..Governors are not good husbands – Oshiomhole
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Eminent Nigerians, on Tuesday, poured endless encomiums on a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, during his book launch and birthday celebration, in Abuja.
Those in attendance included former state governors, Olusegun Osoba, Okwesirieze Nwodo, John Odigie-Oyegun, Buka Abba Ibrahim, Chris Ngige, Adams Oshiomhole, Achike Udenwa, Ahmed Makarafi, Goodwill Akpabio, among many others.
The roll call also included eminent Nigerians like IBM Haruna, Tanko Yakassai, Farida Waziri, Governor Emmanuel Udom, Solomon Ehuga, Stella Omu, Ali Amodu Sherrif, Ime Okon, Ubong Bassey, among others.
Listening to speaker after speaker pour commendations on him, the author and celebrant confessed that he fought hard to hold tears, even as he insisted that regional control of resources remains the best option for the country.
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According to him; “Listening to some of the speeches drew tears from my eyes. I used to ask myself, did I say all those things and where did I get the courage to say them.
“But, I want to say that the fight was not just for a better Niger Delta, though I believe firmly that it will translate into a better Nigeria, the fight and the purpose was always for a better Nigeria.
“As I have said, in all honesty, I believe that our founding fathers who agreed on a federal system of this country, the system where the regions have and control what they have and contribute to the running of the country at the center remain the best and will continue to be the best for Nigeria.
“I believe firmly that any struggle to achieve is something worth fighting for. This book is not my biography, that may come I don’t know but this one is entirely on practicing good governance as exemplified by my eight years in Akwa-Ibom State.
“I tell people that I enjoy being governor because of the kind of fantastic comradeship, working together with people you could reason, argue and at the end come to a solution that all of us agree will be the best for us and this country.
“The capping was when they plotted the coup to make me chairman of the governors forum and nicknamed headmaster,” he said.
Speaking during the book launch, a former governor of Ogun state, Segun Osoba, lamented that political neophytes and politicians without characters are currently in charge of governance in the states.
Recalling how they caged then President Olusegun Obasanjo, Osoba said: “One good thing during our time is that we don’t know the parties the governors belong to. The then President Obasanjo dare not play with any of us governors.
“Obong Attah was of the PDP while I was of the AD and the AD group like Adefarasin, Akande, Lam Adesina were old and when we speak on issue, to our surprise, Obong who was of the PDP, will pick it up from there and contribute intellectually to our stand. It is as a result of our style of leadership that we were able to cage Obasanjo.
“I use the word seriously because Abdulsami Abubakar left some money to be distributed to the governors but the first thing Obasanjo did was to seize the money and used it to buy vehicle for the Local Governments. We kicked, went to court and won.
“On fiscal responsibility, he said he will not implement section 8 where all revenue were to go into an account where it will be distributed according to the constitution but when it became impossible, we went to court and won. In all of these, Obong Attah was in the forefront of the war we fought not just resource control.
“I want to appeal to all of us to go back to the characters that form governors in 1992 and 1999. I said this seriously because those of us that are governors 26 years ago had exposure.
“John Oyegun was perhaps the youngest permanent secretary, Chukwuemeka Ezeife was a former Permanent Secretary, I was the former Managing a Director of a Daily Times and I can go rolling the background of those of us governors then and none of us can be described as where are they coming from.
“We need to go back to that especially these days of governor of any kind should stop. As governors we did not discriminate against each other along party level,” he said.
Commenting similarly, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, commended Obong Attah’s wife for keeping the home front, confessing that governors are bad husbands.
“When Attah was governor, I was the president of the NLC. I discover that even within the South-south, there were many who in their heart wanted justice but could not afford to say it out because of the consequences of disagreeing with the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“I am sure that as NLC president, I convinced my comrades that the strength of a country is judged by the extent to which it shows capacity to do justice to the minority among its fold. And that Nigeria cannot have peace if it does not deliver justice tool manners of persons regardless of their location.
“We hit workers from Sokoto, Lagos, Maduguri to join Governor Attah and others ready to stick out their neck to publicly demand justice for the people of the Niger Delta.
“Their were governors that thought it was a hazardous job to speak for resource control. When you say so, the then president, Obasanjo said, you can control the resources but he will continue to manage the resources.
“That is why today Nigerians because of poor memory or poor documentation of our past, even people who converted us to unitary state have now become the advocate of federalism. May we learn the last lesson that when leaders stand on the path of truth even at 80, you will adored as former governor Attah.
“For people that do not know the secret, the wife deserves commendation because we all know that governors are not good husbands. When they finish their late caucus meeting which starts at 10pm and finish by 2am and then branch you other places, madam will be fast asleep by the time you get home. Thank God you have a patience woman that tolerated you and may all other governors wives tolerate them,” he quipped.