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By Jude Ndukwe

It was with my sincerest sympathies and pity for APGA’s Alex Otti that I read his infantile tirade against the governor, the government and the good people of Abia State, which he disguised as a speech of intent for his 2019 governorship ambition in Abia State, as recently published in ThisDay Newspaper.

Reading through the speech, one can only but express condolences to a man who has become so obsessed and desperate to rule Abia State not as a leader but an emperor to the extent that he embarked on a journey of political hara-kiri in that speech, a speech that further exposes him as just another greedy, self-seeking and self-serving politician who has probably gone broke after fittingly losing the 2015 governorship election to the incumbent, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, and is circling around the political field of Abia, hoodwinking innocent people into drinking from his shiny chalice of wine laced with deadly venom in order to rehabilitate himself at the expense of the people.

It is very easy to see through that speech that Alex Otti cannot be trusted with our commonwealth as it is obvious that he would seek out his comfort and that of his family and cronies first before even thinking of attending to the people’s needs. This is so because in that speech, the very first thing Alex Otti mentioned as the project he would embark upon as a matter of priority is the urgent completion of a government house for himself. According to him, “What does it take to build a befitting structure for the leadership of the State?” Did you hear that? Not a befitting structure for the people but one for the leadership which he hopes in vain to head!

How, in the midst of the many competing needs of the people, did Otti think that building a government house for himself and his family should be his priority project if he gets anywhere near power? How could he be thinking of just himself, yet, he claims to love the people and want to work for their good and wellbeing? Does Otti know the overall cost of a new government house at this critical time of national economic hardship? For Otti to have talked about building a new government house as part of his promise to the people even before he talked about such critical issues and infrastructure as roads, education, health, employment, factors that impact directly on the people, shows that Otti’s attraction to governance is to build himself a palace so intimidating with Abia State funds that the people would no longer be able to reach him if he gets there. It also shows that Otti is in desperate need of a place where he will spend four years on blissful vacation in the name of being a governor at the expense of the good of Abia.

While a government house is desirable, it should not form the priority of any governor as long as there is an alternative that can serve the same purpose in the meantime especially considering the dire economic situation in the whole nation today. This is where Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is different from the likes of Otti. Government house is neither a monument nor is it a tourist destination. It yields no revenue for the state; rather it gulps much of the state funds in terms of maintenance and further depletes the little resources available to serve the people. Its time would come but it certainly is not now!

When God wants to expose the wicked intentions of a man, he makes him say things that he ought not to say and exposes such a man for who he truly is. That is why our Lord would always tell the Pharisees and the Scribes, “You have said so”. In another verse, the Bible says, “Out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). Abians, therefore, have to distance themselves from people like Otti especially now that he has exposed his true intent through divine intervention. There is no other way God helps a people other than this.

If Dr Okezie Ikpeazu had wanted to be selfish, nothing would have stopped him from completing the new government house with the scarce resources available to the state and operate from there. Who does not like comfort? But that is not his priority for now! How could he be thinking of a new government house that cost multiple billions of naira to complete when our roads, education, health and other critical sectors of our economy are constantly in need of attention? That decision to put the people first has paid off as Dr Ikpeazu has already constructed and delivered over 67 verifiable roads of high quality and international standards (mostly with street lights and functional drainage systems) and 82 others at different advanced levels of completion across the state, within just 36 months of his being in office. This directly impacts on the people and the state. And that is where the sacrificial leadership of Ikpeazu stands him out from the likes of Otti.

His well thought-out deliberate policies and investment on education has seen Abia students come first in WASC for three years back to back. As if to confirm that Ikpeazu has perpetually condemned other states to only follow Abia behind in education, the recently released WAEC results for 2018 still shows Abia State maintaining its first position, effectively making it the fourth time in a row since Ikpeazu assumed office. Getting to the top might be easy but maintaining it among other competing and even richer states for four straight years is certainly not a mean feat. While Otti is making desperate promises on education, Ikpeazu is already delivering the goods. Abia is a state of wise people. They surely won’t leave certainty for uncertainty!

Except the negligible few like Otti who in an attempt to trivialize great feats in the name of politics, Abians know Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has invested so much time and resources to attract both foreign direct and local investments into Abia State. Soon and very soon, Golden Guinea Breweries Ltd that went moribund as a result of fire incident that grounded its operations 15 years ago would soon recommence production with its attendant positive effect on the state’s economy and the numerous employment opportunities it will create for Abians.

