By James Ibechi
In the heyday of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), corrupt practices and all manners of sleaze were allowed to eat so deep into the moral fabrics of the Nigerian society to the extent that some corrupt public officers who were swimming in the waters of corruption, unfortunately regarded the social malaise as a norm. For them, corruption is normal.
It is either so, or it is because of moral bankruptcy on the part of those public officers that the maxim, ‘he who comes into equity must come with clean hands’, seems to have lost a meaning on them.
Or how does one explain a situation where a former Interior Minister, Abba Moro, despite having his public image so battered on
account of the gunrunning saga and the Immigration recruitment fraud, still wields the effrontery to criticize an unblemished Deputy Governor Benson Abounu?
Mention Moro in any circle, many Nigerians will aptly remind you that the former minister superintended over the profound Immigration recruitment fraud in which a fictitious company allegedly owned by him, in collaboration with the wife of former Senate President, collected application fees to the tune of over N3.5billion from hapless applicants.
In that recruitment tragedy, over 20 lives of applicants were lost, of which a criminal allegation is still hanging on the ex-minister’s neck.
One then wonders where lays Moro’s moral right to slam Abounu who many believe, unlike Moro, to be unblemished.
The former interior minister had in a press statement, according to Sunday Trust, credited Abounu’s political success and all the previous high-grade public positions that the deputy governor occupied at various times in the past, to David Mark’s influence, and while taking a swipe on Abounu, Moro alluded that the Benue number two man had frittered the opportunities Mark provided for him by not bringing any return to Idomaland to show for what Mark did for him.
Furthermore, besides calling Abounu an ingrate for supporting Daniel Onjeh instead of his benefactor Mark, Moro criticized the deputy governor over the position of SSG, which he said Abounu has allowed to be taken away from Idoma under his watch, for the first time.
Moro ought to know that Abounu left the PDP long time ago and had been in the trenches against the party. After he was nominated alongside Dr. Samuel Ortom to run on the ticket of the APC, Abounu led the onslaught against PDP in Zone C. He has since then remained the political leader of the party in the zone and his loyalty is to the APC and not PDP. One would then wonder why Moro would want the deputy governor not to be partisan in the case of Onjeh versus Mark.
Also, Moro should remember that it was Abounu who fought for the return of David Mark from exile in Ghana in 1999 and gave him all the needed support that led to his election into the Senate. Same Abounu facilitated the election of Moro as chairman of Okpokwu LGC after several failed attempts at winning even a councilorship seat. Yet, after all that Abuonu had done for Moro, what did the deputy governor get in return from the ex-minister? All he got is blackmail and instigation of Mark to remove him from the Board of NTA.
In 2003, when everybody deserted Mark, Abounu stood solidly behind him. Where was Moro then?
In 2007, Idoma’s chances of becoming Governor of Benue State were very bright. However, because of the inordinate ambition of the likes of Moro, the Idoma contestants could not unite in support of one candidate. Consequently, Idoma lost the governorship to Suswam. As such, Moro and his likes were the traitors in Idoma nation who were at the root of the loss of the governorship.
Abounu’s position when he was a Commissioner in the administration of George Akume benefited Idoma nation in no small way. He attracted many dividends of democracy to Idoma and records are there for anyone to verify.
Besides contributing his quota to the development of Idomaland, effort, which Abounu has never relented upon since his foray into politics, he was the first to come out or the only one who contested the governorship from Idomaland during the election that saw late Moses Adasu enthrone as the state Governor. It was the interest of Idoma in his heart that drove Abounu to come out for that election when no other Idoma politician dared to.
It is regretful to submit that, if all Moro said David Mark did for Abounu in 16 years of representing Idoma people at the senate, in his critique of the deputy governor, is what should be done, it means his master has not done enough. He should be considered as a failure.
I would want to remind Moro that Abounu is not in his category. The deputy Governor over time has lived a decent life without blemish, unlike Moro who is known with all traits of criminality.
In conclusion, Moro should stop lamenting. It was his oga who once exhorted Idoma nation not to be in opposition. Idoma can, therefore, not afford to be in opposition, indeed.
*Ibechi is Special Assistant on ICT/Media to Benue State Commissioner for Information and Orientation