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Wamakko-PHCN face-off: The true story


The person of the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and, in fact, the entire people of Sokoto State, are being blackmailed, scandalised, impugned and insulted outright over an alleged physical assault by the governor on certain officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

From a news report credited to the acting Managing Director of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC), Malam Muhammed Adamu and the ensuing actions and utterances of the leadership of the organised labour in the power sector, one cannot but design a planned and an orchestrated machination of vendetta, slander and libel hatched and built on bare-faced lies and shameless falsification. According to the initial report over which Governor Wamakko has been called all sorts of defamatory names and invectives and, over which the entire Sokoto State has been deliberately shut out of electricity supply, the governor and his security aides were alleged to have variously beaten three PHCN officials: Engineer Moses Osigwe, Malam Isyaku Dauran and Malam Nurudeen Muhammed.

In the quoted words of Malam Muhammed Adamu, Governor Wamakko was said to have “brought out a horsewhip and lashed him (Engineer Osigwe) to a pulp. His Excellency’s brutality did not just end with him alone, as he also invited and instructed two hefty mobile policemen to continue with the beating spree until the business manager fell to the ground and became unconscious.” For this alleged actions, the national leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees has demanded a “public apology” from him or “not only Wamakko (his home town) will be in darkness but his entire state and that includes the Government House.”

That threat from the Union’s Secretary General, Comrade Joe Ajaero, has since been carried out! All these fretting, impunity, arbitrariness, insults and assaults on the people of Sokoto State are without foundation, logic and sanity. The fact of what happened was that Engineer Moses Osigwe, accompanied by two of his subordinate staffers, had honoured an invitation by the governor for explanations on the persistent lack of electricity in Wamakko and other towns of the state for several months.

The invitation by the governor was against the backdrop of the strident complaints from people across the length and breadth of the state over the lack of electricity. The dismally poor, erratic and near absence of electricity was particularly puzzling, in the face of the numerous financial and other material assistance given by the state government to the PHCN in the state in a bid by the government to provide electricity to the citizens. Engineer Osigwe, who has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the governor, was, in fact, the one who usually requested for such material and financial advancements because ,in his words, “Sokoto will have to wait for eternity if we are to wait for the National Headquarters to provide our needs.”

Specifically, the governor wanted to know from Engineer Osigwe why electricity had not been restored to Wamakko town and environs close to two years after he had demanded and was given the sum of N17 million, which he had said was the amount required to rectify the problems. To the amazement, and of course, guile of officials of government and visitors present, Engineer Moses Osigwe was not only not forthcoming with plausible, convincing explanations; he was also rude and haughty. His statements were to the effect that he felt insulted and lowered in esteem for being “bothered over paltry sums of money.” To him, he had honoured the invitation in the “belief that Your Excellency had something much more serious to discuss with me.”

The governor, at a point, was furious and ordered him out of his sight with the words: “You will have to explain at the appropriate quarters!” Rather than tendering apologies for his lack of comportment and decorum or to take his leave, Engineer Osigwe, in raised voice, said the governor could do nothing to him because he was “neither his boy nor an employee of the state government.” On this note, the governor simply and, in his normal, and well known characteristic calm posture, asked his security aides to walk them out of his sight.

It is an ungodly, callous and wicked lies that some people went to town with the heinous tale that Wamakko descended so low to the unthinkable level of “using a horse whip to whip Engineer Osigwe” or any of his companions on that occasion. It is equally a patent fabrication that the security aides of the governor were ordered by him to beat up the PHCN officials. If, and only if there was anything like a physical contact between Engineer Osigwe and the Police aides, such was certainly neither on the orders of the governor nor did it occur in his presence!

As a matter of fact, Isyaku Dauran, who is the service engineer in charge of Wamakko area, said, in his statement to their regional office, that the governor only told them to shut up and say when the job would be done. In any case, discerning members of the public have been wondering about the physical strength of the governor, the length of time it took him and the type of horse whip used to beat Engineer Osigwe to the point of unconsciousness! It is pertinent and very auspicious here to tell the world a bit of how Engineer Moses Osigwe has been conducting himself as the head of the PHCN in Sokoto all these years.

Under him, the people of Sokoto have been made to shoulder the costs of repairs and installation of electricity facilities just as they have groaning under the heavy tariff charged for, in all cases, services not rendered. He has made it a character of talking down and passing derogatory remarks about the people of Sokoto State. For instance, on the people’s complaints over the high bills from PHCN, Engineer Osigwe has been reported to always retorted: “Please, let me be: why should they be complaining when paying electricity bills is about the only contribution of Sokoto State to the national coffers. What else does Sokoto contribute?”

