A few days ago, the National Vice Chairman of South East Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP),Col.Austin Akobundu (retd.) had during a political parley announced that the former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, was not yet fully absorbed as full member of the party as his desire to return to the party was still being processed. The summary of his statement is that Chief Orji Uzor Uzor Kalu was yet to be formally readmitted into the party. Ordinarily, this innocuous statement would have caused the Chief Orji Kalu group to be more resolute in pursuing its readmission efforts into the PDP with vigour and vim. But to the attack dogs of Chief Orji Uzor Kalu(OUK), hell was let loose. In their warped imagination, what Col, Robert Akonobi said was a declaration of war on Orji Uzor Kalu.
I am totally shocked at the fall and fall of professional ethics in the Journalism profession as exemplified by what is happening in the Daily Sun newspaper. It is calamitous that the Daily Sun newspaper which was highly revered in the past has degenerated to the status of a gossip tabloid/ rag sheet which has become the veritable rubber stamp of its publisher, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu(OUK).In its frantic efforts to please its founder, the newspaper has become a shadow of its former self and this is a pathetic development, more so, taking cognizance of the calibre of personnel who are actively involved in this show of shame. In spite of the fact that the Daily Sun newspaper has since embarked on a roforofo /street fight against the age old dictums of objectivity and balance in the journalism profession, one had thought that the aberration was a whirlwind which would pass away in the short run. But we have watched with dismay how the Daily Sun newspaper has continued to dance naked in the market square in a frantic bid to please the publisher, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu.
I started this report by making comment on the harmless statement which Col. Akonobi (retd) made in a political parley about Orji Uzor Kalu’s desire to return to the PDP- a party he abandoned over seven years ago. It is despicable that rather than make a useful comment on this issue, Mr Ebere Wabara , the media aide to Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, went off the mark to start beating the drums of war in which he was threatening brimstone and hellfire on anybody or groups who would be an impediment in OUK’s return to the PDP.It is the inability of the PDP to checkmate the impunity of the like of the former, Orji Uzor Kalu(OUK) and his attack dogs in the Daily Sun Newspapers that is responsible for the incessant and interminable crisis in the PDP.It is pathetic that OUK who dumped PDP over seven years ago to found his own party is today forcing himself back on the PDP. By the way, how could a man who managed to use his emergency party, PPA, to produce governors for Abia and Imo States in 2007 not be able to use the two parties as a bargaining chip to have a red carpet treatment on his return to PDP? He simply squandered his political capital because of lack of leadership suave and vision. If OUK were the real leader he masquerades to be, he would not have been stranded in his bid to return to PDP.Issues like this compel one to begin to wonder how such people like OUK who manifest poverty of vision in decision making managed to become super rich even when he does not have the brain to optimize the opportunities arising from his control of ABIA and Imo states in 2007.Within just a short while after the fake victories in the two states, he fell out of favour with the two governors:DR T.A.Orji and Ikedi Ohakim. It is shameful that while OUK is stranded and begging to be accepted back in PDP, the PDP moved their Legacy House and Wadata Plaza including Aso Rock to Umuahia to give Governor T.A. Orji a hero’s return to PDP after he abandoned OUK’s PPA and a stint with APGA. If PDP continues to tolerate such arrogant and proud peacocks in their party, the party will never know peace and in the long run, it will fumble, wobble and even founder.
How can PDP be hobnobbing with a politician who is so full of himself so much that he does not have the humility to show respect to his state governor at a time he(OUK) is so desperate to return to the party.OUK is a very bad political influence on the youths of this country. If he knows that he is too big to defer to authority, he should emulate other rich Nigerians who in spite of their billionaire status show respect to their state governors. Most of them, like Dangote and Mike Adenuga who are super rich do not interfere in the politics of their states. How can a politician who desires to return to PDP allow his attack dogs in the Daily Sun to continually use the newspaper to tarnish the integrity of Governor T.A. Orji for no just cause. In spite of OUK’S alleged stinking rich status , DR T.A. Orji is in a class of his own- an alumnus of UNIBADAN and a hardcore technocrat to boot. While one can go to bed as a pauper and wake up the next morning as BILL GATES, one does not become a graduate overnight – not to talk of parading higher degrees. Governor T.A. orji does not reckon with that; the only language he and his friends in the PDP understand is the language of making money – anyhow ,anyhow – and becoming money bags. It is even shameful that Chief Orji Uzor Kalu who is touring and relating with great leaders in the world does not have an iota of respect for his own state governor , more so, a T.A.Orji who took risks to deliver and protect Governor Orji Uzor Kalu at a time the EFCC was desperate to deal ruthlessly with him. If Governor T.A. Orji had opened his mouth to squeal on the ignoble roles of the then Governor OUK, he would have been jailed like Ibori and Alamieseigha of Delta and Bayelsa states respectively.
