Only Wike’s media has said Amaechi was corrupt

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

While speaking at the Night of Glory Praise and Worship Session, held at the Alfred-Diette Spiff Civic Centre Complex, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on December 15 2013, then Governor Chibuike Amaechi, who faced threat of impeachment from six out of 31 lawmakers in the State House of Assembly, said: “I thank God that we are all here. There are so many actions that I have taken that I could not account for, and a man of God had told me that a period like this will come, when nearly all my supporters will leave me behind, and that it will be so tough, looking as if God has deserted me, but at the end of the day, we shall triumph. It didn’t quite make sense to me as Governor, until when the battle started, it now occurred to me that a man of God had prophesied to me earlier.”

 

If Amaechi could survive that period, he may still have political life ahead, notwithstanding the sponsored media publications being made against him in the administration of Barr Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, and the more less-informed persons think that Rivers State under Wike is connecting.

 

The viral power of media has proven how fast many people forget things and how hate-articles against Amaechi can spread and be adopted. On November 26 2013, as a man who showed that he loved his people, while justifying his decision to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the Port Harcourt international airport, Omagwa, Amaechi bluntly said that the interests of the oil-rich state were no longer being protected in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP – the party that has not stopped at nothing in making sure that he was pummeled.

WikeAmaechi

(Wike and Amaechi)

Amaechi continued: “Rivers State must know that for me to have taken that decision, I had looked at the general interests of Rivers people. I was not elected to lead Nigeria, I was elected to lead Rivers State and I had looked at the interests of Rivers people and have seen that these interests were not protected in PDP. I have seen the fact that we are losing our oil wells in Etche, in the Kalabari areas and that the more they continue to pilfer these oil wells, the more we will continue to lose our wealth.”

 

Even though that Amaechi had his excesses as a human being while on the saddle as governor, it baffles to believe that throughout his 8yrs in office, he did not achieve a single thing, project wise. That was what the Wike government wanted people to believe. The demonisation and criminalisation of Amaechi continues. He has been called corrupt and the whole country now watches him with one eye closed. That was what the Wike-media has achieved.

 

Conversely, we could recall that on November 5, 2013, while General Muhammadu Buhari was in Port Harcourt, he said that Amaechi was a hero and a great leader. So how come today that Amaechi was sent to ‘public prison’ of corrupt practices while in office without first being allowed to be heard by any court of competent jurisdiction?

 

Hear Buhari: “APC decided to target some governors that are progressives and we feel will make a difference. We seek your support through Amaechi. I lived in Port Harcourt during my military career. I was a staff officer to Gen Danjuma in 1973. Rivers State has produced great men such as professor Tam David West. 2015 will be another watershed in Nigeria. Amaechi is a great leader. We decided to come together to save Nigeria from misgovernance. We must come together and make Nigeria move forward.”

 

As if that was not enough of praise of Amaechi from Buhari, the later added: “Amaechi has given Rivers people responsible leadership. The schools he has built will give Rivers children a better tomorrow while women and children stand to benefit from the standard health centers he has built. He has also carried out physical rehabilitation of infrastructures in the state. People like Amaechi should join the APC to move Nigeria forward.”

 

For Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: “Amaechi has anchored his economic program around the people of Rivers State. He has given Rivers people good education, given women and children quality health centers, built standard infrastructure. We are in Rivers State to thank you for supporting Amaechi and also urge you to persuade your governor to join the APC.”

 

For Chief Bisi Akande: “We are privileged to see Amaechi from time to time. We listened to the propaganda from the media that Amaechi had lost control of the State. We heard that Amaechi has no supporters. We wonder how a man who has no followers can become a governor of a state. We begin to see persecution which proves that Amaechi is very brilliant.”

 

Akande also described Amaechi as a leader of all leaders and enjoined him to defect to the APC. Amaechi whom the Wike government has said was autocratic did not show that in his response to all the dignitaries pleading with him. He told them: “We are a group of governors but my case is peculiar among the other governors because the president comes from our zone. I will consult our leaders including the president. The day we will take decision on where to move we will gather our people at the new stadium we are building which has 40,000 capacity. We will mobilize all Rivers people on that day to take that decision.”

