“Better a good journalist than a poor assassin.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre.
Many fair minded persons, recoiled at Ebere Uzoukwa’s rant on Abia, as if they had seen a snake because, that story was a piece of snow job, that degenerated from the sublime to the ridiculous. It was a metaphor for media racketeering and a manual of uncivil war of words. Baltasar Gracian; the Spanish prose writer and Jesuit priest in his famous homily to media practitioners, once pontificated that “ a single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” And integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on time tested values rather than on personal gains.
Our own Bard, the immortal Chinua Achebe exhorted that one of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
In his infamous piece, Mr. Uzoukwa juxtaposed the current “maladministration” of Imo State with Abia State. For good measure he lampooned Governor Rochas Okorocha, for all sorts of political breaches, nepotism and misdemeanor. By Jove am not in the business of defending Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who not too long ago engaged Ebere Uzoukwa as his media aide. In POINTBLANKNEWS.COM, on –line edition of June 20,2013; Mr Ebere Uzoukwa extolled Owelle Rochas Okorocha to high heavens.
I quote ”Similarly, the publicity secretary of the body, Hon. Ebere Uzoukwa, said the wonderful performance of Gov. Okorocha who is widely perceived as a role model in the leadership context of Nigeria will definitely drive victory for APC in Abia and the entire south east. Uzoukwa, who interacted with government house correspondents shortly after the visit, posited that going by the commitment so far shown by Gov. Okorocha towards liberating Abia, the body has started mapping out strategies that will guarantee victory for APC which he noted will enthrone good governance in the state.
He commended Gov. Okorocha for his leadership qualities as well as the uncommon gesture in giving opportunities to others from other states to serve in his government, adding that the governor has by that singular act proven his capacity to lead the country as a detribalized Nigerian. Uzoukwa, who is also the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, however, enjoined Abians and the entire people of south east to rally round Gov. Okorocha to ensure the zone is liberated in 2015 for good governance.”
Ebere Uzoukwa also writing in the digital online 247ureports.com of Thursday May 24th,2012 chanted this halleluiah chorus of Owelle Rochas Okorocha. And I quote him “His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha appeared on the gubernatorial campaign trail in April, 2011 at a time the people of Imo were held hostage in their own state and homes. They were caught in a web of intrigues and deceits. They had a government that said it was working but they did not see it.
They saw it on billboards, internet and heard about it on radio. But they did not see it on ground. They did not see it in their pockets and on their dining tables. Until Owelle arrived, Imo State and its people were rotting by the day. Ordinary citizens were swooning in abject poverty, want and deprivation. There was hunger and anger in the land. Public servants who were working did not fair better. They were owed months of salary arrears.
Their office complexes were dilapidating and unkempt. Their morale was at its lowest ebb. Pensioners and old men and women were starving and dying for an unpaid several years of pensions. They had no hope to live tomorrow. Their past had become nightmare. Public infrastructures were collapsing. Many homes that had pipes connected to water reservoirs did not see that water flow to them.
They vented for a redeemer to come forth to save them from hell on earth in their own land.Gov. Okorocha’s decision to contest the 2011 governorship election … was prophesy fulfilled as the cry of the people of Imo State reached Heaven. Their supplications received a nod and divine intervention was imminent. A messiah was forth-coming. ………Gov. Rochas Okorocha believed and knew that he can deliver his people from the bondage of penury and underdevelopment.
Since he was inaugurated as the executive Governor of lmo State on May 29, 2011, precisely one year ago, Gov. Okorocha has remained on Rescue Mission. He has done that with speed and passion that he has become the miracle worker of Africa and indeed the world, considering his achievements, within one year.
Where some state governors come to office to plunder the state treasury and add to their private till, Rochas donated his salary as state governor to the Rescue Mission Agenda. A rare political philanthropy, you will call that. He also slashed his security vote, where other governors make a kill, from N6.5 billion to N4 billion. Political opponents said that free education is impossible in Imo. Today, every Imo State child of school age goes to school from Primary to University absolutely free!
