Letter To Gov. Igbinedion

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Open Letter To Governor Lucky Igbinedion by Air Iyare

 

His Excellency,
Chief Nosakhare Igbinedion, 
The Executive Governor,Edo State.                     

 Ekhator Street,
 Egor Quarters, 
 Benin City.
 
2nd April, 2002.
Your Excellency,
 

WHITHER EDO STATE?

 

 1. A year after my five open-letters to you, I am out with yet another one for three reasons: 


 (a) If I had not spoken out last year, Ikpoba brook would by now have gulped over N2 Billion.  Thank you
 for canceling that project. (b) In your recent EBS TV interview, Mr. Tunde Ebozogie fired his first two hot questions thus - * "Your Excellency, are you aware that your government is unpopular"? 


 * "Your Excellency, is your state broke"?


 Your reply was that you were not aware that your government was unpopular and that the state was not
 broke.  I quite sympathize with your answers because the same Tunde's EBS TV would not air contrary view to that of your government.  Rather, it will continue to manufacture jingles of lies extolling your popularity, achievements and virtue to the high heavens.  


 (c.) This letter is "opened" to assure the public that the N5 million and two Mercedes Benz cars they claimed you sent to me last year to silence me, have not yet arrived my Egor residence.  When they finally arrive, I will go to the Ring road to distribute the money to the public because having N5million will make me develop hypertension and possibly end up with cardiac arrest.
 
2. Your Excellency,  when government is looking for N7 Billion to borrow to off-set salary arrears of workers and pensioners, that government is broke.   When Professors, lecturers and workers of Ambrose Alli University have not received their salaries for six months now; when secondary school teachers have not been paid for four months; when civil and public servants have not got salaries for three months; when
 pensioners are owed over N5 billion, your government is broke.  Moreso when your government is not in
 possession of the Philosopher Stone that turns everything to gold.  
 
3. In spite of my advise in my letter to you dated 26th March, 2002, that the state's money should not be
  recklessly spent according to your fancy, you have continued to squander the state's money on white
 elephant projects, especially sports.  Confucius warned that "he that will not economize will have to
 agonize"   Frugality is founded on the principle that all riches have limits.  Frugality is the daughter of
 prudence; the sister of temperance and the father of good governance.  A good management of the state
 economy is an interplay of many variables.  It is calculation realized; it is the doctrine of proportion
 reduced to practice, it is foreseeing contingencies and providing against them; it is expecting
 contingencies and being prepared for them. 
 
4. But Your Excellency, have thrown all economic theories to the wind.  You spend more than what you
 get.  You eat up all you have today, hoping that God will provide for tomorrow.  Plutarch once warned
 rulers that "that man who first brought ruin on the Roman Empire was he who pampered it by largesse's and amusements".   The economic virus plaguing your government today was anticipated when I pleaded with you, in my letter dated 26th March,2001, to hands-off the hosting of the 13th National Sports Festival.  But no! Your  personal ambition must take precedence over the economic welfare of Edo State.  Just as you embarked on dredging Ikpoba brook to acquire the dry land on both sides of the bank, so also are you spending a whole year budget to actualize your dream to be made the Federal Minister for Sport in 2007.  Here is your projection from the Arkasane Record.  After completing your two-year governorship of Edo State in 2007, you will fight to be a running mate to a Northern Presidential candidate.   But in case that fails, you will be automatically compensated with the post of Federal Minister for Sports, in view of your sporting exploits as former Governor of Edo State.  But the law of nature does not operate so smoothly like that.  Periodic volcanic eruption under the earth crust, and forked lightening in the atmosphere, are but faint echoes of God's wrath.  A Leader who fastens one end of a chain around his subjects' neck; must expect that nature will fasten the other end around his own neck.  This is the law!
 
