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Settling The Dust On Uwajimogugate

| April 21, 2014 | 2 Comments

The past weeks in Imo State have been laden with attacks and counter attacks, media wars and telephone reactions by the various interest groups supporting Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu and Citizen Samuelson Ikenna Iwuoha. It has been dirty, to say the least. The issue has degenerated to unnecessary mudslinging and personal attacks. This is unfortunate! The main issues have been sidelined while unnecessary washing of dirty linen in public has reduced a very serious matter of fraud into a childish gibberish. This is totally disheartening!



From the beginning of this face off, I tried outlining the various issues at stake. Samuelson Iwuoha, a former media aide to the Speaker of IMHA alleged that the Speaker, his aides and some other lawmakers have engaged themselves in massive fraud through contract awards and other means which he outlined in his petition to EFCC. Samuelson alleged that the Speaker had siphoned almost N5billion through the acquisition of properties and industries. These are very serious allegations. We are talking about fraud, massive fraud to the tune of almost N5billion naira. Whose money are we talking about here? Imolites of course!

The Speaker has won the admiration of many Imolites with his style of legislation. Even Samuelson had severally said that the Speaker was the best thing to happen to the state. The problem, according to Samuelson’s petition, was heightened with the Speaker’s nonchalant attitude towards checkmating the excesses of his aides who had gone extremely fraudulent in the execution of their duties. The matter also involved many honorable members of the house who have been busy building empires instead of performing their legislative duties. Samuelson cried out that IMHA lacked the morality to checkmate immorality.



When I wrote an open letter to Samuelson Iwuoha last year or thereabout, I was angered that he could be a media aide to the Speaker of IMHA considering his position as a civil society activist. It was Wole Soyinka who opined that critics do not live up to their ideas if in power. Power is a complex thing, which involved several people and several things. That was why I cried out loud then that Samuelson should resign. When he wrote about his transparent dealings in IMHA, I almost died with laughter. Samuelson was like a square peg in a round hole. He does not fit the job he took up to do for the Speaker. I am sure he thought that everybody should be like himself: prudent, upright and considerate. That was the reason why he got himself entangled in the current web.

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From all the happenings in the matter, Samuelson has been reduced to a mere distracter who likes making every government functionless. It was even alleged by one of the defendants of the Speaker that Governor Ikedi Ohakim was innocently attacked by the same Samuelson who is now currently biting the finger that fed him. The same Ikedi Ohakim, whom the Imo Rescue Group claimed destroyed the state, has now become a saint. I will quickly propose now that the slogan of this present government should be changed from ‘Imo Rescue’ to ‘Imo Consolidation’, since they are already claiming to be building on the good foundations laid down by ‘Ochinanwata’. If Samuelson is now being called all manner of names: an ingrate, a demented fellow, a nuisance, a prodigal son, etc then Sir Ikedi Ohakim has been vindicated.

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Many people are of the opinion that Samuelson lacked the morality to question the Speaker of the House. They said that he could have been more credible if he had not been a member of Uwajumogu’s cabinet. They also said that Samuelson only cried out when the other Speaker’s aides were making mincemeat of him in the execution of his duties. Thus, Samuelson would have not had the moral turpitude to attack the Speaker if all was well with him there. These are pertinent thoughts that ought not to be overlooked. Something led to something. The morality behind the face-off becomes the question.

 

The question now remains: Are the allegations of fraud against the Speaker, his aides and some other members of IMHA correct? I did advise the honorable Speaker to call for Samuelson’s arrest, set up a panel to probe the matter while he steps down to allow for uninhibited investigation. I also advised that EFCC should be allowed to do their job since they have been involved in the matter. From all the happenings in the matter, Samuelson has been reduced to a mere distracter who likes making every government functionless. It was even alleged by one of the defendants of the Speaker that Governor Ikedi Ohakim was innocently attacked by the same Samuelson who is now currently biting the finger that fed him. The same Ikedi Ohakim whom the Imo Rescue Group claimed destroyed the state has now become a saint. I will quickly propose now that the slogan of this present government should be changed from ‘Imo Rescue’ to ‘Imo Consolidation’, since they are already claiming to be building on the good foundations laid down by ‘Ochinanwata’. If Samuelson is being called all manner of names: an ingrate, a demented fellow, a nuisance, a prodigal son, etc then Sir Ikedi Ohakim has been vindicated!

