In his contribution to the motion on the need to restore the ‘’ Safe School Initiative in Nigeria’’, sponsored by Senator Odey Stephen [Cross River North], during the plenary session of the Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday, February 23rd 2021, Senator Smart Adeyemi [Kogi West] had this to say; “Some governors are doing their best, we are lucky to have a governor who has taken the issue of security as a serious priority. We are bordered by nine states, but we had an experience of the unfortunate incidents that are happening in neighboring states.’’
Adeyemi continued; ‘’Some governors are committed to the protection of their people, in my state the governor awarded contracts for the renovations of schools and provides security services to them. In some states of Nigeria today, where we have highly intelligent people, highly educated people, very enterprising people… like Abia but they are governed by drunkards. The governor of Abia is champagne drinking man. Abia people are impoverished more than ever before. Abia people are unfortunate.”
In his apparent bid to score a political goal of retaliating a jab at Governor Yayha Bello, his political benefactor and new found god father by the ‘’Made in Aba’’ Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe in the 8th Senate, Senator Adeyemi crossed the redline of legislative decency when he attacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state in a matter that does not in any way concern him . The senator ended up scoring a devastating political own goal. If his unprovoked attack on the person of Governor Ikpeazu was calculated to even up the swipe taken at Governor Bello by Senator Abaribe in the 8th senate, then it actually exposed Senator Adeyemi’s ‘’too much’’ effort at demonstrating loyalty to his political god father for a man of pedigree.
If his intervention on the subject matter was to showcase to the world, the good work Governor Bello is doing in the area of security of lives and property in Kogi State, I am afraid, even that piece of good news was blacked out by Senator Adeyemi’s misdirected attacks on Governor Ikpeazu. And if Senator Adeyemi’s intention was to ridicule Governor Ikpeazu, by falsely labelling him a ‘’drunkard’’, it is clear that he ended up ridiculing himself. Even the Senate President Ahmed Lawan had to caution him on his verbal excesses thus, “It shall be out of order to use insultive language’’ on the floor of the Nigeria’s revered Red Chambers.
Beyond his display of parliamentary indecency on the floor of the senate, Senator Adeyemi’s description of the political leaders of Abia state as ‘’drunkards’’ and Governor Ikpeazu as a ‘’champagne drinking’’ man is replete with reckless falsehood and outright misrepresentations that portray the good people of Abia state in bad light. Firstly, it is morally reprehensible to heap unfounded allegations of drunkenness on Governor Ikpeazu whom he didnt know very well. Let me educate him a little about the governor. Ikpeazu is a University of Maiduguri trained Clinical Biochemist, who obtained a PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of Calabar at the young age of 30. His friends and foes alike acknowledge his brilliance. They also know that the man has been abstaining from consuming all forms of alcoholic beverages . Only the governor knows the reason .
Adeyemi’s portrayal of the Abia state political leadership as a never do well set of drunkards is an unsolicited good governance activism that unravels Senator Adeyemi as a man that left the fire burning in his own house to help another man quench the fire in his compound.
Whilst the political leadership of Abia, a state that is endowed with enormous human and natural resources may, arguably, be said not to have been able to maximise its limitless potentials for the rapid socio-economic development of the people of the state, successive administrations in the state since 1999 have managed to rise up to the occasion to meet challenges of the state . They had in the past tamed monstrous security challenges bedevilled the state. For instance,when armed robbery engulfed the industrial town of Aba in the 80s and 90s, the administration in place at that time supported community security outfit known as ‘’Bakassi Boys’’. The outfit was established to rid the state of armed robbery, assassinations and other forms of criminality. So successful was this model that other states like Anambra copied the Bakassi Boys model in their effort to combat crime in commercial towns like Onitsha and Nnewi.
And when Abia state became notorious for kidnapping years after as a result of the disbandment of the Bakassi Boys security outfit on the orders of the federal government of Nigeria, the political leadership of the state did not fold its hands. it worked with security agencies to crush the native criminal cartel operating in the state. Criminal lords like the notorious Osisikanku who laid constant siege on the Aba-Portharcourt highway, kidnapping commuters for ransom was neutralised by the combined effort of Nigeria’s security forces and the state government. In fact, as part of the war against kidnapping, Abia state was one of the earliest states in Nigeria to make laws empowering the state government to confiscate and demolish the property of convicted kidnapers; a law that Yahya Bello, the governor of Senator Adeyemi’s home state later copied as an integral part of his efforts at securing his state.
If Adeyemi would publicly deride Ikpeazu , it shows clearly it is either he is blinded by loyalty to his godfather or that he does really understand trends in economic development of states. Abia state was named number three by the NBS in terms of investments inflow in the last quater.
Like his predecessors, Governor Ikpeazu, may not have met all the expectations of his people . However, he has managed to maintain security of lives and properties to such an extent that in his nearly six years in office, there is not a single case of mass abduction of pupils and students from any school anywhere in Abia state. Even though Ikpeazu’s Abia may not be completely crime free, it can be said of Abia schools as relatively safe. And safe for mischief, when making his contribution to the matter of safe schools initiative in Nigeria, Senator Adeyemi, should have been smart enough to know that he had no business bringing the people and government of Abia state into that debate on the floor of the senate.