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USAfrica: Rather than respond to issues, Anambra’s Gov. Obi turns his propaganda machine against me. By Prof. Okey Ndibe

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Rather than respond to issues, Anambra’s Gov. Obi turns his propaganda machine against me.

By Prof. Okey Ndibe. 

Special to CLASSmagazine, USAfricaonline.com ,PhotoWorks.TV and the USAfrica-powered e-groups of  IgboEventsAnambraPoliticsNigeria360 and UNNalumni

One might as well state it as clearly and pointedly as possible: Governor Peter Obi of Anambra and Valentine Obienyem, the man who runs Mr. Obi’s sordid propaganda machine,

Peter Obi-Anambra-Gov-headshot-via-USAfricaonline.com

are merchants of lies. In fact, Mr. Obienyem, the governor’s Man Friday, is a depraved manufacturer of falsehood.

Last week, Mr. Obienyem wrote and widely distributed a piece titled “Anambra: May God Help Okey Ndibe.” It presumed to be a rejoinder to my column a week earlier titled “High-Paid Mediocrities.” In that column, which looked at Nigeria’s laggardly pace in the Millennium Development Goals, I expressed dismay that Mr. Obi continues to sleep soundly in a state where doctors and other healthcare professionals have been on strike for seven months.

In particular, I criticized former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku. Here’s part of what I wrote: “Mr. Anyaoku, who chaired the event, was content to cheer Governor Peter Obi, describing him in superlative terms. Yet, Mr. Anyaoku knows – he must know – that doctors in the state have been on strike for more than six months in a dispute over modest increments in their pay. Is it not a scandal that any government would treat its people so callously, indifferent to something as critical as their health?”

I stand by that piece.

Mr. Obi, who loves to inflate his meager achievements and to absolutely deny any shortcomings, might have asked his hireling to counter my point – if he was up to the task. Instead, in a response that was ordered – and even shaped – by Governor Obi, Mr. Obienyem was doubtless handicapped by his lack of argument. So what to do? In a contemptible exhibition of his facility for deception, he concocted a series of scurrilous verbal attacks on some of Anambra’s most venerable religious and civic figures. And then he claimed that I had written the insults in a column published in saharareporters.com!

I’ve since heard that Mr. Obienyem is an ex-seminarian. Yet, he called the most revered Roman Catholic churchman of Igbo descent “a failed cardinal.” He called a former Anambra governor “a canonized goat;” a former Central Bank governor “a pseudo professional;” a retired Anglican bishop “a retire [sic] bishop in search of rehabilitation;” a respected traditional ruler “a king out of touch with his kingdom;” two former female ministers “a pretender” and “a confused one” respectively; one of the state’s elder men “a candidate for senility” etc, etc. After penning these outrageous affronts to reason and decency, Mr. Obienyem had the temerity to write that the vile, impertinent words were mine. Aware that his lie would be easily established, the governor’s spokesman fibbed that, after a sustained barrage against me, I had pulled the offensive column from the Internet.

Of course, apart from the tag team merchants of lies called Obi and Obienyem, nobody else – nobody else in the world – ever saw the purported piece attributed to me. Nobody else saw or read it because it didn’t exist – until Obienyem, sitting in his office in Government House, Awka, strung together that toxic cocktail. The calculation by Obi and Obienyem was to portray me, in the eyes of Catholics, Anglicans and other Nigerians, as a foul-mouthed, impudent fiend with no modicum of respect for ecclesiastical authorities and civic figures.

Let’s pause to thank God that Valentine Obienyem never made it to ordination as a priest. With his genius for shamelessness, his vulgarity, and his Olympian disrespect for the truth, Mr. Obienyem would have brought great scandal to the church and led many trusting souls to utter damnation.

There’s no question in my mind that Governor Obi is implicated in Obienyem’s flinging of gratuitous abuses at men and women who did not deserve it. If Mr. Obi did not encourage these twisted epithets, he would have since ordered Obienyem to apologize to me and to those he excoriated. And then he would have fired Valentine.