 

On the other hand, it is annoying today, how some people have bought into the ‘Amaechi is corrupt’ matrix. One was not sure how the Rivers residents and citizens of the country took the news from the APC recently, stating that Wike had ballooned N120B in his 100 days in office. Of a truth, many people had taken that news seriously, oblivious of the power of the opposition propaganda machine in any political dispensation.

 

However, if people did not take that piece of news seriously and regarded it as a media harangue, is it the ‘Amaechi is corrupt’ item that people will take seriously? The media is a two way thing!

 

Although, Amaechi was loquacious to a fault, but he was one man who loved the so-called indigenes of Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta area to a fault. He was in the fore front in the battle that the headquarters of all the companies making their living in Rivers State or any parts of the Niger Delta, should relocate their corporate offices to the state or the Niger Delta.

 

Amaechi’s aim was to create employment. One of the employments that Amaechi created was to pull a whopping number of 13, 000 persons who qualified as teachers to be employed to teach in schools in Rivers State, something that Wike came and was set to rubbish.

 

Speaking at a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion on the Niger Delta, organised by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Port Harcourt on March 22, 2012, one of Amaechi’s worry was: “When you are going to discuss issues on Niger Delta, you must also put on the table the fact that 60 to 80 per cent of the oil companies are located outside where they extract the oil from. I asked AGIP Oil Company that same question two or three weeks ago when I met with them, and I said, you are transferring your workers from Port Harcourt to Abuja; Shell has that same problem. Shell also has a company call SNEPCO. They say they are extracting oil from offshore. Where is the offshore located? Behind Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. Total, for instance, has no business having its headquarters outside the Niger Delta. Mobil has no business outside the region when the huge investment Mobil has is in Akwa Ibom State.”

 

As a man who loved his people while on the saddle, Amaechi reiterated that if Nigeria was going to address sustainability of development, before she talked about good governance, she must talk about food. He was afraid that Nigerians must focus on providing food and providing food was not going from house to house and say take food from the leaders, the country was not socialist’s, it was providing an economic environment that would allow a man to exploit his natural resources and his ability at seeking employment and get same.

 

To be frank, it was only a man with an open heart that would be canvassing for the emancipation of his people in the scheme of things; a selfish man would only know himself. But in all, how many of the people calling Amaechi a corrupt person today, supported him in that move that the companies should relocate to the oil states for the creating of job opportunities?

 

By May 1 2012, when Amaechi was planning to employ about 10,000 new teachers as he relayed on May Day rally in Port Harcourt, for boosting the manpower in the educational sector, the ovation all over was that he was a good governor. Now, between who created the job and the person who wanted to send the teachers back to the labour market, who is corrupt in this context?

 

Amaechi was everywhere in making sure that the youth of the country benefited from their government, of which on October 10 2013, Amaechi charged the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Batch ‘C’ corps to look for employment. The 3,431 members of the NYSC, who served in the state, cheered Amaechi to the brim. By October 16 2014, at the Best of Nollywood Awards 2014, Amaechi praised the Nigerian movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood, and described it as a job creating industry.

 

In his words: “Nigeria is a difficult country and Nollywood started as protest literature; as a movement for change. Most people went into acting because of unemployment, and Nollywood is a hero for providing work for a large number of Nigerians and helping us tell our own stories. You owe the Nigerian society the job to continue to be our hero and this time around you have to help force change in the country.”

 

While some Nigerians thought that Amaechi was fighting ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who allowed himself to be profusely influenced and ruined by a woman; on May 7, 2014, when the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation paid Amaechi a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, shortly after a facility tour of Federal Government-owned parastatals and agencies in the state, Amaechi pinpointed that the insurgency, kidnapping and other social vices in the country were the resultants of poverty and unemployment.

 

The former governor was of the philosophy that all the problems were tailored to poverty, education and unemployment. He swaggered that farming was the easiest employment. And in making people gain employment, because a lot of people were not schooled, he established farming in the state and it did not disappoint. The ‘corrupt’ Amaechi today saw all of that and his government introduced free education and free healthcare programmes.

 

Hear him: “And it occurred to us that to address this problem, we need social policing, and while you are doing physical policing, you must also do social and economic policing. To do that, we started creating employment opportunities by building over 140 primary healthcare centres and over 300 model primary schools. If you visit these projects, there is no way you will not see up to at least 50 workers in each of the schools.”

