*”Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you”*, Deuteronomy 5:16.
Sometimes it is very difficult to believe some people; and sometimes it is terrible the kind of claims some people make. Sometimes you might be tempted to ask God whether some people don’t have a conscience. And it is even more worrisome when you realise that these people are supposed to be Christians!
Last week Mr. Chuks Ofurum on his backpage column on Nigerian Horn newspaper took out my boss, the incoming second term Governor, His Excellency Dr Ikedi Ohakim for raising the alarm that Judges in Imo State were being owed 16 months salary by Governor Rochas Okorocha. He said Ohakim was playing politics with the plight of the Judges and claimed that the timing was wrong. He made so much jest about Ohakim’s threat to go on protest naked to force the Governor to pay.
I made a brief response where I called him to order. As this was going on, Governor Okorocha paid the Judges 6 months salary arrears, which was a tacit admission that my boss said the truth. Thus, Ohakim was proved right, though he did not appropriate victory to himself.
But instead of making apologies to Dr Ikedi Ohakim for maligning his person, and to the good people of the state for misleading them, Ofurum rather chose to ignore it and move on.
I have often warned that people should be very careful with what they believe and whom they believe. And of course, anyone who is true to his colours would not hide or ignore such misleading article. He would have seen the onus lies on him to apologize for misleading Imo people. He should have shown respect to the feelings of the people.
Like many people who want to be seen as angels, Ofurum ignored the fact that the matter of the Judges’ salaries was settled in Dr Ikedi Ohakim’s favour and instead took on me. In doing this he made several remarks on my person that don’t add up.
First, he claimed I do not know him but that he knows me in and out. Only God can know someone inside out. This makes me to wonder how humans ascribe omnipotence attributes to themselves.
Second, Ofurum said that I am unreliable and not fit for my appointment as the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to His Excellency Dr Ikedi Ohakim; that he is more fit. This sparks of pent up annoyance and bitterness against me, I only wonder how long I must have enjoyed this free rent in Ofurum’s heart!
After reading his baseless claims, I can only say that I am disappointed in Ofurum, for behaving like the butterfly that thinks itself also a bird and showing disrespect to his Boss.
It is on record that Ofurum was my staff at Nigeria Moment newspaper where I was Managing Editor/Editor-in-Chief. I was his boss. I treated his application letter, interviewed him and gave him the job. So, in this capacity I can write a report on him anywhere and anytime and it would be accepted. But I cannot do that publicly. I know the capacity of everyone who worked under me at Nigeria Moment.
Truth be told, I used to reject Ofurum’s articles because I told him they were not “fit” to appear in a newspaper I was Editor-in-Chief. The people who worked alongside both of us are still alive to attest to this fact. This was why he did not have a regular column and one of the reasons I had brushes with him. I prefered Mr. Fides Ekeimo, a historian, and I always gave him things to write. The other reason I had brushes with Ofurum was his insubordination, which Ekeimo never displayed, though he was much older than Ofurum and old enough to be my father. But this is story for another day, for sane people know what to do when someone claims he knows his boss in and out and that his boss does not know him one bit.
The truth is that I do not know Ofurum’s house. That’s how I behave. But he knows mine. He knows my family. The day he came to my house was the day my home church honoured me with an award. I invited him to witness it, and after that we went home. But that’s not to say he knows me in and out, even though I don’t live a double or secret life.
Undoubtedly, success breeds contempt. For Ofurum to claim that he is more fit than me is to show the level of contempt in him, because while I was Managing Editor/Editor-in-Chief, Ofurum was a reporter.
When I left Nigeria Moment I resigned officially. After sometime I was appointed CPS to Chief Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe. Few months later I started Nigeria Spectator as MD/Editor-in-Chief/Publisher. Currently, I am Bureau Chief of The Oracle Today newspaper.
But while Ofurum was in the North, I had been MD/Editor-in-Chief of National Times newspaper, Editor of Zest Daily, Associate Editor of Zest Traveler magazine, Abuja, and later Managing Editor of same magazine, amongst other enviable positions.
Whether I am rich or poor, I give God the glory in my journey so far in life. Obviously, Ofurum does not know that I have been a teacher, Principal and Proprietor, and as such I have the capacity to assess people easily.
Talking about being reliable, I make bold to say that you can count on me when you assign any role to me. I would treat your business as if I owned it. I have paid the ultimate price taking care of someone’s business, with the death of my son in 2014. The next day I came to work to produce my newspaper, while my wife was still weeping at home. When my Publisher saw me in the office he was shocked.
But Ofurum is not like that. He is irrational. Take for example how he left left his job at Nigeria Moment newspaper: we came to work one day and discovered that Ofurum did not come to work. And that was it: he absconded from work. Then one year after he showed up again and the Publisher accepted him back. Ask me how did he left again? Same way he did the first one: he abandoned his job, he went AWOL again! This is certainly not the picture of a man that is reliable.
In a decent society where people are requested to show their report from their previous employer, Ofurum would have been out of job for long.
I don’t begrudge his work with Nigeria Horn or Uche Nwosu. He does not know that his current job with Nigeria Horn was first offered to me months before he got it. But his current bosses should note that the way he left Prof Jude Njoku and Nigeria Moment is the same way he would leave them. The same way he is showing disrespect to me, his Boss, is the same way he would spit on their faces.
May God always separate the chaff from the wheat, the goat from the sheep. May the butterfly understand that it is not a bird and be satisfied with its unique nature, and not think itself a bird.