Liborous Oshoma: When A Media Platform Becomes A Lying Tool

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BY DODOH OKAFOR

1. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apparatchiks in Abia State have found great excitement, and as some say, some sense of ecstasy, akin in some way to an orgasm, in the circulation of a media broadcast wherein Gov. Alex Otti was harshly criticised, called names and maligned with tissues of lies, half truths and regurgitated propaganda lines by a certain Liborous Oshoma, a self styled activist, known for running media errands here and there.

2. Many informed Abians and objective observers who understand the antics of using the media to push false narratives quietly ignored the gibberish spewed by the said Mr. Oshoma, knowing that he may have been put up for the job by the very characters whose mess Gov. Otti is working so hard to clear.

3. Many who knew the game plan of our friends before now were by no means taken aback by the obvious hatchet job done by the author because we have severally heard them boast that they would cause “troubles” for the government using everything at their disposal.

4. We were therefore not surprised that many of the lines used by the new star of the opposition were the very same ones many of their known talking heads had consistently used in the last one year. Now let us carefully evaluate jejune claims that dominated the 8 minutes video shared by the said Oshoma.

5. Misappropriation of funds borrowed with the approval of the State House of Assembly specifically for the purpose of building the Abia State International Airport as contained in a letter the then governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu, sent to the Abia State House of Assembly in October 2020: Mr Oshoma claimed that Gov. Otti “lied” by saying that the airport was not built. Strangely, he refused to point his listeners to the location of the airport since he claimed Gov. Otti lied by saying that it was missing.

6. Oshoma claimed that the funds borrowed for the construction of the airport had been channeled into paying contractors for road construction jobs done in the State. Question is: why borrow money ostensibly to build an airport, and then use it for something else without returning to the approving authority for virement? Isn’t that the provision of the law?

7. Oshoma claimed, as Ikpeazu et al., had done before him, that the “State Council of Chiefs” asked the then governor not to build the airport and instead use the funds already borrowed from UBA to that effect for roads. Question is: when did it become the place of “chiefs” to “advise” government on how to channel funds that had been borrowed for specific projects?

8. Oshoma alleged that Gov. Otti told that youth that “job creation is not a priority now.” One would have thought that he refers his audience to where the governor, or any of his aides, made the quote or even suggested that job creation was not a priority.

9. If as Oshoma claims, Gov. Otti believes that job creation is not a priority, why then is he building roads, fixing long abandoned infrastructure all over Aba and Umuahia and across several LGAs since he has no interests in job creation? Are roads and infrastructure not economic enablers?

10. Are roads and other infrastructure projects not built for investors to come in, set up businesses and employ people, mostly the youth? What exactly does Oshoma mean by making the slanderous comment that Gov. Otti said that job creation is not a priority? Or is his idea of job creation restricted to populating the civil service with politically connected folks and abandoning them to redundancy?

11. Aba Garment Factory under lock and key: This is exactly where Oshoma clearly identified whose attack dog he is. At any rate, he may need to get back to his sponsors and put all his facts right for even a hatchet job must be done with some form of knowledge.

12. LG Election: Yes, local government elections are very important, and LGAs must be governed by individuals who can at the very least be accountable to the electorates. Gov. Otti has not changed his position on that.

12b. At any rate, should conducting LGA election be the first priority for a government that was saddled with over 300 months in accumulated arreas of salaries annwg21a pensions? Should the conduct of LG election have been a priority at a time Isuikwuato, Umunneochi LGAs and several other communities in the State were under the firm control of various criminal groups who kidnapped, robbed and raped hapless Abians at will?

12c. Did Muhammadu Buhari, despite his many failings, not warn that an unsecured territory is an ungovernable space? Was it not wiser that Gov. Otti placed security above politics?

13. Controlling LGA funds and giving peanuts to Mayors: Truly? How did Oshoma get this great gist? Did the LGA mayors cry to him that they were only getting peanuts? Is he trying to tell us that all the excellent jobs you find across the LGAs, including the recent projects commissioned in Ohafia LGA under the watch of Mayor David Ogba Onuoha (Bourdex) were executed from peanuts? Perhaps Oshoma may need to take a trip to any of the LGAs and compare what obtains now with what we had 12 months ago.

13b. Would LG elections be eventually conducted? Definitely yes. But certainly not at the heckling of persons with questionable intents.

14. Billions on security vote: This is another well reharsed lie powered by ignorance and naivity as Oshoma clearly betrayed a zero understanding of the import of security vote and what it is targeted at. In fact, I was shocked to hear him talk about security in the state as a point of criticism because Gov. Otti has shown that indeed, security problems are not intractable.

14b. He has committed to wise investments in security and today, the State had emerged as one of the safest locations in Nigeria as confirmed recently by no less a person than the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, who was in Abia last week.

15. Question is: could the efficient security system we have in the State have been achieved by refusing to provide adequate support to the formal and informal security architecture? So far, over hundred security vans had been procured and are in patrol in every community in the state. The State has also invested massively in IT systems to track and pin down criminals. Otherwise, how did the security agents track and arrest the gang that kidnapped a senior official of the Abia State University last January to different parts of the country?

16. Investments in Geometric: Are we still talking about this? Please can someone tell Liborous Oshoma to publish the share certificate Geometric Power handed to Abia State Government under Ikpeazu after he procured 3.5% stake in the company. Is that hard to do? Or are shares holdings in companies acquired and validated through word of mouth?

16b. Did Ikpeazu commit any money to Geometric? Possibly. Is the share certificate part of his handover documents? That’s the million dollar question.

17. 145 billion Naira in debt: Please where did Oshoma get his data from? Did the DMO not recently publish the list of states that had incurred the most debts since May 29, 2023? The list shows that Lagos, Delta, Ogun, Rivers and Cross River dominated the debt chart. Abia was not in the first 10. How and where did Oshomo get his information from or is he not regurgitating the same lies that had been exposed before now?

18. Over spending in the Governor’s office: Does Oshoma imagine the Governor’s office to be a small kiosk seating only the Governor’s desk and chairs? Perhaps Oshoma may need some education here. There are about 20 different departments and agencies of Government, including the fire service, homeland security, and several others that draw their personnel salaries and operational expenses under the Government House accounts. Interestingly, the structure was not designed by Gov. Otti.

19. On other hogwash he spewed about overspending, it would be foolhardy to start responding to regurgitations copied from social media gossip sites. Gov. Otti has maintained that his focus is to serve the people not to enrich himself because indeed, how much money does one man actually need?

20. The fact remains that our dear Governor remains focused on delivering the fruits of good governance to our people and nothing more. From road rehabilitation to reconstruction and construction of public buildings, urban sanitation, regular payment of salaries and pensions, and support for service sectors including education and health, Gov. Otti has demonstrated in the last one year that governance need not be rocket science.

21. His assurance to Ndi Abia and friends of Abia State remains firm. Nothing shall fall under the cracks and no sector shall be forgotten. It is not yet Uhuru as the governor said recently but the days of mourning and misery by the majority while political elites feast large are over.

22. It is the people first, the people always.

*Dodoh Okafor is Senior Special Assistant on Public Communication to the Governor of Abia State.