Political contractors and merchants said that N18,000 minimum wage for Imo public and civil servants is impossible. Indeed, they claimed that lmo State will go bankrupt if it pays that minimum wage. Gov. Okorocha has also decoded that puzzle and lie. Today, courtesy of the visionary and patriotic governor of lmo State, public servants, not only earn minimum wage, but they earn N20,000 which is N2,000 above the national minimum wage. He has set the pace for other state governments to follow”
When the cookie crumbled in Imo State, Ebere Uzoukwa emerged in Government House, Umuahia in 2015 as a media aide to Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, where he had to do what was needful. With all due respect, Mr Uzoukwa is a hands on and affable media person. Hails from the same Obingwa local government.
As a young friend of mine, I would like to keep under wraps, details of all the shenanigan and intrigues that played out during his tenure of service. In journalism, dogs don’t eat dogs. Suffice to mention that in June 2016, the entire media and image making team of the Governor, including yours sincerely, were sacked. Nobody owed the Dr Okezie Ikpeazu a grudge, because political appointees must synergize to translate and work in tandem with the vision of the executive governor. Over half a dozen in the media team never returned, and till tomorrow, maintain cordial relations. None has gone to town screaming blue murder and throwing tantrums.
Without any fear of contradictions, Governor Ikpeazu has gone beyond the call of duty in spite of a plethora of two years of election tribunals, and court suit distractions; to deliver visible dividends of democracy to Abia and as we speak, he is not owing salaries of civil servants who constitute the mass of the work force.
Educational institutions are honky dory with salaries leaving only 4 months. The personnel care and comfort of Abia human capital enjoy high premium of the administration. It is untenable to criticize Abia state again on deficient infrastructure. Roads and freeways adorn Enyimba City and pivotal arterial roads in the three senatorial zones.
For the sake of clarity, the successfully completed roads include: Kamalu Street, Ukaegbu Road, Umuola Road, Ehere Road, Umuocham Road, MCC/Umuojima Road, Oomne Drive, Owerri Road, Echefu Street, ENUC Road, Hospital Road, Jubilee Road, St. Michaels Road, Azikiwe Road, East Road, Park Road, School Road, Pond Road, Okwunka Road, Cameroun Road, Queens Road Owerrinta Road, Kaduna Street, Abam Road, Awolowo Street, Umuwaya Road, Road II, Federal Low-Cost Housing Estate, Niger Road, Uwalaka Street, Spur to Factory Road, Reconstruction of Okon-Aku Main Bridge in Ohafia, Reconstruction of Imo-NdiNkpa Bridge, Umunneochi LGA.
The General Hospital Aba which, in the years of yore, was comatose is enjoying a new lease of life having been, rigged up with state of the art gizmos. The general hospital is unique in Aba, based on the fact that many Abia indigenes were given birth in Aba general hospital.
For quite some time, Abia has not recorded a major crime. Diplomatic travel advisory reports have never listed Abia among the states hostile to tourism and investments. The Abia State (TIMAAS) and other sister agencies in Abia, ensure there is decorum on our roads and environment.
Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) is doing an excellent job on our environments to ensure everywhere is spick and span. Today, there is a daily influx of tourists who troop in to enjoy the ambience and fresh air. Abia is not an El Dorado yet, but under Governor Ikpeazu, we shall get there.
Ebere Uzoukwa is now gaining notoriety for flip flopping between prattle, drivel and patent falsehood. His recent diatribe against the Abia state government was a caricature of constructive criticism, Dressed in the garb of the opposition in Abia.
He embarked on a voyage of discovery laden with hogwash. We do concede that informed criticisms from the opposition is a touchstone of constitutional democracy worldwide but these must be well thought out and devoid of chicanery.
There must be a distinction between political jobbery and policy advocacy. Never trust your thoughts when your heart is bitter.
By Chinyemike Torti