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*Nigeria: Okey Ndibe - May God Help Him
By Valentine Obienyem
On the 27th of August, 2011, Anambra State turned 20. Ordinarily, other leaders would have celebrated such an accomplishment through boisterous merriment. Not given to such indulgence, Gov. Obi celebrated it differently by assembling the people of Anambra as has not been witnessed in the past. Those who attended, included Igwe Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha who led over 100 Traditional Rulers; Francis Cardinal Arinze; the first Papal Nuncio from Nigeria, Archbishop Jude Okoro; Bishop Owen Nwokolo of the Diocese on the Niger; Mustapha Chike Obi; Prof. Dora Akunyili; Dr. Oby Ezekwesil; Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala(She also delivered a paper); Prof. Charles Soludo; Innocent Egbunike; Mary Onyali-Omagbemi; Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation; Prof Barth Nnaji (delivered a paper); almost all Anambra people at the National Assembly, among many others. In fact, it had the setting of the ancient Greek Agora, where men congregated to take decisions on weighty State matters.
As the Governor himself said, the event was not to celebrate vanity, but to celebrate five years of peace in Anambra State and subtly call the attention of our people to their State and invite them to take possession of her. Since the State was created, she has been in the hands of thugs who visited her with rape and rapine thus injuring her in body and spirit. As could be observed, everybody in the State liked what the Governor did. As a result of their harkening to the Governor’s clarion call, a lot of things are happening in the State. I can even use an example to buttress that. As recently reported in the papers, the Managing Director of Genesis Food, Ichie Nneto Orazulike, a big name in the food and catering industry visited the Governor with three white men. Orazulike said that the speech of the Governor appealing to the people of the State to come and assist in her development touched him, and because of that, he had decided to invest heavily in the State with his expatriate counterparts. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Okey Ndibe
Orazulike has a lot of successful businesses in States other than Anambra. During discussion with the Governor, as further reported in the newspapers, he said it was particularly painful to him that he had not been able to establish something really big in the State. He said that people like him were not to blame, but the past political leaders in the State who were totally antithetical to development. He went on to give an example. In his words: “my Governor, it was under a particular leader that the entire patrimony of the State worth over 30 billion Naira was burnt down by the very agents of the State and reactionary forces. If they could do this to the property of the State, what would they not do to the investment of people in the State?” As Orazulike spoke, one could see the pain he was undergoing at what Anambra State used to be. His position mirrors that of many Anambrarians. He capped it up by saying that investing in Anambra before the advent of Governor Obi was like asking somebody to invest in Afghanistan.
Today, under Governor Obi, the entire scenario has changed. We now have quality investment springing up in the State following his tireless efforts. It is glorious that we now have in Anambra State a pharmaceutical company such as Juhel Parenental Drugs manufacturing, Innoson Motor manufacturing, Orange Drugs. The most celebrated is the on-going construction of what will become the biggest brewery in Nigeria, the SABMiller facility in Onitsha. In the first phase of the SABmiller foray in the State, it is investing over 120 million Dollars and it is expected that it will expand quickly. ( Continues below..... )
I do not in this article intend to regurgitate what the Governor himself has done in Anambra State that has made him the darling of everybody: donor and international agencies, the Presidency that appointed him into the Economic Management Team and named him an Honorary Adviser on Finance. Apart from the peace that has returned to the State, we experience the hands of a man who really understands what development is. Under him, Anambra has become a state of many firsts. We now have the first teaching hospital nearing completion (Okey Ndibe and his mentor, Ngige, are not happy over the development for the simple reason that it is Obi who is doing it and they made it clear, Okey in his column; Ngige in an Interview that appeared in the Daily Independent of 23rd of September); the first library, the first Secretariat; the first time roads are constructed in places without roads since Anambra was created; the first time buses, internet, computers, laboratory materials were given to schools, among many other firsts. Some of these things may be called insignificant by critics, but they were not there before.
Even the deaf and dumb can agree that Anambra is a lot better than it ever was. Thus, during the 20th year anniversary, Emeka Anyaoku, the man without cant said that he could now see a more focused development in the State. Every speaker, including Oby Ezekwesili and Chike Obi said the same thing. Interestingly, Dr. Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala said what was very significant. According to her, Obi is the most fiscally responsible Governor. She went on to urge him to continue doing what he is doing for his State in spite of many wicked and sometimes ignorant and uninformed critics who are always at work.
As she predicted, these critics are at it again! First they did not consider it worth the while calling Anambra people together to discuss the progress of the State. The Saharareporters medium owned by one Sowore Omoleye and Okey Ndibe said that the Government spent 1.5 Billion Naira to stage the event, when, on the contrary, it was mainly sponsored by corporate organizations on the intervention of the Governor. When this could not fly, because everybody in Nigeria knows what is possible or not with Peter Obi, Okey, the nwa nza, after eating to his satisfaction, started to challenge his Chi. In his last piece (Sun of 27/9/11), he berated Chief Emeka Anyaoku for attending the event and for pouring encomiums on Obi.
