[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] … Complementing and strengthening the public opinion of Ojukwu are the general opinions from his comrade-in-arms.  Brigadier Adekunle Benjamin formed and led the defunct “Third Marine Commando” during the war.  He was known for his anti-Igbo activities.  His singular ambition during the war was the annihilation of the Igbos and the only words meaningful to him or his soldiers were: rifle, fighter, death, kill, shoot, rape, rapine, pillage and ethnic cleansing.  He commanded his soldiers to shoot at everything that moved, apparently believing, like a Roman emperor, that “The corpse of an enemy smells sweet.”  There were other tales of incredible barbarities associated with Adekunle.  It was said, for instance, that being callously cruel, he grew flowers in the skulls of his dead foes, after a close aide had advised against drinking water with them on health grounds.  Some Igbos indignantly swallowed these tales with their eyes shut.  Later investigations revealed that some of these tales were “war atrocities” manufactured by historians/journalists in a hostile camp.

 
The repentant Adekunle lately confessed that despite having fought against Ojukwu, that he would always run to him whenever he called him.  This was, perhaps, a self-serving apology of an officer who fought against his old commanding officer.  The same Brigadier Adekunle was very close to General Gowon, but when Gowon whom he fought for was overthrown, he made many remarks, largely unprintable, against him.  He spoke in terms of Gowon being a “nobody.”

 
I have never judged, I cannot judge, and I do not wish to judge.  All I want to say is that Adekunle should have added in his indictments that Gowon’s sins are legion, for ordering the massacre of the defenceless Igbos in what he ostensibly called “police Action” which degenerated into ethnic cleansing.  Furthermore, Adekunle should publicly show remorse for joining hands with the destructive forces of Gowon.

 
Valentine Obienyem reports.
 
 
*Photo Caption - Benjamin Adekunle

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] - DO you remember how our parents raised us in the villages? It was a very hard child training. We were subjected to residing at mission or government secondary schools and colleges for seven long years. We trekked many miles to farms to plant yams, harvest corn, and raise chicken when school was out. Plus we received a few floggings delivered to bare buttocks when the temptation to ignore chores or skip homework to dribble soccer balls with friends, proved irresistible.  Many of us didn’t like the harsh treatment we received one bit. Some of us were resentful, and some thought our parents either didn’t love us or were just mean rattlesnakes. When now we look back at our hard beginnings, aren’t we thankful? Don’t we consider ourselves blessed? I tell you this: If you think the way my parents raised me was child abuse, I like it because the benefits are stupendous. When we look back nowadays at the way our parents in America and Nigeria are raising and losing their rotten children, we really cry because:
 
1.      Many Nigerian women (Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Idoma,  Calabar, and many other tribes) come to America to become akwunakwuna, ashawo, or prostitutes by getting pregnant in order to  receive Section 8 housing and Food Stamps programs.
 
2.      Nigerian parents in Diaspora try to buy their kids’ love with money; they spoil kids with too much love, and more stupid love than with anything that smells like commonsense. 
 
3.      Nigerian parents in the U S, and U K buy children unneeded gadgets like expensive iphones in elementary schools; Mercedes Benz in high schools.
 
4.      Nigerian parents give their children no house chores to do while allowing long unsupervised ipu olili (visits) all night in the neighborhood with sleep-over at friends’ homes; drunken parties at family home with friends when parents are out.
 
5.      Nigerian parents allow wayward sons and daughters to move into family homes with useless boy/girlfriends to smoke weeds and make babies in order to get welfare benefits.
 
6.      Nigerian parents do not demand that children hold part-time jobs at age 16 in order to teach responsibility and help them contribute to payment of utility bills.
 
7.      Nigerian parents buy boys pants-on-the-butt so they walk gang-style and girls revealing dresses so girls can attract wealthy suitors while parents appear as sophisticated, liberal immigrants.
 
8.      Nigerian parents do not encourage children to choose in-demand college majors (such as chemistry, engineering, physical science, for examples) rather than easy psychology, music, political science and subjects with extremely dim employment opportunities. Many Nigerian parents are frustrated, aggravated and deeply disturbed. They live in fear of their children, always trying to buddy up with and please kids. Only a handful of parents are willing to discuss some of the difficulties they are experiencing in raising their sons and daughters with counselors. Some Nigerian parents are in denial, pretending all is well, very squeaky clean. The rest hide their difficulties even from God until the children begin going to  prisons, running away from home, skipping classes, or hanging out with community juvenile delinquents.  Why are we surprised when stories crop up about Diaspora children killing their parents, committing suicide and other types of crimes, including rapes, drug dealing, and even prostitution? The Bible’s injunction to “raise the child the way he should go so that when he/she grows up he/shall not depart thereof”, is still applicable in today’s world.
 
