi state!

A man who sees the comprehensive infrastructural projects which comprise three overhead bridges, a pedestrian crossover bridge, over forty-four roads in Abakaliki urban internal-road network, the Onueke and Afikpo urban road networks, intervention in federal roads with a total distance of 54.5 kilometers, the Hilltop - Nwofe Agbaja virgin road, Nkwegu - FUNAI road et cetera and the beautification of Abakaliki city and Ebonyi state which has turned Abakaliki into a tourist destination as "painting walls and casting concrete in every available space in the urban areas", surely needs the attention of physician.

It is on record that the eight-year administration of Chief Martin Elechi was the financial golden era of Ebonyi state when the revenue profile of Ebonyi state was at its best. Even in that period of boom, that administration in which kitchen cabinet Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo served did not pay severance allowances. It is pure insensitivity for someone or people to harrass an administration battling in this economic recession to discharge its commitment to the masses and to pay arrears of gratuities owed by the previous administrations in Ebonyi state knowing fully well that Umahi will pay as the economy improves.

Beyond labour relations incidental to his office as the chief executive of the state, the Governor of Ebonyi state does not involve himself or his office in extraneous labour matters like labour leadership politics. It is on verifiable record that it was the same labour constituency which brought Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor into labour leadership that removed him. No government official was in the NLC SEC meeting wherein Comrade Nwafor's impeachment allegedly took place.

In another affront on the truth by a young man who has subscribed to the burgeoning mischief industry all in furtherance of his selfish political vendetta against a man he could not stop from winning Ebonyi state Guber polls in 2015, Chibueze-Agbo alleged that bulldozers were not bought for the 13 council areas in Ebonyi state even when money was taken from them.

The truth is that pursuant to the innovative approach of Governor Umahi [the winner of the 2016 Zik Prize Awards for good governance], the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Ebonyi state chapter, comprising the 13 council Chairmen of Ebonyi state pulled funds together for the purchase of 13 bulldozers to enable them grade feeder roads in the hinterlands. The equipment have been delivered and the council chairmen are only waiting for the rains to abate before deploying the equipment to the hinterlands.

A man whose unpatriotic desire to derail the current progress match of Ebonyi state under Governor Umahi has numbed his senses so badly that he could not acknowledge the current comprehensive transformation going on in Ebonyi state is not likely to recognize 13 bulldozers even when they are parked before his very eyes.

It was the administration in which kitchen cabinet Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo served that introduced "loans and bonds" in the administrative lexicon of Ebonyi state. The same administration took a bond from the capital market and equally approached Jaiz or Islamic bank for a loan facility even at the administration's twilight in 2015.

A greater number of Ebonyi people have raised their voices in support of Governor Umahi's bid to pick the $150 million dollar loan for the purpose of constructing the expanded Abakaliki ring road. There are laid down procedures for states that seek loan facilities from financial institutions. The federal government and both the state and federal legislatures have roles to play in the determination of the necessity of a loan facility and the qualification of the state applying for the loan. Even the lending institution has ways of determining the viability of the state that seeks a loan facility from it. When over 96 % of Ebonyi population support the loan bid approved by relevant federal agencies and the state legislature as in the case under review, it is tantamount to swimming against the tide for Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo to say that "Ebonyi state [is] not qualified for the loan". What is Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo ' s parameter or source? Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo is an Ebonyi man and not "Ebonyi people"! Ebonyi people want the loan and an Ebonyi man who does not want the loan should allow the majority have their way. That is democracy!

The height of self-conceit and disrespect for both the office and person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed forces by Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo is clearly evinced in his directives to the President of Nigeria in the following words: "if you have given such an approval to Ebonyi State, kindly rescind such"; and "stop further approvals for the ADB and Islamic bank loan that the Governor is pursuing at the moment"

In the face of the wide gaps between Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo's claims and verifiable extant realities, one wonders what had happened to the conscience of a man who claims to be a royal prince. On Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo's slight on PMB and Governor Umahi, I tell him that if a young man introduces his father as an animal, the young man has also introduced himself as an offspring of an animal! So, respect is reciprocal. Ndubuisi Onwe Chibueze-Agbo should tow the part of honour by apologizing in another open letter to President Buhari as well as Governor Umahi; and the entire Nigerians and Ebonyi people whose leaders he has shown maximum contempt for. As we await this important correspondence from this Ebonyi epistolarian, I urge all other apprentice critics of his ilk to study the likes of Gani, Agbakoba, Otu Igbuzor et cetera. The blacksmith who wants to form a gong should study the tail of the kite!

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Monday Eze 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."