From the foregoing, one could see how, blinded by passion some people thought to be reasonable, are utterly unreasonable. That his mentor, Dr. Chris Ngige attended the event did not mean anything to him, but for Anyaoku, Okonjo Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili and their likes attending was sacrilegious to him. Is this the Okey that we all thought that we knew? He is the living proof of the saying by Plutarch in his Lives that sometimes you discover the real lives of great men not through the greatest wars they have won or the greatest sieges they have undertaken, but through minor acts of them. Through Okey’s recent writings we now discover him for what he is: a hypocrite “Saint.”
Because Okey is supporting Dr. Chris Ngie, whom a friend told me, without surety though, has promised him some political appointments if he becomes the next Governor of Anambra State, he does not see Ngige’s failings anymore. When Ngige illegally usurped the Governorship, he defended him on the reason that he was building roads. He even boasted that it was because of him that Ngige built the only road around Awka, the Amawbia by-pass, for Okey is from Amawbia. That Dr. Chris Ngige went to shrine naked, made one Ego from Abatete pregnant who died while carrying out abortion in the USA, was a major factor while in the burning of Anambra state in 2004 were nothing to him. On the contrary, anybody who does not belong to the same political camp as Ngige is a demon that must be exorcised. This is why he has been on the offensive. His articles are derisive, written in periodic sentences whose clauses are lashes. He delights in seeing those lashes fall upon the likes of Akunyili, Andy Ubah, Soludo and Peter Obi. These are people he considers as possible stumbling blocks to his mentor, Ngige, becoming the next Governor and subsequently his grabbing a political appointment. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Because of Ngige, Okey has lost the sense of decorum and the sacred. For him to castigate those that attended the Anambra at 20 celebration in the pages of the newspapers (Sun of 27/9/11) and more pungently in his article on Saharareporters where he called Obi of Onitsha a king out of touch with his Kingdom; Soludo, a pseudo professional; Francis Cardinal Arinze, a failed Cardinal; Mustapha Chike Obi, a prodigal that betrayed his illustrious father; Oby Ezekwesili, a pretender; Dora Akunyili, a confused one; Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa, a retire cleric in search of rehabilitation; Bishop Owen Nwokolo, a new Bishop seeking friendship of the governor for whatever it is worth; Dr Dozie Ikedife, a candidate for senility; Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a canonized goat; among others names, is shocking, utterly shocking. As one read him, one could observe righteous indignation here and there. When people reacted angrily or perhaps on the advice of saner minds, they quickly removed the offending piece from Saharareporters. He has finally succumbed to the type of pride that made Lucifer to fight the Army of God in heaven. Indeed, he whom the gods want to kill, they first make mad. May God help him!
We all know the circumstances under which Okey was shown the way out at the Guardian and Next Newspapers – they are at play again. We commend the Sun for rehabilitating him, even though we believe that he is taking the rehabilitation too far. He is a bad case of what maintaining a column should be. Columnists principally discuss issues. Columnists use their columns to draw attention to what should be done for the good of the society. Columnists use their columns to engage political leaders in manners that are edifying and even ennobling. For using his column as an instrument of blackmail and for settling political scores, Okey has presented himself as one who is unworthy to maintain a column. Perhaps, the judgement of Guardian was right.
Anambra @ 20 celebration remains one of the best things to have happened to Anambra State. After the event, I have been privileged to study its after effects. The celebration drew Anambra people closer on the need not to forsake the State. Today, I know what Mustapha Chike Obi has promised to do in the State as his own support. I am privileged to know that Mr. Okey Ezeibe and his foreign partners have equally hit the ground on investment in the State. I can go on and on. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Gov. Peter Obi flanked by two Anambrarians honoured as part of Anambra 20th Annioversay celebration: The Chief Executive Officer of Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Mmaduka (left) and the Managing director of the Citi Bank, Mr. Tony Emuwa (right).
Okey has become a case of an individual moving against the tide of development because of vested interest. We can do a rejoinder to his jaundiced pieces; we can frown at his futile attempt to attack the cream of our people; we can indulge him a little because his thinking is beclouded by passion, but we must continue to pity him for attempting to do violence to Anambra State as he has since done to himself.
Why has Okey taken everything that has to do with Obi with malice? The other day, when journalists visited Anambra to see what Obi was doing, Sowore and himself used their jointly owned Saharareporters outfit to publish the names of the journalists that came as if they had committed a crime? As for his vilification of the likes of Okonjo-Iweala, Obi of Onitsha, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Okolo, the Anglican Bishop on the Niger, Owen Nwokolo, Mustapha Chike-Obi, Dora Akunyili, Oby Ezekwesili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among others. Since it is not in his character to yield ground or apologise, we as Anambra people collectively apologise to them. There is this old saying that it is a mad man’s relations and not the madman that will be ashamed of his madness.
Ironically, while he was at his sadistic and pessimistic best, some of our people in Canada led by Mr. Chidi Asidanya were donating, on the 1st of October, over 20,000 volumes of books to Prof. Kenneth Dike Central Library, Awka. These young men who he knew when they were borne are shining example of how our people in the Diaspora can contribute to the development of the State.
May I take this opportunity to also call on those who have answered to the call of the Governor for collective efforts towards driving the development of the State not to be dampened. May those that are still prevaricating, jump on the bandwagon of development for our collective progress.
Anambra adibago nma; nye aka ka odi nma.
Obienyem wrote this piece from Awka, Anambra State.
*Tags: Nigerians, Anambra, God, Help, Okey, Ndibe, Governor, Peter, Obi, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
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