9.      Nigerian parents everywhere spend inordinately long hours plotting how to chase after the Almighty Dollar.
 
10. Nigerian parents get home late from work tired only to drink alcohol, go to parties and then to bed without checking into children’ s homework and without  administering discipline when rules are broken.
 
11. Parents in Nigeria spend countless hours with daughters plotting on how to trap rich Diaspora men even when there is no love in the relationship.
 
12. Nigerian parents in US and UK don’t want to be perceived as primitive or coming from the jungle. Therefore, they outlaw discipline and raise spoiled, vagabond children.
 
Dr. James C. Agazie ( Email: jamesagazie@gmail.com ) reports
 
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria

[ Masterweb Reports: From Abia State ] - The Abia State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) says the party does not lose sleep over the opposition All Progressive Congress ( APC).

PDP Publicity Secretary Abia State, Chief Uchechi Ogbuka , who stated this in a press release said APC "as far as Abia State is concerned is dead on arrival and non- existent".

He was reacting to a recent media comment credited to the National Vice Chairman (South East) of APC, Dr. Nyerere Anyim where he allegedly criticized the PDP- led government in the state over the state of infrastructure in Aba.

PDP said that the current administration in the state led by Governor Theodore Orji had surpassed all previous administrations in the state put together particularly in the areas of infrastructural development, quality health care delivery, security, education , youth empowerment, human capital development, and a host of other key sectors of the economy.

The party noted that never in the history of the state had the democratic space been so democratized as currently obtained which according to it not only accounted for the array of legacy projects across the state. It said it would not allow allow the opposition the freedom to make derogatory remarks on government and get away with it.

PDP challenged critics of Orji's administration to be courageous enough to "juxtapose the achievements of the Governor with what his predecessors bequeathed to the state and see who Abia hero should be."

According to PDP, opposition parties in the state only exist on the pages of newspaper and cannot boast of winning a polling unit in the up coming elections as Abians now know that their future lies with PDP.

Ogbuka further noted that the likes of Nyerere can never win election in the state, describing him as a "political liability of unimaginable proportion".

He said " such men only look for comfort positions in less competitive groups with the tag of a political party where they will be lords just for their pockets".

Ogbuka recalled that "the same Nyerere quickly decamped from the All Progressive Grand Alliance shortly after the 2011 elections when he was humiliated at the party's primaries," describing him as a floating political ballon without any conceivable threat to the fortunes of PDP.

He restated the party's earlier submission that the 2015 general election would be a mere walk-over by PDP because of Governor Orji's unprecedented, monumental and undeniable achievements in less than four years.
 
 
*Photo Caption - PDP logo

[ Masterweb Reports ] - Recall a letter addressed to us by your respected office, dated 2nd day of June 2014 in response to our two-part letter to Mr. President of Nigeria, dated 29th and 31st May, 2014, which we copied your respected office. The remaining parts three and four of the letter as well as related subsequent letters and publications updated up to July 2014 were also sent to your office, which it duly received and acknowledged. The correspondences between your office and ours were in respect to commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the State and non-State actors in Nigeria's insurgency violence (Boko Haram terrorism) and a demand for your body's intervention. Our writing your respected office again is not only to remind your office that we are still waiting for the official announcement from your revered office of its commencement of its substantive criminal inquiry into the above named atrocity crimes with a view to apprehending and prosecuting their offenders; but also to........ Read More.
 
*Photo Caption - International Criminal Court (ICC) logo

[ Masterweb Reports: Sunday Adeshina reports ] - As Rome was not built in a decade, the same can be said of Abia State where Governor Theodore Orji is working very hard to give the God’s Own State a face-lift. But some paid hate writers through their articles want the world to believe that Governor Orji is a ‘failure.’ Despite the virulent attacks aimed at distracting his government, Governor Orji has remained focused and committed to the Abia project. Though his critics have labeled him the ‘most criticized governor in Nigeria’ as he works hard to reposition the state for the service of humanity, it would be unfortunate in the face of irrefutable evidence if cynics insist the governor is undeserving of a heroic appellation.
 
