My dear Nwandugbom JOK, alias “Sidon dey weep”, I truly hail you over your piece, entitled “Empathy should always dwarf wickedness in leadership”, sponsored and circulated in PDP-maintained media blogs and platforms.
I understand your agony and pain! But, whereas your intention was to criticise and lampoon the current people-oriented Labour Party-led government, with God’s chosen messiah in the human form, Dr Alex Chioma Otti, on the driver’s seat, ironically, you ended up shooting yourself in the foot, albeit inadvertently and in the most stupid and unintelligle manner.
Yeah, Nwandugbom JOK, what you wrote was an interesting satirical piece that truly indicted your conceited self, decimated PDP and its four governors that have mismanaged Abia, having rigged themselves to power for self-aggrandisement and left the state as well as its people more impoverished after each successive administration.
I recommend that you spare sometime to read through your trash again in between the lines and with your conscience and cerebral matter intact.
What you simply succeeded in doing was to further drag PDP and its extremely repugnant reputation back to public scrutiny once more at a time the people have erased it from their consciousness and out of reckoning, with all the evil it represented for the decades it held Abia by the jugular.
Obviously, you made a huge mockery of your darling PDP and unwittingly sounded its death knell, even when it is already dead, buried and forgotten in Abia.
Indeed, your PDP was in the saddle for more than two decades, yet Abia did not grow by an inch, using any human development index.
After raping the state of its huge potential for greatness, you abandoned it in a state of coma, when it had begun to gasp for breath until God stepped in on March 23 and said, “Enough is enough!”
As a Commissioner for Information in the last administration, Chief Kalu Okiyi, displayed an incredible characteristic of a very poor communicator, painfully mistaking media bullying and harassment of perceived enemies of his principal, erstwhile Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, for dissemination of government policies, actions and programmes as the government’s mouthpiece.
Hence, he seized every opportunity to abuse the opposition and those who held divergent views against the unimpressive governance style of the Ikpeazu-led government.
He carried on as though he personally entered into a separate social contract with the people of Abia for perpetuity, forgetting that he was an appointee of a government with a fixed tenure.
Watching him then in his boisterous but haughty swagger, usually reminded me of the arrogance and vain glory of the greatest African despotic leader, late Gen. Idi Amin Dada, who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979 with an iron fist.
This man that has suddenly become the advocate of vulnerable jobseekers did the most absurd and irrational during his days as the Head of the Information Ministry when, on one occasion, he walked into the studios of the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) for a live interview poised to once again deal abusive rantings on their nemesis, who is today the Abia governor by divine rather than stolen mandate as was their lot in 2015 and 2019.
I recall how Nwandugbom JOK, in the manner of Idi Amin Dada, took a draconian action against one Hyacinth Okoli, who had in the most professional manner advised him in a pre-interview rehearsal to be temperate in his choice of words on air to avert putting the station in harm’s way with the National Broadcasting Commission.
In a fit of unprovoked anger, JOK flared up and threatened to deal with Hyacinth. He went straight to make good his threat, when he upset the apple cart and altered the extant policy and culture of succession by seniority in BCA.
Before one could say Jack Robinson, the henchman of Information Ministry had delivered his sledge hammer on the station with the unprecedented elevation of a Grade Level 14 officer to head his seniors, as the Director General of the station, simply to spite Hyacinth.
Of course, this is not wickedness in JOK’s “original Abia”.
Rather, that was an ideal situation for his original Abia, an aberration that their administration replicated and elevated to a norm in the state civil service.
In JOK’s original Abia, the civil service rule on seniority and promotion from a lower grade level to a higher grade level was inconsequential and immaterial, the governor had the prerogative to elevate anybody that caught his fancy, afterall, overtaking is allowed.
This is the reason JOK and his master did not find anything fundamentally wrong with the act where a senior management officer would report to duty in the morning and his junior, far down the ladder, would get elevated to suddenly become the boss.
That is the man of the original Abia, where anything goes without due process and regard to the extant civil service rule.
THE CONTROVERSIAL MASS RECRUITMENT IN THE TWILIGHT OF IKPEAZU’S ADMINISTRATION
It was the impunity and recklessness, which characterised the reign of Ikpeazu, that precipitated the unconscionable mass recruitment of hapless Abia jobseekers by a government that was doomed to fail and ordinarily ought to be winding down.
From the inception of his administration, JOK never thought it imperative to persuade his political master to reduce his scandalous spending on free and flamboyant lifestyle and invest Abia money in productive areas that could recreate wealth for the state and employment for the teeming youths.
Obviously, it smacks of utter mischief and insincerity on the part of any Abia indigene that stands to justify the latter-day mass recruitment in the dying days of Ikpeazu’s administration.
STATE OF ABIA ECONOMY, DEBT PROFILE AS AT MAY 2023
At a time the exiting Ikpeazu-led government should be concerned about the humongous debt profile it was leaving behind, amounting to a whopping N191 billion, the callous spirit in the principal actors in the administration, including Nwandugbom JOK, instigated them into embarking on a scandalous illegal recruitment spree.
It was even more scandalous that this was happening at a time the same government had accumulated a staggering N19 billion salary and subvention arrears, with outstanding pension and gratuity arrears, amounting to over N21 billion and N27 billion, respectively.
This was in addition to a total loan balance of nearly N78 billion, with the external debts standing at over N42 billion.
It was no surprise, therefore, to find Abia occupying the 32nd position on the ease of doing business in the comity of 36 states of the federation.
Nwandugbom JOK simply pretends he does not understand the grave harm and shame his generation of looters, masquerading as political leaders, brought upon God’s own state.
Within and beyond the shores of the state, Abia was seen as the least developed state in the South-East and in the federation.
