Posted by Collins Ughalaa | 19 April 2017 | 1,704 times
Part of my chosen title today, “Et tu Jones?”, is a corruption of what is known as the last word of dictator Caesar in William Shakespeare’s famous play, Julius Caesar, written in 1599. Caesar had been warned by a soothsayer to beware of Ides of March, but he did not heed the warning. It so happened that on March 15 (the Ides of March) 44 BC, Caesar was stabbed by a group of senators who had conspired against him, including Marcus Junius Brutus, Caesar's friend and protégé.
“Et tu, Brute?” appeared in Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 1 Line 77. Caesar had ignored the warning of the soothsayer and he approached the Senate with his entourage. He saw the soothsayer again in the crowd and confidently declared: “The ides of March are come”, reminding the soothsayer that nothing had yet happened and would not. But the soothsayer reminds him: “Ay, Caesar; but not gone.” Caesar also met Artemidorus who is also on the street and he pleads with Caesar to read his scroll. But Caesar ignored him and entered the Senate. Cassius approached him with a request to overturn a previous ruling and let a banished countryman return home. Caesar answered, informing Cassius: “I was constant Cimber should be banish'd/And constant do remain to keep him so" (72-3). What follows is that the conspirators gathered around Caesar and he saw his trusted friend, Brutus, among them, ready to stab him. They pulled out their swords and stabbed Caesar. With his dying breath, Caesar uttered the ever- fresh line to his friend, "Et tu, Brute? Caesar then fell lifeless upon the pedestal of Pompey's statue.
I have ruminated on what graphically suits the recent backstabbing on former Governor Ikedi Ohakim by one of his boys, Onwuasoanya, FCC Jones, who jumped ship since last year and pitched tent with the state government. I found the experience of Caesar in the hands of his trusted friend, Brutus apt. Caesar’s frustration upon seeing that his friend was among his conspirators and killers led to his asking the question “Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Caesar too?” But in the context of the action of FCC Jones, I ask: “Et tu Jones”? You, too, stabbed Ohakim?
Worried as I read Jones’ so-called love letter to his former mentor, I found sweet consolation in the saying among the Igbo, that if you want to know how your wife would look when she gets old, look at her mother. Taking a vital lesson from this, I say, if you want to know how someone writes, take a closer look at his upbringing. From what I hear from Jones’ friends, he should be pardoned, because if it is true that Jones was born out of wedlock, if it is true that Jones never knew his father so well, if it is true that Jones’s mother conceived of him and gave birth to him while still a spinster and living with her parents and abandoned by Jones’ father, (what we call ime okwa), then we should not crucify him for his actions or writings. My reason is that he does not deserve crucifixion. He deserves pity, because if someone did not grow up in the presence of his father and mother, such a person will not learn much about respect and integrity, because to him life is about survival in the face of unpardonable events.
Pray, what moral rectitude or principle would someone whose father abandoned his mother to the hands of her angry parents, while carrying a child in her womb, have? Consider if you were the victim. You would see life as cruel existence and the only thing that would matter to you would be survival. If this is true, then it is a miracle that Jones is not engaged into some violent crimes, such as armed robbery and kidnapping. So, far as he is not doing these, we could pardon his pen-robbery. To be fair to Jones, most people in the kind of situation illustrated above may not make it to the height Jones has reached, even though he is holding any straw and cutting off as many as possible in his climb up the gleam.
Imagine children who were brought up by their grandparents who held some grudge against their mother. In some cases, depending on whether the grandparents are kindhearted or wicked, they would pamper the child to almost laziness and uselessness, or push him to death or violent crimes. In either way, the psyche of the child is almost bastardised. If this is true in any way of the Jones’ narrative, then there is no guessing why he considered his late grandmother his whole world. Anyway, there is no doubt that Jones’ upbringing formed his general character and worldview, like every other person.
Assisted by his teacher, I was told, who later became his father in-law, Jones had an opportunity to see that there are two sides to a coin: that all men are not cruel. But like our upbringing influences us, Jones did what some people could consider as gold-digging, and married the daughter of his benefactor. But did he stick to the loyalty he had confessed to his father-in-law, whom he called his mentor? Most people would say he did not. Jones would later disgrace his wife out of their marriage, accusing her of infidelity – whether it is true or not. Jones would also justify his accusation, rejecting any good advice not to disparage his wife on the social media. He would not listen. Did he stab his father in-law - who was also his benefactor - in the back? I want your answer. Jones would later reconcile with his wife and bring her back, swallowing his vomit. Better put, and according to him, changing his opinion. This was after he had been de-robed publicly by Uche Nwosu’s men, who wrote about his checkered marital life. I recall calling him on phone on the occasion. He told me how bitter he was but said he would not join issues with them because his daughter, a prized minor, was involved.