 
It is a known fact that Abia State has always been a volatile ground during every electioneering year simply because the political gladiators do resort to mudslinging and backstabbing of public office holders instead of strategizing on how to nurture and develop people/result-oriented programmes and policies which will accelerate development in God’s Own State.
 
 
Unfortunately, the trend has not in any way dissipated as aspirants are gearing up for more battles, thereby heating up the polity unnecessarily with all manners of personal attacks on the governor and his associates in their pursuit of scoring cheap political goals, achieving self-aggrandizement with a view to stealing the precious Abian votes who have been on the receiving end of hordes upon hordes of devastating political propaganda.
 
 
Another victim of such political brimstone has been Governor T. A. Orji, whom the opposition has succeeded in portraying as a monster strangulating every imminent development in the state, and has therefore not been spared of numerous political jabs as the 2015 elections gather momentum.
 
 
Despite the heavy burden hung on the governor’s shoulders, some political analysts believe that Governor Orji has made some dramatic and noteworthy moves to transform key ministries in the state. These include education, agriculture, commerce and industry, justice, health, security among others. Expectedly, his critics have over time refused to acknowledge the giant strides of this administration.
 
 
Despite the array of criticisms, majorly from opposition political parties within the state, a critical evaluation of Abia State in the last three years shows that Governor Orji is not a failure as some politicians are portraying him especially when compared with some of his contemporaries in the opposition parties within and outside the South-East geo-political zones.
 
 
The restructured Health Sector
Considering his enthusiasm for result and his disposition to transforming the primary, secondary and tertiary health care in Abia State, T. A. Orji, got his idea and plan for turning around the ailing health sector of the state spot on.
 
 
The reason the government is bent on the on-going development of the health sector may be connected to the growing child mortality rate which stands at 88 per 1000 births. Even the Abia First Lady, Mrs. Mercy Orji, while flagging off the first round of Maternal, New Born and Child Health Week, MNCHW, at Mbalano, headquarters of Isuikwuator Local Government Area, mid June 2014, decried the situation and called on stakeholders in the health sector to show more commitment towards the fight against the menace in the country to further strengthen the effort of the government.
 
 
The First Lady’s concern was understandable, as no reasonable government would keep quiet on such a sensitive matter. Mrs. Orji was quoted as describing the scenario as “unacceptable”. As a mother, herself, she would surely want improved pre- and anti- natal functioning health care made available to all. 
  
 
The Government of Abia State has commissioned a number of projects in this light. The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, commissioned the Royal Cross Methodist Hospital, Ugwueke, an Utra-modern maternity in Abia State in 2012. Prof. Onyebuchi said the collaboration of private sector and the Federal Government is working effectively and would help reduce the incidence of maternal and infant mortality rate in the country. 
 
 
Despite these giant strides, the government is not bending backward as it has continued to make commendable efforts to ensure quality health care delivery to millions of Nigerians in the state. 
 
 
The donor of the hospital, Johnson Chukwu, revealed that what motivated him to embark on the project, was that over 80 percent of the patients consisting of mostly women and children trek from Ebonyi State down to Ugwueke community where the hospital is situated to seek medical care and that private influential individuals must be complimenting the efforts of the Abia State Government.
 
 
Barely a year later, the minister returned for the commissioning of the multimillion naira Dialysis Centre of Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Umuahia. Most analysts described the initiative as unprecedented.
 
 
The minister said there was need for the government to enroll in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make access to healthcare for majority of Abians affordable; adding that if human beings insured cars, it makes it appropriate to insure human health. The government of T. A. Orji has since been consolidating on that premise by establishing and refurbishing primary and secondary health centres.
 
 
It is on record that Prof. Chukwu, in his speech, lauded the project and the state government’s “commitment to the provision of quality and affordable healthcare in alignment with the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.”
 
 
He “congratulated the Governor, the Government and Abians in general for the project” which he described as “an excellent philanthropic effort translating to a quantum boost in excellent healthcare.”
 
 
Like most Abians, Prof. Chukwu expressed happiness and added that T. A Orji deserved “accolades as a man of vision with greater passion than medical practitioners.”
 
