Perverse justification of an attempted coup

By John Okiyi Kalu on

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I have taken time to discuss with a number of friends from Abia State with regards to the current political situation and the attempted coup against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. My primary question to most of them I know to be anti Governor Ikpeazu has been the same: what is his offense and why are they after him to the extent of plotting and attempting a coup against him?

Here is the summary of what they told me.

"This is not about Okezie Ikpeazu and my principal does not have anything against him. The problem is Ochendo and since Okezie is not ready to investigate and jail him we must remove him. It is not about whether he is working or not, it is about Ochendo who misled my principal to waste his money on election and yet abandoned him".

Sincerely, that is the summary of the consistent theme and those I discussed with include my social media friends and other diehard opponents of Okezie's administration. They are free to contradict me here.

Permit me to also state upfront that my personal reason for calling them was to seek an inclusive solution to the persistent logjams  in Abia that are costing common folks dearly. If you do not understand the grievance of the other side you cannot make or sue for peace effectively.

Now here are my problems.

1. All the 3 major politicians whose surrogates I spoke with were close to Ochendo before 2014-2015 polls. Three of them supported his regime very openly and even donated empowerment vehicles and gave other support to his administration. Not even one of them criticized him openly for the 7 years preceding 2014 nominating primaries of PDP.

2. All 3 are from old Bende division. I don't know any supporter of FN Nwosu who is from Obingwa. So I still don't know his own beef against his kinsman. If you know please tell me, but his involvement in this saga makes nonsense of the old Bende versus Ngwa postulation by propagandists.

3. Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was relatively the dark horse during the run up to the election and by far least close to our former Governor compared to the other 3.  He was merely a Deputy General Manager of ASEPA and reported to the GM of ASEPA who in turn reported to the commissioner for Environment. If he was very close to the then incumbent he would at least be in the cabinet and/or report directly to the Governor.
In contrast, Sampson Ogah was able to nominate his brother into Ochendo's cabinet as Commissioner for Health because of his close relationship with Ochendo who treated him like his own son. The relationship between Ochendo and Otti is public knowledge and I need not repeat it except to point out that while that relationship blossomed Otti's Diamond Bank managed a major chunk of the state banking transactions, including the salary account. Same with the other man whose name I wish to keep away.

4. To the best of my knowledge, Ochendo did not make the decision to zone Governorship to Abia South Senatorial district. The party, PDP, made that decision in consideration of Abia charter of equity which our founding fathers drew up to ensure that no area of the state dominates others. I have personally read the document in question and spoken to at least 2 Abia elder statesmen involved in drafting it prior to the creation of Abia State.

5. I agree personally with the principles of equity in power distribution and of course supported and still support Dr Okezie Ikpeazu for several reasons; including his personal suitability (with or without charter of equity) and his visionary zeal to make Abia the greatest state in Nigeria.

My problem with the above stated reason for taking Abia to the precipice via an attempted coup that has the potential to ignite internecine inter-communal conflict is the hollowness of the advanced reason(s).

Ochendo was probably the most attacked Governor for the period of his 8 years administration. No allegation was not thrown at him, from the imaginable to the bizarre. His political opponents threw all kinds of muds at him and vowed to make sure that on May 29th 2015 he will be in handcuffs. They even projected that he will try to escape to exile once he hands over, to avoid EFCC and the law.

Interestingly, Ochendo has been in Nigeria more than a year after and serving his constituency as Senator of the Federal Republic. I am not aware that EFCC invited him and he refused to honor the invitation. Not even after his political opponents took out newspaper pages to advertise his supposed crimes and yet he did not flee but instead answered them line by line, facts against fiction.

Yes, fiction, because  when you start an open petition with allegations that Ochendo stole the exact amount his government received as allocation for 8 years people with common sense will ask you where money for payment of salaries came from, if everything he received was stolen by him. They will also ask you how he managed to run the government and build the much advertised legacy projects, many of which are still standing to date. If they think like me they will naturally turn off from reading the rest of your advertorial and wait for those they petitioned to do their job.

Let me ask these questions: is Governor Okezie Ikpeazu a staff of EFCC? Is it his job to probe his predecessors? Did EFCC commence a probe and he blocked it? Can he actually block a federal agency from doing its job? Which of Ochendo's accusers have lodged a written petition against him backed with facts that EFCC refused to probe? With all those fabulous tales they published against him why are they not able to stick just one charge against him?

Odikwa egwu o.

If anything, Ochendo should be praised for ensuring that the cause of equity was served in Abia. By that singular act he gained the respect of many Abians who understood the inter-communal tensions in the state since 1999. Especially those who know that if he really had things to hide he would have installed any of the other 2 closer contestants from his old Bende area. Given what I personally know, Ochendo would have had less headache backing Otti or Ogah. Either of them would have been most grateful to him as well as bring out their fabled billions to fund their election. In fact one of them offered Ochendo billions to just make him PDP nominee while the other invested more than a billion Naira on Ochendo empowerment schemes to smoothen his path to the Governorship of Abia State. Ndi Abia, I am not lying or joking o.

Surely POWER belongs to GOD.

With regards to Governor Ikpeazu, I really wonder why he should be crucified for focusing on delivering good dividends of democracy to Abians regardless of their voting pattern.

It is also most interesting that in their bid to hang something on the Governor, his opponents now claim that he is working only at Aba. Which contestant to Abia Governorship in 2015 did not vow to make Aba the focus of his administration if elected? In case we have forgotten, Alex Otti of APGA even promised to create an intervention ministry called Ministry of Aba affairs and vowed to relocate and reconstruct Ariaria. In fact he told members of Aba Chamber of commerce prior to 2015 election that he has secured $100 billion grant from International Finance Corporation [IFC] to develop Aba. Wasn't he serious then, at least  about the need to focus on Aba? Forget his obviously outlandish claim which his supporters later tried to spin when some of us asked common sense questions.

Fact is that everyone of us willed the contestants for 2015 Governorship election to make Aba the focus of their administration, if they win. The reason is simple: Aba is key to the development of the rest of Abia and even Igbo land. I do not even think Governor Okezie is focusing enough on Aba because I know for a fact that in kilometer terms he is working on more roads outside Aba than at Aba. I just wish he can close his ears to noise and do much more at Aba.

Onu kwube!

Regardless of what my friends said was the reason for their anti-Okezie posture, I am still convinced that the real issue is politics. Politics is simply a struggle for power and Abia politicians are struggling for power. Making it look like it is about Ochendo is disingenuous. They simply want to govern Abia for any of several reasons including seeking immunity from prosecution for past errors.

My real worry is that the masses are the ultimate losers in all these and yet they don't get it. They are being pumped with propaganda materials and made to believe that if B supplants A everyone will enjoy paradise on earth. Unfortunately this was exactly how Ochendo was forced by his erstwhile boss to focus on survival politics as against development politics.  Malicious and unending attacks on a governor usually have far reaching anti-development consequences.

Every Abian must work to end the distractions.

How many times should politicians lie and deceive our people before we say enough is enough?

One thing we must all know is this: removing Governor Okezie under any guise without due process will destroy Abia. I am not fear mongering, I am volunteering a fact based on knowledge. Just like I will tell you that if due process is followed, Governor Okezie will be vindicated. I suspect his opponents know that and hence are resorting to desperate actions, including coup plotting, to oust him.

Rather than dig in and pump money to "ndi Nze" and media propagandists let's close ranks and deliver real solutions to Abia's problems. Otherwise we and our children will be the real losers.

-the voice from the wilderness.


Posted on July, 7 2016

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