By Sam Onwuemeodo.
Imo State Commissioner for lnformation and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba had written under the referenced caption. He wrote with anger. With indignation.
Reading through his lengthy piece , one must have discovered that, Emelumba didn’t tell his audience what was, “BETWEEN UGOCHINYERE AND ONWUEMEODO”, or what was the “CRUX OF THE MATTER”, in line with his caption.
He abandoned his caption and descended on Sam. Onwuemeodo, your beloved brother, without stating why. lnfact, his caption would have been, ” My bottled or lingering anger against Sam Onwuemeodo”. Or. ” Between Emelumba and Onwuemeodo”. Or, both.
Now, the crux of the matter.
After the attack on the residence of Ugochinyere lkenga lmo, at Akokwa , the governor of the State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, came up to say that, ” the attackers were those he had agreement with and he failed to keep the agreement”.That was the governor’s reaction.
l never believed that the lmo Governor had said what was credited to him, until I watched the video clip, to that effect . l was not comfortable with that reaction from the governor. Not in solidarity for Ugochinyere, but out of unbridled or avowed patriotism and genuine concern as an lmo man. The concern about what’s happening in our dear State. The concern about the avalanche of questions the governor’s reaction would have elicited or evoked, which must have also begged for answers.
Few hours after the governor’s reaction, Emelumba, in a release he signed as Commissioner for lnformation and Strategy, came up with another dimension to the incident. He said, ” Ugochinyere was the architect of his own ordeal”. ln other words, on one incident, the lmo State government had come up with two official positions or reactions. And for me, the two official reactions had also fallen below standard. Left much to be desired.
lf l had felt uncomfortable with the governor’s own reaction, l was
diametrically shocked by Emelumba’s own reaction. Reason being that, as Commissioner, he was expected to come up with something that would have polished or smoothened or garnished the governor’s own reaction.
Hence , in my my essay, titled ” UGOCHINYERE AND IMO GOVERNMENT’S REACTIONS”, l took exception to both the reaction of the governor and that of Emelumba. And not out of any damaging motive. l said, the governor would have spoken as the father of the State. As the Executive Governor of the State or as a Statesman, not minding whatever he must have had against Ugochinyere. I had felt that the official position of the governor or his government on any issue should present more consoling situation and not otherwise, for the sake of the State and her people.
l had felt that the two reactions from the governor and Emelumba only showed or only gave the impression that the governor and his government were at war with Ugochinyere. And that shouldn’t have been the case. l had thought that the two reactions should have been given human face and of course, in the compound and simple interest of the governor and his government. Perhaps, unknown to Emelumba.
l equally pointed out that, in the alternative, the government or the governor should have allowed the information or Public Relations Departments of the security agencies in the State to react to the incident and to similar incidents first. ln all these , l had meant well.
l never attacked or insulted the governor or his government. l never insulted Emelumba. l never berated the media team of Governor Uzodinma. l never made any comparison between Okorocha and Uzodinma. l never deviated from the caption of my composition.
But Emelumba, in his rejoinder, left the issues l had raised and began to attack me . He began to attack Okorocha. And l know why. He felt that with my work, l had exposed his ineptitude. That, l had brought his lack of colour to bear. Laid it bare. And that was not the intention of my comprehension.
ln this outing, l won’t follow Emelumba’s bad example. l won’t attack him. Doing so, would invalidate or discredit the spirit with which l had written the article that occasioned his needless vituperation . His venom.
Emelumba had the right education. Also brilliant. But l have the feeling that he needs wisdom. Or, what some people may decide to call, “native sense or number 6”. l have the feeling that he lacks these natural or God-given virtues or attributes.
Otherwise, he would not have launched attack against me over an opinion l had expressed out of patriotism and concern. With no ulterior motive. He needed to understand and appreciate the spirit behind what l wrote.
lf he had understood the spirit with which l had written, he would not have resorted to attacks against my person. He only needed to take cognisance of my concern and move on. And also knowing that, l would not have had any portion in the son of Akokwa.
Emelumba left the issues l raised in my opinion and also began to compare governor Hope Uzodinma’s less than four years government, with Former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s eight years government. He began to compare Uzodinma’s media team and Okorocha’s media team. For what?. Comparisons that were uncalled for.
Emelumba would not have begun to compare a government that is less than four years, with a government that lasted for eight years . What value would the comparison add to Uzodinma’s Government?
Okorocha had governed lmo for eight years and left. He can’t be governor again. Uzodinma is less than four years on seat as governor and in his first term. Why would someone, Commissioner for information, always be in a hurry to compare the two scenarios or administrations?
Any day it becomes imperative, perhaps, on the prompting of Emelumba , that the two governments should be compared , l know that he would not like what will be the outcome. He will definitely see the one that “seniors Beatrice”. And he would have himself to blame.
Attacking government or individuals isn’t my brand of journalism. And l stand to be contradicted. I have never attacked Uzodinma or his government. And l want Emelumba to prove me wrong. Check, anywhere l had written anything uncomplimentary against Uzodinma or his government, must have been in reaction to what they had written against Okorocha, especially before now. That’s the reason they have never lifted any of my past publications to contradict me. Whenever they see my previous materials, they would become disarmed. Wisdom made available. To God, be the GLORY.
