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Opinion: Abia State Government And Their Lying Ways

By Nnanna Ijomah – The late American president, John Kennedy during a Yale commencement ceremony speech sometime in the 60’s said this, “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived and dishonest-but the myth-persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. ‘ He continued by adding “Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to the prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”. To which the prominent author Friedrich Nietzche wrote and I quote, “I am not upset that you lied to me. I am upset that from now on I can’t believe anything you say”. For me personally, I believe that ‘when the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a liar”, hence my decision to write this article, since hypocrisy is an insult to my intelligence.

Which brings me to the main issue of this write-up,- the lying ways of the Abia state government. Personally I can’t stand lies. Probably no one can. Possibly, everyone is, to varying degrees, allergic to them both spiritually and physically. Lies make me feel low and ignoble. The only thing worse than hearing a lie is telling one. With the inauguration of the Ikpeazu temporary government, it does appear a new set of sycophants are now in business. During the Ochendo regime, they had the likes of Madubuko Hart, a degenerate liar and sycophant who wrote his political diatribes in the comfort of a Lagos beer joint. Today it is one Mr Godwin Adindu and Mr Ojo Maduekwe, one time Minister of Tourism and Culture and later Foreign Affairs during the Obasanjo regime. How are the mighty fallen? That a former minister and Ambassador will stoop so low as to accept the job of a Media Adviser to a temporary governor is not only disheartening and disappointing but rather a testimony to how low some people will go to remain in public lime light.

Not too long ago, these two men published articles in THisDay magazine in which they tried the best to justify their paychecks in extolling the virtues of Dr Ikpeazu while at the same time casting aspersions on Dr Alex Otti. While Mr Maduekwe tried to bore us with convoluted details of the so-called ongoing biometric exercise, his side kick Mr Adindu decided that the best way to earn the praise of his principal was to tell all manner of lies about the ongoing road construction in Aba, as well as using some foul language towards Dr Otti.  Drenched in contempt Mr Adindu wrote a sham article devoid any coherence and refined articulation and in the process perfectly captured two of his collective least redeeming yet demanding traits, which are perpetual vindictiveness and lying. No wonder his treatise was full of a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, fabrications and sycophancy. That this man has to walk on the perilous confines of mendacity is not only depressing but unfortunate.

Lets look at some of his lies. His claim that Abia state had the freest and fairest elections is not only preposterous but also nauseating and sickening. It is true that Public relations professionals like diplomats are people paid and sent out by government to lie, but to tell such a lie when the entire world knows that the Abia elections was a travesty is to say the least the height of mendacity. It is taking the art of lying to a new low. As if this one lie was not enough, he proceeded to lie about the road contracts in Aba. As expected he would not tell us who the contracts were awarded to or the cost which I am reliably informed is twice the previous cost to the same company. Again he talked about the nature and personality Of Dr Ikpeazu, a man he says they call Doc as if having a PHd is synonymous with intelligence and competence. Dr Ikpeazu , he wrote was trying effortlessly to sustain his image as a doer. Now wonders will never end. Seems like he has forgotten so soon that this was the same man the people of Aba named ‘Onye Doti’. A man who could not perform a credible job of keeping Aba clean as head of the environmental agency. The same man whose incompetence and ineptitude is the reason why Aba is as dirty as it is today.

The fact that he also tried to compare Dr Ikpeazu with the accomplishments and antecedents of Dr Alex Otti is as incomprehensible as it is laughable. There is no way anyone in his right senses will compare or place on equal footing the accomplishments of a failed environmental deputy to a highly successful and renowned banker like Alex Otti, a former CEO of the 4th largest bank in the country. When it comes to foreign exposure and stature, Dr Ikpeazu is a liliputian compared to Dr Otti. For someone who calls himself the chief Press secretary of a state government I had expected some level of intellectual discourse. But Mr Adindu is far from being erudite. My advice to him is to go get some writing lessons and tutoring on the fine points of journalism or public relations because he is a disgrace to the fraternity of journalists.

Now back to Mr Maduekwe, a self -professed sycophant who has turned sycophancy into an art form. In his article he talked about transparency and efficiency-two words that are alien to the Abia state government, both past and present. What is transparent about a government that does not have the guts to tell its citizenry how much money they found in the state’s coffers after they were sworn in?. What is transparent about a government that will not tell us how much the Aba road contracts were awarded for and to who? What is transparent about an administration that lies to members of the state Assembly in order to get them to approve a request for a loan of30 billion Nair?. An approval which Assembly members from APGA have since disassociated themselves from. What is transparent about a Governor who after promising to cut his salary by half will not tell us how much he allocates to himself as security vote each month? Money he does not have to account for. What is efficient about an administration where a media aide says one thing and is contradicted the next day by the Governor’s economic adviser? I can go on and on about how dysfunctional the Abia state government is.