 

Yes, the money used in building these schools might have been influenced in one way or the other, but the government was resilient to create the Banana Farms that had created jobs for over 2,000 persons. That government revived the Risonpalm; it was dead when Amaechi came, and it had employed over 5,000 workers under Amaechi. There was also the Songhai Farm that had employed over 2,000 workers, while five fish farms in strategic locations had been completed.

 

The Amaechi government was bent on creating employment opportunities for the Rivers residents. Wike who wanted to deafen our ears with ‘how corrupt Amaechi was’ noticed that Amaechi told Jonathan in the face that the citizens were facing excruciating hardship in his government and challenged Nigerians to take drastic measures against their leaders for failing to fight corruption.

 

As the president then, Jonathan did not contradict that fingering or say that Amaechi was corrupt, except as Wike wanted the world to know and believe, through his dangerous media propagandists, which was the fate of Jonathan in the opposition and Western media, as president.

 

Amaechi whom circumstances have always made Nigerians to believe that he was a destiny child, never ran away from political wars. On December 15 2013, Amaechi told the world that the troubles that he faced as governor (when the federal might was on him) had been foretold. He, however, confronted the world that triumph would be his own at the end. And here Nigerians are.

 

He made that comment, while speaking at the Night of Glory Praise and Worship Session, held at the Alfred-Diette Spiff Civic Centre Complex, Port Harcourt, the state capital. He said: “If you recall my political history, beginning from the time I was Speaker of the House till date, it has not been easy with us. We have always confronted God in prayers. History has it that, we are the only couple that became Governor without election and God has assured us that he will lead us up to 2015. I am neither a prophet nor a pastor, I am just a child of God and very soon, I will go back to God in prayers and surrender myself to God.”

 

On-the-contrary, this treatise should not be misconstrued that it was intended to support Amaechi or that the writer was/is a fan of Amaechi; Amaechi was/is not even ‘good’ to the writer through out his service as governor. The thesis was intended to highlight some of the achievements by the Amaechi administration that Wike and co. were using the media to churlish.

 

It is sad that Wike was having amazing developments in communications, collaboration and efficiencies, but on telling the world of how ‘corrupt’ Amaechi was, a man he once served as his Chief of Staff or was it Chief of Employees. It behooves Wike to leave the state with his new kinds of entertainment and media propaganda against Amaechi.

 

Governor Wike should know that being a governor is not about the exploitation of the status over Amaechi, but service to the people. Hence, stalking and bullying Amaechi by putting a full stop on the probe on the Amaechi government from when Wike ceased to be in Amaechi’s employ may be seen as a kangaroo probe.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State. (apoet_25@yahoo.com). Tel: +2348057778358.

 

What soldiers do on Enugu-PH Expressway

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

As the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway gets messier in traffic gridlock due to the dilapidated nature of the road between Oyigbo in Rivers State and Asa, in Abia State, where I shuttle most time, I resorted to riding my own ‘Okada’ to work.

 

Any motorist that had experienced the severe traffic jam on this road would attest to the fact that, even the ‘Okada’ was not saving. Vehicles block everywhere. This does not allow easy movement of any kind. In the eventuality there is ‘no movement’, I do carry my motorcycle in the hand till I get a scarce access to continue my journey. Other Okada riders do this!

nigerian soldiers

(Nigerian Soldiers)

This happens any time: In the morning, afternoon and night. Many travellers have slept on this road. Motor fare has skyrocketed indiscriminately, because of the bad nature of the road. It is better imagined than experienced.

 

Dressing neatly and gorgeously is no longer on the Enugu-PH expressway.

 

Not minding the suffering of people on this road, no fault of theirs, if you are coming from the Aba area in Abia State, you will count over four police checkpoints, as soon as you pass the Imo Bridge. Yes, they ‘stop and search’ some vehicles, even at the peril of motorists and commuters, who had expended their energy and strength in the tiresome traffic jam.

 

I observed that using SUV otherwise called Jeep on this road, police have phobia for it. For ten vehicles flagged down for check, SUV is nine.

 

However, for some of us who are now ‘Okada riders’, crossing the Imo Bridge from Oyigbo, heading to Aba, has become a nightmare in the hands of soldiers stationed within the Oil Serve premises.