5. "The fault lies not in our stars but in us"  - so wrote the immortal Shakespeare.  (i) You cannot expect the state not to be broke when you took about $1,000.00.00 which was about 140 million at the exchange rate then, to make your first eight day overseas trip, few weeks after being sworn in as Governor of Edo State in 1999.


 (ii) You cannot expect  the state not to be broke when you spent N15,939,656.66 for the clearing of  5 BMW motorcycles from the Apapa Wharf as contained in the Memo of Mr. Patrick Eboigbodin and approved by you on 16th December 1999.   


 (iii) You cannot expect the state not to be broke when you spent N20,424,002 to attend the Sydney Olympic games as contained in the Memo of Mr. Patrick Eboigbodin and approved by you on 21st August, 2000. (iv) You cannot expect the state not to be broke when you spent N17,000,000.00 on the burial of the Late Justice Ephraim Akpata - a Federal Officer - as contained in the Memo of Mr. Patrick Eboigbodin and approved by you on 7th February, 2000.


 (v) You cannot expect the state not to be broke, whenyou spent over N400,000,000.00 to renovate the abodeof the goddess of Ikpoba brook.


 (vi) You cannot expect the state not to be broke when you have spent over N4 Billion to purchase vehicles
 alone within three years.  With about 50 government vehicles in private use or dashed away to especially
 party members.


 (vii) You cannot expect the state not to be broke when you have spent over N5Billion so far in preparation
 for the 13th National Sports Festival.  This includes about 30 overseas trips in the name of sports,
 infrastructural development of the stadium, millions of Naira to buy athletes from all over the 
federation., all in an attempt for Edo state to come top at the festival.  Only three weeks ago, your commissioner for Sports claimed that  the least paid athlete in camp receives N27,000.00 per month.  This multiplied by 900 athletes times by 8 months in camp, give N200 million.  Only a fortnight ago, your government paid N35 million to the University of Benin for the accommodation of athletes.


 (viii) You cannot expect the state not to be broke when you have gone on overseas tour over 50 times,
 conservatively estimated to cost about N2Billion in less than 3 years.  A millionaire liver cancer patient
 who receives his dialysis treatment overseas, cannot afford such financial luxury.  The irony of it all is
 that you must be air-borne within 5 days after the Federal Allocation has arrived the state. 
 
6. In 5 (I-viii) above, I am not imputing that you are corrupt. No!  If I had such facts, I would have passed
 them over to the Justice Mustapha Akanbi "Independent Corrupt Practices Commission" (ICPC) for his perusal and necessary action.  I would have handed same over to Edo State House of Assembly for investigation and possibly set in motion the machinery for your impeachment.  It happened before in Governor Balarabe Musa, Kaduna State during the Shagari era, and can happened again in any state in Nigeria.  All 'am accusing you of, is financial recklessness. 
 
7. Your Excellency, Edo State government workers and pensioners are moving-corpses and living-dead due to the non-payment of their salaries for months.  A house wife, whose husband has not received salaries for months, would wonder what the devil drove her to marry a civil servant or a teacher.   This may leads to temptation and flirtation.  Children whose  parents cannot feed nor provide for their schooling, will not have respect for their parents.  Daughters of payless workers would want to hawk their divine nectar to feed themselves.  By not paying workers' salaries and pensions for months, you are negating the very
 cardinal principle on which Idia Renaissance is founded.   Government  by its action, is breeding
 young thieves and social misfits; young prostitutes and future Italy-bound damsels.  Those who blame our
 elder pensioners for demonstrating for non-payment of their pension should shut-up their mouths.  The limbs of these oldies are now too weak to allow them to stay by the side-roads with shovels, hoes, cutlasses and head-pans looking for daily labourer's jobs.  Their strength have almost evaporated to allow them to farm.
    Their only hope for survival is their pension that is not forth-coming.  And hunger, unlike hot lead,
 kills day by day, inch by inch, destroying the body immune system against diseases before finally cutting
 off the golden-cord that links soul with the universe.  Which reminds me  of a story of a couple whose
 aircraft crashed in Greenland, Up Canada, eight years ago.  In their struggle to survive the harsh realities
 of the Arctic Region, the wife died.  The surviving husband had to eat the raw flesh of the wife for two
 weeks before he was rescued. 
 
