By Solomon Okocha
The senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Distinguished Senator Andrew Uchendu, OON, will never reduce himself to the pedestrian level where Simeon Nwakaudu, the Special Assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on Electronic Media, operates, by replying to the above-mentioned article.
I am, however, compelled to personally respond to Nwakaudu’s diatribe against Senator Uchendu in order to set the record straight because silence implies consent.
I cannot sit back and allow the name of a virtuous and well-accomplished statesman like Senator Uchendu – a recipient of the prestigious National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) to be demeaned on the pedestal of misinformation, hatred and pettiness.
Judging from Nwakaudu’s sorrowful tone in his ridiculous write-up, it is now clear to Rivers people, and indeed Nigerians that, Governor Wike and his boys have decided to forever remain terribly bitter over Senator Uchendu’s resounding victory at the December 10, 2016, Legislative Re-run Election in Rivers East Senatorial District and at the Appeal Court on August 24, 2017.
However, the hard truth is that no amount of wailing or gnashing of teeth can reverse Senator Uchendu’s victory at the re-run poll and the subsequent affirmation by the appellate court. Wike and his boys must wake up from their miserable slumber and face reality; Uchendu remains the senator of the constituency that accommodates Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt. He is Wike’s senator!
It is absurd that Nwakaudu, a man who calls himself a journalist, could refer to the sack of George Sekibo by the Appeal Court as an “illegal exit”. Since when did the court of law become an institution that makes illegal decisions?
Was it the appellate court that imposed Sekibo – a man who unfortunately reduced lawmaking to a ‘whistle-blowing and kindergarten business’ on the people of Rivers East Senatorial District? Nwakaudu must learn to respect the judiciary, or else, he should be shown the way out of the noble journalistic profession, whose ethics does not permit any form of disrespect for constituted authority.
It is quite laughable that Nwakaudu attributed the ‘cooking of election results’ to Akin Fakorede and the Police High Command, when the fact before the public domain is that Wike was the very person who was caught on tape while he was planning to rig the re-run poll.
Is Nwakaudu not aware that 23 INEC officials, who confessed to have received N360m from Wike to rig the polls have been sacked and are undergoing trial?
Except he is suffering from amnesia, Nwakaudu would not have forgotten so soon that, in the full glare of the media, the invasion of the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre was carried out by Governor Wike and six police officers, who have been summarily dismissed from service.
Nwakaudu’s factless appraisal of Senator Uchendu’s performance in the Senate shows that he is highly ignorant of the landmark achievements of the man whose colleagues refer to as “The Alternative Voice” because of his objectivity and humanitarian-political disposition in the Red Chamber.
It is therefore incumbent on me to enlighten Nwakaudu on some of the senator’s achievements in less than 12 months in office, especially for the sake of the reading public.
The legislative actions taken by Senator Uchendu within his short stay in the Senate include: Amendment of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) Bill 2017; Motion for the inclusion of 108 civil servants into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS); Oil curse petition on behalf of Rumuekpe community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Others are: Wrongful sack petition, presented on behalf of Stephen Oleli, a prison officer from Rivers State who was wrongfully dismissed from work after thirty good years of meritorious service; Motion for Senate to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of Eva Amadi, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member from Rivers State who died during an excercise session at the Kwara State NYSC Orientation Camp, etc.
Senator Uchendu also made swift interventions on the dilapidated section of East-West by C4I security checkpoint; the slow pace of the remodelling of the domestic terminal of Port Harcourt International Airport; Oil spill site at Agba-Ndele community in Emohua Local Government Area; need for the investigation of the murders of prominent Rivers leaders by the Federal Government, etc.
Please see the following web links for more details:
Instead of staying maniacally fixated on Senator Uchendu, Nwakaudu should rather look for ways to remedy the damaged reputation of his master who is currently under the incandescent searchlight of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged cash withdrawals totalling N117bn, thereby violating the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Beyond the EFCC investigation, Nwakaudu should advise the embattled governor to come clean and give account of what really transpired by telling Rivers people what he did with billions of their collective patrimony within a few days in office. Is it true that Zenith Bank made over N5bn as profit from the alleged fraudulent transaction?
Is Nwakaudu not ashamed that for three and half years of Wike’s administration, Rivers State has been in the news for various obnoxious reasons. It is either Wike is claiming money discovered by EFFC in Osborne Towers, Lagos State without presenting any shred of evidence of ownership, or he is crying that FG wants to assasinate him, and now he is being accused of withdrawing N117bn across the counter. Wike must stop presenting Rivers State as an enclave of bad news!
Let it be known to Nwakaudu that, Senator Uchendu is not looking for survival like his master, Wike, who is politically drowning. The highly experienced federal lawmaker is not in that league. He is not desperately seeking re-election.
Like the good senator has said in so many fora, he would only re-contest election, if his party, the APC tells him to run again. And I dare say that if the party gives him the nod, The Alternative Voice will defeat any candidate that Wike fields in the Rivers East Senatorial District election, come 2019.
Solomon Okocha is the Media Aide to Senator Andrew Uchendu