 
It is worthy to note that the governor’s achievements in the health sector are more than the establishment of Dialysis Centre. Since he assumed the office, available records shows that well over 700 Primary Health Centres (PHCS) in every political ward in the 17 LGAS have been upgraded and mandated to offer free maternal services to pregnant women.
 
 
Other developments include, but are not limited to, the accreditation for posting of house officers at the Amachara Specialist Hospital; the reconstruction of General Hospital; and the construction of the 100 bed wards in nine LGAs among others.
 
 
The dialysis machines will be for patients with kidney diseases without other chronic complications, while two will be especially for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis patients respectively, with one left as spare to achieve standard practice of an all-encompassing treatment.
 
 
The general belief about the Diagnostic Centre was the advancement it has added to the health sector as it would help solve numerous problems, pains and sufferings of people with health challenges.
 
 
It came to public notice recently that Governor Orji provided 18 vehicles for Health Centres in order to facilitate effective and “proper management of emergency situations” This was aside the upgrading of Amachara General Hospital “to conform to the standard of the state teaching hospital.” The diagnostic centre has even secured accreditation from the Medical Examination Board for training of house officers.
 
 
The government has also facilitated the construction of a chest clinic in partnership with Agbami Partners of Chevron Oil Field. The MTN Foundation, under the auspices of MTN Yellow Doctors Programme, is set to provide free eye test and treatment for Abians. Recently, the governor endorsed Americare USA to construct an international hospital in Obuaku in Ukwa West. Besides, the moribund School of Health Technology, Aba, is now alive.
 
 
At a meeting held in Umuahia on Monday, September 8, 2014, the Forum of Abia State Political Office Holders lauded the “health sector transformation” and other “advances made by the Government of T. A. Orji” in the State.
 
 
In a communiqué issued at the end of the strategic meeting, the forum applauded the governor for his exceptional leadership and various infrastructural programmes that have transformed the state capital, Umuahia, hitherto a glorified village, into a proper state capital.
 
 
In his address during while presenting the 2014 Abia State Budget Speech to the State House of Assembly at the Assembly Chamber, Governor T. A. Orji, said the government would give attention to primary health care by “encouraging breast-feeding, provision of adequate nutrition, clean water, basic sanitation, immunization, oral dehydration therapy and family planning.”  
 
 
True to his promise, the government has been making strategic moves to ensure access to appropriate and quality health care services to children at all levels.
 
 
This may be why Governor T. A. Orji’s administration has also completed action on the process for the commencement of Abia State Health Insurance Scheme. This scheme according to the governor will ensure growth in the general well-being of Abians as it is aimed at the improvement in the quality of lives of the residents of the state.
 
 
All these are indications that the governor’s promise to sustain his administration’s efforts in equipment procurement, renovation and upgrading of some of the Health Care Institutions through the on-going transformation of structures in the health sector has been manifesting.
 
 
The promises, however, are not the only thing Abians have found exciting. The completion of the construction of Abia State University Teaching Hospital Medical Complex Building in Aba, and the equipping of nine hospitals with 100 beds each, amid other features, in different LGAs have been applauded.
 
 
Also, the School of Nursing/Midwifery, Aba and the Aba General Hospital now wear new looks. Works have equally advanced at the General Hospital/Leprosy Centre Uzuakoli  Abians since the second quarter of the year. There are also indications that additional Health Centres would be built, equipped and provided in order to make life and living better for Abians. It would not be out of place to assert regarding health and infrastructure in Abia State: its indeed a new dawn!
 
 
The move for massive infrastructural development in the State
A section of the media has been quite frank and objective in its reportage on the commendable development in Abia State. Recently, a medium authoritatively reported that the Abia Government is going all out for massive infrastructural development. Some political watchers have also described the improvement as “unprecedented.” Interestingly, an official of the State Ministry of Information said “the Abia State Government is seeking partnerships in developing major projects located in various strategic locations within the state” This, obviously, would complement the efforts of the government in delivering the dividends of democracy to all Abians.     
 
 
For instance, the Abia Hotels Ltd, Umuahia, is set for a major face-lift. Based on the Government’s Policy on Privatization and Commercialization, the edifice is currently awaiting the attention of reputable investors who would transform it to a world class hotel befitting a state capital.
 