Jones would find Ikedi Ohakim’s shoulder a good pillow to put his head on. Yes. He depended so much on Ohakim’s magnanimity for survival. But before Jones came to be one of Ohakim’s boys, he had worked for Governor Okorocha during the 2011 governorship election campaign, as one of the media guys. Feeling frustrated that he did not get what he hoped for, Jones would jet out of the Rescue Mission Media Team and formed what he called ‘Reskew Mission’, on which platform he took the Okorocha’s Rescue Mission Government to the cleaners. This, no doubt, endeared him to some politicians. But did they know they were dealing with a green snake in a green grass?
Like the Bible would say, Jones found favour with some scribes of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who conscripted him to write for the opposition party. Working for the PDP, smart Jones caught the attention of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who also recruited him to work for him, which was said to have got him about N25,000 at month end. Simultaneously, Jones worked for Rt Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu, where he was said to be also on N50,000 monthly fee as one of the social media team of the then Speaker.
Unfriendly with principles and integrity, Jones would abandon Ihedioha and Uwajumogu and turned his pen against them, much as he turned his pen against the PDP and Ohakim. But, why would Jones do that? Those who knew said that typical Jones had approached Ihedioha for financial assistance for the treatment of his mentor and father in-law who was sick at the time. The man would later join his ancestors (May his soul rest in peace!). Jones was said to have also asked for financial assistance for the burial of the said man. He was said to have also made same request to Uwajumogu. Jones was said to have turned his pen against the two great politicians because he did not get what he asked for. Jones has said all sorts of things against Ihedioha. He has done more to Uwajumogu and pitched tent with Athan Achonu, for the senatorial election in Okigwe zone. But typical Athan did not know he existed. Uwajumogu won the election, and it won’t surprise anyone if Jones has already changed his opinion on Uwajumogu and ran back to him. Men like Jones are unpredictable, like the wind. They change opinion as they change clothes. No principle. No integrity. It is onward journey for survival.
But it happened that during the burial of his grandmother, Jones would get an August visitor: the Honourable Member representing Okigwe South in the House of Representatives, Hon Chike Okeafor, who was said to have supported him out of sympathy for his grandmother’s burial. They say leopard never changes its colour, true? A month later, Jones was said to have reached out to Hon Okeafor for financial support for his movie production business. But when he did not get the fund required, he resorted to attacking the Hon Rep. Fighting back, Okeafor would take him out on the social media. Accusing him of blackmail, saying that Jones was attacking him because he did not give him the N500,000 he had requested to support his movie production.
We must give it to Jones. He is intelligent, smart and hardworking. He is good looking too. He is a paint manufacturer and movie producer. But when he says his opinion has changed on any issue because of fresh light, don’t believe him. What changes with him is the price and the offer. Jones is a commodity and is available for the highest bidder. And, I am sure, Jones would work to say Satan is a saint if the offer from Satan is irresistible at the time of the bargain, but he would join Beelzebub if there comes a better offer from him.
If you can question every other thing, you cannot question Jones’ instinct for survival. He moves very fast too, and it doesn’t worry him what you think, provided he is being sustained in the new deal. If you want to know the real Jones, cut off the deal and see whom you have. Jones had also got to Ohakim through the help of some people close to him. He presented himself as a writer and paint manufacturer. That was good. Then Ohakim took to liking him and he began working for the former governor. To encourage him as a youth who is into paint manufacturing, Ohakim gave him a contract to repaint some portions of his house in the village. That endeared Ohakim to him the more, because he told many that the painting contract from Ohakim was rare PR for him to cling other contracts, having worked for such high profile personality. Ohakim was available to Jones’ request any time, but the story changed once Ohakim announced he was leaving partisan politics at that moment. Jones felt his survival had been threatened, and the survival instinct in him told him it was time he mended the fence with Uche Nwosu.
Shocked by the truth he had been exposed to and the love he got from Ohakim, Jones had to show his “love” for Ohakim in one of his outings, and I quote: “A good number of my friends and fans have continued to enquire what contract I have with (ex-)Governor Ikedi Ohakim, that it seems I am fixated on talking about him all the time. The worst part of it, according to some of my readers, is that I hardly find any fault in him, because I am always writing good about him. I even have the vote Ohakim music as my caller tune on my main line.
“How much has Ohakim paid you is the question almost everybody keeps asking. One of the regular commentators on my thread had even accused me of being homo, with the stupid argument that I am loving Ohakim beyond reason. Truth is, I have a contract with the former Governor of Imo State, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, and that contract is the same contract I have with all public office-holders; the contract of saying the truth, standing against lies, defending the defenseless, standing up for the blackmailed and promoting the truth.
“Ohakim was lied against, blackmailed and made to appear evil before the people, by the oppressors of the people. His only sin is that he elected to free the people from the bondage of servitude, poverty and sycophancy. He wanted to return power to the ordinary Imolites and ensure that Imolites get the best possible deals from those who lead them. Ohakim does not believe in pretending about his beliefs, he does not believe in speaking sweet words just to be liked, he believes that Imo people own him, and for them to have chosen him as their leader at the time they did, they wanted him to tell them the truth, and he tried to keep to that. The same contract I have with Ohakim is the same contract I have with President Goodluck Jonathan. Both men meant well for us, but were blackmailed by our oppressors and, unfortunately, a good number of us were swayed by these blackmails and we voted against them. Like Jonathan, Ohakim is a victim of his sincerity to the people he led, and I am committed to making both men understand that not all Nigerians can be deceived by the lies of our oppressors.
