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ABIA: The limit of vile propaganda

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[caption id="attachment_581" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. Former Governor of Abia State. [/caption]

Manifestations and usages of propaganda are not unique to our age. As Paul Joseph Gobbels, Adolf Hitler’s minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda between March 1933 and April 30, 1945, learnt rather bitterly, the excessive reliance on propaganda could not sustain the German Third Reich.

Modern civilization had no place for his deep and virulent anti-Semitism which led to his supporting the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.

An example within our contemporary socio-political milieu, Ebere Wabara, a fascinating if not an intriguing columnist with The Sun, one of the publications owned by Orji Uzor Kalu, over-reached himself in his rabid defence of his paymaster in the piece which is the subject of this rejoinder. As would be elucidated shortly, his over-reliance on vile propaganda in his failed attempt to tarnish the image of the immediate governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Orji, is a ghastly imitation of Gobbels and bound to suffer the same fate with the German Third Reich and its warped Nazi ideology.

Elevated discourse must as a necessity attack issues, and should not embark on a fishing expedition as Wabara in his fatally flawed rejoinder. In a sense, we sympathize with him for rising in defence of Orji Uzor kalu, his benefactor. After all, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Knowing the inner workings of his paymaster, his labour of love will not go unrewarded. But our worry is that Wabara made a poor job of the cause he has chosen to defend. In spite of his bombast, he could not respond adequately to any of the issues in the matter. From the tenor of his installment, he came across as bitter, incoherent and out of touch with reality. For the sake of emphasis, it is an incontrovertible fact that the administration of Theodore Orji cut Orji Uzor Kalu to size, removed his lackeys from the corridors of powers, and dismantled his political structure through which he held Abia State hostage. Today, the state has been freed from the stranglehold of a mother-Excellency who hitherto held the state hostage. If the troublers of Abia State are as popular and relevant as envisioned by Wabara in his imaginary world, how come Orji Uzor Kalu has lost elections on the two occasions he contested for Abia north senatorial seat? First, the late Senator UcheChukwumerije inflicted a crushing defeat on him in 2011. Thereafter, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa defeated him fair and square in a contest in which the will of thepeople prevailed. As against the dream world crafted by Wabara and his co-travellers, the reality is that Abia people parted ways with Orji Uzor Kalu eighteen years ago in the aftermath of his abysmal performance in office as governor. No amount of vile propaganda can reverse this reality. To continue to flaunt an imaginary acceptance in the face of this stark reality is like a fancy flight to Utopia – an exercise in futility.

While it is convenient for Wabara to chase shadows, we re-emphasize that as governor, Orji Uzor Kalu inflicted on the state a crushing debt burden in excess of N55,000,000,000 (fifty-five billion naira). The negative impact of the draw down of N1.5 billion on a monthly basis on governance in the state cannot be over-emphasized. Also, the N1.8 billion pension funds which the state government received from the federal government meant for the payment of Abians in the federal civil service disappeared without a trace under the watch of Orji Uzor Kalu. We expect Wabara to respond to these swirling allegations of monumental fraud levelled against his principal instead of the rigmarole, bombast and the inelegant choice of words which defined his essay.

Nigerians deserve a nation in which leaders should be held to account for their actions and inactions in government. This is what the new order we seek to inaugurate is about without which the unfurling of the great Nigerian possibility will remain a pipe dream. Kalu’s poisoned chalice on account of his corruption trials by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) makes him the least qualified to pontificate on corruption. Until he is discharged and acquitted, he should hold his peace and stop insulting our civilized sensibilities. It may interest Wabara to know that his principal is facing a ten-count charge by the EFCC bordering on money laundering, official corruption, and diversion of public funds totalling over N5 billion. Interestingly, Kalu has deployed his considerable resources and influence to shackle the wheel of justice. On August 5, 2007, Kalu wrote a letter to former President Umaru Yar’Adua begging him to order the EFCC to discontinue his trial as a result of a May 31, 2007 Jankara order, which he procured from an Abia State High Court for stay of proceedings pending the determination of the motion before it. Also, on September 3, 2007, he filed a motion in an Abuja High Court asking for an order to strike out all charges levelled against him by the EFCC. Again, these efforts failed. Interestingly, Chief Eze Gauis Ihejiamaizu who was then the chairman of Abia Council of Chiefs stood as one of his sureties but eventually withdrew his surety because he no longer had confidence in him and sought to be discharged from the obligation. His stone-walling tactics notwithstanding, on April 27, 2012, the EFCC secured a landmark judgment in its suit against Kalu at the Court of Appeal, Abuja. The panel of three justices, led by Justice Ejembi, struck out the appeal by the former governor and his company Slok Nigeria. Kalu had approached the appellate court to set aside the ruling of the Federal High Court that he had a case to answer.

While we advise Wabara to advert his mind to these facts and perhaps help prepare his principal for his looming trial, we find it puerile and offensive, his intriguing celebration of Kalu’s expansive compound and massive structures of architectural splendour with Romanesque visage… This idiocy smacks of the poverty of the mind and should be discountenanced. To deny the existence of the legacy projects completed by Theodore Orji’s administration is to live in denial.

In concluding this viewpoint, Abia State in on the path to development and progress today because the government has found its bearing to the credit of Theodore Orji. History will be kind to him for extricating the state from the stranglehold of vicious godfathers. The era in which the relations of Oji Uzor Kalu and his hirelings held sway in the Government House in protection of the narrow selfish agenda of a vicious cabal is gone forever. Today, Abia is free and will excel to the glory of God, and the vision of its founding fathers.

 

By: Koos james.
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