The Attention of Southeast Development Agenda (SEDA) A Civil Society Advocacy Group, was recently drawn to the legislative faux pas committed by one Senator Smart Adeyemi, senator representing Kogi West Senatorial Zone, during a plenary at the floor of the hallowed Red Chamber of the National Assembly, maliciously against the person and office of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph.D and by extension against Abia State as an entity and Abians as a people and polity.
The ordinary student of affairs knows that what the lawmaker did was a filibustering taken too far and extreme at the floor of the Red Chamber during a plenary in which Abia State was neither chiefly the subject of debate before the senate nor its governor whose office and personality Senator Smart had assaulted. For the record, SEDA having studied variously now the clip (from different media platforms), where Senator Smart made his case against the governor and the state by extension, comes to the conclusion that by saying Abia has ‘educated’ and ‘enterprising’ people but governed by ‘drunkards’ (emphasis on drunkards – plural) the senator owes a serious explanation to all Abians for what could be deduced from such a glib. When he said ‘drunkards’ (as obtained from all online videos), does he mean it to include the state governor and the deputy together with all the state ministries; all the 24 honourable members of the State House of Assembly; all the Executive Chairmen of the seventeen local government areas with all their ward councilors and all federal lawmakers which have three senators and eight representatives for the state OR does he mean it to be that since its 1991 creation under the military regime of Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Abia has been governed by drunks whether during military regime or civilian rule?
Smart’s diversionary jabs come from a parliament where Abia has three senators from the two major political parties – People’s Democratic Party (the PDP for short) and All Progressives Congress (the APC for short) – all whose duty it is to send out an SOS alarm if need be to the federal government from which source – through the federal ministry of finance – all statutory revenues accrue to the state’s coffers monthly. Smart, throughout his speech, does not speak for Abians, whose mandate he has not, when the Safe School Initiative was laid bare at the floor of the senate in line with recent kidnaps by bandits mostly in the northern parts of the country. Instead a senator who is prefixed with the title of ‘distinguished’ talks of a state with a population of nearly or over five million persons in a demeaning way. As if all that was not enough, Smart goes ahead to draw an off-base comparison between the two states of Kogi and Abia on governance whereupon he sang praises of his state governor for building roads, schools and other massive and monumental infrastructural projects even when a recent release from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that barring Abuja, the FCT and Lagos State, Abia as a state recorded the highest capital (investment) inflows for 2020 to the tunes of over a fifty million dollars.
Even the Senate President, Mr. Ahmed Lawan ruled Smart out of order for a perceived ‘unparliamentarian’ remarks. This says a whole lot and more. Smart’s own claim as to his provocation was that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (representing Abia South) had, in an earlier online publication, insulted his own state governor, a claim which the minority leader of the senate (Abaribe) denied since as spurious and ‘fake’. Now, even if Abaribe had published any online material against the governor of Kogi State was it suitably appropriate for a lawmaker who knows his onions to bring a virtual issue to the physical world at the National Assembly of all places? When did the senate become a theatre for physical premiering of virtual drama? Smart, SEDA says, was off the mark, pouring ad hominem on a man who has done nothing to him, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph.D.
SEDA being a nonpartisan group sees no need to join words with the lawmaker and does not speak in defence of any government but out of conventional reality. Every Nigerian will remember that during his tenure, President Goodluck Jonathan was described as a drinking president mostly from the grapevine sources but today majority of those who so described the Otuoke-born president are the same people calling for his return even going it one better sinking their own resources into such a political enterprise, raising the stakes and upping the ante. Jonathan, SEDA says, lives now his own vindication and it goes with what Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Right Honourable meant when he said ‘Victory will vindicate the just’, perhaps.
SEDA restates that Abia has, like many other states within the federation, given Nigeria and the old Eastern region something to be proud of and does not deserve, on a general level, the kind of comments a senator from outside its geopolitical zone made against it. Abia, it should be recalled, is the home state of Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, a fine soldier statesman, the first Nigerian military general and head of state. Also is it the home state of Chief Jaja Wachuku, the foremost Pan-Africanist and first speaker of House of Representatives, the first Nigerian foreign minister, a man of many firsts; also has the state men like the indefatigable Michael Okpara, the tireless premier of the old Eastern Region, J. O. J. Okezie, just to mention but a few. This is a slap in the face of Abia sons and daughters living or dead.
SEDA does not even seek to prove the otherwise of the senator’s speech on that very day than it wants the senator to defend and show scientific/logical evidence of his comment on that fateful day within seventeen days from the date of publication of this release or face the legal consequences that come with that. In saying this SEDA means that: The senator should either provide a medical report as a validation of his assertion that governor of Abia State is indeed a ‘champagne drinking’ man or a ‘drunk’; should also show any recorded (visual or audio) to boot to back up his claim if he has any, failing which the senator should officially apologize to the state and its governor and people on a national daily before the expiration of two weeks after the publication of this release.
SEDA wishes to see a proof of the statement made by the senator or an official apology, if ever the claim lacks substance, in one of the nation’s dailies and should it see neither from the distinguished senator, then the senator should be ready hear the rest. SEDA has ready and available its briefs and will be filing and suing when event is right; the very last of this matter shall be heard if the senator fails to do the needful, the group says.
comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor. Convener/ Coordinator Southeast Development Agenda (SEDA)
Comrade Godswiil Adiele
Secretary Southeast Development Agenda (SEDA)