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Feature Article | Apr 8, 2019

Jude Ndukwe, a little more caution will help

Rotimi Amaechi, Jude Ndukwe and Femi Fani-Kayode
Rotimi Amaechi, Jude Ndukwe and Femi Fani-Kayode

In one rather disgusting video clip that was mainly shared as a WhatsApp message during the recent campaign for the position of governor of Rivers state, Transport minister Rotimi Amaechi was singing an Igbo cult song “orule mgbe ayi jeawa anya” literarily meaning it’s time for tough acts and lily-livered men are not welcome here! Smarting for ‘war’ Amaechi said whatever the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP wanted in Port Harcourt, the All Progressives Congress, APC was equal to the task. According to him, there comes a time when a man must remain a man.

Although I was shocked to see a man as educated as Amaechi more or less like some of those area boys you find in Lagos smarting for ‘war’ during that campaign in Port-Harcourt, I didn’t see him as someone who was terribly determined to do or die in the elections even with all that his ‘gara-gara’. And when, by some twist in the political fortune of the APC in Rivers state, PDP won the elections, one thing became clear about Amaechi’s political storyline.

The PDP lost grounds in the 2015 elections mostly because of an internal wrangling that besought it like measles infecting the soft skin of a one-year old child. Like thunder from the blues, the twist in the fate of PDP suddenly came at a time the party was bluffing its way as the best organized and biggest party in Africa. Then came the big bang!

Amaechi had just won the election for a second tenure as chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, widely considered as the most compelling force in Nigerian politics. But he never had the blessing of President Jonathan. Jonathan sidetracked him in support of Air Commodore David Jang, the Plateau state governor.

It should have been a matter of concern that President Jonathan, and both Governors Amaechi and Jang were members of the same ruling PDP, but somehow, it wasn’t. So, the dilemma which was created in PDP by Amaechi winning a second tenure at the NGF laid the foundation of the split that was to cost the party the elections in 2015. As a consequence, Amaechi left the PDP and defected to the APC.

History repeats itself, they say. And in fact it practically did so in the 2019 governorship election in Rivers state. At some point, the APC in Rivers state got split into two factions, again because of the misunderstanding between Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe. One faction was led by Amaechi and the other by Senator Abe. That disagreement cost Amaechi’s party, the APC the governorship election. Because of that internal wrangling within Rivers APC, the party could not field any candidate for the governorship slot. However, I won’t have time to go into the details of how Senator Abe and Rotimi fell apart but suffice it that they had been very close friends and political allies before things fell apart between them.

Most of us, Nigerians in the Diaspora were very concerned about the way politics in Nigeria was sliding into aspersions on individual politicians rather than politicians and their aides concentrating on policies that would enhance the standards of living of Nigerian people and facilitate the democratic evolution of the country. And then, with apparently no regards to our sad disposition, Jude Ndukwe, the image maker of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode threw in his quite upsetting tantrum.

In the video clip currently circulating round in the social media and titled: “Chief Femi Fani-Kayode Gives Amechi Another Uppercut” Ndukwe wrote about the Transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi thus:

“Now that he has been disgraced in his Rivers state, how does the frog-eyed, pot-bellied creek Haramite feel? The truth is that he was never fit for power in the first place because he was born in the gutter. He crawled out of that gutter but the gutter never crawled out of him. His house-boy background has always haunted him and he has no class or character.

All the virtues in God’s heaven and on earth are alien to him and he cannot possibly comprehend them let alone espouse or imbibe them. That is why he has always behaved like an animal.

A creature from hell that orchestrated the arrest, detention and murder of hundreds of his own Rivers people by outsiders in a futile attempt to win power in Port Harcourt and capture the state is not worthy of public office, honour, decency or respect. He and his ilk are a sad reflection of what politics and politicians have turned into in Nigeria.

I would not put him in charge of my dog’s kennels or horse stables let alone a federal ministry or a state. They took the beast out of the bush but they could not take the bush out of the beast. When a pig wears lipstick it still remains a pig and it still stinks to high heavens. When you put a dog in a palace it still remains a dog and it will defecate on the rug.

That is what this Haramite is: a beast in the bush, a pig wearing lipstick and a dog in a palace all rolled into one. May God judge him for his psychotic barbarism and compulsive wickedness and may he pay a terrible price for this sociopathic disposition and vile inclinations both in this world and in the world to come. The blood of those that were killed in the 2019 election in Rivers state will haunt him forever.”

And he signs: “Femi Fani-Kayode and dates 6th April 2019.

