SELF-DEMEANING ANTICS OF OKEY NDIBE
Yesterday, for supporting Chuma Nzeribe, our self-acclaimed political puritan, Dr. Okey Ndibe said that Governor Obi was treacherous. Today, in supporting Prof. Dora Akunyili, the same Okey Ndibe referred to his action as political folly. I am not so happy with Gov. Obi's aides for allowing such misrepresentation to go unanswered.
Tomorrow he may likely come up with another political crime thus relegating our beloved Governor to a political criminal. As I discussed this with a friend, he said wryly: 'It is only in Igboland that bright people like Obi are not celebrated, they will rather want to pull him down to their levels.' This is exactly what our Governor is suffering in the hands of the puritan. Because of the media space he commands he is gradually becoming conceited, boastful and insolent.
In his last rejoinder to the puritan's unusually unrestrained pieces, one Valentine Obienyem tried to explain certain things to him, but from his recent piece entitled Peter Obi, Akunyili and Political Folly, it is clear that he is impervious to explanation. The title alone declares his purpose clearly: he was out for a knockout blow, that is, the utter destruction of our Governor. Reading him, one could see righteous indignation here and there. What made the motive of the write-up suspicious is that by Monday morning - the Puritan writes on Tuesdays - Dr. Chris Ngige's people had already started sending out text messages to people to buy Sun of Tuesday for Okey Ndibe's x-ray of the Anambra Central Senatorial election as it concerns Ngige. Here, their strategy has betrayed them.
I do not want to occupy myself with what Okey said or did not say. I may be accused of arrogance if I say it does not worth my time, but when you see a man fixated in his belief based on the propaganda of those he receives brief from, for whatever consideration, which may be the simple fact that he admires the person, it is impossible for him to be objective. This is precisely the fault in Okey's piece, which was the reverberation of Dr. Chris Ngige's lies with little adumbration of other tales gathered from inauthentic sources.
When the smoke clears, the question all lovers of Anambra State should be pre-occupied with is the future of the state and how we shall all make it work. Whether you are a political commentator or a commentator on national affairs, what attracts me to people is how much they use the apostolate of the pen to advance human civilisation. The pen cannot only be an instrument of destruction or blackmail. How many Igbo writers seek through their pen to create awareness about opportunities that abound in Igbo land and how many Nigerians do the same for our country?
Today, there is nobody who wants to be sincere to himself that will not agree that a revolution is taking place in Anambra State. Today, one of the fortune 500 companies is building its facility in Onitsha and they said they would invest the initial 100 Million Dollars, described as the largest foreign direct investment in the South-East. They said they were persuaded to come to Anambra because of its strong government. Those of us that are interested in following positive development in our state have an idea about the efforts the Governor puts in to attract the company.
Today, the Governor works round the clock for the good of the state. In public fora, he always tells the people of Anambra that once two other companies of equal capacity come to the state, that it would be a clear turnaround for the economy of our state. You need to see the Governor calculate how many jobs, direct and indirect, the companies will create. In all sectors, he invests incredible energy for the good of the state.
Today, I do not quarrel with anybody, including those who should know better, portraying the state as a home of hooligans as Okey did when he included Anambra among the states experiencing violent campaigns. Objective people will ask themselves if there should not be consistency of occurrence before such classification is tenable. But because of just one occurrence, Okey told the entire world that Anambra is politically violent, thereby warning investors to beware of Anambra and those already there to leave. It is about time we started sieving serious writings from wearisome and counterproductive pieces.
I say so because no real Yoruba man of his exposure will do the type of violence he is doing to Anambra State. How can he, deriving from one occurrence, shout from the rooftops on how violent his state has become as if Obi had at any time said that Anambra State was now peopled by ideal persons that cannot koola nsi or fee aju. Since Obi, Anambra is considered as one of the most peaceful. The peace radiating in the state has its source in Obi whose life, like his politics, is a classic composition, a model of order, and self-restraint.
Journalism may be about criticisms, but when a seasoned journalist bases his criticisms as Okey does on persons, it is rather unfortunate. In every line of Okey's piece you see cases of selective biases and no courteous consideration of contrary opinions. In one of his lines, he gave his airy illusionism full rein: 'As I write, medical doctors as well as judiciary workers in the state have been on strike for several weeks.' Nobody owes them and I am sure Okey does not know the casus belli. Today, medical doctors are on strike in many states in the country. Obi is negotiating with this people, trying to tell them about the income of the state and what is or not possible.