 

The soldiers make it mandatory that every Okada rider approaching their checkpoint must stop at about three poles away, come down and roll his motorcycle by the hand.

 

Sorry, if you are a newcomer, who did not know that that was the soldiers representation of democracy.

 

I do not want to say that authorities should investigate the soldiers stationed on South-South-East zones; they make tollgate of the roads. Every truck that passes the roads, the civilian tax collectors, mainly young men, the soldiers employed, run after the driver and collect.

 

Any driver that refuses to pay, you might think he was a common criminal in the hands of the soldiers. I do not also want to say that the soldiers have marked faces; some of them are the appearance of herdsmen. I’m not sure when the people of South-South and South-East started having such tribal mark on their faces.

 

The other day, while it was raining heavily and I was drenched while on my Okada, the soldier that was at the checkpoint mandated me to roll my bike by hand. When I buttonholed him and told him that I’m a writer coming back from work and he should see the mud Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway is, coupled with the rain, he commandeered me to abscond or risk sitting in the mud.

 

Some Okada riders, who out of necessity, not curiosity, violate this military law, are either forced to sit in muddy water or cut grass.

 

Whenever I encounter this ‘military law’ on this road, I murmur that the government that was supposed to be ourselves is now that of the soldiers over us. They are now the ultimate rulers over us, not us the voters and taxpayers of this country.

 

Our so-called democracy has made me to remember the statement once made by a Charles Bukowski, which states that the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.

 

I had thought that if the soldiers think that Okada riders pose security threats to them, it behooves them to know that information of intelligence capacity is shared, not forcefully derived. I think these soldiers lack information and they resort to malevolence.

 

Some of the soldiers are below 24 and may be suffering from youthful exigencies than exhibition of military enlightenment. They make the military a facade of the behaviours of touts and street urchins. Then I wonder if this is the behaviour of the military in other spheres. Or, is it only in Nigeria?

 

It is high time the authorities made the Nigerian soldiers to ruminate on the fact that the total safeguard to our mankind and democracy is diplomacy, not debasement. Yes, it is true that the country is experiencing security challenges. But these soldiers ought to understand that a taste for a society of peace can never be achieved through violence, when the situation is totally in absence of war.

 

The soldiers have violated my fundamental right to freedom of movement severally on the Enugu-PH expressway. And if I were a man of violence, then it would have been eye for eye later and, the whole place would collapse.

 

The authorities should re-orientate them to understand that this is democracy. And in a democracy, no section should be autocratic. That was the reason one A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said that in a democracy, the well-being, individuality and happiness of every citizen is important for the overall prosperity, peace and happiness of the nation.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

Metuh and the processes of shaping opinion

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Keeping government in check is the most advantageous ways to balance a democracy. This is what the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is doing through its sophisticated publicity handler, Barr Olisa Metuh.

Metuh is the party’s National Publicity Secretary. He has a unique way of handling public relations campaigns without accompanying them with deceit. Especially now that the party is facing internal displacement, Metuh is grounded in engineering of concepts on how to checkmate the All Progressives Congress (APC), which only great thinkers like him could harness.

The process of shaping opinion, attitudes, and perceptions in politics could be learned from Metuh. With the proposed national conference of the PDP, Metuh did not behave like the ruling APC would have done in trading blames.

He did not apportion blame to anybody or group with regards to the impression that there were some members of the PDP National Working Committee who were working to annul the conference.

olisa metuh

(Olisa Metuh)

Metuh simply said that the party needed the conference in order to put up strategies to rebuild the party. That was where reality took precedence over public relations. In earnest, Metuh was not fooling anybody or group.

In these days of instant communications, Metuh’s views as the PDP’s national publicity secretary is different. He endears many Nigerians with his visible and authentic decisions the PDP makes. Metuh also acknowledges mistake where the PDP erred in error, unlike the APC that is giving the country a democracy of denial, through its media handlers.

An example was the apology the PDP tendered to Commissioner of Police, Zakari Biu, for mentioning his case on a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Programme ‘Good Morning Nigeria’.

Tendering the apology, Metuh said, “The comment is highly regretted, especially as we are now very much aware that Mr. Zaraki Biu’s exoneration and reinstatement were done in line with extant laws of the country, and is beyond any irregularity. We therefore sincerely and honestly apologize to Mr. Zakari Biu, his family, friends and associates, for this highly regrettable slip.”