8. In your excellency's  last EBS TV interview you stated bluntly that you do not believe in communism,
 socialism, militocracy and other ideological trash.  What really do you believe on?  If on capitalism, that
 ideology recognizes payment of wages for work done. If on Christology, Jesus Christ stated that "a
 labourer is worth his wage."  From Adam and Eve, the Bible teaches that "from the toils of thine brow thou shall eat bread".  Which government or political ideology uses workers as  slave labourers?   Even
 slave labourers are fed by heir masters.  Your Excellency should stop toying with the destinies of my people of Edo State.
 
9. There is hardly anything your excellency has embarked upon that you have prosecuted to its finality.  Except sports.  Three years in office, the Ikpesi chemical plant is functioning only in the newsroom of EBSTV, rather than on the ground.  The Auchi fertilizer plant is only fertilizing the imagination of its authors.  I will rather buy my fruits from the Oba's market than wait endlessly for the products of Ehor fruit processing factory, whose site has been overgrown with weeds.  Ditto the Uromi  garivita processing plant and your recently conceived marble plant at Teboga Road, Ikpoba Hill.    The Ogba housing
 estate has turned to subject of architectural lecturing of our children - the foundation stage, the little level, the sand-filing stage, the soak away stage, the plumbing stage, the electrical wiring stage, the roofing stage - these are the daily sing-song from EBS TV news that have no end.   It took late Chief Dennis Osadebey, the first Premier of Mid-West State, about a year to establish the AsabaTextile Mills, the Ukpilla Cement Factory, and the Ughelli Glass Factory in 1964.  He built what was to be the State Secretariat - now known as Army barracks and tarred over 5,000 kilometeres of roads in Mid-West
 all within two years before the military coup of 15th January, 1966.  His first budget then was
 N8356;2.8Million. Governor Alli in less than 3 years in office established the infrastructure take-off of Ambrose Alli University and another foundation for a second University at Abraka which now house Delta State University.  Built two Colleges of Education in Warri and Benin City, which is now located at Ekiadolor.  Established two Polytechnics one at Ozoro.  Constructed over 200 secondary schools within 9 months in office; established EBS TV and the Ewu Flour Mills.  He tarred about 20,000 kilometres of roads with about one thousand kilometers of Nylon tarred roads in Benin City alone.  Above all he gave us free education from birth to the grave, including all our children in Overseas.  And made Health Services free in all government hospitals.  As a visionary leader, he wanted to create over seventy local governments with about 12 of them from the Bini area (South Senatorial District).  But the conservatives in our state opposed him.  If he was allowed to do it, Edo State would have been better today in terms of federal allocation to local governments in Nigeria.  Alli operated and achieved all these with an annual budget of about N250million for the whole of Bendel State.  My Ishan  brothers and sisters would be amazed that 'am giving all these credits to Professor Alli.  Why not!  It is true that I contested the gubernatorial nomination under UPN and it was a neck to neck race between  me and Prof. Alli, with him beating me with about 3 votes.  When late Chief Awolowo eliminated A.T.L. Garry and the 4th candidate who came a distant 3rd and 4th and called for a run off between myself and Alli, he boldly came to me during the 10 minutes period given to us to campaign for votes from the electoral ` college.  And said to me - "Mr. Iyare, I am now getting old.  Please allow me to rule Bendel State.  I beg you in the name of God to allow me".  I was  39 years old then and Alli was over 50 years.  I immediately follow him inside Urokpota Hall; mounted the rostrum and told Chief Obafemi Awolowo to forget about a second ballot, and conceded victory to Prof. Alli.  Mr. Gabriel Enabaifo and Madam Grace Bazuaye, Dr. Oni Edigin was this  not what happened that day? I did it because one,   he used the name of God to appeal to me.  Two, he was by far older than me.  And three, the matter of my ruling Bendel State was not to me that of life and death.  Our present young politicians should learn lesson from my example in 1979.  If I had defeated Alli in the run-off and became the Governor of Bendel State then, I doubt if I would have done better than Professor Alli.  I am a social and political critic no doubt.  But I recognize merits and excellence when I see them.  I will write on the achievements of Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia if he dies before me.  He is still alive and free to sing his praises. 
 