Obviously that was not Chief Fani-Kayode. That was not his style of writing. Both Chief Fani-Kayode and I have written for practically the same newspapers over the years and I know his style. He would never denigrate, disparage or call a fellow politician names in public like that, if only to protect his integrity and educational values.

The wordings in that clip were more likely to have come from Fani-Kayode’s so-called image maker, Jude Ndukwe who, rather than build up the corporate image of his principal seems determined to destroy it by creating political enemies for him. These were almost the same words Ndukwe used on the controversial outgoing Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha when Okorocha’s aide, Sam Onwuemeodo and he were altercating acrid words in the presumption that they were defending their principals. Their un-homely guttersnipe brand of journalism which they saw as defence for their principals literarily compelled me to write “ Nigerian Politicians’ Advisers Must Be More Discreet ” which was published in the 19 December 2017 edition of ‘The Nigerian Voice’ newspaper. Now, Jude Ndukwe is at it again.

Fani-Kayode comes from a well known family in Lagos. And for that reason, Ndukwe seems fascinated about his “class.” But the way he goes about castigating public office holders and calling them unprintable names in the public domain certainly does not represent that class well by any stretch of the imagination. Even when we consider “class” on a broader level, we find that Nigeria, like many other democratic countries, has the business class, the political class, the students, the working class, the unemployed class and the bourgeoisie class among a few others. And although Chief Fani-Kayode comes from a respectable family, the truth is that both Fani-Kayode and Rotimi Amaechi now belong to the political class in Nigeria. They have belonged there in a long while.

Both of them know that even though people will always say something good or bad about a public office holder, it is always better to be in their good books, because government is continuity and even the children of politicians might decide to follow in their parents’ footsteps. We already have that happening in Nigeria.

Ndukwe must understand that portraying the image of his principal in this low-grade political style of throwing tantrums on other public office holders, no matter the degree of provocation or disagreement, is not doing his boss any good. Fani-Kayode is a man many Nigerians in the Diaspora love and admire, first because he is educated in one of the best universities in the UK and secondly because he is an avid writer who, like me, is using his writing to navigate Nigeria towards the attainment of true democracy and stable nationhood. So, when Ndukwe writes about other politicians with this dirty language, describing them as pigs, dogs and all that, he should be wise enough to know that he is reducing, not adding to, the public image of his principal in the eyes of the civilized world.

It is true that many people died in the Rivers state election process. But that was more because of the inefficiency of Professor Yakubu than any other thing. When Professor Jega was in charge of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the days of Jonathan, Nigerians did not find the elections difficult, even if it meant voting against the incumbent federal government. Jega was near thorough. And for that reason most Nigerians expected that on his appointment, Yakubu would have had a conversation with his predecessor to enable him learn from Jega what his problems were and what he would suggest for him, Yakubu to do, in order to step up the level of credibility of INEC, in national interest. But no! Who was Jega to advise him? And so Nigerians had to do the rough work they called the 2019 elections, for which individual politicians are now being castigated.

Something everyone must understand about the Rivers state election is that it was not a victory for Governor Wike and a defeat for Rotimi Amaechi. It was a victory for the PDP. And it was a challenge to the APC. Therefore, I think that it is high time Chief Fani-Kayode called his media aide to order. Many Nigerians in the Diaspora who hold Fani-Kayode dear, especially the Igbo who regard him as their son in-law are disappointed with the way Mr. Ndukwe is handling his principal. They are not impressed with his childish name-calling of those politicians who are on opposing camps with his principal. In decent politics, media practitioners try as much as possible to avoid giving the impression that occupying a public office is synonymous with “having power”. They know that the public office holder is the servant, not the master and that true power belongs to the people. So, when Mr. Ndukwe says Amaechi is “never fit for power” he again raises the important question of ideology among those who are saddled with the responsibility of moulding and maintaining the image of public office holders.

On a final note, it must be made clear to media aides like Jude Ndukwe that such a youthful outburst as calling a serving minister a beast, a pig and a dog simply portrays the writer as rude, disrespectful and immature regarding the level he should strive to place his principal. It portrays Nigerian journalists in bad light. In one sentence: that write-up was in bad fate and should never have happened. Yes. Next time, my friend Jude Ndukwe, a little more caution will help.

By Chief Sir Emeka Asinugo, KSC

Asinugo is a London-based journalist, author of ‘The Presidential Years: From Dr. Jonathan to Gen. Buhari’ (Vol. 1 & 2) and publisher of Imo State Business Link Magazine (imostateblm.com)

Emeka Asinugo
Emeka Asinugo, © 2019

This author has authored 167 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: EmekaAsinugo

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