Engineer Osigwe’s response to the governor on the occasion in reference, was in that frame of arrogance and disdain for the people and everything about Sokoto. The status of the governor notwithstanding and the financial advancements he had regularly received on his so frequent requests personally from the governor and officially from the state government could not even temper his attitude toward the chief executive of the state. It is not the least surprising that Engineer Osigwe has since embarked on a game of falsification, campaign of calumny and vendetta because, in retrospect, it is now clear that he had a prepared script to play out in the event of being asked to answer questions of probity, diligence and efficiency.

What is, however, perplexing is the way and ease with which Engineer Osigwe seems to have been able to convince some people to buy into his tell tale and infantile story. The action of the National Union of the Electricity Workers is particularly worrisome because, assuming, for the sake of argument, that Governor Wamakko actually and indeed, went as slow as he is being portrayed, where is the common sense, where is the logic, where is the justice and equity in the action of PHCN in throwing an entire population of over five million into darkness? How many children and the poor needing medical attention in hospitals and those in schools are being made to suffer for an action they knew nothing about? One is forced to conclude that the whole episode has a political undertone.

In which case, only the Osigwes and disgruntled elements, especially those in the position think that they are succeeding. Take a vox populi in Sokoto today on the state of darkness and you will find out that more than ever before, Governor Wamakko has not been painted in the colours the perpetrators thought and hoped would be the outcome of their machination. From where should apologies be demanded? • Umar is Special Adviser on Media to Gov Wamakko

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  1. Chukwudi November 10, 2012 at 6:22 am

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  2. Uzoma B. November 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

    This reporter is a tribal bigot paid by the governor to write trash. Why didn’t he confront the PHCN man with these allegation and let us have his response. Nonsense.

    • Ahmed November 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Uzoma, you seems to be ignorant. When Osigwe gave his story, did you sought for the Governor’s response. You are blinded by sentiments and irrationality.

  3. Ikemba felix November 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

    The author of this report must have emanated from the sokoto state government house. He is not worthy to write what innocent members of the public ssould read. The author descended so low as to publish such a bias and one sided story. He made no consultation before going to the press. Did he hear from Osigwe? Who and who did he consult? Absolutely none. To me, this story is null and void. The author should go and learn what is called ‘balanced reportage’ He is an agent of the Sokoto state government.

    • Akwaowo November 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      I believe that Engr. Osigwe is not telling the truth. It may just be that the aides of Wamakko brutalised him for daring to answer rudely to the gov., but I doubt it very seriously that the governor personally beat up the man. And if he is lying on that point, why should I believe him on any other point. It is sheer blackmail. And the union is just simply arrogant in cutting off Sokoto state from the grid.

  4. valerie November 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

    nepa people are stupid and crazy. if i have the room i will even beat.

  5. the truth November 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Umar has changed the hand of the clock to sooth his pricipal but forget the almighty God is watching. Who is Umar to correct engineer Osigwe on how to conduct himself before the governor? does he think that it takes insorbodination for someone to reach the height he has reached inPHCN? U are now crying fowl because there have not been power for just few days now but in your statement, you said that gov. Wamakko invited Osigwe to know why Wamakko and its environs have not gotten power for nearly 2yrs, have you seen your lies? the fact is that there have not been any part of nigeria where there is steady electricity and sokoto is no exempted. That wamakko is in power today doesnt make him more human nor educated than engineer Osigwe. He is only an upportunist and thats how they behave the moment they got into power.

    • wakabuzo November 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      well done his xcellency,he will understand his job dat way.

    • Akwaowo November 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      The question is: did Engineer Osigwe collect money in order to improve power supply to Sokoto and Wamakko in particular? If yes, why? If yes, did he keep his promise? From my experience with NEPA officials, I am tempted to believe that he collected the money and did not perform. And if that is true, the governor has every right to question him. Osigwe and his Union are simply blackmailing the governor! LEt’s use our brains here a little instead of jumping into conclusions.

  6. Pa Ajito November 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

    U are defending what is not defendable. Instead u and ur principal to tender apology them u are bring tribal into the issue and its very bad for nigeria unity.

  7. Jonespee November 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Umar, bcos of people like u and ur govnor, we are calling 4 total disintegration of nigeria or restructuring. Some of u people are pathological liars and see things from ur anus. U tried to make Osuigwe a con man engr and fraudster just because he is ibo. If he is the son of Emir of Gwandu, will he whip him.U people don’t work and cannot allow igbos,yorubas and other minorities in nigeria to serve wit peace of mind bcos u are burning to rule.but you guys will meet ur waterloo.Bokoharam will judge all of u.I live in abuja but buys cables,poles and tranformers 4 our community yet no light and phcn still brings bills. We have not flogged their officials.And wamako or wall-gecko who did not know that he could talk wit phcn…abuja 4 effective result bcos he did not win the govnorship seat or ask justice Salami.Perpetual frausters.

  8. Nwaokwa November 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Sokoto state government paid news editor full of lies and tribal sentiment with imbalance tale. Though phcn some times need this kind of treatment for them to know the kind of punishment they are inflicting on the citizenry.

