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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Anambra’s Field of the half baked: A response to Okey Ndibe

Anambra’s Field of the half baked: A response to Okey Ndibe
By Igboeli Arinze
I naturally have an appeal for Okey Ndibe’s write ups and I give it to him. Since 2007 his “Offside Musings” has been a regular delight of mine. In most of his pieces he sends the message even to the most adamant of his antagonists, and vituperate as you like, he’s done his bit, and will give no hoot even if you opened the gates of hell itself. Now that’s Ndibe for you.
However, Okey Ndibe’s recent column, last Tuesday stirred me a little, I had chanced upon it when some fellow,  a fan of the All People’s Grand Alliance, produced an excerpt of the article, where he had criticized Senator Chris Ngige for not living to his billing in the Senate, I scratched my head and wondered if there was another Okey Ndibe, or whether the writer was up to some mischief and had decided to make use of the Okey’s name to advance his futile course of marketing his candidate.
Due diligence, required that I checked up Ndibe’s page on facebook or on Sahara Reporters, and there it  stood, the write up like some old principal of yore, handed out lashes of koboko to his non-impressive students, first in line  were the duo of Andy Uba and his present nemesis, Tony Nwoye,  next was the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, for disqualifying some of her worthy candidates to pave the way for Peter Obi’s stooge in a Willie Obiano, an Executive Director of Fidelity Bank, a bank, Peter Obi is alleged to have a controlling interest in. For Obiano himself, Ndibe largely portrayed him as one more given to ethereal matters of life than the weightier dimensions of governance.
Next in line was Senator Ngige, whom Ndibe described as the top of the pack. At first it did seem that principal Ndibe’s whip would not crack, as he recalled Ngige’s immense achievements in the past, then came the crack, Ndibe had erroneously labeled Ngige as a poor performer in the Senate, accusing Ngige of going to sleep, thus losing a  little of the glitter his political image had exhibited since 2003.  The PDP then takes its share of strokes, first for its existence as a threat to a free and fair poll in Anambra and then for its fielding of two candidates for the forthcoming polls.
Ndibe then calls up Tony Nwoye and Andy Uba again for more strokes, owing to another litany of offences of which possession of false academic credentials, did stick out like some sore thumb for both of them.  Last but not the least was the new enfant terrible of Anambra politics, Mr. Ifeanyi Uba, who Ndibe berated for crass exhibitionism and in not many words described Uba’s gubernatorial ambition as morally bankrupt.
I am largely stirred because it seems that Okey Ndibe did not get his facts right on the Ngige angle of the write up and I say this with authority. Of the three senators representing Anambra in the National Assembly, Senator Ngige has topped the pack, superbly contributing his quota to debates on the floor of the senate as well as during oversight functions. Are we quick to forget how the Alor-born senator whilst performing one of his many oversight functions, recovered for PHCN container loads of barges which had earlier been auctioned by the Nigerian Customs? Can we not remember the senator’s speech on the floor of the senate where he shot down by virtue of his oratory the anti people bill by name the Trade Union (Consolidation) Act?
Can a Senator who has attracted more constituency projects to his people than his peers not only in the state but also in the country be said to have gone to sleep? On the issue of bills, it seems that Okey Ndibe has been bitten by the bandwagon bug; perhaps sadly he has bought into the falsehood sold by the senator’s detractors, otherwise he would have known that Senator Ngige did sponsor four bills in the senate, namely the National Health Bill, the National Health Insurance Bill, Anti Gay Bill and Farmers Registration Council Bill , also  Senator Ngige also moved a plethora of motions, most notable amongst these is the motion requesting that the Federal Government accord Professor Chinua Achebe, a state burial.
One would generally agree that these bills are not only significant but also have immense contributions to the welfare of Nigerians in general. Can an old woman learn new dance steps at her old age? Will Senator Ngige, after making his marks as a Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Health in charge of hospital services, and Governor of Anambra State now throw away the same values which have helped him thus far?
Senator Ngige as I speak now happens to be the only senator serving in seven committees in the senate, this obviously is an attribute of the senator’s inclination to hard work, in each of these committees the senator has been the toast of his fellow lawmakers, his Chairman in the Senate Committee of Power and Mines, Senator Philip Aduda describes Ngige as a goal getter and workaholic, even President Goodluck Jonathan at some point in time has paid glowing tributes to the man Ngige.
Ngige is surely no half baked candidate and should not erroneously have been featured in that piece, to describe the senator as mediocre and underwhelming is rather misleading. On residual goodwill, let me assure the Brown University Professor that ndi Anambra do not suffer from amnesia, armed with his good works and past achievements, the senator will surely win the gubernatorial election, one man, one vote.
One cannot accuse Okey Ndibe of mischief, far from it, but one would permit me to accuse Okey Ndibe of missing the point totally. Responsible journalism requires that one seeks truths from facts, that one checks one’s facts before going to the press with it. A writer like Okey Ndibe has a moral burden to ensure this.

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