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16.03.2009 Feature Article

Agbaso's Dangling Hammer: The Fear Of A Commissioner

Dr. Amanze Obi, who was once a revered social critic with a lot of essays to his credit but now an appointee to spearhead the Information Ministry of Governor Ikedi Ohakim-led Imo State Government, recently threw caution to the wind and 'called for the head' of the Sunday Independent Editor of 8th March 2009, with his article entitled, “Wishful thinking over Ohakim's seat.”

Dr. Obi's antagonism was a clear shameless recalcitrant of one making the public to still understand that he is still alive in doing what he knows how to do better – writing. But he missed the point this time! Dr. Obi's anger was that why should the said Editor publish news, viewpoints, politics, features in that edition of the newspapers concerning Chief Martin Agbaso? Perhaps, Dr. Obi would have been happy if the said Editor had published falsehood as truth to defend Ohakim?

Agbaso's message in the court is hale and hearty. The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja adjourned Agbaso's appeal on Feb. 26 2009 to March 23, for hearing, challenging the cancellation of April 14, 2007 governorship election in Imo State. And hundreds of Dr. Obi can't thwart it.

One expected Dr. Obi to query the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on why it cancelled the election (even that INEC cited ostrich violence in nine local government areas) and neglected subsisting application at the Federal High Court challenging the cancellation and went ahead to conduct a fresh election, instead of Dr. Obi biting his fingers why the said editor published the TRUTH people wanted to hear.

But that is the problem when people whom the masses held in high esteem as their mouthpiece on truth assume political position, they always disappoint the people. Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, the spokesperson to Mr. President on Communication is one of those people. He defends his job so much to the detriment of the people.

If giving the ruling on that Thursday 26 Feb., Justice Rabiu Danlami Mohammed had said that Agbaso had the constitutional right to be heard on the substantive matter. Then, why is Dr. Obi afraid with the TRUTH the said Editor published? Being a Commissioner of Information doesn't make one a judge. Can Dr. Obi do his work and also do the work of the Editor? Or was Dr. Obi just making noise for people who knew him in the Sun to know that he has been appointed a Commissioner? What is Dr. Obi trying to make out of his article? To make sure that the Editor's job was relieved him or her? What?

Again, but why should Dr. Obi be in the frontburner to defend Ohakim whereas there are people whose work with Ohakim is to handle media matters. Does it mean that Ohakim has no Press Secretary, Communication Assistant or a Publicist for Dr. Obi to jump his boundary and do a work one could imagine if it concerns him? The job of an Information Commissioner, is it not tell the ruled the government policies? Well, in Nigeria, any university graduate can handle any whitepaper job. But that is bad!

Let Dr. Obi not commit suicide if he yet hears this that Agbaso's Council, Patrice Ikwueto (SAN) had told the court to go ahead to continue the hearing of the case. Would Dr. Obi ask Gov. Ohakim and INEC not to come to the court on March 23 to explain why the April 14 election was cancelled in Imo State? Is it not a shame that INEC cancelled the 14th April 2007 election in that state without any power to do so? Is such power not yet to be adjudicated upon by any court?

Dr. Obi's rancour is an expression of fear over Agbaso's dangling hammer hanging in the court to break the law of lucre perpetrated by the man who was there before Ohakim. If Dr. Obi was not afraid over Agbaso's case, why did SAN Chris Uche of Ohakim expressed his decision to appeal against the decision of the court?

Whether Dr. Obi wants to embark on a self-exile, he should leave the Editor to do his or her work and also allow the judges to do their work. Dr. Obi should make more friends now in the opposition because an only child should not wait till he was slapped in the market before he could realize that he was an only child.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Oyigbo, Rivers State. 08032552855. [email protected]

Odimegwu Onwumere
Odimegwu Onwumere, © 2009

This author has authored 586 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: OdimegwuOnwumere

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