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By Hon (Amb) Stanford Arinze Nwokedi

There are emergent realities from my last media intervention vis-a-vis the referenced Opinion which I published on 4th March, 2024. I must concede that the opinion was very much against the tide of public sentiments, unfounded as the bandwagon sentiments might be. I was not surprised, anyways. Therefore, I  decided, seeing the situation, to further elucidate the missed or misconstrued points so as to provide further perspectives that may help my readers appreciate the real issues in the discourse.

Let me confess also that I understood why many people repelled the impregnable facts I presented around the GEOMETRIC INTEGRATED POWER PLANT Project, especially in critically suggesting that it was wrong to allocate unfounded credits to the incumbent Governor of Abia State , His Excellency Alex Otti. Yes, it was expected that many respondents,  already swept off from their feet in what may be termed "the unprecedented" media-hyped infrastructural achievements of the Governor, would see nothing wrong in the misappropriation of credits and even the dangers involved in the over-politicization of the Project. It's understandable. Abia State had never had it  good at all. The State had, for 23 years, been backward with no pretentions about being one bit progressive. Going by Abia State standard, therefore, a 2-Km asphalted road or even half of such measure in Aba, is an Abia State record! That was how bad it was for Abia State! So, I sympathize with Abians, really.

However, particularly, what were the issues I  raised in the misconstrued media intervention?

There were many impregnable facts that the publication threw up for discussion, but which were not adequately discussed, deliberately or otherwise because of sentiments that warrant some Media operatives nickname such sentiments as "headless mob sentiments". Others call such sentiments "mob sentiments". (Apologies to those caught in the unfortunate web of self-deceit).

 I was in such situation in Imo State in 2011/12. Thank God I learnt in a bitter way. Praises intoxicate leaders and most often, they become victims of the addiction. They lose focus and falter fatally to everybody's dismay, unfortunately.

Firstly, the specifics of the Geometric Integrated Power Plant, as a private investment with undeniable Federal Government imprimatur was thrown up. I guess that was the crux of the matter. Nobody proved that wrong!  My sentiments in condemning wrong allocation of credits was in goodwill. Many saw it as being a show of envy and it leaves me wondering "WHY"? 

The assertion that it was a bad Politics to deny worthy contributors their merited accolades but allocating credits where they do not belong to,  was of the greatest goodwill to the Project, the Governor himself,  to our Region and our Country - Nigeria as a whole. Alas! Heaven almost fell, as wrong peer review comparisons were being hastily done! Who told these people I write for Imo State Governor still, I can't tell! So, for once being an appointee of Imo State Government, I should not own and hold opinions? Whatchamacallit!

Secondly, the politico-media hyping was also brought up. That was so amateurishly executed. The Governor of Abia State, HE Alex Otti, was caught pants down in a "denial game" when he denied in the National TV (Channels TV) with Seun Okinbaloye  that he was not aware that Ex-Gov Ikpeazu invested about $3.5m of Abia State money in the Project. He even denied having such in his handover note. All deliberate lies to court public encomiums as the one who fixed the Project!

 Beyond eliciting unnecessary and avoidable political issues for the opposition in the State to counter expectedly, it is surely going to send the "wrongest" of signals to the Federal Centre that the supportive efforts of the Centre were not acknowledged. And that has enormous consequences that are bound to adversely affect the Project. Such will not be in anybody's interests here as we are. Not to me and certainly not to the brainless praise-singers! That's how poor the National Politics has been played with the GIPP Project.

Do you know that until that my media intervention, many people had thought that Gov Alex Otti was the one who attracted and executed, from start to finish, the GIPP Project? And that the previous governors of Abia State, no matter how daft they were, were not in the picture? How rude does it now sound to such people that the FG through Ex- Minister Okonjo Iweala backed Prof Berth Nnaji, through ex-Govs Orji Uzor Kalu (that gave the initial waivers to Geometric Coy), Okezie Ikpeazu ( who led Prof Barth Nnaji to Egypt and South Africa to sign for the initial $50m loan from AFRIEXIM BANK and committed $3.5m of Abia State money to the Project as Abia State' equity) and other private investors for the Project to see the light of the day? Granted that Alex Otti as Bank Executive,  first with Diamond Bank and later with First Bank helped as a business venture in one way or the other in providing rewarded facilities for the Project , such does not warrant he owns all the credits being attributed to him. That was my drift!

 Why would Gov Alex Otti deny publicly of the investment of Abia State in the project because it was done by his predecessors? That was not leadership. That was playing to the gallery. That was in the worst interest of the Project, I dare say.

But please, let me ask some very salient questions: What is wrong in being constructively critical of a Government, a Governor or a leader? Why was the uproar untamed against efforts meant to re-focus the attention of Gov Alex Otti from the "frenziland" or euphoria of praises to the challenges he faces and unarguably risks having in the course of his governance?

From all looks of the matter, from my experience as a keen governance evaluator, I see danger ahead of this Abia scenario. Look at the shameful lies that there is now 24/7 power supply in Aba on the internet while there's 24/0 power supply practically there in real life. Someone wants to be the Internet Best Governor! Is that what Gov Alex Otti wants?

Unapologetically, I am resolute to say that His Excellency, Gov Alex Otti, apart from the roads he is reconstructing, recovering and rehabilitating, has yet to show leadership with his policies. Governance is not a beauty contest. A model for a Governor should not be "Ice cream selling". No! Unpopular policies bring about good governance. Positive Changes are resisted. Until Gov Alex Otti begins to record resistance, I want to sound it harder and better that he is yet selling Ice creams and not governing.

Let me end this with one unpopular political leadership decision taken by my Governor - the people's Governor and the "Shared Prosperity Governor", His Excellency Dist Sen Hope Odidika Uzodimma: the invitation of the Nigerian Military to Imo State and by extension, Igboland, to restore peace and security to the Region!

Do you know that all the sociopolitical, economical cum commercial fortunes of Igboland today owe it to that "unpopular" yet wonderful gutsy political leadership decision, including the Geometric Integrated Power Plant Project in Aba, Abia State and other projects in other States of the Eastern Region?

If you are in doubt, research and find out what delayed the GIPP Project, especially on the area of vandalization of the Project by our militant freedom fighters.

"Come'on don't provoke me with your..." --- Late Prof Obiozor.

Start typing and fighting naa. Wetin concern me kwánụ? 😎😎😎😎

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