Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Political Matters, Hon.Barr. Ifeatu Obiokoye, has said that politicians’ electronic thugs have destroyed the true spirit of journalism practice.
The governor’s aide remonstrated that the way and manner in which junks and fake news spread in the social media was a thing of utmost concern because the said e-thugs were allegedly paid to dish out falsehoods and half-truths to the reading public.
Obiokoye’s stance which was borne out of his reaction to the allegation that the governor has about two thousand political appointees which some pundits believed was a waste of state resources, maintained that the e-thugs only danced to the rhythm of the music played by their principals and paymasters.
The legal luminary who spoke with our correspondent in his office at the governnent house Awka, said social media contents had bastardized journalism and that the cankerworm was killing the profession by instalment.
He said, “A couple of young men out of the frustrations of unemployment have found themselves in the wage list of some politicians. So their duty everyday is to post, paste, copy and write everything dirty about the current government.
“That is what they think will give them the opportunity but the good news is that it has happened before. Before the last election, we had them and I always regard them as electronic thugs. They have even destroyed journalism and because of the circumstances of the country, people don’t read newspapers.
“They find it easy to take up WhatsApp and read fake news and false information without even the opportunity in law to sue anybody for defamation or libel. So that is what has been happening.”
He opined that the employers of the e-thugs would abandon them when they found out that their mission could not be accomplished.
The APGA stalwart recalled that in the last election, the Peoples Democratic Party was always in the media but in the long run, it came a distant third while the All Progressives Congress came a distant second; noting that history would repeat itself again and APGA would win the governorship contest in 2021.
He said the All Progressives Grand Alliance would surprise Ndi-Anambra with their credible candidates for next year’s election and that he had taken time to assess aspirants from other political parties and came to the conclusion that they were no match for APGA candidates.
According to him, people will be evaluated based on their private lives and antecedents, stressing that when an individual in his private life has not been able to pay his workers, how is he going to pay the workers and good people of Anambra state?
Obiokoye also asked, “When one has gone bankrupt in his private life, his company has gone bankrupt, what is the guarantee that if the same person is given the governorship that Anambra state will not go bankrupt?”
The governor’s aide also disclosed that Governor Willie Obiano inherited a strange workforce of 6000 new employees from his predecessor barely two months to the end of his administration.
He said in spite of this development, the governor has remained consistent with the payment of salaries to workers and political appointees.
He said Anambra state alone produced about 17000 graduates every year and that employing about 2000 young people to serve as political appointees may not have addressed the challenge of unemployment and joblessness amongst youths.
The governor’s political adviser noted that 80% of the political appointees were graduates of higher institutions and of Anambra origin; saying that they are not from Kogi, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Sokoto or any other state but they are all Anambra state indigenes who are being paid from the state resources.
He said part of the complaint during the EndSARS nationwide protests was unemployment and leaders not providing a future for young Nigerians, adding that the governor should be commended for appointing fresh graduates to serve as Executive Assistants, Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants, who according to him, have been contributing their quota in the running of the state.
Obiokoye maintained that Governor Willie Obiano has not owed any worker in the last seven years and there has never been a time workers received their pay a month or months after, stressing that salaries are always received between the 24th and 26th of each month.
He said, “Rather than criticize the meagre workforce which is all about helping to create employment which is more like a palliative as it were, one should really give enough kudos to His Excellency for doing the much he’s been doing to sustain these young people from school.
“There have been other measures that have been taken in other fields like agriculture in order to empower youths in private sector development but I think the criticism came about the number of people they think that have been employed. It is a scratch and does not touch the requirements, if we look at the fact that we have graduate turnout of about 17000 every year then what is 2000 people towards that? I wish we could employ 20,000 people on a yearly basis.The policy towards this employment is all in good faith and it is a policy driven by the desire to take people away from the streets.”