Instead, my understanding is that Governor Obi took exultant pleasure in his aide’s deplorable, deceitful act. Last week, I received a telephone call from an employee of Government House, Awka. Familiar with the fraud in that conclave of impunity, the caller nevertheless confessed to being utterly shocked at the unrestrained, egregious excess of Obienyem’s latest merchandizing of falsehood. Above all, the man was dismayed that a governor, aware of his aide’s unprovoked, inexcusable and abhorrent attack of a cardinal, bishops and other citizens, would join the said aide in giddy celebration. The caller revealed that Obienyem’s notorious motto is, “Adi acho ogu nma” (loosely translated as, “There’s nothing like a clean fight”). He said Valentine and cohorts were gloating, professing that they had “finished” Okey Ndibe!

Perhaps the governor and his pathetic coterie don’t realize that it’s sheer ignorance to boast of vanquishing truth with a tissue of lies? Obienyem appears to aspire to the Femi Fani-Kayode-school of hounds. Yet, since he lacks Mr. Fani-Kayode’s intellect and language power, Valentine’s efforts end up exposing both his ineptitude and his master’s hypocrisy and lack of touch with reality.

It is a measure of the depth of deception reigning within Governor Obi’s inner circle that his morally bankrupt mouth piece would embark on a malicious mission to attribute to me words that issued from their lying hearts and sick minds.

Alas, that was not the only lie that Obienyem tried to sell to readers. He alleged that former Governor Chris Ngige had promised me a political appointment if he becomes Anambra governor in future. That line is so ridiculous, so tiresome, that I won’t even dignify it with a response. Both the governor and Obienyem know that I’m not – and have never been – for sale to anybody.

Let’s sample yet another falsehood from Obienyem’s pen: “When Ngige illegally usurped the Governorship, [Okey Ndibe] defended him on the reason that he was building roads. [Okey Ndibe] even boasted that it was because of him that Ngige built the only road around Awka, the Amawbia by-pass, for Okey is from Amawbia.”

My past and present columns are readily available online. Valentine should provide proof of any column that I ever wrote proposing that Ngige should hang on to the gubernatorial mandate he and the PDP usurped in 2003. Valentine should disclose where I ever claimed credit for Mr. Ngige’s building of the Amawbia by-pass. Put up, Obienyem/Obi, or be subjected to the fulsome contempt that you have earned.

Mr. Obi and Valentine Obienyem know that I was one of two or three writers who insisted, on principle, that Mr. Ngige was an illegal occupant of the governorship seat. On principle, I also wrote to encourage Mr. Obi not to abandon the pursuit of his mandate. Those columns are available on the Internet. If Obi or his hirelings deny it, I will happily point them to a few.

It’s my duty, as a citizen and humanist, to register objection to the governor’s ruinous policies. Forget the whole argument about whether Obi has built more roads than anybody in history. Forget his advert pitch that Nigeria has seen no better husband of public resources. It is the height of callousness for a governor to remain unperturbed about a strike by medical doctors that has entered its seventh month! It amounts to abandoning the most vulnerable in society — children, AIDS patients as well as others susceptible to predatory diseases — it amounts to consigning them to excruciating suffering and grim death. I will not, I cannot, keep silent about this tragedy in progress.

Blighted by moral kwashiorkor, Obienyem (and his sponsor) must have hoped that all readers of their lies would be gullible, easily duped by falsehood. They never counted on people sniffing out their bazaar of lies. As it turned out, many readers were knowledgeable enough about the Internet to check things for themselves. I heard from two strangers who told me that they ran checks on the words that Obienyem attributed to me. The words showed up only in the man’s confection.

Who, by the way, is Valentine Obienyem? He’s Governor Obi’s chief factotum, and was smack in the middle of a scandal two years ago when police in Lagos stopped a convoy from Anambra – only to discover that Obienyem and his men were in possession of more than N200 million in cash. The money had been transported by road all the way from Awka.