 
Independent checks reveal that the Umuahia Modern market, Ubani-Ibeku, is also awaiting the attention of reputable investors who would transform the market. Like the Umuahia Modern Market, the Timber and Allied Market, Umuahia and the Aba International Industrial Market, are awaiting investors’ attention. Many sane minds cannot but applaud T. A. Orji for partnering with investors in developing the state further.  
 
 
Interestingly, many people are aware that the policy of the Abia State Government to encourage the development of industrial activities in the state and the planned development of large-scale industrial establishments located in Abia notably the Nigerian Breweries, Aba; Golden Guinea Breweries, Umuahia; Aba Textile Mills, International Glass Industry (IGI), Aba; and Modern Ceramics, Umuahia are blossoming and fast reducing the number of unemployed youths in the state. In fact, the fact going round is that it’s a new dawn for Abia youth.
 
 
There are also special reports that the government has made several efforts to develop large and medium scale industries.  This clearly points to one fact: positioning Abia as major commercial centre in Nigeria is a continuous project.
 
 
Even the blueprint for Abia State equally showed the state has the potential to attract investment in manufacturing, agro-allied industries, Textiles, Industrial Minerals/Quarrying, Plastic Industry, Chemical Industry, and Oil and Gas Industry to mention a handful.
 
 
But since industry and development cannot exist in isolation of functioning electric power supply, the Governor ensured constant power supply for these industries despite the non-completion of the Ohiya sub-station. This he did as far back as 2012. It was therefore not surprising to discover that many have commended the governor for his efforts in ensuring that residents of the state capital, Umuahia, and its environs enjoyed stable power supply.
 
 
Earlier, Governor Orji collaborated with the Federal Government to develop 504MW Power plant at Alaoji Power to complement projects his government already initiated. The present projects are definitely poised to further ensure more availability of electricity for Abians.
 
 
As these projects race towards completion and the signs of improved standard of living in Abia State inundate the landscape, attracting more development to the state through greater public-private sector collaboration remains a desired inevitability. One can now only hope that T. A. Orji’s critics eventually embrace that reality.
 
 
*Photo Caption - Governor T. A. Orji

[ Masterweb Reports ] - It has come to the notice of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded plans to embark on the creation of additional polling units of 30,029 for Nigerian electorates. Using the existing six geopolitical zonal arrangement, the Commission says it would allocate 21, 615 polling units to the north and 8, 414 to the south. The total figures were further broken down per geopolitical zone as follows: Northwest 7,909 polling units, North-central 6, 318 polling units, Northeast 5, 291 polling units, Southwest 4, 160 polling units, South/south 3,087 polling units and Southeast 1, 167 polling units. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is to be given 1, 120 polling units. The Commission has gone further to give reasons why the creation of the additional polling units is necessary as well as justification of its distribution formula. Having carefully listened to the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega and critically analyzed the contents of his Press Conference in response to wide criticisms trailing the proposed exercise, we write to your important public offices to reject in its entirety the said proposed exercise. Our rejection of the exercise under reference hugely has to........ Read More.
 
*Photo Caption - Nigerians casting their vote in an election.

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The African Development Bank (AFDB) says it is proposing an integrated project to tackle rural roads, erosion menace and waste management in the two Abia cities of Aba and Umuahia.

The Country Representative of the bank, Dr.Usmane  Dore, stated this  during the bank's preliminary visit to the state to see things.
He pledged the bank's partnership to the state, pointing out that Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, was one of the first governor's to reach out to the bank for assistance.

According to him, the AFDB has a tradition of partnering with states adding that rural roads in the two cities will be strategically rehabilitated and updated.

To that end, he said that the bank’s rapid assessment team has been sent to the state for assessment and implored the state to cooperate with the team to fast track the project.

Receiving the team led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy ,Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Governor Orji assured that the state will cooperate with the bank as it is ready to abide by the rules as well as contribute its quota to the project.

He stated that the perennial problem of rural roads , erosion and waste management has continued to plague Aba despite the huge sums of money being sunk into the city by the state government to address the problems.

The Governor said there was need for an external body like the AFDDB to assist the state as the problems were beyond its scope and thanked the federal government for the interest it has shown to Abia State.

Earlier, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said the  the objective of the visit is that the ADB has agreed to work with Abia State and bring some more benefits, maintaining that it is designed to cement the Governor's legacies in the state.