The new lie being perpetrated by this government through Mr Maduekwe as evidenced in his treatise as the reason why salaries of most workers are still unpaid despite the Governors promise to do so before the 24 of every month is that of the presence of ghost workers. To buy more time we are now being told that they need to complete the biometric exercise before these suffering masses can be paid. The fact however is that these flimsy litany of lies, excuses, concepts and rose colored promises add nothing to the dismal existence of these poor workers and pensioners. The people are tired. No more specious theories and cherry explanations about their salaries. They just want to be paid. It is very disheartening that 2 months since his inauguration Dr Ikpeazu cannot expose or indict his godfather T A Orji. It would appear that his new mantra when it comes to Ochendo is, ”see no evil, say no evil”. This is a man who rendered the state destitute by stealing most of its money and yet Dr Ikpeazu keeps protecting his bad name. Is it not funny that one of his political lackeys like one Mr Chima Ubochi who lives in Germany in a recent online publication bemoaned the way Ochendo emptied the state coffers yet Dr Ikpeazu carries a sign on his forehead that reads, “my lips are sealed”. Of course, the reason for his silence is not far-fetched. The reason is simple. Saying anything bad about Ochendo will be

tantamount to incurring the wrath of T A Orji who in retaliation will be forced to reveal damaging details on how the election was rigged in Dr Ikpeazu’s favor. So for now or forever ‘silence is golden’.

With regards to Dr Ikpezu’s salary cut promise , if I may go back to that issue, it may be true that he truly intends to cut his salary by half but like all good liars it is only a half truth. The fact that there is truth in the assertion does not mean it is not deceptive. A liar knows he is a liar, but he who speaks portions of the truth to deceive is a craftsman of destruction. According to the words of Andre Malraux , ‘A man is not what he thinks, he is what he hides’. In my opinion, Dr Ikpeazu is the man who was given a choice of two bags, one is a bag of lies and the other is a bag of truth and he picked up the bag of lies. Sooner or later he will discover that the bag of lies is much heavier to carry around. The man may not suffer fools gladly but there are a lot of fools around him and he has put himself in the fools suffering business. His constant discomfort in running the affairs of the state is the agony of suppressed ineptitude. But he stiltedly trudges along, treating his job as a public relations chore he must endure until the tribunal relieves him of the burden. In an attempt to secure public acceptance, he continues to steal ideas from Dr Otti’s governance play book. For a man who has no original ideas of his own , it is a very smart thing to do. But as the saying goes, ‘some people can only be imitated and not duplicated.”. I personally do not mind the copying from Dr Otti’s administrative template, after all it is said that “imitation is the best compliment’. For now all he needs to do is to steal as much money as he can from the security vote until the tribunal shows him the door.

Regarding his media team of sycophants, the lies they tell us and themselves to keep us from seeing what and who they really are don’t feel like lies. To them they are comfortable, familiar and true. They repeat it like a mantra and cling to them like security blankets, hoping to calm themselves and regain the sense that their administration functions the way they believe it ought to. But self lies are false friends we look up to for comfort and protection and for a short time, they make us feel better. But we can only keep the truth at bay only for so long. These men continue to luxuriate in the purity of their own irrelevance and as Hitler once said have decided that “if you tell a lie long enough, and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed’ But they can deceive the people some of the time and even most of the time but cannot all the time. Abia people are very smart people and in time will see this government for what they are, a bunch of degenerated liars.

Sooner or later, maybe, just maybe before they leave office, the temporary Governor and his band of media sycophants will discover that there is beauty in truth, even if it is painful. That those who lie and twist the things they say so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant and powerful to the weak will one day fall victim to their own folly. They will also someday, hopefully realize that lies only strengthen our defects. They don’t teach us anything, help anything or cure anything, nor do they develop one’s character, or one’s mind, one’s heart or one’s soul. Today in Abia state, the PDP circus animals have taken over the circus arena. What the Abia people need now and have been hoping and praying for is for Dr Alex Otti to come in and restore order by putting the animals back in their cages where they belong. To all those who think they can crawl out from their holes and write their spurious diatribes against Dr Otti , we are putting you on notice, because we will come after you with no restraints whatsoever. This is a fair warning.

Nnanna Ijomah (Bsc MA) is an Abia state resident of New York City and a former Assistant to Emeka Ojukwu



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