By Ojike John Akiri
I am reasonably convinced that I would not be alone in imagining how so suddenly, our dear Senator Ike Ekweremadu has had his acknowledgeably amiable persona so wantonly distorted, with his hard earned reputation recklessly attacked and sadiscally flung into the abysmal cess-pool of infamy by the agents of conscienceless sensationalism.
But my late father had always warned that I should never depart from the age-long and tested adage that there are always two sides to any story, especially within the context of our acrimonious and fast degenerating multi-party democracy. If we care a hoot for the truth devoid of self-serving fables, we must recognize the sacro-sanctity of this seemingly casual clichÃ©.
Unfortunately, rather than abate, the current trend in character assassination through newspaper trials is fast spreading like wild fire even in the advanced democracies of the world. Otherwise, how could one have imagined the once reverred, charismatic and impeccably eloquent former President of France, Nicolas Sarkhozy,Â hounded into detention in what the French man politely terms â€˜une garde Ã vueâ€™, for no justifiable and conclusive reason than a bogus allegation peddled by a local newspaper calledÂ MEDIAPART, that the erstwhile Idi-Aminesque character and late maximum ruler of Libya, Colonel Muammar Ghadafi had funnelled into his account substantial bribes running into billions of naira, in order to finance his presidential electioneering campaigns held nearly a decade ago. The damage done to Sarkozy by this spurious allegation has been incalculable. It contributed in no small measure to forestalling his second term come-back bid, and generated so much negative sentiments that again foiled his intention to take over and re-organise the party apparatus of the French Republican Party.
Yes, call it the power of orchestrated lies or negative propaganda, but once released to the unsuspecting public the damage sets in like an unrestrainable chemical weapon. The current President of the USA, Donald Trump, had tried unsuccessfully by the special grace of God, when he nudged on the American people into doubting the genuine citizenship of Ex-President Barack Obama. Even today, the same President Trump in his familiar theatricals delivers â€œjudgementsâ€ on political foes via tweets, as prelude to the sack of targeted dissenting collaborators. We may note in passing that TrumpÂ is presently contending with the dilemma of whether or not to sack Mr Mueller, who presides over the Committee set up to assess the extent of Russian involvement in the last American general election.
Unfortunately, we have all become the unwilling victims of this canker worm, as we are so much in a hurry to consume any pull-him-down junk, disregarding the age-long notion of the presumption of innocence. This simply enjoins us to remain patient untilÂ such peddled â€˜factsâ€™ and â€˜advertised wrong doingsâ€™ are satisfactorily proven right by a court of competent jurisdiction, otherwise the helplessly maligned victims must of necessity be adjudged innocent. This is the critically essential ingredient of any true republican democracy that is worth its salt, unless we want to descend to President Putin of Russiaâ€™s hybridal brew of totalitarian-democracy, if the political scientists would permit me such an oxymoron or aberrant coinage. In Russia, Putinâ€™s agents would simply rake up one spurious allegation or the other against any formidable opponent that may legitimately be nursing the ambition to contest any elections against him, just to impugn on his integrity and finally destroy his credibility with the State-owned information machinery at their disposal. If the strategy is construed not to be speedily effective in clearing the coast for the de facto Monarch, the government simply goes for the poor aspirantâ€™s jugular by hauling him into prison. The latter should thank his star if he is not outrightly eliminated. Dissidents like Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovski are some of the few who have either sacrificed their dear lives or completely distanced themselves in understandable self-preservation, from the hazarduous brand of Putinâ€™s â€˜universal suffrageâ€™ democracy.