  9. durbawa November 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    no matter wat they’ve reconciled nd we’re waitin 4 phcn pple wiz their rubbish bill we ‘ll show dem dr way morethan gov wammako

  10. Dan arewa November 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Umar has demonstrated the skill of a future media assistant that will take over from Okupe. Umar, you want to tell me that the man who had collected N17million of Sokoto people’s money will have the audacity to speak to the Governor like that? I believe what you want to tell us was that the governor got pissed-off and decided to give the engineer and his group a lesson to remember. I believe the governor’s story about money exchanging hands with nothing to show for it but the governor not beating the people is not true. The labour that made demands must have seen marks on the people which was obviously not given to them by their wife. Wamako should have balls enough to apologise to the people and petition the headquarters for the money these rascals collected and didnt deliver (lesson from Gen. Petraeus). Lest I forget, let no mortal insult Sokoto people because I served there more than a decade ago and I love them.

  11. Ochre November 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    It is obvious that the writer is only working for his pay. However, no matter what had happened, nothing gives a governor the right to raise his hands against any one. This immunity clause is causing the nation pains. By now, the governor should have been taken to court. If he had legitimate complain, he should have gone to the appropriate quarter to lodge same rather than take to the path of shame!

  12. Andy November 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I am not holding brief for either parties,but this is not a report. It is a part advert.

  13. Ifeanyi November 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Umaru or whatever u call ur pathetic self, I don,t blame u, u are just doing ur job. But Don’t take us for fools, well knw the truth. Why didn’t u go through this ur funny write up before going to the press. Even my kid of 5 yrs canno’t believe this story. It’s only fit for the swine. It’s not plausible

  14. linda November 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Beating osigwe I felt was the only way to make the disgruntled elements in nepa pay for the untold harship meted on the masses.ajaero is overstepping boundary and perhaps could get the beating over his excessive power to an extent that he forgot the law court and threw sokoto into darkness.can any sane nigerian ever believe any nepa staff.since barth left nepa staff had gone back to the usual 419 lifestyle of robbing nigerians even when it is obvious that light has grown from worse to worst.jonathan should be ashamed for letting barth go because of the political robbers who wanted to buy nepa.he will end up being worse than baba in respect to money stolen in the name of reform in powet sector.useless country wiTh clueleSs government.

  15. JUNA O. November 11, 2012 at 10:18 am


  16. UZOWURU B C November 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm


  17. Agaotere November 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Hmmm!! Mallan. Umar, we have heard ur part of the story.why does it take u so long to respond to the allegation against ur ogar? Our journalist this day are not professional, for investigative journalist u have to hear from both side before publishing it on daily. Horsewhip na small tings, if na me na their cable i go use to cane dem, ever recieve but never supply.

  18. Bello November 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Govt is making all posible 2 depend its self by even the use of trabalism its too let

  19. Olusegun Emmanuel November 12, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Mallam Umar, I find it difficult to believe that a NEPA official will be arrogant enough to insult a sitting state governor to his face. Tne NEPA official was there with only two persons while the governor was there with his aides, police and other security agents carrying guns. No sane man would go into govenrment house to insult a sitting governor. Please, tell us a more logical lie.

  20. Jonas November 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Wamako is a big shame to his people. He must be a terror

  21. Okike November 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Shame on “the sun” newspapers for allowing the press secretary to Wamako to write and post a false story in the name of “our reporter”. Shame!!

  22. Currents November 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Sani Umar failed to anrwer the question posed to the pple of Sokoto state that apart from nepa bills,what other contribution(s) does sokoto state contributes to national economy? The former state of ‘Born to rule’ have nothing to contribute to Nigeria but relies heavily on federal subventions to run govt activities. Should true federalism be introduce in Nigeria today, I’m dead sure that ninety per cent of the states in the north will collapse. An average northerner doesn’t like to pay for utility bills, be it electricity, water,tenement rates etc. They termed them to be govt properties, therefore, needn’t be paid for. Let’s ask mallam Umar Sani, how many Wammako’s indegines are electrical engineering graduates that has worked in phcn up to the of a business unit service engineer? It is high time you pple enbrace BOKO and cancel HARAM !!!

  23. Kalu J. Okafor November 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Tomorrow mallam Umar will tell us that Engineer Osuigwe insulted Islam or burned the koran. Were they not three people allegedly beaten up by the born to rule governor and his zombie aids and security bandits? Why the emphasis on Osuigwe? Had Malam Isyaku Dauran and Malam Nurudeen Muhammed “since embarked on a game of falsification, campaign of calumny and vendettawith Osigwe”. Barefaced liars. Is that not how you deceive your almajiris and keep them in perpetual servitude?

  24. THE PRINCE November 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Many Nigerians are no more producing anything because of intertption of the so called (PHCN) that is where we basically sorted our problem to and by doing so all the wealthy men we have now went out to the urban parts of the county extablishing others peoples state. This dedicated to all those on power in government.

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