Former Governor Udenwa

Former Governor Udenwa

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In his book entitled”Nigeria/Biafra Civil war: My Experiences”, the then Imo State Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, wrote thus:”There is this story of a Nigerian minister who went to a conference in another country. His counterpart in that country took him to his country home. It was such a beautiful building. The  Nigerian Minister  asked  his counterpart how  he  managed  to  build  such a house. The counterpart replied:”You see that bridge there (pointing at the nearby bridge), 10% of it is this house.” When next the  same  conference was  being  held  in Nigeria, the  Minister invited  that  his  counterpart to  his  own  country  home(i.e.  in Nigeria). The visitor was startled at the state-of –the-art mansion. He quickly asked:”How did you manage?  The  Nigerian  Minister  replied:”You  see that  valley  there(pointing at a  nearby  valley), there is  supposed  to  be a  bridge  there; that  bridge is this  house.” The above statement  by  DR. Udenwa clearly defines the level of corruption in Nigeria. It is a hydra-headed monster that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society. Please read White Paper Newspaper of   7th-8th November, 2011, page 3 which is an excerpt from the serialization of Achike Udenwa’s book:”Nigeria /Biafra Civil War-My Experience.”Alternatively ,  you  may  wish  to   read  the   actual  book  in  order  to  understand  the   context  of  usage  and  how  the  cankerworm  of  corruption  has   become  deeply –embedded  in  the   foundational    structure  of the  Nigerian   nation.

It  is  interesting  to  note   that   DR. Achike  Udenwa  who  was  Imo  State   governor  in the  period, May 29th, 1999-May 29th, 2007,  is  one  of  the  few  former   state  governors  who  were   given  a  certificate  of    clean   health   by  the  anti-graft   bodies(EFCC/ICPC) after  he   left  office  as  governor  thus culminating  in  his  appointment  as  Minister   in  the  administration  of  the  late  President  Musa Yar’Adua. So,  his   comment  on   the   state  of  corruption  in  Nigeria  should  be  seen  as  a  frank  and  candid state  of  affairs on  the  bogey  of  corruption  in  Nigeria. The  object  lesson  of  Dr Achike Udenwa’s   lamentation  on   corruption  is  that   corruption  has   become  a  carcinogenic   virus  in  the   country to the  extent  that  if we  do  not  kill  corruption,  corruption  will  kill  us. This  is  why  it  behoves  every Nigerian, irrespective  of  his  political , ethnic  or   religious  affiliation,  to  give  President,  Muhammadu  Buhari  the   necessary   support  in  his  war  against  corruption. In spite  of   the real  and  perceived  shortcomings  of   Buhari’s  war  on  corruption, he   has   blazed  a  trail  in  his  courage to  frontally  confront  the  monster  of  corruption  by  probing   the   immediate   past   government  that  handed  over  to  him. The  fact  that  I  did  not  cast   my  vote  for  either  the APC  or President  Buhari  is  immaterial. There  is  a  national  outcry  that    his  war  on  corruption  is  skewed  against  the  Peoples  Democratic  Party(PDP). Yes, there  is  an  abundance of  evidence  to  lend  credence  to  this   allegation. But  President  Buhari  has   started   a   task  which  no  administration  in  the  past   was  able  to  embark  on i.e. the  courage  to  probe    past   acts  of  corruption,  more  so, probing a  predecessor   administration. By  embarking  on  this   courageous   task, President  Buhari  has   set  an  agenda  of  probing  past  administrations. Those  who  allege   that  there  is   partisanship  in  the   war  on  corruption, should  calm  down  and   work assiduously  to   win  the  2019  poll  so  that   they  also  can   probe President   Buhari’s   administration.