I appeal to this reader to read the news story entitled “PDP MEMBERSHIP:Kalu replies Akobundu” on page 3 of the Sunday Sun of September 14.In that story, one of the media boys of OUK, the notorious Ebere Wabara and tormentor-in-chief on Governor T.A ORJI was threatening hell fire on whoever would dare think of stopping the glorious return of Emperor Orji Uzor Kalu to PDP. In his reaction to the clarification of Col Robert Akobundu(retd) that Chief Orji Uzor Kalu was not yet a returnee member of the PDP as he had not been formally readmitted, MR. Ebere Wabara who his fellow attack dogs of OUK in the Daily Sun Newspaper describe as a wordsmith frowned at “ Akobundu’s divisive verbiage and hate histrionics over the formalization of Kalu’s anticipatory grand return to the all-inclusive party he co-founded with other liberal minds at a time when most of these latter-day(secondary) joiners of the party parroting leadership and membership were unknown and had no economic or political pedigree whatsoever….” He then went wild in a fusillade of verbal attacks on Col. Robert Akonobi(retd.) and others in the party in Abia State and beyond. He concluded by saying that “ All the gibberish about Kalu’s PDP recertification, formal reception, imposition……is justificatory balderdash”. Is this how a media aide to a prospective member of a party should address Col.Akonobi(retd), more so, since he is the Vice Chairman of the South East Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).This Ebere Wabara is one of the bad boys in the Daily Sun Newspapers whose stock in trade is to attack Governor T.A. Orji in a manner that is shocking to any media professional. In his desperation to please his pay master, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, he descends to the market square to dance naked in attacking Governor T.A.Orji.He is a student of academic bombast, high-falutin obscurantism and obfuscation as he plays to the gallery in his penchant for impressionistic verbiage which he uses to attract applause from the uninitiated and the unwary. However, as a media professional who cannot be deceived by his tantrums and abuse of professional ethics, I have called his GSM line severally and pleaded with him to turn a new leaf and use his writing skill to broker peace and reconciliation between his master, emperor OUK, and Governor T.A.Orji.He remained obdurate and recalcitrant.
In my last chat with him a few days ago, he shouted at me and asked if I was on the pay roll of Governor T.A Orji of Abia State. I told him that “I have never seen Governor T.A Orji before in flesh and blood. The last time I visited Abia State(ABA) was over four years ago and I do not even know where Abia State Government House is located. The last time I was in Umuahia was around 2006.So, I am not on the Governor’s pay roll, but I was born in Abia State and part of me is still in Aba –the Enyimba City”. In a riposte, he shouted at me and asked ”If so, why then are you involved in what is happening here? If a politician has used his money to set up a newspaper, what is wrong in using it to fight for him? Perhaps, on a lighter note he said: “But my brother, you are blowing big grammar…”. Haba “! I swiftly told him that I had to step up my diction because he(Wabara) was often referred to as a wordsmith who was often mired in academic obscurantism and obfuscation. We both laughed heartily and I pleaded with him to calm down and partner with the other editors in the Sun Newspaper to broker peace and reconcile the two combatants, OUK and Gov.T.A.ORJI.I severally held similar chats and exchanged text messages with the top editors of The Sun Newspapers including the Managing Director, Femi Adesina, Onuoha Ukeh and Eric Osagie. They would all emphasize on the need to use a newspaper to fight for a publisher who was in the political storm. One of them asked: What is the need of setting up a newspaper if it cannot be used to support a politician in a time of distress? I told each of them that there was a need to exercise caution and circumspection and that they had carried their support to their publisher to a level of absurdity and there was a need not to compromise professional and ethical codes of the media profession.
The point being made here is that the PDP is encouraging unnecessary radicalism and lawlessness in the political arena by turning a blind eye to the excesses and impunity of the money bags in their midst. This is why they will continue to lose governorship elections in liberated states like Imo and others. There is something intrinsically bad in a situation where Orji Uzor Kalu who desires to return to PDP does not have an iota or scintilla of respect to the incumbent governor,DR. T.A.Orji and Col Akobobi who is the highest party man in the zone and yet the party chieftains cannot call him to order. In normal societies, such a recalcitrant politician should have been shut out indefinitely until he shows penitence and remorse and gets a nod from the governor of his home state and other party leaders in the State. If OUK and his press boys in The Daily Sun newspaper can be acting like a bull in a China Shop at a time he is seeking to be accepted back, what manner of party man is he going to be when he eventually actualizes his return. This is the stuff of which interminable intra-party crises are made.
Even, the Daily Sun newspaper has become an implacable hater of PDP and the top leaders of the party. They are more favourably disposed to the like of Buhari and APC than to PDP, President Jonathan and Chief Obasanjo.A content analysis of the Daily Sun columnists’ reports will show clearly that the editorial policy of the medium is anti-PDP and yet the publisher is Chief Orji Uzor Kalu who is desperate to return to PDP. While this selective dichotomy persists, OUK does not give a damn while other top leaders of the PDP hobnob with him because he is said to be stinking rich. If only the leaders of PDP knew how much damage the editorial policy of Orii Kalu’s newspapers have caused them, they would keep a temporary distance from OUK .PDP is a political party that is not capable of building strong political institution because the leaders worship money and filthy lucre. This will be their nemesis in states like IMO State in the 2015 governorship election. How do I mean? In Imo State, the Party is made up of a cross section of men and women of integrity who have been loyal to the party over the years.But we are hearing that the party is planning to give its 2015 governorship ticket to some prodigal sons who just returned to the party a short while ago. It’s only the PDP that will be hobnobbing with such a suicidal idea of abandoning loyal party members in preference to political party opportunists who jump from one party to the other in search of power and filthy lucre. The electorate is watching PDP and once it actualizes this sabotage of giving its governorship ticket to those who returned to the party just yesterday, the electorate will move against them and they will lose again in 2015.In summary, there is a need for PDP to checkmate the rascality and impunity of the money bags in the party. The like of Orji Uzor Kalu must be asked to go home and reconcile with his governor or forget it. He is not indispensable, more so, at a time his once intimidating influence has collapsed with a thud. This issue will be elaborately discussed in future reviews.