NewsReel 7/10/14 - Of Ngige's Strange Tongue

[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] - On Wednesday, the 24th of September, 2014, my friend, an Anglican Pastor, called and drew my attention to what Dr. Chris Ngige wrote in the day’s Guardian. I was away in USA. “Why must that man be full of falsehoods? I think a rejoinder would counter his efforts to mislead the gullible public”, he reasoned. My immediate reaction was to echo the words of the wise one that God gave us eyes in front to enable us look forward and not backwards. But Ngige, whose attainments to public offices have remained by default, would not stop at anything to court relevance; even when such obsession further exposes his underbelly. I say this because as far as Anambra people are concerned, Dr. Chris Ngige is  has become a piece of antigue fit for the museum,  a  past phenomenon in the politics of the state, despite his peripheral seat-warming in the Senate, and the honour of a rejoinder will surely serve his purpose. But more calls from respected leaders of our people cutting across the divides of religion opined that rational reason should be made to prevail over flowery irrationality, in the interest of posterity and for the health of our society.



Ngige who seeks to be more Catholic than the Pontiff has some posers from the bishopric realm of the Anglican Communion who insisted I must put the records straight: ‘Did Ngige return our schools to us? Did he show any interest in the people’s healthcare? Did he touch our hospitals even with a long pole? Ngige should please be asked to spare the Anglican Communion treacherous politics. While we insist on fair treatment from government, we least want such hogwash as the Senator presents. Or has he forgotten that he was here once? Ngige should be told that Peter Obi has reached some of us on the crisis in Nkwelle Ezunaka and appealed for peaceful settlement. Somebody should please tell Ngige that it is vain to stoke the fire of divisive politics among our people and that by his article sought to achieve just that. We have not forgotten his lethargy in defending our people when they suffered repatriation from Lagos.’ This submission from the clergy summarized Dr. Chris Ngige’s newfound perfidious tongue. But for the need for a little more elaboration, I would have simply rested my case.  



In the article under reference, Dr. Chris Ngige’s case against the demolition of an Anglican Church provided a mere platform for his unprovoked vituperations against the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi. In Ngige’s deliberate mischief, he said that Obi built Next Shopping Mall at Abuja as a Governor.  He bothered less about a bigger edifice in Lagos which preceded the Abuja Mall the construction of which started well before Obi became a Governor. Ngige would not observe that before Obi became Governor, he (Obi) was the Chairman of many quoted companies, including  banks, among other privileged financial positions. Ngige sounded disappointed that NEXT thrived instead of going under while Obi was Governor? Obi was simply Ngige’s target who must be hacked down howsoever. Dr. Ngige has no need to begrudge Mr. Obi his profile which has continued to be on the ascent. Accolades that endure are hard-earned and Obi’s stewardship as Governor in Anambra State only afforded him the opportunity to further express himself in terms of functional service to man and God.



When he was asked about his own stewardship during governorship debate, Ngige, not knowing what to say, told the amused audience that he used it to build toilets, when the likes of Hon. Uche Ekwunife built roads-  good tarred roads – in the towns in her constituency.



The irony of the article is that while it made its rounds here, Mr. Peter Obi was in faraway New York, where he was invited to speak at a side event to the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, with many Heads of State in attendance. Obi was invited because of how he adopted the Millennium Development Goals and used it to transform Anambra State. Some distinguished Nigerians in that audience included the John Cardinal Onaiyekan, representing Catholic Bishops of West Africa; the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs,), Dr. Precious Gbeneol, among others. This was the same reason the World Bank commissioned education experts led by Prof. Paul  Colliers of Oxford University to study Obi’s education revolution - they eventually recommended Obi’s formula to other countries. Is it not ridiculous that while the world was in New York celebrating a man of great ideas and will, few fellows wish him circumscribed in Anambra State for banters that do not add value to any life. Such waste is abhorrent! If Ngige does not know that Obi has moved on, somebody should please drum it into his ears.



In Ngige’s usual, childish and mischievous best, he wrote that Obi neglected other religions in Anambra.  As a Governor, Obi went into strategic collaboration with the Church and released Billions of Naira to them to rehabilitate their decayed infrastructure. In his usual spirit of fairness, the money was shared in proportion to the number of schools owned by each Church. Today, the schools Obi returned to the Churches, Catholic and Anglican, have all been rehabilitated. There is no synod of the Anglican Church in the East Obi has not attended this year or sent a representative. He also gave them money to start micro credit. He does this inconspicuously – no fanfares. As election approaches, Ngige who rarely visits any Anglican-owned institution will now jump out vote-chasing to start visiting them with pretences of love. He will write more offensive article in mock defence of his ineptitude. 



I am aware that today Anambra people, irrespective of their religious convictions, are happy with Obi and what he did. While Ngige engages in tantrums, hear what Anglican Bishops feel about former Governor Obi. His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Christian Efobi, Archbishop, Province on the Niger, referring to Obi resorted to a biblical quote: “When the righteous are on the throne, the people rejoice.” For the Anglican Bishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, “What Anambra is witnessing under Obi is a revolution, the likes of which the State had not witnessed in the past.” According to Bishop Ephraim Ikeakor of Amichi Diocese, “Obi has done very well. His return of school to the Churches has made the difference in education. His collaboration with the Church is yielding fruits. Any person who says he has not done well is a blatant liar.” The Anglican Bishop of Ihiala, Most Rev. Dr. Raphael Okafor, during the first session of the Second Synod of the Diocese at St. Andrew Church, Lilu said: “His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, CON,  the former Governor of Anambra State will always be celebrated in the State. We cannot forget him and his Government, which was a Golden Era in this State which we hope will continue.” At St. John’s Anglican Church, Umueze-Anam, while presenting an award to Obi, the Diocesan Bishop and Synod President, Rt. Rev. Dr. Henry Okeke, said “the award became expedient given that it was the last Obi would attend our synod as governor. He is a friend of the Diocese and he is being honoured in recognition of his contribution towards the success of the Diocese since inception as well as the development of Anambra West as a whole.”  At the 1st Session of the 29th Synod of Anglican Diocese on the Niger at St. Thomas Church, Oraukwu, the Bishop of the Diocese, Right Reverend Professor Godwin Okpala said, “ I thank Mr. Peter Obi  whole-heartedly  for always identifying with affairs of the Church. God will continue to bless and uplift him for transforming the entire State. He has set a standard others will strive to emulate.”  The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Niger West, Rt Revd Prof Anthony Nkwoka at Archbishop Patterson's Seminary,  Igbariam said this of Obi: “We shall remain prayerful at all times for  God to give the State a Governor that will be like Gov. Peter Obi when his tenure expires. I have followed the Governor's politics over the years and see in him essential godliness that is absent among Nigerian politicians. By returning schools to the missions with sincere apologies and providing funds for their rehabilitation, Obi has left an indelible legacy for generations unborn." In his own remarks about Obi, the Anglican Bishop of Awka, Rev Alexander Ibezim during his visit to Comprehensiv

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