History will vindicate the just (Peter Obi's response to Ukpakareports)

History will vindicate the just.
Peter Obi's response to Ukpakareports

 by Chuks Iloegbunam



Ukpaka Reports (Ukpakareports.com) describes itself as an impartial observer. It is uncertain that the owners and operators of this curious website intend to be taken seriously. There is this fictitious May 30, 2007 story it posted on Mr. Peter Obi, to which my attention was drawn only yesterday. I visited the site and could hardly believe the nonsense on publication. Peter Obi, claimed Ukpaka reporters, had escaped to Canada! Peter Obi, claimed Ukpaka reporters, was being silently investigated by the EFCC. Peter Obi, claimed Ukpaka reporters, had withdrawn the sum of N100 million from Anambra State 's accounts in the week before May 29, 2007. Peter Obi, claimed Ukpaka reporters, had blown N14 billion of Anambra's money in the 120 days of his post-impeachment governorship of Anambra State . Peter Obi's siblings, claimed Ukpaka reporters, had been placed on security watch by the EFCC!

The three As ÔÇô affordability, availability, and anonymity ÔÇô that make Internet pornography a booming business are rehearsing at Ukpakareports. The Ukpakareports website is little other than political pornography. It costs its champions very little to ventilate propaganda and vile lies. Their identities are hardly known. They reach a wide audience because the Internet is a superhighway. But they are engaged in prostitution. One of my acquaintances ÔÇô he lives in New Jersey ÔÇô telephoned the fellow behind the series of defamatory and scurrilous articles on Governor Peter Obi in Ukpakareports with the charge that he receives generous financial patronage from elements bent on hijacking power and the public treasury in Anambra State. This shameless hack acknowledged that he was a kept hand - and rationalized his treachery on the grounds that he had bills to pay!

Is the settlement of bills enough reason to cast aspersions on innocent people? Let me paraphrase a warning I read at the Lagos office of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) many years ago. Those who destroy others to succeed will have destruction waiting for them at the post of their success. Those who kill others to succeed will find death as sentinel at the post of their success.

I should not bother to comment on Ukpakareports but for two reasons. One is the wildness and inanities that fester in their so-called "authoritative" reports; the other is the gullibility of some sections of the reading public.

The bother is neither that Anambra State never had a Commissioner for Parks and Markets nor that Peter Obi never had a political appointee known as and called Obasie. I am rather appalled by the pedestrian import of the Ukpaka-scoop. The EFCC stands for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Not even the hyperbole usually attributed to sectional Nigerian press ever converted the EFCC into an intelligence arm of the Nigerian government. Under what heading, therefore, would the EFCC have placed Mr. Peter Obi's siblings on security watch?

If it was ever true that Peter Obi, a man roundly abused for and accused of unremitting frugality, suddenly spent N14 billion of Anambra State's money in a spare 120 days, as Ukpakareports "found," the onus was on this fiction-specializing "media" outfit to outline the areas in which the money was expended. No such details appeared in the report. If it is true that Peter Obi made wild withdrawals from Anambra's accounts, as Ukpakareports reported, will it not be true to point out that Andy Uba is Governor of Anambra State today and so has the right to know whatever withdrawals were effected from the state's coffers? Why did Ukpakareports not go the extra kilometer to authenticate its report by interviewing people in political authority in Anambra today to corroborate its story? Ukpakareports claimed that the EFCC is silently investigating Peter Obi. How come that a commission famous for loquacity suddenly decided to lose its power of speech and media touch when it came to broadcasting the corruption which Ukpakareports spectacularly "discovered" in Peter Obi?

Fair is fair. But it seems that filthy lucre won't allow some "journalists" to recognize this point. Mr. Mike Udah, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Peter Obi, told me he was in a telephone conversation with a certain Ikenna Ellis-Ezenekwe, whom he said was anchoring the anti-Peter Obi Ukpakareports from the Nigerian end. He invited the fellow to Government House, Awka, to interview Mr. Peter Obi, examine relevant documents and draw proper conclusions. Mr. Ezenekwe made promises, but never showed up. Instead he is carrying on with his so-called authoritative reports. Pray, when did it stop being a cardinal principle of journalism to listen to all sides of an argument? I wish to remind this gentleman that, as the great Nnamdi Azikiwe said, history will vindicate the just.

Mr. Peter Obi is not on the run. He has no reason to flee Nigeria, being one of only three Governors given a clean bill of health by the EFCC. Mr. Peter Obi is not in Canada. It is a mater of public record that he is in England at the moment. Recent press releases by Mr. Valentine Obienyem, his media assistant, underscore this point. So much for irresponsible journalism!

Chuks Iloegbunam is Mr. Peter Obi's Chief of Staff.