The other side of the story

on   /   in Sweet and Sour 12:07 am   /   Comments

By Donu Kogbara

MY life has never been as uncomplicated as I’d like it to be. A lot of my friends and relatives are politicians; and because politicians are innately aggressive, they have no qualms about viciously waging war on each other at intervals.

When these terrible conflicts flare up, I try to be objective. And because I am not a fence-sitting Shrinking Violet by nature and feel that journalists have a duty to fearlessly tell the truth as they see it, even when they might be punished for truthfulness, I don’t timidly maintain diplomatic silences when folks around me are fighting. If I think that x has been unfair to y – or that x and y are both being unreasonable – I will say so in no uncertain terms.

But one can never win under such circumstances. If you side with one individual or camp, the other individual/camp will feel betrayed and cry “foul.”  If you conclude that both individuals/camps are misbehaving, you will annoy everyone!

The depressingly destructive quarrel between some senior Rivers State politicians and our controversial Governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, is a classic example of a really bad situation that has not only sharply divided my social circle and extended family but pushed me into upsetting people I love dearly.

I am friendly with Amaechi AND some of his detractors; and some of the latter are accusing me of ignoring their grievances and of blindly backing the former.

According to one of Amaechi’s most embittered critics: “All of your recent Vanguard columns have given the world the extremely false impression that Amaechi is a saint who possesses no weaknesses and has never made a mistake.”

Frankly, the guy who issued this complaint has a point and is entitled to be angry with me because my articles about the escalating crisis in Rivers State HAVE been heavily biased in Amaechi’s favour…and HAVE depicted Amaechi as an entirely heroic and completely blameless victim of various crude injustices.

Rotimi Amaechi and Goodluck Jonathan

Rotimi Amaechi and Goodluck Jonathan

I’ve also implied in various write-ups that anyone who is fighting Amaechi is a useless yahoo-without-dotcom person who does not deserve to be listened to.

In my defence, I’m not a shameless sychophant or desperate contract-seeker! And I’ve publicly criticised Amaechi and some of his cronies before.

But I am standing by Amaechi on this occasion – and have provided him with near-unconditional support in the past few weeks – because I honestly believe that he has been treated shabbily and that important principles are at stake.

I think, to cut a long story short, that Amaechi’s Federal-level enemies are abusing their wide-ranging powers and carrying on as if Rivers State is their personal property. I also suspect them of having a militant Ijaw agenda.

But I should, on reflection, sometimes separate the bigger picture from the smaller picture…and adopt a more balanced approach towards Amaechi’s longstanding and ongoing problems with the Rivers natives he has offended.

Amaechi can be very kind, has an excellent sense of humour and is clever, charismatic and courageous. But he can also be stubborn, tactless, etc.

In other words, he isn’t perfect by a long shot and has various shortcomings like most mere mortals…and should be on good terms with Dr Peter Odili, his Number One Mentor….and with others who were once his pals and colleagues.

The Bottom Line is that he needs to mend quite a few fences on the home front…and say “sorry” to most of the contemporaries and elders he has hurt.

A tragic tale

MICHAEL Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale brutally and primitively knifed and hacked a British soldier to death on a London street a couple of weeks ago.
Only God knows what inspired these formerly normal Christian boys to embrace the most virulent form of Islam and disgrace their parents and their country.

Some of their outraged and embarrassed compatriots have been circulating emails and text messages in which the two Michaels are furiously disowned and described as “British Born, British Bred and not Nigerian”.

But we mustn’t be disingenuous. Most Nigerians believe that no matter where you were born and bred, you are a Nigerian if your ancestors were Nigerian.

And while we cannot be expected to take responsibility for Adebowale and Adebolajo’s animalistic madness – which developed in the UK – we need to admit that they are rogue brethren, not total aliens from a distant shore!

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