And back to the major topic of our discourse- I must sincerely confess that I have until today not met in person with the current Deputy President of the Senate. Nevertheless, as a responsible citizen of this country, who also should be concerned with what goes on in the nation, I have for long developed personal admiration for Senator Ike Ekweremadu. His carriage, comportment and statements, whether inside or outside the Parliament, clearly depict acknowledgeable decorum. Here is a gentle man that has hardly been caught on the wrong side of the numerous embarrassing theatricals that tend to mar the prestige of the Federal Parliament over these past years. Rather, you see him assigned delicate national responsibilities like the Constitution Review Exercise or mediating whenever occasions demand maturity or cool-headed sobriety for palpably positive results. And I have never heard him disappoint! He is never the busy-body rabble rouser that fanatically and doggedly glamourises self-serving over-sight functions for all they imply. I can bet you with my last breath that people like Senator Ekweremadu might have quietly constituted the arrow-head to the opposition of OBJâ€™s third term bid in polite rebuff, by advocating the transparent open-ballot system that offered no hiding place for the political adventurers. In fact, I would have almost wished that he declined the current Deputy Presidency of the Senate, realizing how bitterly resentful the greedy adepts of winner-takes-all must be, as we are already witnessing in his bare-faced persecution.Â But they forget to appreciate the wealth of experience and concomitant stability he has brought to bear on parliamentary proceedings. The candour and peaceful conviviality that have for so long characterized the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja must certainly owe a lot to his amiability and the savoir faire he deploys in the Assemblyâ€™s human management.
We have always appreciated his moderating influence when circumstances demand for the roll-call of bold unifying elements in the nationâ€™s shaky body polity. We recall his moderating and reconciliatory posturing at the height of the Nnamdi Kaluâ€™s saga. He will never be caught darting around with puerile and divisive hate speeches, suffused with brimming ethnicity that only drag us years backwards in the task of nation building.
Is that the man we should all close our eyes and fold our arms awaiting his mindless annihilation by the agents of baseless sensationalism in SAHARA REPORTERS. Those people have unfortunately been trying so hard to earn for themselves, especially in this particular case, the nefarious â€œtrophyâ€ of THE MOST HEARTLESS AND UNFEELING SLANDERERS.
Now read carefully and watch with your mindâ€™s eyes the pathetic version of the facts of this matter by Hon Ike Ekweremadu himself, which is so reminiscent of a Nollywood script. I weep for our beleaguered country, where the hallowed chambers of JUSTICE can be so incredibly desecrated, with the active connivance of the Templeâ€™s most trusted â€œCHIEF PRIESTâ€ and former Chief Judge of Enugu State in the person of Hon Justice Innocent Umezulike. Please read this brief excerpt from the explanation of Hon Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The emphasis is mine for clarity:
â€œAbout July 2016, former chief judge of Enugu state, Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike, in his capacity as the chief Judge of Enugu state at the time, together with his lawyer and barrister Tagbo Ike, in connivance with some politicians broke into the probate registry Enugu, took away my will, and left behind a photocopy.
They copied the properties listed in the will and added many imaginary properties and started churning out baseless petitions to government agencies and officials
â€œIn their petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for instance, they claimed, in demonstration of gross ignorance, that I was given money by the Federal Government to develop the South East geopolitical zone but that I used it to purchase 32 propertiesâ€.
And so, in effect, all the innuendoes and the insinuations pointing to â€œmonumentalÂ corruptionâ€, and alluringly served you and I as breakfast by Sahara Reporters were the results of this unthinkable misdemeanor, most unethical and high-wired conspiratorialÂ montage, master-minded by a one-time Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice (sic) Umezulike.
Where do we go from here, when even the vaults containing top secret and sacred WILLS of innocent citizens in a courtâ€™s probate registry can be broken into just to achieve the cheap black-mail of perceived political foes. The Holy writ says, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Today it may be Hon Senator Ike Ekweremadu, but whose turn would it beÂ tomorrow? That is why we are calling on the Chief Justice of the Federation to set up an investigative panel to unravel this unsettling development. The sadists and destroyers are at work to pull down Senator Ekweremadu, but I can assure them that they have stepped beyond the limits of the morally tenable, even as I join the Deputy Senate President in re-echoing that the wicked shall never go unpunished.
Chief O.J. Akiri is a former lecturer in scientific French at the Rivers State University, and a former Director-General in the Rivers State Ministry of Information and culture.Â