10. KOGI STATE:  Those who shout "Air Iyare is at it again" should follow me on a trip to Governor Abubakar Audu Kogi State and compare what they see with Governor  Igbinedion  Edo State.  Note that Kogi is not an oil producing state and that its shares from the Federation Account is less than Edo state.
 

(a) Within six months in office, Governor Audu of Kogi State established a state University equipped with
 ultra-modern lecture theaters, four students' hostels, a mini-stadium, administrative complex, modern building for principal officers, 150 staff quarters, 25 lecture halls and 25 kilometres of tarred roads within the campus.


 (b) He has completed 22 electrification projects hooked to the national grid and serving 35 towns.
 

(c.) He has built and commissioned 30 units Commissioners' quarters, two housing estates, 200
 housing units for senior civil  servants in Lokoja  which presently are occupied by 2000 civil servants on
 owner-occupier basis.


 (d) 85 new primary schools have been built and in use.  Another 150 primary and secondary schools have been rehabilitated.  20,000 desks have been distributed. Books, instructional materials, computers worth N2 billion have been distributed to school.


 (e) There is a modern government girls' secondary school at Ogbonicha that admits students from all over the country with tuition and boarding fees free to all students.


 (f) Over 5000 kilometres of roads have been tarred and others rehabilitated.
 
(g) Water flows from their taps; hospital function, there are no ocean of water on their roads, and no
 anger and hunger on the faces of the people. In Edo state, governor Lucky has tarred 500 roads.  Name them?  Lucky has renovated 1000 schools. "Wey Dem"?.  Lucky has established 5 industries.  Where are
 their products?  Lucky has built 100 housing estate.  For snakes and lizards?  Lucky has even
 air-conditioned the Ring Road!  Bloody liars you all.  Who lie for fear of hunger and the security of their
 positions. Oratory like  the drama abhors lengthiness.  It is a sign of ignorance not to know that long speeches, though pleasing to the speaker, are the torture of the hearer.  I shall therefore conclude my write-up in volume 2 next week.  See you then. 

 

11. MEDIOCRITY   -   Edo State can no longer afford a leader who learns on the job because the state is
 blessed with many experienced, matured, well educated technocrats and political economists that know the complexities and management of the state's human and natural resources.  Edo State will no longer tolerate money-bag politicians and dummy guber candidate already packaged, sealed and ready to be installed in Osadebey's Avenue, by power-brokers and contract-hungry vampires.  Nothing can be more
 dangerous to a state than when men of average capacity are elected to govern.  They destroy everything beyond and above the range of their mental comprehension.  If king Charles I of England and King Louis XVI of France were men of high intelligence, they would not have brought ruin to their nations and pay with their heads.  Coming nearer home, if Oba Ovonramwen of Benin was not timid enough, he would not have been banished and deported to Calabar where he died.  According to Jacob Egharevba in his "Short History of Benin" "Timidity made him to flee away when the (British) troops were approaching the city on 17th February, 1897; ignorance made him to hide and not attend the final meeting with the Consul-General on 9th September,1897; and aggrandizement made him not to plead before the Consul-General until after the sentence of banishment for life had already been passed on him". There are certain fields, mediocrity is never allowed.  These include governance, poetry, music, painting, oratory etc.  How can you defend the mediocrity of a Governor who did not know that by first accepting a minimum wage of ,500.00 per month he was accepting salary increment and arrears that cut across the board?  How do you defend the mediocrity of a Governor who did not know that pre-matured retirement of Director-Generals and other top civil and public servants, and replacing them, amounts to paying double salaries for a single post?  Because, the retirement pension of a Director-General, is equal his previous monthly salaries.  
 
