AGBASO’S IMPEACHMENT SAGA: Let’s stop the noise!

For about a month now, Imo State citizens have been fed with all manner of threats from the Agbaso family of Emekuku, in Owerri Zone of Imo State, as well as, by a number of hitherto unknown organizations which claim to be speaking for Owere people over the Jude Agbaso impeachment saga.

The Imo State House of Assembly has been compelled to continue taking out advertorials in a number of newspapers on the report of the House probe of allegations against Deputy Governor, Jude Agbaso.

What is totally unacceptable to any rational vipet is that all those defending Jude Agbaso including his elder brother Martin Agbaso have all failed to adduce any facts contrary to what the Hon. Members of Imo House of Assembly fed the people with. Innuendoes do not constitute facts and therefore cannot vitiate them. 

Joseph Dina said Jude Agbaso gave him the numbers of his (Jude’s) Bank Account in two separate banks into which he paid a total sum of N458Million. He further said Jude sent the numbers to him via text messages. According to the House Committee report the Bank account numbers belong to Jude; the telephone number from which the text messages emanated also are jude’s, also according to the House Committee report.

Now the Justice Njemanze panel is expected to confirm or disprove that the money was paid into the two accounts as Joseph Dina claims. The panel may also apply judicial powers to compel the service provider of the SIM used to pass the instruction to Joseph Dina to pay the money into the two Bank Accounts alleged to belong to Jude Agbaso and confirm if  such a message actually passed through their network on or around the said date, although it is a principle of law that, a wireless message received is accepted as having been sent, but this presumption not being absolute, in view of modern yahoo cyber manipulations, it becomes necessary to confirm the foregoing as nothing should be taken for granted. Every fact in this sage ought to be proved beyond all reasonable doubts. The doubt here is not a doubt deliberately created by an interested party to further personal interest, but genuine doubt.

The reference by the defenders of faith, talking about due process is not relevant in this particular case, but a matter for another exercise. It must be borne in mind that the issue here is a matter of illegal or criminal kick-back which affected the performance of the contractor vis-à-vis the denial of providing a road for Imo citizenry. The issue here isNOT who introduced the contractor or who awarded the contract or, who approved the payment, or who certified the payment and/or who effected the payment. All these are imperatives for other inquiries. And whosoever is found to have acted improperly in any of these respects should be brought to book. And I infer from the report of the House of Assembly probe that both the Attorney-General and the Head of Service were therein mandated to initiate actions to redress any administrative impropriety in the transaction.

My brothers of Owerri Zone, it is not only discomfiting but shameful for a people known throughout this country and beyond to be hardworking honest people to degenerate to unwittingly parochial and shameful defenders of impropriety in governance, more so, in a matter that touches on dishonesty, and abuse of office. This country is crying out against corruption in governances, the present issue should not therefore be treated with kid-gloves. This is not saying that the Deputy Governor, Jude Agbaso, is, or is not, guilty of the charges leveled against him, but facing the facts and reality in defending one of our own.

One would expect that those defending Jude should come up with specific facts to prove the contrary to the findings of Hon. Iwunze’s Committee, or facts of complicity on the part of Governor Rochas Okorocha or any other person in the deal which culminated in the contractor, who obtained public fund for a job, abandoning same! To drag the issue of 2015 guber election into this present matter is not only an unacceptable diversionary attempt but introducing political platitudes into a matter that is strictly one of probity, political decency and propriety.

Those who see the Agbaso issue as one that would affect Owerri Zone adversely in the contest for governorship in 2015, must learn to get their association of facts and events right. The Agbasos are not the only legible Owerri Zone contenders for Imo Government House. If Jude Agbaso acted improperly in the deal as a Deputy Governor, his sins cannot be visited on Martin Agbaso, talk less of other contenders of Owerri Zone extraction. Every man is answerable for his sins is a biblical axiom. This is carrying ethnicism to a very ridiculous level, thus reducing the good people of Owerri Zone to a primitive people who always pull their daggers, cudgels and guns to fight without a just course, not minding the high level of disgrace such would bring upon them.

If the Agbasos knew right from the time of the accord with Rochas — as they would now have everybody to believe — that the Governor had no intention of keeping the agreement they entered into with him, why did they not expose this and go further to exercise great care to avoid giving Rochas any opportunity to achieve his “dubious” plans, if this were true. If it is, then Jude was not circumspect enough and played into his hands. This, however would not, in any way, absolve, nor mitigate to any appreciable level, the Deputy Governor of the charges of impropriety and official misconduct, if proved to be true and if the House Report is confirmed by the Justice Njemanze panel. So to what end are all this noise now. Are they intended to intimidate, blackmail or extenuate, at this stage?

Imo is not the first, nor the only state in the Federation of Nigeria in which a Deputy Governor has been impeached. Senate presidents and a state governor in this country had been impeached. The clans of such victims did not pull down the heavens, even though the heavens can never fall because of the sinful human mundane actions. A man of Chief Martin Agbaso’s political stature should not be seen nor heard making such vain threats that the newspapers credited to him. He should rather concern himself with efforts to prove the innocence of his younger brother, if possible, and more of the greater lofty expectation for Owerri Zone in 2015; and not to be embroiled in the histrionic show of shame with characterized indications of otherwise, a guilty conscience. 

The true Owere blue-blood flows in my veins, and, I am an indefatigable protagonist of Owerri rights, a constructive critic of the present government of Rochas Okoroch, and have made tremendous personal sacrifices for these, for which I have no regrets.

The issue of relocation of Imo State University is a case in point. While I and others like Senator Chris Anaynwu insisted that the institution should not be moved from Owerri, Jude Agbaso as Deputy Governor countered us. But God who is always on the side of right judgment made Rochas to abandon the plan to relocate the university to Ogboko. This example is, to all intents and purposes, just by the way!.

If Jude Agbaso illegally enriched himself with the illegal kick-back, and that, proved beyond all reasonable doubts, Owerri Zone people, should let him pay for his action and spare us all the unnecessary empty threats that show us in a very bad light as unreasonable sycophants who fall for filthy lucre.


 Chief Nath Onyeukwu



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