Uboh’s Allegation Against Fayemi; An Assault On Reason
After reading through via the social media a report (or is it a letter), by Dr. George Uboh, The Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security Systems , published March 31, 2021, and entitled; Fayemi: Stop Your Pontification and Demagoguery; You Demanded 10% From Us, two separate but related feelings, naturally came flooding.
For all intents and purposes, while the first of such feeling focused on the age-long saying that once an individual assumes a public office, he/she forfeits his right to private life, the second is from Gordon S. Black of The University of Rochester, in his theory of political ambition; Career choices and role of structural incentives’’ where he posited that; as a politician rises to new positions of power and prominence, his motives for seeking political advancement becomes subjected to intense public scrutiny.
Without going into specifics, the report was constructed around a corruption allegation by George Uboh against Governor Fayemi. The cracked report among other things alleged that Fayemi, as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, demanded 10% of a contract sum through some personalities/proxies named in that report as proxies X and Y.
Adding context to the discourse, it is globally recognized that in discussing what constitutes corruption, it matters not whether the exchange is initiated by the person with the money or the person with the power; it is the exchange itself that is the essence of the corruption. It matters not if the private enrichment is with cash or with its equivalent in influence, prestige, status, or power; the harm is done by the fraudulent substitution of wealth for reason in the determination of how the power is used. It is the dishonesty of the transaction that carries the poison.
However, as someone that will not spill his guts easily, or allow sentiment to guide his judgments, a further peep into the particulars of claim by the report, reveals something new, strange and different.
Essentially, as subsequent paragraphs will make known, the argument adduced by the report does not hold water and faces a number of embarrassing facts. The reports claim is riddled with gaps and laced with ungraspable presentations. More than anything else surrounded with connotations that raises more questions than answers. The report represents more of a fiction than reality.
From its roots, the content of the report for instance, exonerated the Governor of wrong doing while eliciting self defeating arguments
To copiously quote the report, it reads in parts; for sake of precision, I visited Fayemi through a mutual friend at his Guzape residence at 8am on Saturday February 6, 2021 during which time Fayemi emphatically told him that he did not send anyone as a proxy to negotiate on his behalf nor is he aware of the purported MoU. I left Fayemi’s home, called the DG Governors’ Forum Okauru, narrated what transpired at the meeting to him, and then sent a message blasting the person who brought the purported proxy accusing him of playing 419 on us.
Going by the above statement culled from the report, the question may be asked; what other evidence indicates that he (Uboh) needs to be convinced that Governor Fayemi was not part of any shady business as painted? The truth they say, speaks for itself. Having heard from him, while still holding on to the statements/claim by the so-called Proxy X and Y?
There are also reasons to believe that the current accusation is not only personalized but orchestrated by the Governor’s perceived 2023 presidential ambition.
Below is the portion of the report that supports the assertion.
‘if you want to pontificate to Nigerians as the nouveau anti-corruption Czar merely because you want to run for President in 2023, you are in for a rude awakening. I am not a politician, but I, George Uboh, will for the first time in my life publicly campaign against you and bring your secrets out in the open. I will dissect your hidden assets like a lizard is dissected in the laboratory. We have Ekiti State bank statements during your two tenures showing the inflows and suspicious outflows; we have evidence of your shenanigans as the minister of steel during which time foreigners plundered our mineral resources and carted away same under your watch, and with your full acquiescence. I have kept quiet too long Fayemi’
At the moment, let’s expound the argument further.
Looking at his resume, Fayemi attained a global reckoning in the development/civil society world; will it not be a contradiction of the sort that such an enlightened mind stoops to the derogatory level of demanding bribes? This is a key fact the accuser failed to remember. Once more, have we forgotten that Fayemi, before occupying public office positions, selflessly and impeccably served on numerous reputable Boards? Some of these organizations include but are not limited to; namely the Governing Board of the Open Society Justice Institute, Baobab for Women's Human Rights among others.
Another point the author of the report failed to remember is that during the late General Abacha’s days, when many were singing Abacha’s praise for pecuniary gain, Fayemi fought for the re-emergence of democracy. He placed his life on the line as a member of NADECO in order to see democracy/good governance cultivated on our land. He successfully to the admiration of all used The Radio Kudirat to render the then military junta uncomfortable.
Now, if corrupt enrichment was his primary concern and motive, this piece shares the views that he would have simply saved himself the risk, stress and heat he underwent in the hands of the military by joining the then government by the army.
Why has the author of the report recently become reputed for generating different accusations against those in the position of authority-particularly in public offices? Making the whole episode a crisis is that the lists of public holders that have suffered such fate in the hands of Dr. George are getting lengthy. They include but are not limited to; current Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Edo State Governor , Godwin Obaseki and of course the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
While answers to the above questions are being awaited, there are in fact, more reasons the present allegation against Governor Fayemi may not be given serious concentration but considered as familiar music hall fame from its source. It is the fact that if Fayemi wants to run for the highest position in the land, he is eminently qualified. One thing also stands out; he will not source for funds from illicit sources.
The reason is not farfetched.
Apart from being a national leader that is well respected by all, Fayemi is among the few public office holders that have played politics in the country using global rules and dictates.
Fayemi in the opinion of this piece is exposed to the present attack not because there is an established link, but primarily because, the accuser feels that he occupies a public office and therefore, lacks the right to private living as noted above. It was indeed an assault on reason!
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via;j[email protected]/08032725374.