TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Wahab Oba & Co- A Post Mortem.


The kidnap of Wahab Oba, the Chairman of Lagos State NUJ and three other journalists while returning to Lagos from Uyo at the fringe of Abia was an instant national issue.   While I join others to jubilate at their release, I am sad that we as a nation always fail to note salient points whenever an ugly situation arises.  We hardly know how to follow a lead.  We hear but we don't understand.  We look but we don't see and even when we are given 'Expo', we still fail to reason.  This is why we are toddling at almost fifty years of age.

  Nobody seems to analyse the fact that these journalists came from a certain location where they were given tons of naira by the Governor who is well known in Nigeria as a paymaster so that he can be loved by all. 

  The whole world knows that since the government of Godswill Akpabio came to power, this once-upon-a-time very peaceful state has become a den of kidnappers, ritualists, killers. At the last count, more than 200 persons have been kidnapped in Akwa Ibom under Chief Godswill Akpabio while at least ten high profile murders have been recorded etc. Inspite of infantile, unconvincing and incoherent explanations by the government to prove its innocence, reasonable people know where the buck stops and therefore, who to blame.

  Elementary knowledge of crime teaches that it is usually information that leads to an attack.  Crime are planned and carried out by people, not spirits. Regrettably, Nigeria 's Police High Command and other security agencies were too busy focusing on Abia and the South East because much money does not flow from there. In our Country, the rich criminals often buy their freedom while the poor ones go in for it.

  I watched Wahab Oba's interview on Channels TV and he disclosed that the kidnappers acted on information and that they knew the colours of their two vehicles.  It was clear that he really tried to shield the government of Akwa Ibom State from blame.  Maybe out of fear or belief that the government would replenish their losses.

  Really, the journalists must be very happy with a Governor who gave them money to the extent that even after paying hotel bills and running the usual sundry expenses usually associated with conferences and traveling and lodging a greater chunk in the bank (it is only reasonable to do so at their level of exposure), they could still carry more than N3 million for the road.  It must be understood that Wahab Oba is not expected to readily make statements that would portray such a benefactor Governor in bad light, except he is thoroughly quizzed to a point of no option.

  In some countries where security agencies are serious and the National/Federal Government is in serious business of protecting lives, this should have been thoroughly investigated.  Even when Wahab Oba claimed that the money was meant for a past conference, the question is: why was it not paid into the account of the union before leaving Uyo? Many Journalists would ask this question if the victims were not their colleagues.

  If the money was given at an odd time, then he should have given the government the Union 's account number so that such could be lodged on the next banking day.  How about a draft in the name of the Union ?  Reasonable members of the public rightly believe that the money belonged to the 4 journalists personally. Today, sadly, most Nigerian Journalists have compromised Professional ethics on the altar of tons of money paid to them by very corrupt Politicians whose interests they now promote and protect.

  However, sympathy for the kidnapped journalists has filled the air.  I sympathize too.  But journalists should not be allowed to cover reality and substance because this is what has happened in this case.

  The fact that they were kidnapped in Abia State is diversionary.  Were all persons that passed along that road at that time so kidnapped?  This wasn't a case of a random strike.  It was a targeted operation.  Infact well aimed.  It appears that the tip-off was from those that bade them 'good bye'.  There must be a syndicate that operates within certain neighbouring states that involves even security agents. It was the same thing that happened to the Prelate of a church who was kidnapped and disposed of his honorarium after leaving the same state earlier this year. As is usual with the government of Akwa Ibom, editors were mobilized to kill off the story.          

  Perhaps some smart aides of Oga reasoned that if Oga's guests are kidnapped on their way back, Oga shall release plenty ransom through them to secure their release.  But isn't a boss vicariously liable for the misdeeds of his aides?  After all, was he not expected to carry out due diligence and do security checks before appointing aides?   Investigations have revealed that more then N100 million has been spent to ensure that Akwa Ibom State was not mentioned at all in the saga, while Abia, Rivers States and indeed the South East zone was emphasized. Someone even complained about checkpoints in the South East but today, there are more checkpoints in Akwa Ibom than in the entire Country put together. And yet, the crime rate is higher there than anywhere else.

  Throughout the time of the kidnap, we heard of the efforts of the governments of Abia and Rivers states towards securing the release of the Journalists.  But not a finger was lifted by the government of Akwa Ibom State in this direction even though these people had embarked on this ill-fated trip from Uyo.  This situation kept baffling us during discussion in Lagos at that time.

  Maybe naira power has stopped the hands of those who should investigate or write about this.  But one thing is clear.  We now know why this particular Governor always enjoys so much adulation and sycophantic write ups in the press inspite of the government sponsored kidnapping in his State.

  At least I know of certain friends that have relocated from Uyo to Lagos because of insecurity. I know that media hirelings of the Governor shall react.  But the truth must be told in the interest of our country.   Sunday Adebiyi. Lagos .