James Ibechi

Re: Smith Akoko, you goofed, avoid the pull down syndrome

By Smith Akoko

For the past few days, I have been a subject of attack by the angry social media war lords of the former House of Representatives member, Hon. David Ogewu, disgruntled over my extemporaneous interview with victims of the former legislator’s political tactic in Oju. With the said pack dominating the number of social media handlers from Igede, the cyberspace has, up to this moment, been awash with vitriols by even those with whom I share common bonds. But to my rising consternation is the publication with the above caption by my dear brother and friend, Idoko Marvins Agogo PhD (in view).

Mr. Akoko

Earlier last week, I chanced on the President of Igede Youth Council, Comrade Andyson Iji Egbodo, on his way to Holy Cross, Oju. A widow was hospitalized thanks to events that transpired at Hon. Ogewu’s crusade heralding his defection to Africa’s greatest party, the APC. The woman is mother to his Lagos-based friend, so he felt duty-bound to look after her health in his friend’s absence. I was to go with Andyson to sympathize with Mama. But against my wish and for want of time, I sent regards and fled.

A day after, I chanced on two widows in a market shop at Adum, boiling with rage over similar or worse experience. At the backdrop of the Holy Cross client’s experience, it behooved me as a news correspondents to, unprofessional as I was, source more information on the subject for an authentic reportage. It was to this end the videos making the rounds were recorded for subsequent transcription. And that is the reason for the wanton attacks and endless recriminations hitherto rending the air.

Like I said, Marvins is my friend and brother from Adum East. He is a scholar of international repute and earns my respect. He’s an inspiration to youths with passion for academic excellence, suffice to add. Even though Marvins is reputable for stopping at nothing to drag his brothers in the mud to please his paymaster – as crystallized by his violent harangue against Rt Hon. Samson Okwu, his uncle – his decorum on this subject matter is quite commendable. It tells how much our friendship means to him, and I’m not unappreciative of that. But there are a few things about the piece that blur logic and offend good conscience. First, one wonders why the piece was addressed to me instead of my respondents, well aware I shared no view whatsoever. Marvins and his cohorts believed the interview was stage-managed, and they have the right to think so. The question, however, is: were the verbal assults I received from the widows – who felt I was one of his principal’s stooges – also stage-managed?

Away from that, I was taken aback that Marvins accused me of an attempt to tarnish his boss’s image to benefit my purported candidate. Perhaps what he did not know is that I do not have a Reps candidate yet. Besides, with the myriad of facts at my disposal to argue my points against his candidate – were I to do so – character assassination would be needless. For example, people have been asking why an SSCE holder (being the highest qualification submitted to INEC in the last election) should present himself to represent a minority group like Igede at the National Assembly, where he would meet and argue issues with professors and lawyers inter alia as colleagues. That a prospective PhD holder of Marvins Idoko’s status roots for an aspirant with SSCE, as though Igede is bereft of more learned people, is their worry. Does he not think I could simply subscribe to this qualification school of thought rather than plan a movie in the guise of an interview? Or wouldn’t I rather ask the very question that earns their ire in what used to be APGA camp? Arising from bewilderment with his extravagant lifestyle, haven’t too many people sought to know Ogewu’s occupation, bearing in mind he’s but an SSCE holder? Couldn’t I have amplified the question if I was out for campaign?

Since this ugly outing of Marvins taking me to task which I find condescending, reactions consequent upon it have been of essence in my quest for what played out at the crusade ground in Oju. It has been alleged that Dr Marvins’s SSCE holder boss, Hon. David Ogewu, actually fibbed to the unsuspecting widows who came from the nooks and crannies of Igede to his crusade with high hopes of being empowered, as was the banality recited to them to ostensibly gather and keep them for use as political crowd. The aim, as said, was to create the impression before Dr George Akume and others that a mammoth crowd turned up for his defection ceremony by virtue of his popularity.

Which political party will not want to field a popular aspirant and offer him the party’s ticket? Why not APC? That was the scheme, and of course one whose beans would not have been spilled had the dust not been raised by the seemingly accidental interview with irate widows. But it would not have been so troubling or so worrisome had the widows not undergone the ordeals of starvation and of being chased out of the Church auditorium like animals, which they suffered after being used to score political points before party stalwarts from Makurdi and God-knows-where. That is the pain majority of them regretfully express(ed). And that is why they readily abuse whoever they believe is associated with Ogewu as they did me when they got mind of my affinity with the party that received him.

In the comment box of the ugly piece under reference, I saw a comment by a public affairs analyst and commentator, Mr Titus Ogoh, to the effect that Marvins’s claim that food and materials worth millions of naira were lavished on the suffering widows was a blatant lie. The same comment confirmed the authenticity of my interview with the widows and it reads: “All the women groups from Obi Local Government Area went home with deep-seated anger at the pit of their stomachs. No kobo or material thing was given to anybody. We must arrange our house again to avoid damage. The interview was not a staged one.” Now my audience and his know better who actually “goofed” and whether or not my videos are in any way reflective of “pull down syndrome”.

It may interest Marvins to know that because of the Ugbogo bridge which Hon. Ogewu constructed, I have no reason to appreciate him less, even though people abound in Oju who have contributed more to community development services without political undertone – never contested any election for the sheer fact of having executed a project or two, never obsessed with desperation as to coerce INEC officials to declare them under duress, never had entitlement mentality on any political office, and never envisaged the benefits from such office as recompense for kind gesture towards their people. Much as I do not believe Ogewu is guilty of these, rumours sweep through that they are the weaknesses feeding people’s doubt about his genuine intentions as some others say the experience of the Benue people with Governor Samuel Ortom is lesson enough to obviate further religious charade in politics.

That said, it is important to acknowledge that successfully joining the greatest party in Africa, the APC, is a feat worth celebrating. Indeed I celebrate with the former and visibly aspiring legislator. Only I hope that my brother, Marvins, understands that vilification was not intended with my video recordings, which is not to say I now doubt the widows’ account of their ordeals, or that we will not disagree as the political odyssey to 2023 is on course. That is in the event we end up with different candidates anyways.

Categories: James Ibechi

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