Some media publications recently on Samuelson were basically attacking his person, his family, his traditional ruler and his constituency. They alleged that he caused some havoc that led to the disruption of his younger brother’s wedding of which the young man had come out to debunk the allegation. Things are getting dirtier and messy. Should the honorable Speaker not be concerned with cleaning his name out of these allegations? He has a political future. He is just stepping into the political arena and he came in pure with the mind to serve Imolites. Should he allow these allegations to mar his future political interests? Will his political career end with the termination of this government? Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu ought to be the governor of the state, a Senator of the Federal Republic or a Member of the House of Representatives, after this government. He should aim to be like Hon. Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia who has become a political fountain that other politicians drink from.

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How do we settle the dust? Let the Speaker and Samuelson shield their hubristic swords. The Speaker should concentrate on proving his innocence. An Igbo adage says that when the oil had accidentally been thrown away that the only way forward is to plan and gather it back. He should step down and allow IMHA to work independently on the matter while the EFCC continues their investigations. Samuelson should desist from his massive media onslaught so that the panel and EFCC could work effectively. There is no man who is not human. As far as the flesh is involved, man must ere. This is the reason why we must thread carefully. There are always elements of truth in whatever speculations we hear. Imo State must be better only when we consider the future of our children by acting well today. God is watching us from a distance!

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A panel was recently set up by IMHA and Samuelson was invited but he gave twenty three reasons why the panel had no locus standi to attend to the issues of fraud in the house. Samuelson alleged that almost all members of the panel had one moral question or the other to answer which disqualified them from being members of the panel. Funny enough, I gathered that the panel invited a news media by name ‘Newsbearer’ and one social activist, Kenneth Uwadi to appear before it. The matter should be purely between Samuelson and IMHA. Kenneth Uwadi is a social crusader and civil society activist. I learnt he wrote extensively on the matter by calling for the impeachment of the Speaker. Inasmuch as his articles seemed to appear as if he had condemned the Speaker already based on Samuelson’s allegations without giving fair hearing to the Speaker, but that does not mean that the panel should invite him. He could be arrested and asked to prove his facts. More so, the Newsbearer Magazine, just like other media organisations, is out to make sales by dealing with what they might call ‘captivating issues’ as headlines. If what they wrote was annoying enough, then the Speaker should sue them and claim damages. Newsbearer has no business with the panel set up by IMHA. Let him tow a proper legal line to these allegations. Let him consult his lawyers. It is easier to destroy one’s integrity but very difficult to rebuild it.

The manner of chasing shadows in these allegations smacks of smart maneuverings aimed at seeking public sympathy. Samuelson wants to be heard as a defender of the masses while the Speaker wants to be heard that he was innocent of the allegations. The opposition parties have been having a field day. Even though we are all aware that the predecessors to this government were no angels, they have become saints now because the centre seemed shaky. It is possible to cast aspersions on the present government in the state but I still believe that they seem better than the others in terms of infrastructural development. My grouse is the way and manner that things are being done. If the government is for the people then let the people lead. Many things are shrouded in complexities to the extent that what ought to have been appreciated are now being questioned. Creating roads is good but building roads is better. If you build roads it will stand the taste of time but if you create roads it will never stand the taste of time.

How do we settle the dust? Let the Speaker and Samuelson shield their hubristic swords. The Speaker should concentrate on proving his innocence. An Igbo adage says that when the oil had accidentally been thrown away that the only way forward is to plan and gather it back. He should step down and allow IMHA to work independently on the matter while the EFCC continues their investigations. Samuelson should desist from his massive media onslaught so that the panel and EFCC could work effectively. There is no man who is not human. As far as the flesh is involved, man must ere. This is the reason why we must thread carefully. There are always elements of truth in whatever speculations we hear. Imo State must be better only when we consider the future of our children by acting well today. God is watching us from a distance!

 

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Category: Articles, Deep Bite, Government, Politics

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About the Author ()

Dr. Anthony Oha is a critic, freelance writer and a lecturer in the bias of English Language, Literature, Creative Writing, Professional Writing, Semiotics, Onomastics and Stylistics. He was a Speechwriter for some Governors and important personalities in Nigeria. He has taught in many Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions and has been a Course Developer and Course Writer for the Undergraduate and Graduate courses in the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). His lecturing career spans almost two decades. He is widely travelled in the Europe, America, Africa and Asia. He was a Research Scholar in Harvard University, University of Boston and University of Massachusetts. His NGO ‘Save De Masses’ has always taken a Marxist dimension in dealing with the Nigerian socio-political situation.