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Is it Imo swindle? (3)

By Dele Sobowale
“A man who cherishes great ideas and has performed only small acts….”Johann Schiller, 1759-87
That was the way Schiller described one elected official of his day. He could easily have been speaking of the governor of Imo State today.

Like Obama, he published books loaded with  ideas; that were not  original. They were meant to convey the impression of depth of thought unprecedented in the governance of the state. There has been a yawning gap between the promises contained in the books and the performance on duty. The author and the governor are two personalities, which like parallel line don’t meet.

Last week, I ended by pointing out that once the significant outlines of the fellow’s true colours became clear, I expected grave things to happen; and three things occurred.  Kidnapping and the job scam arose from the first substantial change which took place – carpet crossing.

The man, who had said all the nasty things about the PDP, when we met, was first rumoured to be planning to join the party and the people he had denounced in the harshest language. Then, he actually did. When Ghandi pronounced that among the things that would destroy us was “politics without principles”, he had people like these in mind.

The picture of Ohakim sitting next to Obasanjo smiling like a con artist who had just pulled off a trick was enough for me to know that Imo state was going to the devil. The further disclosure that he was all along in the PDP and planted in PPA was the final seal.

Then, I recollected text messages I received earlier in his tenure from people who knew him closely and which I had dismissed as sour grapes. It was time to investigate more. And what I found convinced me, more than ever, that intelligence without character is far worse than character without intelligence. Whereas Ohakim, with some justification, could accuse his predecessor of lacking competence, the man at least was openly deficient. As always, it is the viper lurking in the grass that kills.

Thus by the time the advertisement for jobs appeared, asking prospective job seekers to pay N10,000, I knew something tragically funny was about to occur. It did; and any government that would sell jobs to those who cannot afford to pay stands condemned; a government asking unemployed youth to play N10,000 lottery to secure jobs stands doubly condemned.

Now the universities are closed; many of the kids still remain unemployed and the governor gave one of the most pathetic excuses for kidnapping that one can find.
What a way to ruin a promising reputation and state!!!

“…a top political figure has met with a section of the unscrupulous people to work out destabilization plan”.
Peter Udiong, THE NATION, November 18, 2010,  p.20.

Mr Udiong, who has written several articles published in the same paper, claims to reside in Lagos. Nobody knows whether that is the truth or not. We are also not sure if the fellow has visited Akwa Ibom in recent months or has remained permanently in Lagos. But, he writes consistently in defence of the governor, whose name he remembers and carpets “the opposition” –who apparently have no names.

Ghosts have become “the unscrupulous people” who “work out destabilization plan”. Unfortunately for Udiong, the political violence in Akwa Ibom has taken a new dimension. Oil rigs are being attacked and foreigners kidnapped. Furthermore, those claiming responsibility are not the faceless “opposition” who Peter accuses without a shred of proof, but an organization called MEND with members across the entire Niger Delta.

Without mincing words, people like Udiong, on all sides of the political divide in Akwa Ibom, are deliberately and mischievously misleading the public about the nature of the violence in the state. Political kidnapping has finally evolved into commercial kidnapping and that will make it more difficult to eradicate.

Like all the other states under the grip of kidnappers, the criminals were the same boys used for the last elections. They were then called “party stalwarts” and well armed and funded. Surely Mr Udiong knows who won the elections. Invariably, it was the party with the biggest guns!!!

Then followed the same pattern of “use and abandon after election” by politicians. With the arms provided the “stalwarts” became rampaging gangs of criminals; the last stage is to brand themselves “militants” and pave the way for “amnesty” (Rivers, Bayelsa, now Aba, soon Imo and Akwa Ibom will follow). The question is: are they total strangers to politicians in the state?

The answer is: No. To hire a kidnapper or armed robber, you must know he is someone who will carry out that task –if recruited. The next question is: if the so called “opposition” can recruit them, why can’t the security forces lay a trap by pretending to recruit them also? The answer if “Mr Udiong” does not know or is pretending not to know is simple.

The criminals enjoy immunity from arrest. The next question is: who can guarantee them immunity? Let “Peter Udiong” answer that question and he will realize in what direction the accusing finger is pointing.

Kidnapping in Akwa Ibom has gone global; they now snatch foreigners – as they used to do in Bayelsa and Rivers. More horrors will follow because the former “stalwarts” have declared independence from their former “masters”. Mark my words; more terrible things will happen……

“There are statistics, lies and damned lies”.
Mark Twain, 1835-1910

You have heard that the Nigerian economy records the third fastest growth of GDP, behind China and India, at 7.2% according to the IMF. But, do you know that this is an interim estimate given by Nigeria to the IMF and that it might not be the true picture when the year ends? The Minister of Finance, MinFin, who joyously made this proclamation, knew he was stretching the truth to breaking point by making the claim. Since then other government officials have latched on to it and taken up the chorus.

If the MinFin does not mind, those of us at UniJankara, want to know why other reports about our economy are adverse not upbeat? Credit rating has taken a notch for the worse; and living standards are worse, so how can an economy growing at twice the population growth rate produce more misery for the greatest number? Furthermore, GDP growth rate represents an average of several sectors’ growth rates.

Some higher; some lower. Which sectors are growing at more than 7.2%, Sir? Certainly not declining manufacturing?….


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