Some of the public relations officers in other political parties would have manipulated that fact with evasion and outright deception. But Metuh owned up the error made on the TV programme in passing comments! That was a social democrat at his best. That does not stop his free flow of information which the APC would always characterise by frivolous claims in order to distract Mr. President.

In a subject of unclothed truth, Nigerians saw the APC and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, instead of owning up, were quick with such statement against the PDP, that the later should stop distracting President Muhammadu Buhari with frolicsome and unsubstantiated allegations of witch-hunting in the anti-corruption war.

In that context, the APC may be likened to a political party that flatters and kisses Nigerians with behaviour of anti-criticism. Followers of Metuh would attest to the fact that he was not doing his public relations work with a mind of guilt. His good creation of public relations has become a phobia to the presidency and the APC and they see Metuh as the beginning of wisdom.

This is good with a man like Metuh who knows what he is doing and can afford great ideas of national importance and if checked right and left, the APC will only use such a language like ‘PDP stop distracting the president’ for defense, without making any substantial rebuttal to make the claims of Metuh bite the dust.

While Metuh is not gossiping in his job, it is surprising how the APC bleach the meaning of his critiques against the party just for political gains. The APC’s public relations is a disaster! The APC continues to manufacture charm that goes under the headline as public relations. Why?

The substance is with Metuh, no matter the elusive ‘change’ that many Nigerians are looking up to Abuja for. Metuh was in the neck of the APC, when a special squad of the Department of State Services, DSS, invaded the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo recently in guise as if the government house was a bomb and gun manufacturing industry.

In a public presentation by Metuh, the PDP cautioned that one could imagine the destiny of regular citizens if such brazen terror could be mated out to such office.

Without Metuh saying it, Nigerians who look at the ‘change’ mantra of the APC horizontally and vertically without a bias mind, knew that Nigerians were set for autocratic government. Metuh was of the fear that such invasion was a script being played by the APC-led government to humiliate other PDP states, which he said included Rivers, Delta, Abia and Taraba.

While the APC would stop at nothing in seeing Metuh’s harangues as ‘frivolous and unfounded’, Nigerians were made to know by Metuh that electoral officers in the PDP states were being hounded and harassed by the DSS. As if that was not enough, Nigerians were dazed with the information by Metuh that the DSS were without shame directly snooping in the activities of the election tribunals.

Imagine! The APC would always see Metuh’s profound views to mean desperation, when the APC through its body language, was in nervousness with ways to take over the states mentioned above from the PDP.

Metuh would however say, “The PDP recalls similar action by the APC controlled police, which in July, sealed local councils in Rivers State and barred caretaker committees lawfully appointed by the state government from taking charge of the councils. We wish to restate that the PDP lost a general election and not a war. PDP states are not occupied territories but part of the Nigerian nation; its members are not prisoners of war, but free citizens in a democratic state.

“We invite Nigerians and the international community to note that never in the history of our democracy have we witnessed such a divisive government, whose actions and constitutional violations have so polarized the polity along its fault lines, while undermining national unity and cohesion, a development that spells doom for our democracy, if left unchecked. Finally, we wish to state categorically that as citizens of this country, we can no longer continue to stomach such brazen attacks on our members and elected officials. The PDP will therefore hold several leadership and stakeholders meetings to come up with its response to this barefaced assault on our democracy. Enough is enough.”

But the APC does not see enough as enough. The APC through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed was calling for a national sympathy against the decision of the PDP not to hang the official portrait of General Muhammadu Buhari at the PDP national secretariat Abuja with the following statement, “This is ridiculous and we have no comment; et Nigerians judge the PDP on this matter.”

Metuh who may be seen as a great thinker had said this, inter alia, “Can you find out if the APC had the portrait of former President Jonathan in their office before he was defeated? That is just it.”

Barr Olisah Metuh is not only spending his time at the public relations of the PDP, but in enlightening Nigerians to see the present government with a mind full of questions. His party’s views through him worth many things. Space may not permit, in this treatise, to tell more about the work Metuh is doing.

The final truth is that Metuh says what he meant and meant what he says. He discusses ideas, unlike the average minds Nigerians can see in the APC’s publicity desk discussing events from Metuh with denial and want small minds that characterise the Nigerian population to accept.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com