12. The apologists of the Governor would argue that he inherited financial problems from previous military
 administrations.  When the House of  Assembly, in its wisdom, decided to probe the Onyeregbulem government, why did the governor refuse to cooperate and pressurize the House to halt such probe?    Those who helped Onyereagbulem to ruin the economy of this state are today directly or indirectly ruling Edo State. Those who pressurized the Federal Government to half its subvention to Edo State to punish Governor Oyegun's government, are today directly or indirectly ruling Edo state.  Those  who used their influence to prevent the creation of more local governments in Edo South Senatorial district, are today directly or indirectly ruling Edo State.  Even those who fought against the creation of Mid-West state in the early 60', are  today directly or indirectly ruling Edo State.  Why should Edo State out of the whole 36
 states in the federation, be the first to prostrate before the Federal Government to beg for N2 Billion
 loan?  When the non oil producing states in the north and over half of the states in Nigeria, that receives
 less from the Federation Account than Edo state, have not done so.   The way some educated Edo people reason makes me suspect that they got their degrees from the gutter or bought them  from Oba Market.  I am ashamed of our educated illiterates!


13. One thing my adversaries should concede is my didactic and dialectical grammanivorous
 intellectualism in my analysis of issues.  Yet I am not an intellectual but a genius.  Genius is that eye
 of intellect; the wing of though; always in advance of its age; the pioneer of a new generation.  When a
 genius speaks, the dunces and or those who struggle to eat the crumbs that fall from the mater's table enter into a confederacy of evil to destroy such a genius.  I speak not for such people, but for their children
 and posterity yet unborn.  Who must suffer the slings and arrows of a rudderless and compassless government.  Government must understand the dictum, Noblesse oblige.  Which means that position and authority demand obligation to the governed.  Most of our present rulers misrule their subjects with the
 erroneous belief that the constitution stipulates a four year term in office.  Our leaders refuse to learn
 from the mistakes of late President Marcos and now.  Estandes of the Philippine; Suharto of Indonesia;
 Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo; Emperor Haile Sellaise of Ethiopia and Idi Amin of Uganda.
 
14. I shall  not be perturbed if anyone with contrary views to mine, joins issues with my assertions. I love
 debates.  I love intellectualism.  But such intellectualism should not degenerate to "tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,. Signifying nothing" - Shakespeare.  Let me draw attention to the fact that not every issue has its pros and cons.  Else there will not be anything like absolute truth which is the study of philosophy.  That there is God is an absolute truth.  To argue that there   is no God because you have not seen Him is a fallacy.  Because the billions of neurons in the human brain that must arrange themselves in a coherent pattern before you experience the sensation called though, were not created by accident.    In Algebra, we use "x" to represent the unknown and from there calculate to the known.  God is that algebraic formula "x", the unknown, raised to the power  of infinity.  At the gate of one of the Pyramids in Egypt is an inscription thus - "the more I search and probe to the mysteries of God, the more the mysteries deepens".  Yes! "Any knowledge about god is beyond human understanding". So says the Bible. Yet, GOD IS! 
 
15. Let me reiterate that 'am writing from a pedestal far higher than mundane politicking, which is transient.  Absolute truth is forever sounding across centuries, the laws of right and wrong.  Opinions
 alter; manners change; creeds rise ands fall.  But truth is forever recorded in tablets of eternity.  I
 therefore vow on the alter of God, my continued hostilities against any oppression and any form of
 tyranny over the souls and minds of my people of Edo State and humanity in general.
 