Emelumba began his attack on me by stating, ” of late Sam Onwuemeodo, the lifelong Chief Press Secretary to the dynasty of former governor of lmo state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has arrogated to himself the status of guru”. How?. Even his language speaks volumes of his kind. Yet, l won’t resort to attacks like he did.
What made me ” lifelong Chief Press Secretary?”. Since we left office in May, 2019, l have never answered Chief Press Secretary again. I have not been to government House or any government office for any reason. So, what brought about Emelumba describing me as ” lifelong Chief Press Secretary?”. Why?
He also wrote, ” a man whose highest career point is serving as the Chief Press Secretary to a state governor”( sic). ln his anger, he could not know that, l was Chief Press Secretary till May 2019 and should not be qualified again with “is” in 2023 . lt has become a past tense. No longer ” is”.
Even at that, he is Commissioner, appointed by lmo Governor. l was Chief Press Secretary appointed by lmo Governor, then. lf Emelumba had served beyond the “lmo point” in his career, he should let us know. l am not aware. l served a governor as CPS. He is serving a governor as Commissioner. All the same, we should be exceptionally grateful to God, because they’re all privileges . Being CPS was a privilege made possible by God . Do you understand?. Mine , privilege. His Commissionership, also a privilege. lf interview was conducted for the selection of CPS or Commissioner, two of us might not get any. So, it’s the LORD’S doing. Not by power. Not by might. Only by the GRACE OF GOD. l am only helping Chief Emelumba to understand some of these things. If God wants me to get something higher than CPS tomorrow, he will do it and l would always remain grateful. But if he does not, l would equally remain thankful because l am not the only Journalist in lmo. l wish Emelumba would understand. Understand better.
He was with Champion Newspapers. l was with Vanguard Newspapers. The rest is history. Again, we all need to appreciate God Almighty, for giving us such platforms to take off. Like I said, he is the Honourable Commissioner for lnformation and Strategy, lmo State. He deserves my respect. And l respect him.
l had served two speakers in lmo. Served as Senior Special Assistant ( SSA) on media to a governor in lmo. Served as Chief Press Secretary to lmo Governor. ln other words, l have gotten the needed or relevant experience to objectively comment on media-oriented or media-related issues about a governor or government. When l do so , nobody should be angry.
Reuben Agbati was a media adviser to a president.
Today, he is no more in that position. But that has not stopped him from commenting on media related issues concerning the current president and his government.
One of the governorship aspirants in lmo, on the platform of the Labour Party, Lincoln Ogunewe, retired from the Nigeria Army recently . Today, he has spoken severally on how best to tackle the security challenges in the South East and lmo in particular. There’re circumstances experience counts.
These are also some of the benefits of ex-this and ex-that. lt does not call for war or undue confrontation. lt does not call for declaration of war.
Emelumba’s office as Commissioner is at the State Secretariat, off Portharcourt Road, Owerri . The office of the Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the governor is in Government House. There is a reason for that. Emelumba should know or find out why and do the needful, so that the work loads wouldn’t be much on him to warrant unnecessary anger or bitterness always. l have begun to speak in diverse tongues.
l do not think that he needs tutorials on what the office of Commissioner for information demands . The ministry. And what his jobs as Commissioner are. He should know better. When one person carries the loads meant for four persons , definitely, the effects would be frustrating. In the light of such situation, anger would come and take a toll on the person .
l didn’t talk about Uzodinma’s Government or about his media team. l only reacted to the governor’s reaction and Emelumba’s reaction to the incident at Ugochinyere house .
He was not also happy with the analogy l made with Charles Oputa, alias , Charly boy. That, he was one of the major critics of Okorocha and his government. But when the father, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa died, Okorocha called him , visited their house on Condolence and also gave cash.
Yet, at the burial service of the late father , he snatched the microphone from Okorocha before Nigerians from all walks of life. Okorocha was making his speech as protocol had called for. l don’t know what would have happened if it was to be today,with men like Emelumba in the forefront.
We issued a statement and announced our forgiveness for Charly boy for the sake of the spirit of the late renowned jurist. And Okorocha went ahead to build an ultra modern High Court Complex and named it after Justice Oputa.
l had only tried to say that, a government can lower the HBP of the citizenry with approach and speeches. Blowing hot always does not solve any problem. That’s all. Like I said, l had meant well with that epistle.
The government must have also taken something from the write-up in question. The unfortunate murder of the sole administrator of ldeato North local government had happened few days after the attack on Ugochinyere residence . The governor and his government waited until the lmo Police Command reacted, through the Police Public Relations Officer.
The government’s own reaction came after that of the Police.
That should always be the case. The government reacted through Emelumba. Again, he didn’t get it right in one paragraph . There are certain feelings or sentiments the government should not be the one to express them openly. l am soliloquizing here.
Emelumba should stop seeing me as his enemy or enemy of the 3R government, with Uzodinma at the helm of affairs. We are all partners in progress. Partners in State building. In nation building. When we write for or against, we’re only trying to play both the white and black keys of the piano, to produce good music. He should also remove his heavy knees from the neck of Governor Uzodinma’s media.
He should always find out the difference between an attack on the governor or on his government and fair comments. lnnocuous comments. They are not the same.
l have heard that Okorocha and his brother governor, Uzodinma, have settled whatever was their grouse or differences . And l have remained guided by that information even when it has not been confirmed by either of the duo. But l won’t stop being a journalist because of the two great sons of lmo state. That’s my profession. My chosen career. My own handiwork. We shall continue to clap for Jesus.