In an article entitled, “APC and the Politics of Demagoguery,” Dr. Austin Tam George, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, made a number of incorrect assertions based on false assumptions and outright falsehood. Ordinarily, it would have amounted to a waste of breath replying to his zealous but misguided and strategically erroneous write up.
However, in our African setting, the upbringing of a child is the collective responsibility of all the elders in the community. It would, therefore, be remiss of me not to put Austin Tam George on the right path for two related reasons: first, to assist him to focus on his job and, second, to set the records straight for the sake of history and posterity.
A little preamble would be apposite. Austin Tam George hitherto presented himself as a non-aligned, non-political activist canvassing for the good of Rivers State and Rivers people but he was actually looking for a job in the Nyesom Wike contraption. However, his methodology since he got his dream job creates the impression that he is pursuing an ethnic agenda clothed in PDP apparel.
Otherwise, how does one explain his favourite pastime of making sponsored attacks on the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari?
Let me advise Austin Tam George that his primary responsibility is to interpret the policies and programmes of the Rivers State Government to the residents of the state. If he is able to secure the understanding and acceptance of Rivers people and secure the reputation of the government, he would have succeeded.
He has a huge task in this respect. How does he persuade Rivers people who were disenfranchised by violence during the 2015 general elections that the government in place means well for them? How does he convince Rivers people that the insecurity that stares them in the face daily is a choice they made? That moral burden is not discharged even by a Supreme Court judgement.
Furthermore, it is also a fact that the APC is burdened by its avowed commitment to rebuild a country that was almost destroyed by the PDP. When the mass looting of our common heritage was going on, Austin Tam George and his current employers saw nothing wrong in it. Austin was blinded by his ethnic agenda. Fortunately, APC has chosen the path of truth and full disclosure to national rebirth.
The party does not claim to have solved the myriad of problems in Nigeria. We have repeatedly admitted that we met a mess that would require sacrifice by all Nigerians as well as time, to resolve.
PDP has its own problems that it created. It would, thus, be unfair for anyone to claim that the APC wants to see the PDP vanquished.
In the article under reference, Tam George disrespectfully took on the national chairman of the APC. For the umpteenth time, at no time did the National Chairman of the APC condemn or criticise the justices of the Supreme Court. When a fifth columnist posted that falsehood on social media, the APC chairman issued a statement denying it. Regrettably, people like Austin Tam George prefer to make unending reference to a falsehood that has been officially denied by the purported author.
Again, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the APC candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State did not at any time incite the military against Rivers people; rather it is Chief Nyesom Wike who keeps referring to the Nigerian military as Boko Haram army; consistently dismissing the Nigerian military as lacking the capacity to contain the insecurity he has engineered to exercise free reign in Rivers State.
For the avoidance of doubt, at no time did Dr Dakuku Peterside call for a purge of the leadership of security agencies. It is apparent that Austin Tam George is on a journey of mischief.
We have faith that in the March 19, 2016 re-run elections in Rivers State, Rivers residents will vote and their votes will count, unlike what happened in 2015 when the power of guns and militancy held sway. Now that Wike and the PDP will not have unlimited access to result sheets, they appear to have chosen maximum violence, which is the only path they know. Reports indicate that 24 persons were killed in one day in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA), while the Senatorial Office of Senator Magnus Abe was burnt in Bori, Khana Local Government Area (KHALGA).
Against this background, it is advisable for Austin Tam George to focus on working with his party members towards reconstructing the national leadership of their party to earn the support of Nigerians. He also needs to learn how to interpret the policies and programmes of Rivers State Government and change her image from notoriety to something positive. Otherwise, he would be remembered as a pseudo propagandist, a character who was diametrically opposed to himself, and sang discordant tones in accordance with the dictates of his pay master.
–Asoya is media aide to Dr Dakuku Peterside.