According to her, President Goodluck Jonathan is desirous to work with states to make things better.
 
*Photo Caption - Map of Abia State

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The first son of Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, Chinedu Orji , an Engineer, has sued the Sun Newspapers owned by the former Governor of the State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, claiming N5 billion for calling him "a terrorist."

Briefing journalists yesterday in Umuahia, a member of the legal team for Orji's son,  Chief Chukwunyere Nwabuko, said the libelous publication was contained “on page 21 of the March 10, 2014 edition of The Sun Newspapers which read that 'it is not a secret affair as his terrorist activities in the state are fully documented' ".

The Counsel said the former Governor had been using his media outfit to publish malicious and libelous articles against Orji and his son who does not even hold any position in government.

He gave the suit number of the case filled at Abia State High Court holding at Ohafia as HOH/5/2014, adding that Livy Uzorukwu (SAN) is the lead counsel of Orji's legal team.

Nwabuko further said that the Presiding Judge, Justice Anthony Chioma, had already granted an order for the defendant to be served out of jurisdiction, adding that the matter is coming up for hearing next week, September, 22.

The three point claims by the claimant include: "The sum of N5,000,000,000 as damages for libel; An unreserved apology to be published in at least three editions of the Daily Sun Newspapers; and An Order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, privies, servants and associates from further writing , printing , and publishing of the said libelous matter or a similar one against the claimant.
 
 
*Photo Caption - Engineer Chinedu Orji

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The Igbos in Valencia Spain recently organized a colorful cultural carnival on August 23, 2014 in the city of Valencia Spain. The festival which was organized by the Igbo Union in Valencia was used to display a variety of Igbo cultural dances. The event which was a delight to watch attracted many Igbo personalities in Spain, Europe and Nigeria. The highlight of the occasion were the children presentation in Igbo language, the scintillating Abriba war dance of Abia state in Valencia which held the guests spell bound with their wonderful display. Other groups that performed in the occasion include........ Read More.
 
 
 
*Photo Caption - Amb. Bianca Ojukwu poses with others in a group photo at the carnival.

[ Masterweb Reports: Paul C Nwabuikwu reports ] - It is a shame that someone with the credentials of Dr Temitope Oshikoya would display the kind of dishonesty and moral turpitude present in his article, “Golden Girl and the Icarus Paradox” published in The Guardian of Monday, September 8, 2014. The article is a commentary on the ongoing recruitment process for CEO of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC).
 
For the sake of transparency, Dr Oshikoya should have let the world know that he was a candidate for this position but unfortunately, he did not make it. The fact that he neglected to mention this is very instructive and demonstrates that he is nothing but a disappointed bitter person who is not man enough to take responsibility for his own performance.
 
It is quite disheartening when people like Oshikoya, who is expected to know better, impugn efforts to institutionalize a merit-based approach to recruitment for key positions in the country simply because the results did not favour him. Some of us need to learn to put the collective good ahead of individual selfish interest.
 
The NMRC is, of course, the government sponsored but private-sector driven institution which is central to the Jonathan administration’s plan to make mortgage finance accessible to Nigerians. The launch of the first 10,000 mortgages scheme on July 31 underscores the government’s commitment to the realization of this objective.
 
The interview for CEO of NMRC which Dr Oshikoya participated in was part of a transparent process managed by the globally respected consulting firm, Deloitte and Touche. The firm shortlisted ten Nigerians from within and outside the country in a global headhunt which met the standards of international best practice. The interview panel included Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs Sola David Borha; interim CEO of NMRC, Mr Sunny Ayere; CEO, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr Uche Orji; CEO of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Alhaji Hassan Usman; and representatives of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and DFID. In the end, Dr Oshikoya did not make the short list of the final three candidates who are being proposed to be interviewed by the Board of the NMRC.
 
It is understandable to feel disappointed in this kind of circumstance. What is not understandable – or justifiable – is to write an article full of vicious falsehoods and distortions against the chair of the interview panel who, for reasons best known to Oshikoya, he erroneously blames for his poor performance. The unwarranted attack against the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance by Oshikoya is nothing but a despicable effort by a person who obviously has an inflated opinion of himself to channel personal frustration against a false object of disappointment.
 
