By Ushakuma Anenga
Not so fast, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, we live in a digital global village and all you say and do is on record, and will be put back to you when necessary.
Before I continue, suffice to assure you, a renowned personality of our time, of my highest regard. Your path predates my existence, of course, you were Senator of the Federal Republic in 1983 at the age of 34 (I’m not even 30 yet), but like you once said, “I have no reason to complain, but to provide the platform to allow a
young person to emerge because this society is much cleverer or, much more wise than we allow it to be”, I think I qualify as a young person and hope you will not treat me any differently.
Secondly, I’m not about to be drawn into the arguments, for or against the legitimacy of the candidature of Dr Samuel Ortom. The matter is before the court and it’s left for them, who are trained in that capacity, to decide. I only write in response of your article titled “WHY I SUPPORT THE GOVERNORSHIP TRIBUNAL CASE IN BENUE STATE“, being hawked on social media by some PDP apologists; where you stated very strongly 14 reasons for supporting the barrage of tribunal cases against Dr Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State.
Sincerely, I don’t write very often because I wait to be inspired or angered before I do so and I think the letter explains the driving force behind this one.
Sir, you are not new to the Benue and Nigerian political landscape. After your truncated tenure at the senate, you were appointed Minister of Power and Steel, and then, of Health. You went on to hold several ambassadorial roles in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and recently in Canada, but it’s your actions as the Director General of the Benue PDP gubernatorial candidate, Terhemen Tarzoor in the last election and thereafter that worries me.
It baffles me that as a very vocal proffessor and activist that you are, you never said a word all through the worst era in Benue State political and socioeconomic history under Former Governor Gabriel Suswam. Never! Now that the chiefs are down, you have been disinhibited and suddenly want the “right things” to be done in Benue State.
You rightly confessed during your acceptance speech when you were bestowed the task of leading PDP’s governorship campaign that “I was minding my business, enjoying my Christmas with my wife in Dayton, Ohio, in the United States when I saw a text on my phone from Governor Suswam, saying, “Could you please come home and head the PDP campaigns”. You forgot that while you were minding your business enjoying Christmas in the US, civil servants in your home state spent that same festive period hungry without salaries for the preceeding 3-4 months, primary school children had endured 9 months at home, pensioners were dying because of non-payment of their entitlements.
All these were not worth the ink of your pen. Even now that the state is sunken in debt and hit with all manner of industrial actions, you have not seen a single reason to identify with the peoples’ ordeal. Once more, your selective mutism has shown through.
You claim in your article that by supporting Tarzoor’s case, you fight corruption; why didn’t you speak up against the injustice, corruption and rot under Suswam? Where were you when salaries were being deducted and workers heavily taxed?
These are not rhetorical questions, I demand answers and I know I’m not alone in this. The time has come when our leaders will be answerable to the people and we are not going to accept whatever they say hook line and sinker. Things have CHANGED!
You said in your acceptance speech that “people are happier” under Suswam’s leadership for obviously sinister reasons. For if you kept your promise of going “door to door” to campaign for Tarzoor, even as he didn’t win, you would have seen the suffering of the people. This shows you have not been in touch with what is on ground, you are not in the same pit with the people as you claim and I’m not surprised that you can’t see how happy the masses are with the emergence of Dr Samuel Ortom.
You claimed in your article that you were one of Ortom’s principal supporters in the governorship race before he crossed over, but being a chieftain of the PDP notwithstanding, in your usual manner of minding your business, you watched as Suswam virtually forced Tarzoor’s candidacy through, despite the abundance of more competent and experienced hands at his disposal. Anything Suswam came up with was going to be your ” best thing that has happened to Benue”, now the cookie has crumbled.
You, of course as the DG of Tarzoor’s campaign must take responsibility of not “selling” your candidate properly. I suppose you all taught it was business as usual because all that that we got in response to our enquiry about Tarzoor’s competence was that fact that he was “the man wey sabi ” a phrase that remains unexplained till date.
You said in your article that and I quote, “It takes me a long time to make up my mind. But once it is made on a point of principle I brook no compromise with my conscience.” I guess it didn’t take that long for you to sign a press release immediately after the PDP lost the gubernatorial elections. In that document (which I possess), you said your candidate had reservations about the conduct of the elections but preferred to move forward in the spirit of greater Benue. You went ahead to wish Ortom and his wife a successful tenure as Governor and First Lady. You also said you considered the election results as the new wind of change and “enjoined all the citizens of Benue State to work for the success of Dr Samuel Ortom rather than pull him down as has been the culture of our people in the past”.
I leave you to judge for yourself your integrity and the justification for your new stance vis-a-vis what I have presented. One can only wonder what water must have passed under the bridge to warrant this change of mind in such a short period, by such an exalted personality.
I will conclude by quoting a large portion of your article in which I completely agree with you on all but it’s generality:
“We the Benue politicians in all the political parties have failed our generation, the younger generations, and the masses. We have all condoned corruption even when we were excluded or we excluded ourselves from it. Our masses live lives of degrading poverty. Our politics has derailed from responsible collective decision making to autocracy. We have polluted the entire political atmosphere with evil clandestine power, easy money and pleasure. This is the wrong path to good leadership. It is the path to perdition. We fight over corruption spoils like street dogs. We invent tiny specks to argue over so that political identities become rigidified, and anger stoked so that these petty fights can endlessly go on.”
With those unsolicited confessions, I urge you, our dear Prof, to continue minding your business as always, Benue people have endured a horrid period and we don’t see how Dr Samuel Ortom who is still trying to get the state afloat, will kill us.