The new investor in Golden Guinea ran into trouble because of rising cost of FOREX needed to purchase relevant equipment for the brewery. Business Post described the situation thus: “The company needed more funds to complete its retooling works and because of its existing debt exposures, lenders were wary. Events ground to a halt.

“Thus was the state of affairs until the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu decided to lead a drive to resuscitate all moribund industries in Abia State irrespective of ownership…

“Leveraging on the solid relationship he had built with the Federal Government, Dr Ikpeazu took Mr Okay Nzenwa (the investor) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where the promoter of Golden Guinea stated his case and explained how macro-economic policy of the Federal Government affected his investment and has hampered his ability to raise new funds to restart the company.

“The Vice President graciously approved the request of Mr Nzenwa for Federal Government lending institutions to grant him facilities.” (www.businesspost.ng).

The narration above is an undisputable proof of Dr Ikpeazu’s commitment and result-oriented drive for attracting investment to Abia State.

The Enyimba Economic City is another result of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s audacious drive for foreign direct and local investments to Abia State. The City which is modeled after the economic and tourist city of Dubai spans a humongous 9,800ha of land across three local government areas of Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Ugwunagbo and will make Abia the toast of investors worldwide when it is completed. Already, one of the investors has committed a whopping $1.3bn to the design and other preliminary works of the project. The immediate and future impact of this on Abia cannot be overemphasised. This project as with others embarked upon by the governor will long outlast his tenure in 2023 and outlive him even if he lives for 120 years. While the Ottis are thinking of only themselves and the next election, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is thinking about the people and the next generation!

It is most unfortunate that Otti in that speech had to ask how many Abians are working in non-governmental establishments as if to say there are no private investments or entrepreneurs in Abia despite the thousands of them working hard daily and employing people at the popular Ariaria market and other places, and Dr Ikpeazu is investing enormous resources to upgrade their skills and machinery up to international standards to improve quality of their products in order for them to compete even more favourably in the international market where the governor has also personally taken their products for marketing to the extent that our security agencies now trust our entrepreneurs to produce their boots and other gears.

It is sad for our state that a man of Otti’s status does not see these hardworking Abians as not working in non-governmental establishments. To Otti, these ones do not count unless one brings in companies from outside who make shoes and other leatherworks, garments, machinery fabrication etc that form the core competence of our people. At this rate, Otti will surely run our local entrepreneurs out of business as his elitist approach to business having come from an elitist banking sector that has been known to hardly support SMEs but kill most of them with crushing interests rates and other illegal deductions.

It is therefore not surprising that having served at the top echelon of the banking sector for so long, Otti cannot boast of even one entrepreneur he empowered through loans from the bank, neither can he boast of attracting any Corporate Social Responsibility project of the banks he served in to Abia State as he did in some other states.

It is shameful that Alex Otti does not have a single job creating investment in Abia State and yet mounted the podium to rant on industrialization. He is yet to pay his first one kobo as Tax or IGR to Abia State.

Such a man who could not assist his people grow in any way when he was the managing director of a foremost bank in the country has nothing to offer the people even if given all the wealth in Nigeria. The Bible admonishes us that a man who cannot be trusted with little cannot also be trusted with much. Abians have to be wary of sweet-tongued men whose speeches are as smooth as an ointment but ultimately devised to deceive.

With Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia is surely on its steady path out of the Red Sea. We may not be at the Promised Land yet but we have a governor who is determined to take us there. We cannot afford to make the mistake of electing people whose greed and drive for self-comfort above the general good of the people will take us back to Egypt just because their Pharaohs have promised them a part of the palace if they can return the people to the era of political brigandage and enslavement.

So to Otti, Abians are saying enough of the propaganda, enough of the deceit, enough of the falsehood, enough of the blackmail, enough of the malice and enough of the baseless incitements. In fact, Abians are saying to Otti: Enough is enough.

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COLUMNISTS

Saraki and the Tragedy of Victory

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By Jude Ndukwe

Since the National Assembly elections ended in Kwara on March 9, and the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, lost at the polls, those who have lived in mortal fear of one of Nigeria’s finest Senate Presidents ever in history, have not relented in their infantile attacks against a man, who against all odds, wrestled official tyranny to the ground and eventually became one through whom God has preserved what is now our fragile democracy from being turned into a full blown dictatorship.