Oshikoya’s long winded article is full of allegations which are as false as they are laughable. For instance, he shamelessly repeats the unfounded story that Okonjo-Iweala appointed Igbos to head agencies in the financial sector. But this is totally untrue as it is a verifiable fact that the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, AMCON, Nigeria Stock Exchange and others were already in office before Okonjo-Iweala returned to government in August 2011. It is also a fact that Mr Uche Orji, the CEO of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority emerged through a competitive and transparent process supervised by the reputable international consulting firm KPMG and in which the respected Mr Fola Adeola headed the nominations committee.
 
It is indeed sad that Dr Oshikoya would, by implication, impugn the integrity of Mr Kunle Elebute, Managing Partner of KPMG who supervised the process of hiring the top management team of the NSIA, Mr Dotun Philips, head of Philips Consulting who supervised the FIRS version and Mr Joseph Olofinsola of Deloitte and Touche who oversaw the NMRC process which inspired his article.
 
In his haste to tar the Minister, Oshikoya neglected to do even the most basic homework. He obviously does not know that the DG of BPE, Mr Benjamin Dikki, one of the “Igbos” whom Oshikoya identified as the Coordinating Minister’s appointee is from Kebbi State not Okonjo-Iweala’s so-called “geo-ethnic circles” (sic)! Of course, Dr Bright Okogu, the DG Budget Office who is also mentioned is Urhobo from Delta State. He carefully does not mention Dr Mansur Muhtar, Nigeria’s most senior representative at the World Bank and Dr Shehu Yahaya, Executive Director at the African Development Bank as well as other qualified persons whose nominations were supported by Dr Okonjo-Iweala. To a mind warped by disappointment and bitterness, the truth is dispensable.
 
It is beneath contempt for Oshikoya to resurrect old lies about Okonjo-Iweala’s alleged role in the failed bid of Mr Bisi Ogunjobi to be elected President of the African Development Bank ten years ago. The final outcome had little to do with Dr Okonjo-Iweala who campaigned vigorously for him once he was nominated as Nigeria’s candidate. The truth is that Mr Ogunjobi performed creditably in a competitive process in which all ministers of finance in Africa interviewed candidates but did not emerge the winner. The notion that Okonjo-Iweala could have singlehandedly swung the vote in Mr Ogunjobi’s favour but refused to do so is fanciful nonsense.
 
It is even more despicable for Oshikoya to try and set Dr Okonjo-Iweala up to take the blame, ahead of time, should Nigeria’s candidate for the presidency of the African Development Bank this time around fail to make it. It is clear in his appalling write up that Oshikoya is an ethnic bigot carrying out an agenda that is designed to target Dr Okonjo-Iweala. I am sure that Nigeria’s candidate for the AfDB presidency, Dr Akin Adesina, given his background and profile, will be keen to dissociate himself from this unscrupulous attempt to sully his reputation and his serious bid for the presidency of AfDB. I know that, unlike Oshikoya, Dr Adesina is perfectly capable of taking responsibility for his performance, good or bad, when the time comes.
 
Oshikoya’s comments on Okonjo-Iweala’s historic and widely applauded run for the presidency of the World Bank is the final nail in the coffin of an article that trivializes fact and assaults common sense. Apparently, Temitope Oshikoya, Phd, was asleep when a respected rival, Dr Ocampo stepped down for Okonjo-Iweala during the race and the leading lights and respected voices in the world’s premier institutions and media declared her the better candidate to run the institution.
 
And he must have been oblivious when the world criticized the post Second World War tradition which made the position a monopoly of the US and which was used to stop Okonjo-Iweala from becoming the first non-American to head the institution. Of course he also conveniently forgot that African Presidents who recommended her and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who graciously put her forward were major reasons for her decision to participate. There is no substance in the charge of hubris which Oshikoya lays against Okonjo-Iweala. Obviously for a pseudo-intellectual with an ax to grind there are no limits to the sheer variety of lies that can be deployed in the service of an unholy cause.
 
Rather than pollute public discourse with an opinion piece riddled with lies and bitterness, Temitope Oshikoya should accept that he simply did not do well in his recent quest to head a key emerging institution and get on with whatever is left of his life. He should step up his game at his next job interview. We wish him good luck.
 
Nwabuikwu is Special Adviser Media and Communication to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance.
 
*Photo Caption - Paul C Nwabuikwu