Mr. Obi and his aides couldn’t give a straight account of the source of the money. Why did a governor with established investment in the banking sector need to convey such stupendous cash by such primitive means? If the source and destination of the cash was above board, why transport it by road from Awka to Lagos?

Outraged by the scandal, I wrote a column titled “Is Peter Obi A Hypocrite?” That article began the season of attacks on me, with the usual cheap canard that I had Mr. Ngige as my sponsor. I have written elsewhere that Mr. Obi squandered the greatest political capital and goodwill that any present Nigerian politician had ever accumulated.

Obi’s troubles are self-inflicted, often the product of his myopic vision and hypocrisy. Yet, he has the habit of whining that Ngige is behind all his travails. Mr. Ngige vacated Government House, Awka six years ago. Yet, Governor Obi goes about implying that his predecessor has omnipotent powers. As I write, state employees in Anambra are on strike. Obi blames Ngige. Residents of Awka and Onitsha complain that their streets are overrun with fly-infested mounds of trash. Of course, it’s Ngige who put them up to it! Ngige also supposedly ordered the strikes by medical doctors and staff of the judiciary.

It’s time Mr. Obi stopped making excuses and started governing. It’s self-indicting to suggest that the people of Anambra are so enamored of his predecessor that they go on strike or criticize Obi at his beck and call.

USAfrica: With little to show for years in office, Anambra Gov. Peter Obi takes to advertising hollow accomplishments. By Prof. Okey Ndibe. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/anambra-gov-peter-obi-advertising-hollow-accomplishments-by-okey-ndibe/

 

Two weeks ago, a caller dialed a radio interview featuring Mr. Obi and asked what the governor planned to do to end the strike by doctors. Obi’s answer: that he had nothing to say about the matter! We must ask: Did Governor Obi obtain a special divine dispensation banishing all illness and disease from Anambra during these months of strike by health workers? Is it not ridiculous to boast about attracting the largest brewery to Anambra, even as residents of his state are dying from lack of medical care? Pray, does the governor plan to take beer to the cemetery to toast the dead? Since when did beer become a replacement for medicine?

If Governor Obi can’t pay state doctors, what’s the sense in building a huge structure you call a teaching hospital? Where will he find the consultant physicians to scramble for positions in the teaching hospital? Each month, Mr. Obi – like other governors – is handed hundreds of millions in security vote. That cash is never accounted for. And yet, the governor and his handlers think that it’s the place of Anambrarians abroad to supply books for the governor’s e-library?

Ignorance and poor education are security threats. The ravages of disease also constitute hazards to the security of the state’s populace. Mr. Obienyem alleged that – until his Saint Peter rode to Government House – Anambra had been “in the hands of thugs who visited her with rape and rapine thus injuring her in body and spirit.” Yet, Obi and his media hands have to wonder how his administration managed to alienate much of the populace? How did Obi achieve the sad distinction of being bracketed with former Governor Mbadinuju?

Mr. Obi ought to have figured out that a governor who must put up billboards to convince his people that he has chalked up achievements is, in all likelihood, nothing more than a gubernatorial featherweight, a pretender.

Ndibe, a professor of English at Trinity College in Connecticut and a novelist, is a contributing editor of USAfrica multimedia networks since 1995.  

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 USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine,  PhotoWorks.TV,  AchebeBooks.comNigeria360USAfricaTV and several blogs, assessed by The New York TImes as the largest and arguably most influential multimedia networks for Africans and Americans. News@USAfricaonline.com. wireless: 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500.

Tunisia, Egypt . . . Is Nigeria next? By Prof. Rosaire Ifedi
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1 Comment

  1. Uche, California.

    March 28, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Nigeria politicians only host and never cultivates; that is why up until today we remained a third world country even when we are ranked top ten blessed natural resource nation. The obvious have been overlabored and what more can i say that have not been heard or said. We only live flashy life style and take pride on convoy. Nigeria learn from developed countries, before we loose our apologetic third world country rank to not being ranked at all. Piloters pilot reasonably for those you govern. Enough said.

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AFRICA

World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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