By Chukwudi Nweje The Nigerian Third Force Movement has rolled out its action plan for the 2019 general elections. Prominent members of the group include former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, Tafawa Balewa, and Prof. Pat Utomi….
I have never met Colonel P.A. Clark (rtd) and as a result do not know his complexion or whether he is tall, short or average in height or big or small in size. The only link I have had with him were the three text messages he sent to me in the last four months, on August 2, November 1 and 29. His request in the second text that I should provide him with my curriculum vitae, because he wanted to know me better, is the first I know of a reader admiring a column and asking the writer for such information about himself or herself.
Given this, I therefore took it that it was Almighty God Himself who inspired Colonel Clark to make the request and got me writing about it in this column. So, that all those who read the series would know more about me. That like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Leader of Government and Premier of the defunct Western Region (1951 – 59), Dr. Michael Okpara, the second Premier of the extinct Eastern Region (1959 – 66) and President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s current Head of State, that I am a principled, strong – willed and incorruptible person. And that like Awo and Okpara that I am also innovative.
In his reaction to last week’s column, a reader who in a text message identified himself as Honourable Peter Okafor of Orlu, Imo State (080 – 6372 – 2823), said he doubted and rejected my story that I declined to accept the money offered me by each of late Dr. Tunji Braithwaite in 1983, late Chief Onwuka Kalu in 1987 and Senator Arthur Nzeribe in 1988. He concluded his message with the advice that “I should try to pursue facts not fiction.”
Okafor simply amused me for portraying himself as someone who is not a right – thinking fellow or who did not have proper understanding of what he read in my article. His reaction came a week after my story that Senator Ben Obi was present when I declined the money Dr. Braithwaite offered me after interviewing him in 1983. If my story was not true would Obi not have denied it within a day or two after publication? It is now a week that I narrated the story of Nzeribe’s offer and that at his invitation I visited him in his presidential suite at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island in Lagos in 1988. If I lied would he too not have denied it within a day or two or by now?
As for late Dr. Kalu visiting me at home in 1987, Okafor can go and find out who was his driver at the time, and ask him if he did not bring his boss to my place. Other dignitaries who visited me at home when I was the Editor of the Sunday Concord and a columnist in the hebdomadal (Monday, March 5, 1984 – Monday, May 24, 1989) included late Chief Moshood Abiola, the publisher of Concord newspapers and magazines, the twain of juju music superstars – Commander Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade and late Mr. Olabisi Ajala, the famous tourist who went round the world on a motor cycle in the 1960s.
As well as Dr. Franklin Adejuwon who was then the Commissioner for Tourism in Lagos State in the government of Military Administrator Mike Akhigbe (August 1986 – July 1988) and Chief Olu Falae, when he was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (January 1986 to December 1990), when General Ibrahim Babangida was Head of State (August 1985 – August 1993). Apart from Chief Abiola the others are alive for Okafor to contact. Ditto Ms. Omoakachie, the Personal Assistant of Chief Kalu who brought his gift to me in 1987.
I have a bigger shocker for Okafor and other doubting Thomas than rejecting money or other gifts from politicians and businessmen or women. Through my “The Heart of the Matter” column in the Sunday Concord I made a name that the Government of Ondo State, where I come from, offered me three political appointments in 1987, 89 and 95. While Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, then the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army and member of the Provisional Military Ruling Council in 1994 requested for my CV for consideration as Nigeria’s High Commissioner or Ambassador abroad and in 1995 for ministerial appointment in the Federal Government of General Sani Abacha.
A day or two after he was sworn in as the Military Governor of Ondo State in December 1987, Group Captain Olabode George (now a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sent late Mr. Tunde Savage, then the Commercial Manager of the Daily Times, to inform me he had slated me down as one of the Commissioners in his cabinet. I rejected the offer immediately he finished talking. I told him that the Governor was lucky to have sent him to me because if he had announced my name without my consent, I would through the press instantly have declined the appointment. Chief George confirmed this in 2004 when he was the Chairman at the presentation of my book: Nigeria set aside by God for Greatness and the untold story of June 12 annulment, at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
Continues next week with the story of my service as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lagos Airport Hotel (1989 – 91) and that Chairman of Akure Local Government Caretaker Committee (1995 – 96).
Dr. Goddy Okeke’s ridiculous reaction to Mrs. Folarin’s series (3)
From the five text messages he sent to me penultimate Wednesday, it was apparent that Dr. Okeke is someone who uses words without knowing their meaning or implication, and therefore misapplies them. In his first text message which I published in quote two weeks ago, he told me: “Stop deceiving gullible patients that are thirsty and hungry for an end to their health misery, with your vulger (sic) and wicked false claims.”
In my reply, I informed him that those who asked me for Mrs. Folarin’s telephone number included medical doctors, a professor of medicine and pharmacists. Gullible is an adjectival word, which means a person who is easily persuaded or deceived. But in spite of the caliber of those I informed Okeke reached out to me for Mrs. Folarin’s telephone number, the medical doctor in his reply still said: “Your knowledge of the topic in question is shallow and deceptive. Period! Stop deceiving gullible masses with false information.”
If he knows the meaning of the word, would he still have insisted that a professor of medicine, medical doctors, pharmacists, retired army generals and colonels, one retired commissioner of police, and other university degree holders, who asked for Mrs. Folarin’s number, were gullible people? Also, how could he have applied gullible to the four men who said they were cured by Mrs. Folarin’s medicine? One of them is a 63 year – old graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and another is a retired army colonel. Does it also make sense that people who paid one hundred thousand naira for the treatment of prostate enlargement or one hundred and fifty thousand naira for prostate cancer would come out to say they were cured if they were not?
(For continuation next Wednesday)