By Joachim Ezeji
Ever since Aboki came into media limelight, I had tactically evaded making an article on him. The temptation to write about him or about his frays with the Ikedi Ohakim’s government had been strong considering the fact that I have a record of criticizing bad governance that have persisted in the state. Recently, Aboki has come to do same but in a most brute manner based on the incontrovertible facts he dishes out. But today, I am compelled to write this piece on Aboki and in salute of justice.
Aboki, as I have chosen to call him was my senior at the Government Secondary School, Owerri. Then, he was a quiet and easy going senior, and as a result was a friend to many ‘junior’ students. He was simply just too cool and would even pick up quarrels with any of his classmates with a penchant for punishing younger students. Then he was noted for his great attention to details and ability to easily communicate in good English, because of that he was also called “Prof”, another title he then wielded in equal measure with “Aboki”. Both were his ‘guy’ names.
After Government College, we never really met again, but I learnt that he proceeded straight to University. When we eventually met again, a long time later, I called him “Prof”; which I still call him till date, he smiled and told me he reads my articles, commending me for it, and imploring me to continue. Then at Government Secondary School, I was the Editor –in- Chief of the Press Club, and because of that was to a large extent famous. Aboki, was excited that I was still writing, many years on.
I am therefore elated that Aboki’s illegal and most bizarre conviction has been quashed by a superior court. Kudos is here given to Hon. Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo of High Court 8 Owerri for this act of courage in the midst of official conspiracy as witnessed in the lower magistrate court. I also congratulate Barrister LM Alozie for standing firm for the oppressed. Both men are men of integrity; sure, we need more of their type in our already debased society.
Really, I do not hate Ohakim but the only axe I have to grind with him is his style of governance which is generally anti-people and retrogressive. Sadly, his government operates just below average creative trust, and has woefully failed in building the requisite bridge between the people and their government.I wonder if the bonding really exist within his team.
Yet, he retains sheer opportunistic people like one Okpalaeke Cletus, who is supposedly his image maker. For Mr. Okpalaeke Cletus to describe Aboki as an illegal petrol, kerosene and diesel dealer in a Weekend Vanguard news interview is absurd. It exposes the sheer contempt the so called ruling elites have for those at the bottom of the pyramid i.e. the struggling masses. If Aboki is at all illegal, what stopped the government trying him under the relevant laws. I do not belong to the school of thought where principals are allowed to describe their subjects in degrading adjectives.
In the said interview, when Mr. Okpalaeke was confronted with the reality of Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha’s reality on Ohakim; Mr. Okpalaeke had said: “First and foremost, where did Samuelson emerge from to become the biggest subject of media discussion in Imo State for almost half a year? Samuelson was an illegal petrol, kerosene and diesel dealer. You know the roadside black market dealer”.
Mr. Okpalaeke wasn’t done yet, he continued: “His structure was demolished by Imo State Environmental Sanitation agents……………… It was the demolition of illegal structures in Owerri, capital of Imo State that gave birth to Samuelson the media darling. Samuelson has not had the time in his busy illegal fuel dealership to become an internet wizard, but with the demolition of the illegal structure, Samuelson suddenly became a celebrated internet media icon and computer wizard”.
Finally he said “Personally, if I was in charge of the information ministry, I would have totally ignored Samuelson. Regardless of what Samuelson may have written or said, I would have ignored him and at most, having the police make him verify the veracity of his publications since he is willing to be used as a genuine pig by affixing his name on other people’s publications”.
I find it utterly difficult to reconcile the rationale behind the use of those words. Was it an act of hubris by an absolutely unknown Mr Cletus Okpalaeke to impress his benefactor or was it simply because of the lack of appropriate words. Whatever it was, it is sheer stupidity on the part of Mr. Cletus Okpalaeke to describe Aboki in those terms. No doubt, those are one of the antics of overzealous and hungry appointees who are ever willing to impress their bosses.
Perhaps Mr Cletus Okpalaeke need be reminded that it is not too late to either use the moribund Imo House of Assembly or the police to make Aboki prove his case as he suggested. I think that would have been much better than having Almighty Ikedi Ohakim stooping so low to abduct and flog Aboki in the governor’s office; a public building built and maintained by public funds.
Painfully, it has become a national tragedy, that Nigeria rather than be in well knitted engagement with its citizens especially its graduates would rather abandon them to be on the street selling petrol, kerosene and diesel. That comment by Cletus Okpalaeke once again exposes the hypocrisy of those in government. And sadly, government is populated by scoundrels, 419ners, simpletons, charlatans, mediocre and rogues etc.
For most of us on the sidelines, especially those of us who have the courage to suggest alternative viewpoints, we are hated, harassed, illegally imprisoned and then described in the oddest of terms even when we claim to practice democracy.
Even at a much younger age, you need not look very far to find out that even from the sidelines we are much better qualified in terms of educational attainment, professional networks, international exposure, community engagement and overall aptitude much more than those who have only come into government to 'chop'. Yet, they would neither allow us to live nor be free in our own land. They persist in their destruction of our common wealth, exacerbating and perpetuating a system that hardly allows great minds to emerge and ventilate it.
However, now that Aboki is out of prison, may I make my stand known; and that is, that Chief Magistrate Victoria Isiguzo having become a controversial personality in the judiciary be shown out of the judiciary with immediate effect. I am suggesting that signatures be collected to formally demand for her sack from the National Judicial Council (NJC). The new Imo state that we eagerly look ahead for in 2011 should be spared the likes of Mrs. Victoria Isiguzo who takes pleasure in dispensing injustice.
Finally, we have to note that the prison doors are not shut yet; they are still open, albeit ajar, waiting for the next set of inmates. No doubt, those inmates know themselves and will certainly take their turn when the people's votes come to count in 2011 elections. For me, I can’t wait for the accident of 2007 to end.