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Okorocha’s second Judas kiss

Okorocha’s second Judas kiss -

By Louis Odion

With Monday’s purported im­peachment of Eze Madumere as Imo State’s deputy governor, the conversion of the acclaimed “Heartland” of the South-East to Rochas Okorocha’s comic show now appears com­plete. But the trouble is that the entire gallery is already deserted and the theatre crew left to seek pleasure only in self-enter­tainment.

With another clown already being dressed up as replacement before the conniving state assembly, Okorocha’s Imo cearly tops the chart as one with the highest turnover of deputy governors in recent memory. He was barely months in office when he stabbed the then deputy, Jude Agbaso, in the back and hurriedly buried his political remains in a shallow grave.

Starry-eyed Agbaso had to carry the cross of his elder brother, Martin. Migrant Okorocha had entered into a deal with the senior Agbaso for accommodation in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the purpose of contesting the 2011 governorship polls. By some accounts, shekels of gold ex­changed hands. The other trade-off was for the junior Agbaso to be the running-mate.

But typical of all pacts rooted in some­thing less than holy, one party was bound to betray the other. Okorocha was first to draw the dagger. So, he pressed his political slaves domiciled in the state assembly to impeach the deputy on charges that were mostly trumped up.

Now, the proverbial cane used to lash the first spouse has been deployed against the second mistress.

On the surface, the plot against Madu­mere has been disguised as a noble defence of great virtues and high values, with a long scroll of his sins unfurled before the state lawmakers. But on a closer look, any objective eye will not fail to recognise these as nothing more than a tissue of lies, comical as its very author.

The joke is actually on the governor. They accused the deputy of disobeying his boss’ directives. But while fawning Okorocha is affecting a fidelity to the command-and-obey doctrine here, the supreme irony is that he himself is in utter contempt of the law by disobeying a valid court order against pro­ceeding with the impeachment process.

With his ears plugged furiously against voices of reason, Okorocha would also appear resolved to turn a blind eye on the verdict of history. In the past, similar actions by delud­ed governors in Enugu, Bauchi and Taraba States in their desperation to impeach their estranged deputies despite subsisting court orders, were eventually voided.

So abused was impeachment as an otherwise extreme legislative tool that in Enugu, for instance, among the infractions listed against the deputy governor removed was the accusation that he found time to breed chicken in his official abode, with fears expressed that the fecal waste so generated was capable of at least causing environmen­tal nuisance to long-suffering neighbours, if not already posing grave ecological danger to the fabled Coal City at large.

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Now, the chief comedian in Owerri seems too absorbed in his theatrics to learn from history. Or, maybe he estimates that if Madumere ever got a vindicating judgement in future, it would by then be at no personal cost to him after office.

But beyond the sophistry of the colluding 19 lawmakers, everyone knows Okorocha only seeks Madumere’s political scalp on a platter as ritual offering to pave the inces­tuous path for his own son-in-law to be his successor next year.

Madumere’s real crime is actually not more than a refusal to forgo his ambition to be governor and be part of Okorocha’s morbid bid to reduce the state to a monarchy in which his lineage will emerge the sole ruling house. The Owelle already has every­thing well laid out like a piece of cake. With the son-in-law becoming governor from his present perch as chief of staff, his beloved daughter too inherits her mother’s own man­tle as First Lady.

As for the wife, she is rest assured of her full dues as the new queen mother.

 

Indeed, Okorocha’s empire-building obsession transcends Imo shores. While he covets the Orlu senatorial seat, even after being two-term governor, he earlier dangled Owerri’s senatorial ticket to Madumere as consolation prize in lieu of his governorship ambition. Then, a lackey, Chike Okafor, will continue in the House of Representatives on behalf of the Okigwe South Federal Constit­uency.

Overall, it is not only the value of decen­cy that appears ensnared by Okorocha’s shenanigans; also under assault is the time-worn communal charter of equity and justice. Nwosu’s aspiration would mean Orlu zone monopolising power potentially for another eight years after Okorocha. At the expense of Owerri and Okigwe senatorial zones.

Will the imperial majesty currently luxu­riating in Douglas House get away with this one last perfidy? Time will tell.

Ngige and the Parable of the Stolen Fowl

Still smarting from a grave slip of tongue in Ekiti on the eve of the July 14 governor­ship polls by mentioning Fayose instead of Fayemi as the person deserving victory, it is not exactly known if Chris Ngige’s difficulty with Yoruba names also extends to the prov­erbs of the Oduduwa land.

Otherwise, he should be conversant with the common saying which roughly translates as follows: He who steals a pauper’s fowl will have to deal with the nuisance of becoming the subject of relentless nagging.

In the context of the growing tension over the non-inauguration of the board of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) almost a year after presidential pronouncement, one could be pardoned to equate the Nigerian labour movement to the proverbial pauper. As can be inferred, organised workers surely have more than a passing interest in the agency. Nominees from the labour congress are statutory members.

So, when Ngige elected to stall the board’s inauguration for reasons that appear subjec­tive, he should have known he was seriously courting the wrath of such vested interests unlikely to keep quiet for too long.

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The first salvo came from no other than a labour titan, Frank Kokori, on a live televi­sion to a captive national audience during the last June 12 memorial at Aso Rock.

In the course of his speech that day, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) hero made an aside in which he lamented to President Buhari that he was yet to formally assume the chairmanship of the NSITF almost a year after being named.

As they say, if it takes twenty years to learn madness, how many years will such an apprentice have left to actually practise it?

Even more laughable is Ngige’s frantic waving of empty hands in the air as if such token gesture alone proves moral hygiene, following suggestions that his action is a power-grab ploy. He started lecturing us on the operation of the Public Procurement Act and how its letters make it impossible for political appointees like him to influence contract award.

True, last week’s open hot exchange be­tween the labour minister and APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, on the same issue can hardly be cited as ideal in in­tra-party communication. By pulling off his gloves publicly, the latter obviously betrayed an instinctive bias for his primary constitu­ency – the organised union.

However, Ngige’s own defence only seems to have deepened public curiosity. In a loaded innuendo, the minister declared that “NSITF will no longer be a cash cow.”

Of course, such rhetoric is quite seductive.

But the argument that the board inau­guration was being delayed in view of the investigation of the massive looting by the erstwhile board is very syrupy indeed. Otherwise, similar argument could also have been canvassed that Ngige’s own swear­ing-in be withheld in 2015 until the said filth in the ministry was cleared. Are the new appointees also suspects in the alleged fraud? In what way would their activities jeopardise the probe of their predecessors?

Even more laughable is Ngige’s frantic waving of empty hands in the air as if such token gesture alone proves moral hygiene, following suggestions that his action is a power-grab ploy. He started lecturing us on the operation of the Public Procurement Act and how its letters make it impossible for political appointees like him to influence contract award.

Ha, Dr. Ngige!

Louis Odion is a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (FNGE).

 

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