It was considered bewitched by certain inexplicable evil powers in high places, which were allegedly invited into the rulership structure of the state under PDP, but turning round to hinder growth and development of the state.
Remember the Okija shrine saga and how nobody was anything, politically speaking, without entering into one blood covenant or another to meet the condition for total allegiance and absolute loyalty to the powers that be.
That was JOK’s original Abia that had been uprooted and, today, the son of nobody and with no godfather, such as Hyacinth Okoli, can reach the zenith of their careers.
The utter defeat and decimation of PDP in the March 23 governorship poll sparked an unprecedented jubilation amongst Abia indigenes within and without the shores of the state.
The air of liberation that came with that victory is still savoured by Abia people of good conscience, cutting across different party lines, except PDP that is still sulking and counting its monumental electoral loss to the Labour Party.
Nwandugbom JOK, let us pause for a while and do a cursory post mortem of how Abia faired from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2023.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT RATE:
In 1999, when PDP foisted itself on the state and its good people, many industries were doing pretty well and providing jobs for the youths, particularly in Aba.
In Umuahia, the Ceramic Industries and Golden Guinea Breweries also provided a window of employment opportunities to support the Local and State Governments job placements.
Nwandugbom JOK, I know you are proudly Aba Brought Up and not only heard the story but experienced the good old days, when Aba was home to an avalanche of indigenous and multinational companies.
The list of those companies that thrived in the state before the emergence of buccaneer politicians, like you, on the PDP platform included the United Africa Company (UAC) Group, Mandilas, J. Allen, John Holt, West African Drugs, PZ Industries, Kingsway Stores, Bata Shoes, UTC, Leventis Motors, CFAO, Unilevers, Guinness, International Equitable, Alagbon Industries Ltd, CAPL and Nestlé Plc.
There were numerous others, such as Dubic Industries, Royal Crown, Nigerian Breweries Company, Glaxo Wellcome, Neimeth, Poonak Talmacon, Aba Textile, International Glass Industry, SCOA Motors, Cadbury, Tate and Lyle, Pfizer, etc, etc.
Nwandugbom JOK, you should be reminded that practically all these companies were bequeathed PDP at the inception of the current republic.
Regrettably, your party supervised their demise and funeral, through draconian and self-centred policies, throwing thousands of workers into the unemployment market.
Nwandugbom JOK, I ask: what efforts did your original Abia leaders make, particularly during the administration you served, to resuscitate these companies to be able to create employment for these unemployed youths?
Regrettably, the rate of unemployment in the state as at the point of the exit of Ikpeazu’s government stood at an all time high of above 51 per cent, ranking top in the country’s statistical record from the National Bureau of Statistics.
STUNTED INDUSTRIAL GROWTH IN ABA:
Nwandugbom JOK, you forgot in a hurry that it was during your administration in your so-called original Abia that bulldozers were unleashed on the Port Harcourt Road, Aba, got residential buildings and industrial concerns as well as business premises and shops pulled down on the pretext of reconstructing the road.
More than six years down the line, your principal did not only abandon the project, leaving the road impassable, but sent hundreds of businessmen and industrialists on the road packing and relocating out of the Enyimba City.
Businesses and industrial activities on the road had since wound up due to the insensitivity of JOK’s political leader in their original Abia.
Some of the business owners had died, while many are said to be bedridden as a result of the health crises they suffered from the consequences of the mindless and wicked acts of Ikpeazu’s government, where JOK occupied a prominent place as a kitchen cabinet member.
PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIAL AMENITIES
Nwandugbom JOK, you played a crucial and critical role in Ikpeazu’s government, which swore that children born in your era in government would never enjoy good governance, marked by the good things of life, including pipe borne water, quality roads, clean and healthy environment, quality and standard public schools, standard health facilities and modern transport system, amongst other basic needs of life.
It is imperative to ask: what tangible steps did Ikpeazu’s government take to scale up the standard of the health facilities in the state from inception to exit? How would Ikpeazu be remembered? Is it by failing to add value to the health of the people? Or by watching the rot in the health sector and the lack of modern facilities to respond to the health challenges of the citizenry and doing nothing to change the narrative? Is it by a meagre N500 support to women that were delivered of new born in government-owned facilities?
WHO IS DR ALEX OTTI? WICKED OR
Gov. Alex Chioma Otti is First Class Economist, sound technocrat and renowned banker. Quintessential administrator par excellence.
This logically explains the reason he is not given to flambouyant lifestyle and wasteful spending.
But he has a foundation that has transformed many lives, with hundreds of indigent but brilliant students enjoying his scholarship scheme for many years running.
Otti is an astute financial expert and investor in oil and gas. He is blessed and accomplished in all facets. Little wonder the rabid envy from the ne’er-do-well that populate PDP!!!
He can best be described as super intelligent (egghead), unapologetically ambitious and assertive, pushful, frugal, tactful, inquisitive, pragmatic, stringent, serious-minded, meticulous, dogged, resilient and indomitable.
He is also emotional, humane, generous, compassionate, honest, forthright, dependable and trustworthy and, above all, God-fearing and a dutiful family man.
WHAT HE IS NOT
On the flipside, the word “wicked”, as employed by
Nwandugbom JOK in his wishy-washy writeup, is a lexicon that is exclusive to PDP and its chieftains and did not in any way describe the man Otti. It certainly didn’t fit!
However, I concede that like the big masquerade (Ijele) that he represents, Otti is described from different perspectives, depending on one’s standpoint.
Consequently, to Abia PDP and enemies of the state, workers of evil and conspirators that worked against the collective interest of Abia’s progressive growth and development, Otti remains a huge, massive nemesis.
But to the average Abia indigene and resident, civil servant and pensioner, he is irrefutably virtuous and God-sent to clear the Augean stable – if we understand what this means.
– Eagle Okoro wrote from Umuahia