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Re: Go, Etiaba, go

By Dozie Iweka

DAME Comfort Obi is one journalist that I admire and was therefore most disillusioned by her opinion on the above subject in Vanguard Oped page. By her own admission, she has a lot of respect and admiration for Her Excellency Dame Virgy Etiaba, the esteemed Deputy Governor of Anambra State.

This is the third time I am aware she is hurting Her Excellency’s family most unfairly, and why do I say this? I recall reading her  magazine, The Source’s report during Etiaba’s tenure as Governor when she was unfairly described as Anambra Mother Christmas by the magazine.

The intended impression by that publication was that Anambra was being led by a reckless woman. Events have since shown that Her Excellency’s tenure was positive in every way for the state, for if she had disgraced herself, I doubt that Dame Comfort Obi would be holding her in the esteem that she holds her today.

By Comfort Obi’s admission in the latest write-up, Emeka Etiaba sent her a private email complaining about her magazine’s unfair reportage on him. This act alone also shows that the younger Etiaba holds Comfort in high esteem but was complaining about a second unfair publication against his family.

Comfort’s latest editorial that has prompted this write-up is the third act against Her Excellency’s family from The Source stable that I personally consider most unfair.

For a seasoned journalist that Comfort undoubtedly is, that most basic of journalistic principle is on fair hearing and balance. These were jettisoned in all three instances mentioned above. On all three occasions, not once did Comfort seek to clarify the information she acted upon against the Etiabas before going to press.

Even when those we refer to as unbelievers decided to crucify our Lord Jesus Christ, they gave him a fair hearing by asking him: ‘Are you the Christ?’ To which He replied: ‘If thou sayest so’.

In the latest Source editorial, Dame Comfort based her judgment on an ‘interview’ Peter Obi’s media assistant gave. The media aide’s main point before his insults on Her Excellency in that ‘interview’ was that Her Excellency is such a bad woman he had to resign rather than work for her.

Mr. Obienyem, however, did not resign under Her Excellency for she was in office as Governor for three months and Obienyem spied for all of those three months and most importantly, drew his salary for all three months. He cannot prove otherwise and this makes a mockery of all his dubious claims thereafter in his ‘interview’, a fully sponsored piece that no one bothered to dignify with any response until now.

Since Dame Comfort read that ‘interview’, I am also amazed that she is happy to identify with it, given the uncivilised language Obienyem deployed against a dignified woman in high office in my state; for Dame Comfort did not condemn Obienyem’s depraved language in any way.

The young man says the Etiabas were part of Obi’s impeachment. I am also very surprised Comfort bought that lie for a simple check would have revealed that the main actors in that drama have since debunked that lie. It was Emeka Etiaba that recruited Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) to fight the legal battle against that impeachment.

Hon. Ben Chuks Nwosu was the Speaker that successfully fought the impeachment and has issued his own statement stating that it was Emeka Etiaba that recruited him to fight the impeachment and also provided the initial logistics ‘from his pocket’ to actualise that battle. I am taking the liberty of forwarding the full text of Ben Chuks Nwosu’s interview published in Daily Sun newspaper of Wednesday the 24th of June 2009 to Dame Comfort Obi.

I was one of Governor Obi’s biggest supporters until his disparaging of the Etiabas got out of hand when Her Excellency was accused of squandering N40 billion in three months. This was when I knew something was seriously wrong with Obi’s camp as that information was obviously false given that Anambra received N1.5 billion monthly from Abuja and N250 million in Internaly Generated Revenue.

Even if Governor Obi spent none of it before impeachment, N40 billion ‘savings’ was silly talk in my view, particularly given the fact that Obi also told us Anambra was broke when he took over in March 2006. Obi told us that Ngige squandered all the money before handing over.

I found that envy-driven false embezzlement accusation against Dame Etiaba to be in very bad taste and this was when Governor Obi lost me and I am sure, many other fair-minded people.

It is on record that Governor Obi said severally during our 2003 campaign that he will not be seeking a second term, a position he maintained up until turning around two months after Emeka Etiaba declared in January 2009 to say that he will vie for second term.

Obi always told us then that any serious  Governor ought to complete his mission within four years and that it is only non performing governors that needed a second term. We believed him then but know better now.

Is Emeka now expected to throw in the towel and apologise to Gov. Obi? I can’t understand this for instead of the Governor calling Emeka to discuss his ambition in light of Emeka’s declaration, he resorted to the worst form of defamation against the Etiabas that I am sure Comfort Obi would have noticed herself too.

Finally while I commend Her Excellency Dame Virgy Etiaba for her dignified restraint since this renewed onslaught from her boss, I urge Dame Comfort Obi to note that her opinion matters a lot.

This is why it will always be a good idea to investigate further before giving such weighty opinion, as quoting an ‘interview’ granted by a known but unsuccessful propagandist in Anambra, is neither a fair nor balanced evidence that a seasoned journalist ought to be relying on. For conscience is like an open wound that only the truth can heal.

Mr.  Iweka, a commentator on national issues, writes  from Obosi, Anambra State.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.