Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Former Secretary to the Ebonyi State Government (SSG), Prof. Bernard Odoh, has berated the state governor, Chief David Umahi, over his recent pronouncement banning Mr. Chijioke Agwu of the Sun newspapers and Mr. Peter Okutu of the Vanguard newspapers from entering the Ebonyi State Government House “for life.”
The governor had banned the two journalists from Government House and other government facilities in the state following reports they did in their papers which the governor considered offensive.
Odoh who condemned the purported ban said the governor’s intolerance to contrary opinions has become too worrisome for silence.
He regretted that all the actions and utterances of Governor David Umahi recently showed nothing but behaviours of a man who has total disregard for his people.
The former state scribe who reminded the governor that he was sitting on the mandate of the people which is derived from the Constitution, urged him to immediately tender an unreserved apology to the two journalists, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the good people of Ebonyi state.
Prof. Odoh in a statement on Friday in Abakaliki titled ‘Ebonyi Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi Should Apologise’ urged the people of Ebonyi State to remain calm and law- abiding even in the face of these unwarranted provocations from their governor.
The statement reads: “We are living in time of most profound upheaval that demands leader’s empathy and care. Most people are going through the worst mental, psychological and emotional experiences ever, thus, compelling leaders globally to show greater compassion to citizens. But Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, doesn’t understand that our people, by whose mandates he is the governor deserve at least minimal respect and treatment with a reasonable degree of human dignity.
“In the past couple of days, I have read his deplorable outbursts and chastisement of journalists in Ebonyi with deep concern and worries. One wonders where he derives his powers from? His approach to minor civil interactions and engagements is at best, VERY UNDEMOCRATIC and exceedingly DICTATORIAL to say the least.
“When I resigned from the position of SSG in April 2018, I chronicled my reasons for quitting the job among which were his high-handedness and intolerance to contrary opinions. Despite our differences in views on governance, I wrote him a personal letter before the commencement of his 2nd tenure in office and captioned how he should lead Ebonyians with empathy, love and respect and also; to be mindful of his actions which were capable of creating disorder in the system should he continue to operate like an emperor.
“These past few days, his actions and utterances show behaviour of a man who has total disregard for the led.
“Ebonyi residents deserve better than these tyrannical onslaughts from a man who is ordinarily supposed to be accountable to his people. These actions and utterances of the governor denigrate our collective sacrifices towards improving the well-being of our people.
“We are not all conquered people. I feel obligated to speak and to express my disgust at the governor’s outbursts and unguided utterances.
“The security agencies in the state are enjoined to ensure that the rights and privileges of the citizens whom HE swore to protect are not trampled upon. I plead with the peace-loving people of Ebonyi state to remain calm and law- abiding even in the face of these unwarranted provocations.
“I encourage Governor Umahi to apologise to residents and journalists over these actions. Being a governor is not a license to cynicism and abuse of human rights.”