It  may  not  be  easy to expect  President  Buhari  to  probe   some  of  the   alleged   corrupt  members  of  his  party,  more  so,  since   these   perceived  corrupt  politicians    funded  his   presidential   electioneering. Such   perceived   corrupt  politicians-  and  they  are  so  well  known-  should  be   severely  probed   when  another   political  party   takes  over  the  levers  of  power, say in 2019 or  so. It  is  despicable  that   at  a  time  a political  party  like  the PDP  should  put  its  house  in  order,  it  is  dissipating   so  much   energy  in  intra-party  crises. It  is  provocative  that   the Imo State  PDP  which  lost  the   governorship  elections  in 2007,2011,  and  2015  is  still  unable  to   conduct  a  simple   congress  election  at  the   ward, local  government   and  state   levels. This  shows  that  the  PDP  in  Imo  state  has   not  learnt  any  lessons  from  its  previous  travails. It  is  for  the  sake  of  people  like  the    members  of PDP  in  Imo  State  that  the   revered  scholar , George  Santayana,  once  posited  the  maxim: ”Those  who  do  not  learn  from  history  always  repeat  their   mistakes.” It  is  the  wish of  any   good  citizen  in  Imo  State, especially  those  who  do  not   belong  to  any  political  party,  that   there  should  be  no  intra-party or  even  inter-party   crises  in  the  political  parties  in  the  state.  This is the only way the   state can make   genuine progress. We  pray  for  a  harmonious  relationship  among  the   various  political  parties  in  the  state.

Finally, it  is  my  advice  to  Governor  Okorocha  to   ensure  he   emulates  the   example  of  President  Buhari   in  probing  the   predecessor  administration  prior  to  his   ascendancy  to  power ; of  course,  this applies if  he   feels  there  were    cases  of  corruption. So,  Governor  Okorocha   must   take  adequate  steps  to  screen  the   immediate   past  administration; this  is  to  guard  against  any  complaint  in  the  future  that   a  future  administration  is   carrying  out a probe that  is   skewed  against  his  administration. So,  he  should  decide  what  to  do  with  his    tenure  now  that   he  is  controlling  the  levers  of  power.

This is   the morale   of  Buhari’s   ongoing  war  on  corruption. President  Buhari  knows  full  well  that the  next  administration  will  subject  his  administration  to   scrupulous scrutiny.

Finally, one  feels  disorientated by  the  spate  of  denials  from  the   members  of PDP in  Imo  state  in  regard  to  the   over  N1 bn  which  was   allegedly   collected   by  the  Presidential  Campaign  Committee, Imo  State in  2015. It  is  distressing  that  up  till  now,  nobody  has   accepted  that   he  collected  the  money. One  of those  who   was  alleged  to  be   involved  in  the   scheme trivialized  the  issue when she said  that   a  bullet  should  be   shot  in  her  head  if  she  was  found   guilty,  while  others treated  the  matter  in  a  perfunctory  and  cavalier   manner.  Well, nobody wants to bludgeon or decapitate   anybody’s head. The   simple   answer  to the question  has  yet  to  be  addressed  i.e. who collected  the   money  and    how  was  it  shared? In  Oyo  state, Chief  Olu  Falae  said  ,”Yes, I  collected  the  money  and  disbursed  to  the   party   officials of  Social  Democratic  Party(SDP)”. In Enugu  state, Chief Jim Nwobodo  said  ,that  he  actually  collected  the  money  and   remitted  to   the  other  groups. That  was  the   situation  in  other  states. It  is  only  in Imo  State  that   nobody   has   owned  up  to  collecting  the  money; yet,  nobody  has   said  that   the  Presidential  Campaign  Committee  in  Imo  state  was   not  given  any   funding. Some  of  these  shenanigans  and   intrigues  from  the PDP  in  Imo  State   do not  go  down well  with  the   members  of  the   citizenry, more  so,  those  who  had  sympathy  for  the  PDP in  the  2015  elections. The  PDP  in  Imo  State  should  strive  to outgrow  petty    and  mundane  crises in  order to put  its  house  in  order.

JOHN MGBE

johnmgbe@yahoo.com