They have unleashed all manner of media attacks against the one popularly called “Oloye” by his fans, using pliable men who are obviously satisfied with being slaves, even though they are and should be living as freeborn, as long as crumbs fall for them from their slave master’s table.

To prove that Saraki was nothing but only a victim of his own rightful ambition, those who are bitterly persecuting him today under one concocted anti-corruption guise or the other, are merely doing so because they could not stand the audacity of his ambition to be Senate President against the overbearing wishes of the “Bullion Van Hawker of Bourdillon” and his coconspirators in the seat of power.

O, they wailed, they wept, they convulsed in extreme anger and could not believe that Saraki, (who used to be) a member of their party, who also had the legitimate right to be SP, beat them to the game as a master and battle-hardened politician that he is.

From then on, they marked him for destruction but he conquered them all to their dismay. Every trap set against him was neutralised with his soft speaking nature and deft political moves. He navigated their mines expertly, handling the affairs of the National Assembly with so much class that no weapon fashioned against him in the last four years thereabout prospered.

Despite being distracted with spurious court cases, phantom corruption allegations, none of which could be proven in court till tomorrow, official harassment, intimidation and desecration extending to the national assembly as an institution just to weaken and humiliate him, Saraki still kept the senate together, and will be stepping down in great glory as the “Senate President no one could remove”.

No matter what anybody says, the fact remains that Saraki will be leaving the senate as Senate President on his own terms.

The ignominy which his traducers tried their best to rub him in did not work. He was one Senate President who walked through the valleys of the shadow of death and feared no evil, for, indeed, God was and is obviously still with him.

He was professional in his approach to duty that not even for once did he allow his persecution by the executive negatively affect his sense of patriotism in the discharge of his duties.

When passage of budgets has been delayed, it was because the executive either padded the budget with mind boggling figures or that the ministries and MDAs were nowhere to be found to defend their estimates. Because they have a leader who is either bereft of ideas of how the legislature works or he still sees himself as a military dictator who must not be subjected to another institution as president, they expect the national assembly to just pass the budget “as is”. Saraki frustrated their plans to turn the national assembly to just another appendage of the executive arm, or, into a mere rubber stamp.

The Senate under him have enacted laws and passed Bills that have far reaching positive effects on our polity.

Saraki might not have won his last election, he is a victor anyway. No man passes through what Saraki was subjected to by members of the executive, survives and still see himself as a loser!

Sadly, the real losers are those who won elections in Kwara at Saraki’s expense but lost their soul and beholden to tyranny in the process.

With the incessant killings, rise in terrorism, hardship, continued displacement of communities by criminal bands, extra judicial killings by security forces, perpetually rising inflation, job losses in millions, Nigeria becoming the poverty capital of the world etc, to the extent that even the wife of the president had to, in order to exonerate her husband from the mess our nation has become under Buhari, confess that it was no longer her husband that was in charge but about three others, these hack writers see nothing in any of the nation’s misfortunes to address but their headache is a Saraki they love to hate because he beat them to their own game and that of their masters to become the Senate President.

This is where victory is tragic, for those who celebrate the ephemeral triumph of gross incompetence, ineptitude and the embarrassment our nation has become since 2015, by chasing shadows and leaving substance behind just because, to them, the country may collapse as long as they keep getting peanuts for attacking Saraki, it is most unfortunate and the misfortunes of a degraded nation is their lot!

As for Saraki, he has fought the good fight of faith. Yes, faith, because faith demands that we must stand up to tyranny even if just to prick the conscience of the tyrant and constantly remind him and his foot soldiers that all faiths abhor the vindictive imprisonment of citizens for their political and or religious beliefs as we currently have today. He can go home with pride knowing full well that when our nation was at its lowest ebb, post civil war era, he stood up to be counted among the few who used their status and political office to engage tyranny and dictatorship in a head on collision and left the senate unscathed. He is, by all standards, a fulfilled man, a winner!

jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; @stjudendukwe

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COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

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By Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune. So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’
It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.
Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.
So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.
Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.
When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.
However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.
It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques? Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask? Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.
Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.
Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.
Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.
Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.
So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.
In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.
Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.
We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.
A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

Continue Reading

COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

Published

on

 

Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune.  So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’

It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.

Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.

So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.

Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.

When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.

However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.

It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques?  Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask?  Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.

Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.

Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.

Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.

Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.

So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.

In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.

Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.

We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.

A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

 

@Babatunde_Mac

+2348076926109 or +2348090917041

 

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