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Prof. Chinua Achebe: Why IrejectedNigeria's 2004 national honors fromObasanjo's government
VenatiusIkem and the confessions of a hypocrite
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By JONATHAN ELENDU
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As alawyer, Venatius Ikem is an officer of the Court. What did Ikem dowhen he discovered that hisParty had benefited from electoral fraud? He, like Uba andNgige, benefited from a fraud against the people of Anambra State.Does anybody believe that Venatius Ikem would have come forward toconfess to this crime if he was still reaping from Ngige's stolenmandate? It is always a spectacle to see a self-confessed hypocriteclothed in the robes of self-righteousness. Venatius Ikem is theNational Publicity Secretary of Nigeria's ruling Peoples DemocraticParty, PDP.
Inever heard of him while I lived in Nigeria through the 1980s and1990s -- until a few months ago.I may be wrong,but I believe Venatius Ikem is a new breed politician. I made phonecalls in search of people who know him personally. I foundnone.
Ikemappeared on my radar during the 2004 State Security Service, SSS,'invitation' to Dim Emeka Ojukwu, former Head of State of the defunctRepublic of Biafra. Ikem had made a sarcastic and insulting remarkabout Ojukwu in his reaction to Ojukwu's refusal to honor theinvitation from the SSS. My gut reaction to his remark was that thisis another Easterner that has become a tool in the hands of somepowerful Nigerians who do not really wish Ndiigbo well. His disdainfor revered Igbo figures showed in his utter disrespect for theperson of Ikemba. His utterances on the Anambra saga confirmed myearlier suspicions. Chris Uba, Chris Udeh, and Venatius Ikem are ofthe same ilk.
Ikemreleased a six page statement entitled: Anambra: My Own Story.He really knows how to tell some interesting stories. Let me stateclearly that I think Chris Ngige is a disgrace to the office ofgovernor and people of Anambra State, and the entire Igbo nation. Asfar as I'm concerned he is exercising a stolen mandate. Yet, he isthe constitutionally recognized governor of Anambra State. Ikemstates, "from primaries to general elections, even hisclosest aides know, like he does, that it was all a sham." When didIkem and his colleagues at the national PDP executive realize thissham? After they popped bottles of champagne in celebration of their"victory" at the polls in Anambra?
Ina previous article, DuelingLetters of Ogbeh and Obasanjo reveal Nigeria's sorrystate, I stated thatAudu Ogbeh's letter had opened a pandora's box. More confessions andadmissions of guilt will come from the PDP hierarchy. Ikem furtherstated that Ngige was living a lie. While I agree with him on thatassertion, I am peeved that he did not include himself, Obasanjo,Ogbulafor and other members of the PDP leadership at the nationallevel as well as Anambra State. Ikem, like Obasanjo, had admitted tobeing an accessory to an illegality. As a lawyer, Ikem is an officerof the Court. What did Ikem do when he discovered that his Party hadbenefited from electoral fraud?
He,like Uba and Ngige, benefited from a fraud against the people ofAnambra State. Does anybody believe that Venatius Ikem would havecome forward to confess to this crime if he was still reaping fromNgige's stolen mandate? It is always a spectacle to see aself-confessed hypocrite clothed in the robes ofself-righteousness.
"Bymy training, justice is blind. Extenuating circumstances can beconsidered in punishment. If Dr. Ngige must convince Nigerians thatChief Uba is a criminal, I insist that as a co-conspirator, anassessor before and after the fact, a beneficiary of the crime whohas sought to keep the entire proceeds of the crime, he must acceptwhat he is by law and face trial too. A recipient of stolen goods cansometimes be convicted for the theft, you know," writes Ikem. Thereare many people to be tried here as co-conspirators, including Ikem,Ngige, Uba, Udeh, Nzeribe, Obasanjo, and others.
Fromthe previous statement made by Ikem, there is no doubt that thesefellows saw Anambra and maybe Nigeria as a pot of porridge. Led byChris Uba, they were in it to loot the pot. Ikem is not interested injustice, except the one that gives him and Uba major shares of theporridge, and since Ngige is not doing that right now, knives thatwere made for the pot are now turned on Ngige. "Privately I have hadcause to advise him that for him to have time to serve his people andenjoy peace of mind, he should make peace with Chief Chris Uba,"posits Ikem. At least the man is acknowledging that Chris Uba and hisgroup are determined to destabilize Anambra State until they get whatthey want. Without meaning to, Ikem has dug Uba deeper into the hole.The Uba rule for Anambra politicians is: Play ball with me or Anambrawill burn! I don't know who Ikem wanted to impress with his paper. Itreeked of self-incrimination, hypocrisy, dishonesty andarrogance.
Ikemshould tell us how many PDP elected officials were duly elected. Aremost of his colleagues at PDP not enjoying mandates that werefraudulently obtained? Why is Ikem not concerned with the myriad ofproblems that confront Cross River State and her citizens daily?Unfortunately the blind and criminal ambition of Uba has given Ikemthe impetus to insult Ndiigbo.
IfIkem and his compatriots in PDP present the image of the new crop ofNigeria's leaders, I regret to say that we are doomed as a people.And if what we bring to the national dialogue, as Ndiigbo, is whatpasses through the Igbo Forum at Yahoo, there is no doubt in my mindthat mediocre leadership as represented by Obasanjo will continue todivide and rule us. Let us elevate the discourse on all fronts.
Elendu,columnist and contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com,CLASSmagazine and USAfrica TheNewspaper, alsowrote the insightful essays: DuelingLetters of Ogbeh and Obasanjo reveal Nigeria's sorrystate, JudgingAndrea,Talibansand Osama: A tale of cowards;and The Desperate and theUngrateful. Heis President of Elendu & Associates, a Lansing (Michigan)-basedcommunications firm. He is the author of the book: The AmazonTakes A Bow.
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Impeachment process shows Nigerian democracy "is alive... being tested." Nigeria's president retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the impeachment process shows that "democracy is alive, is being tested, and being tried.... What they (the legislators) have tried to do in the democratic way, which is not easy, would probably have been done by taking arms or by -- with bullets. So, but with democracy, of course, some people feel that this is the way this should be, and then I have an opportunity to defend myself. There is discussion. There is dialogue. There is a decision. There is fairness." He made these comments when he appeared on Tuesday September 17, 2002 on CNN International to discuss the issues of impeachment facing him, the allegations of corruption, abuse of the constitution and deployment of soldiers ina civilian environment which led to the "massacre of civilians" in Odi (Bayelsa) and Zaki Biam (Benue). On the charges by international human rights organizations and Nigerian media that his government has been involved in actions which have led to the deaths of thousands of Nigerians, the retired General gave a surprising answer. He was asked that "as many as 10,000 people, it's being reported, have been killed in Nigeria (in) communal rivalries, and the number is believed to be increasing. And people are saying that although President Obasanjo has done a lot of good for Nigeria, you're accused of not -- accused of failing to halt that spiraling violence."
Obasanjo: Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But USAfricaonline.com Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in USAfricaonline.com backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.
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