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Jaundiced journalism of a biased columnist

The unprofitable practice of picking holes in noble ideas or casting aspersion on those who initiate such thrusts, has become the pastime of some people, especially when such initiatives do not come from them.

It is the stock-in-trade of evilly-disposed characters who ostensibly pretend to be championing a cause for the people, but who, in reality, are engaged in rubbishing welfare packages for the common weal. There is, however, one consolation when remembering such characters: they constitute a torn fragment of a large cloth; people imbued with an innate compulsion to sing off-key!

This is how to evaluate Gele Agbai’s “Is the party over In Imo?” published in his column Beyond Bounds in the April 23-24, 2012 edition of the Nigeria Newspoint in which he castigates Governor Rochas Okorocha’s multi-faceted programmes since assumption of office about a year now.

Although the columnist took his readers on a round trip of the Owelle’s rescue mission, the latter’s free education programme took severe bashing from his vile pen. He dismissed the entire scheme as a flop because, mid-way in the execution of the laudable scheme, he made some adjustments. This is an indisputable course of action during the implementation of any project; but the jaundiced mind and befogged eyes did not rivet towards the Owelle’s egalitarian posturing in expanding the scope of the largesse.

 

Instead, he said that Okorocha, “realizing the enormity of the problem in hand, and in a bid not to back-off, Okorocha has increased school fees through the back door. A man who vowed not to increase fees in IMSU (ImoStateUniversity) Owerri, has now hinked fees by 50 per cent. The students who were paying N53,750 per semester prior to his advent, are now to pay N100,000 per semester. To quieten the students, he promised to give the indigenes the N100,000 to enable them pay. He would give the students the fees yearly and they would be required to repay N30,000 out of each N100,000 upon graduation and employment”.

If this gesture is not ennobling to the likes of theAbiaStateborn columnist, one begins to doubt the assiduity of the mind of the author towards every lofty programme of theImoStategovernment under the watch of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

The quantum leap by Owelle since assumption of office must have astounded his critics who think he would continue with the same partying they were used to during the Ohakim period of lavish spending with no thought for the proverbial nest-egg.

Short of trying to ignite tension, the columnist who is also the Editor of the newspaper, Nigerian Newspoint, left nobody in doubt about his own grouse. Hear him: “but if the people are keeping quiet because Okorocha promised to give the students grants to enable them pay fees, the proposed relocation of theStateUniversityfrom Owerri to Orlu zone drew their ire. The protest was the first indication that the people particularly those of Owerri zone are no longer excited by the governor…”

When a journalist assumes the position of  a psychiatrist with the ability to read the minds of the people, the world begins to spin towards the precipice! Should single tinkering of policy (which was, however, withheld) turn the mind of people who were treated to rough justice by a past administration?.

The proposed redeployment of civil servants to rural areas cannot, and should not be seen as punishment or downgrading, as Gele Agbai would want his readers to believe. It is unfortunate to note that nothing, yes nothing which Governor Okorocha did or prepares to do has ever fascinated the Abia journalist. Even when his State Governor Theodore Orji sent Imo citizens in that State’s civil service, it was a welcome respite for him, because that governor was rendering good service to Abians in order to save the dwindling economy on the downward slide as a result of the national minimum wage tussle.

The same columnist who exceeds his proportions in the condemnation of noble deeds inImoState, cannot also condemn the action of theAbiaStategovernment harassing a Catholic priest in its domain over providing avenue for the planned reception, by Imo citizens, of Governor Okorocha.

It was understood requests made for the  reception were thwarted by State functionaries under the watch of Theodore Orji who, earlier, had been booed by his own people for non-performance.

One is not holding brief for the Government of Imo State. There are qualified personnel to do that. What one is saying is a call for balance in assessing issues or performances.

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