“Ohakim has not told me that he will be interested in returning to the Imo Government House as governor, and I do not think he has told anyone of such plans. But I will keep promoting his good ideals of leadership and truthfulness, no matter where he is tomorrow. Therefore, like some people have been bold enough to un-friend me, just because they do not like the fact that I find the time to talk about a man who lost in his re-election bid, you can click the delete button if you feel disturbed with my good stories about Ohakim. I can assure you that as long these reports are true, I will never get tired of publishing them on my wall, and elsewhere.”
While Jones was with Ohakim, he had written killer-articles, and on one occasion he had questioned the source of wealth of Okorocha’s Chief of Staff Uche Nwosu, with whom he now parleys. It was this questioning of the source of wealth of Nwosu that forced his staffers to open up on Jones, and told the world about his seared marriage. That hit Jones like a thunderbolt.
While the move was good and smooth with Ohakim, Jones wrote some of his best works, accusing Okorocha of being responsible for the hardship in the state.
For example: “When Dr Ikedi Ohakim held sway as the Governor of Imo State, he hardly received anything more than N1.5 billion any month from the Federal Government as allocation. There was no money coming from the Sure-P fund, nor was there anything like the Sovereign Wealth Fund. The Excess Crude Account was scarcely touched, yet, Ohakim did not sack a single soul from the Imo State Civil Service, rather he employed over 30,000 new people to work for Imo State, and he completed several projects and still left close to N20 billion (actually far more than that) in the Imo State coffers at the time he left power in 2011.
“Some people believe that it is this money and other investments left behind by the Ohakim government that got Governor Okorocha so excited that he declared to the whole world that Imo is the richest state in Nigeria. Ohakim left power, without plunging Imo into debts. Ohakim had reasons to complain that Imo was broke, but coming from an enviable background of creative management and leadership consultancy, he was able to take Imo out of the woods, without having to put ordinary Imolites into serious stress. Ohakim never owed Imo civil servants, he never owed contractors, he never sacked anybody, yet, Imo never got broke.
“Governor Okorocha received nothing less than N12 billion every month for the first four years of his administration. He received money from the SURE-P and other funds created by the Jonathan-led Federal Government, yet, he has not employed anyone into the Imo State civil service since 2011. He has sacked over 20,000 Imolites from their jobs since he became governor, while thousands of others have statutorily retired from service, and there are others who have died or resigned. Okorocha has rarely completed any project he started since 2011.”
As far as Jones got the money and the attention from His Excellency Ikedi Ohakim, the former governor was the only person who saw tomorrowfrom yesterday. He shone brighter than the stars. Jones even said Ohakim saw better than Nostradamus.
His words: “They say Nostradamus saw today many years ago, and I know there are people already seeing 100 years from now, today. Former governor of Imo State, Ohakim, is one man who is so good at seeing tomorrow from today. The present economic hardship being experienced today was seen by him and he made practical steps to prepare not just himself, but also Imolites for this day. He conceived the idea of building a seaport in the South-east, began the process of building the Oguta
Wonder Lake, initiated the Imo Finishing School idea where our youths are trained to be self-reliant and employable. This idea would have ensured that at this time when there are few job openings, Imo youths would be major employers of labour, instead of being beggars of labour.
“Unfortunately, the man who succeeded him (Okorocha, whom Jones now works for) only sees today and could not continue with most of these projects and ideas. Imo would have been better prepared than any other state of the federation for this economic downturn, had these ideas been continued.
“During the 2015 general elections, Ohakim, through the Igbo Conversational Group, demanded that whoever emerges President of Nigeria must take the Igbo seriously. He particularly demanded the creation of an additional state for the South-east, the siting of a seaport in the South-east, the rehabilitation of South-east roads, upgrading of our airports to meet international standards, etc. There is no better way to fight for Igbo liberation than an insistence on these things and more. At present, there is no Igbo leader who has shown more interest in the development of Igbo land than Ohakim. I implore all of us to begin to think tomorrow.”
But come to think of it, is Okorocha rejoicing that he has recruited Jones? The impression I get from his foot-soldiers is that their net made a good catch. Rejoicing over Jones is mere foolhardy, and mourning over losing him is foolhardy too. Some people had warned Ohakim about Jones, but he did not listen. People had also wondered why Ohakim was so attached to Jones, and some had taken it to another dimension that it was possible that Ohakim impregnated Jones’ mother and therefore gathered him. Well, if you look at Jones and Ohakim and see some physical resemblance, you may be tempted to believe this. But whatever it was, Jones has proved he was a liability to Ohakim. And it is a matter if time he stabbed Okorocha in the back.
•Collins Ughalaa writes from Owerri, Imo State.
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