16. I must confess that 'am amazed over the timidity of my Bini people who in the past 48 hours advised me to be wary of the killers' squad of Governor Lucky Igbinedion.  I am not aware that His Excellency is a
 killer.  Although he was linked to the killing of Late George Idah, he was exonerated by the security agents.  I am aware however that his Vigilante gang, now Neighbourhood watch, killed over eight Binis under the leadership of Late Samson  Obaseki.  But if the Governor decides to send his boys to assassinate me, one thing I plead is that my killers should `present my dead body to him for his pepper soup or suya delicacy.  But one thing my FATHER assured, is that they themselves would not live to regret their action.  I would prefer to die fighting on the side of truth, than die peacefully on my bed.  To me, there is no death.  The flower may wither in the heat of the dry season, only to rise and bloom again in the gentle
 rain.   There is no death.  The sun may rise from the east and  set in the  west, only to rise again from
 the east the following morning, to continue its celestial journey.
 
(I) It is impossible that such a thing so natural, so inevitable, and so universal, as death, should ever
have been designed by our FATHER as an evil to His children.  God in His Infinite wisdom, concealed from men the happiness in death so as to prevent us from committing mass suicide in order to enjoy the glorious sensibilities beyond.   (ii) Without death, the world would have been a horrible place.  Let us all thank death that opens the visions of an endless life!  Let us thank our Savior Jesus Christ who has promised to conduct the faithful through the sacred trance of death, into the scenes of paradise and everlasting glory and joy, (iii) Death is not the ending of life, but the beginning.

 

 Death is not losing, but gaining.
 Death is not parting, but meeting.
 Death says,  "Go ye from the Earth"!
 Christ says, "Welcome Home"!.
 
If  I am killed for expressing my views, it takes me two minutes to arrive paradise.  And after clearance,
 another two minutes to coast home; the sweet home;  of my FATHER.  I know whom I am.  From whence I came.  My mission on earth.  And when to go back home. Therefore friends, fear not for my life because I do not fear, FEAR, itself.
 
EPILOGUE:  I thank all the Christian congregations and other well-meaning people, who went on their
 kneels,  in their respective churches to pray and ask God for my protection against harm, following my five open - letters to His Excellency  last year March - April.   May the good Lord bless, guard and protect
 you all.
 
I am not unaware of the fate of those who stand by the truth.  Only John, of all the twelve apostles of Christ, died a natural death.  James was beheaded by Herod, Simon Peter was crucified in Rome  head down
 wards.  Philip was martyred in Herapolis.  While Bartholomew was flayed to death.  Thomas was speared to death in Madras, East India.  Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia and James crucified in Egypt.  Simon, the Canaanite, was crucified.  Just as  Andrew, the brother to Peter, was crucified.  Lebbaeus Thaddeus and Mathias were stoned to death in Persia and Ethiopia respectively.  Judas Iscariot hanged himself.  Our big Daddy - Himself, Jesus Christ,  was crucified.  Why should I fear to be glorified as my saviour Jesus Christ!.
 
The battle against killers and other forces of evil in Edo state is not yet over.  I charge you all therefore, in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ,  to always remember and render that beautiful Hymn:-
 
Christian seek not yet repose,
Hear thine Guardian Angel say,
Thou at in the midst of foes,
Watch and Pray!
AMEN!
 
Tuesday, 9th April, 2002, will mark exactly 62 years I arrived Earth.  I will not be around forever in this
 planet and your galaxy of the "Milky Ways".  I must go home when my FATHER decides to recall  me from His vineyard.  I cannot close my eyes and shut my mouth to the bad governance of you human beings.  I must constantly warn and advise against violation of the universal Law which enjoins you to "Do unto other as you will be done by"!  Else my FATHER will find me guilty for  failing to do my  duty.   GOD BLESS!
 
 
Air Iyare
 E-Mail: 
airiyare@yahoo.com

 

 

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