He is already working out the minimum wage in his own quiet, calculative ways, yet, according to Okey, he is inhuman. Beyond politics and politicking, my heart bleeds when such accusations come from a person who by all account should be accounted as enlightened. Perhaps, Peter Obi should have behaved like the typical Nigerian politician. Some of them have hastily agreed to pay the minimum wage because they want to make political capital out of it even when they have not calculated their income to determine what is or not possible.
Does Okey know the monthly allocation to Anambra and her monthly wage bill? These are issues a sincere Anambrarian should first of all strive to find out before joining issues. In any case, the day Obi met civil servants, he said that the minimum wage having been passed as law, that he would not break the law. Can Okey interpret this for us? Has it ever occurred to Okey that Anambra State under Obi, as the World Bank said, is the least indebted state in Nigeria? The reason is because Obi has not borrowed from any financial institution, but rather he services and liquidates those borrowed by his predecessors. He believes in borrowing, but not to the detriment of the future of the state.
When I read Okey raising issues with Obi referring to Ngige as a short man, I knew he had allowed passion to becloud his reasons. Did he take this with flat literalism or out of conviction or was he merely looking for a rope to hang Obi? Obi tells that joke to Ngige whenever they see at occasions, Obi even jokingly demonstrated that by using his jaw to give Ngige a knock on the head and they laughed over it. Ngige himself has his own bagful of quips. Even those barely out of their diapers should know that such quips are meant to be comic reliefs not to be taken seriously. As to the Yoruba and Igbo team cartoon, if Ndibe swore that such a pamphlet was actually sponsored by Obi and not some of the contestants, he will be in trouble.
It is unfortunate that Okey Ndibe has not been able to understand his good friend Ngige. I have said it repeatedly that Ngige is one crafty human being that after planning to kidnap somebody next tomorrow, will start today to shout that his household have all been kidnapped. His men were caught with election materials and handed over to the police, he started shouting that they were prevented from voting.
The highest votes in that election was by Ngige in Idemili, but he raises issue with Dora's votes in Anaocha and as if he was supposed to win her in her domain and surprisingly, his friends like Ndibe bought the story. This, I must say with all sincerity is tragic. Even when he got somebody who absconded to announce him winner, Ndibe sanctioned that. Does it not occur to him that he is trying to get to the Senate through the back door? Has he asked himself why Ngige is afraid of a re-run?
I cried when I read what Ndibe said about Prof Dora Akunyili. He has demonstrated Igbo man's penchant to disrespect their heroes. Ngige is obviously on a mission to destroy Akunyili's reputation and has gone ahead to hire people like Okey Ndibe. If today the Igbos are asked to send those that will represent them in the gathering of the World Assembly, Akunyili and not Ngige or Ndibe will certainly be nominated. What people like us, while striving to get to the height of Akunyili, should be doing is supporting people like her and not by our refusal to acknowledge their worth.
There is one fact Ngige may not have told the puritan, that he wanted and lobbied to be vice presidential candidate to two people that vied for the Presidency. Ironically those two people delayed choosing their candidates because they were lobbying Governor Obi to become their running mate. We have a situation where outsiders value the Governor more than some of those that want us to take them seriously.
Today Anambra is doing so good. The Federal Government acknowledged that we have the best network of roads, the international and donor agencies take us as one of the best, the level of infrastructural development compared to what it used to be is mind boggling. This year alone, 6000 laptops and 1000 desktop computers have been shared among the schools in the state. One can go on and on, but to cut the story short, Okey should come down and see things for himself.
As I conclude, let me refer Okey to the prologue of Abelard's Sic et Non – Yes and No - where he wrote that 'the first key to wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning and by doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry we arrive at the truth.' Okey said he wanted to call the Governor to clarify some of the things he heard, but he did not. Another time he should please do to save us from reading falsehoods for truth and giving scorpion to those who come to him for bread. After calling the Governor, he should inquire, not from Ngige and his followers, but from those that are objective.
Dr. Agaptus Onyeobu wrote from Nnobi