Lifting the Veil of a Chameleon


Bosah Chinedu

Nothing describes Femi Kuti hit song known as “wonder” when I read Joe Igbokwe’s articles captioned “PDP is the problem of Nigeria” published in the Nations newspaper of Thursday November 13 2008 and Guardian November 14 2008. The said article was his reaction to Prof. Ahmed Alkali-the PDP spokesman who was also reacting to those who hold the opinion that the activities of PDP are the reasons why we have so many problems and rather Nigerians should commend PDP.  Joe Igbokwe was correct when he made it clear that the PDP have done more damage to our economy but was wrong when he claimed that PDP alone as a political party was to be blamed. Yes, to a large extent and degree but AC, ANPP, PPA etc., have equally contributed their quota in the decadence that is confronting Nigerians.

I wonder at Joe’s article not because he describes PDP as a failed party-as usual that is expected from a writer employed by another party, but because the same Joe to the best of my knowledge contributed his own quota as a squealer writer in the entrenchment of PDP and Obasanjo. He wrote so many articles hailing Obasanjo. He was always quick to remind all those who were critical of the Obasanjo administration that we are on the right path and called those who disagree with the administration as those who are in the business of truncating our “nascent democracy”.  In his article published by an online media in 2003 titled “Obasanjo hands are heavy”, he stated: “Obasanjo should be re-elected to continue with the reforms he started in 1999. The President has recreated the middle class-a combination of Buhari, IBB, Abacha and Abubakar destroyed in 16 years. President Obasanjo dealt a deadly blow to mafia at NNPC and since 1999 the cartel behind the endless fuel scarcity took to their heels. NEPA that was almost grounded has witnessed massive reconstruction and rehabilitation in the past three and half years and in Western Avenue where my office is situated regular power supply is now almost steady. Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) was the best thing to happen to Nigeria. For more than 50 years, some of our public enterprises have become conduit pipes for siphoning public money. Ministries of Education and Agriculture have witnessed modest achievements since 1999. Other sectors have also faired modestly well and I think honour should be given to whom honour is due.” This is Joe again at his best in another article after Obasanjo’s “re-election” published by thisday online of November 16 2004 titled “why Obasanjo won”: “President Obasanjo's re-election has since shattered the age long myth. The wind of change is now irreversible. Remember also that the January 27, 2002 explosions in Lagos, the police strike, the killing of Chief Bola Ige etc; were simply part of the agenda to continue the destabilization acts.
Opponents of President Obasanjo say he has not performed. They say, there is no water, no roads, no fuel, no food, no light etc. But I have made this point even when it was a heresy to say so in Nigeria that these people are congenital, pathological and blatant liars. Gains of democracy go beyond roads, water, fuel, light etc. President Obasanjo has been busy since 1999 laying the solid foundation for the new Nigeria of our dream. The processes may have been slow but the truth is that something is happening in this land.” This is Joe from another microscope in his article published in in March 2002 titled “wicked ambush against nascent democracy”: “Before the recent PDP convention at Abuja, three principal characters, Chief Samuel Ogbemudia, Chief Barnabas Gemade and Chief Tony Anenih engaged themselves in a supremacy war in the PDP, and the political temperature of the nation got to the boiling point. These three chieftains of PDP have one thing in common-they are Abacha politicians.” He attacked ASUU for demanding for better welfare package and proper funding of education in the same article: “When President Obasanjo came in 1999 he was able to review the university teacher’s salaries from about N13,000 to nearly N100,000 per month. And granted that more still has to be done to address the problem of our universities, one had thought that the leadership of ASUU would have held what was given to them with left hand and continue to agitate for more with the right hand. But that was not to be with ASUU. At the drop of a hat, Dr. Dipo Fashina always declares trade dispute with the federal government. When ASUU joined the NLC in the recent strike following a hike in fuel price, many knowledgeable observers came to the conclusion that ASUU leadership has lost focus. ASUU leadership needs to convince Nigerians that mischief makers are not using them to put to danger our nascent democracy.”

From numerous articles-between 1999 and 2007, one could be able to deduce that Joe held the view that Obasanjo was the best thing that has happened to Nigeria given his achievements in all sectors of the economy; PDP was on course sake for some few Abacha politicians who are responsible for the squabbles in PDP; and that every other persons and groups other than himself, Obasanjo and other government apologists including trade unions are all out to truncate democracy. One is not surprised at his recent blind outburst at PDP and Obasanjo because his interest and the interest of his paymaster (AC) are to divert attention and pretend as if they are defending the peoples’ interest. Like a man without shame, Joe in an article published in February 2008 reported online by Sahara Reporters ( has this for Nigerians in a statement “backing” ASUU signed by himself as AC Publicity Secretary on behalf of Lagos Action Congress: “The party says that ASUU is right and justified to take any decision to force an anti-education government installed by the immediate former Olusegun Obasanjo regime, which the present Yar’Adua government seems bent on continuing. He went on “We are at a loss why the present Yar’Adua government has played deaf to the demand for the recall of the vindicated lecturers if not to play to the dumb scripts of Obasanjo and his lackeys. We don’t see any plausible reason to continue on the destructive paths of Obasanjo, which saw the academe as a primary enemy that must be destroyed through all possible means. With each passing day and as these persecuted lecturers stay in the cold, caught in the matrix of the primitive and vindictive politics of Obasanjo, the nation sacrifices a crop of its teachers to the rashness of purblind leaders that do not see beyond their private interests.” Let us now read his recent article published in Nation newspaper and Guardian about PDP “PDP is the ruling party. For more than 10 years, the party has been in the saddle, calling the shots. In the past 10 years, this country earned more money than any regime since independence and yet you cannot readily point to any tangible the regime has recorded in terms of achievement. Our federal roads are in terrible shape, our universities are in bad shape, our economy is yet to gain momentum, majority of our working class are unemployed, we are still running a generator driven economy, corruption rating is still high, and our electoral system in shambles.”

However, like I have stated before that there is no difference between PDP and AC, ANPP. I strongly hold this view because these parties in terms of policies and programs are not different from themselves. PDP privatises and through his policies have largely enriched a few privileged persons at the expense of the majority, so also AC. PDP is peopled with corrupt politicians, so also AC. Like many know, the AC is the second eleven of PDP, which is the conglomeration of those who left PDP because the booty was not shared properly. In the same way and bigger degree the PDP have ruined the economy with little to show for huge resources accrued to it, so also the AC like ANPP have also ruined the economy on a smaller degree and nothing to show for its huge resources also accrued to it.

Going through Joe Igbokwe’s article, it is obvious that he stands for nothing and defends nothing other than his pocket and bank account. Tomorrow, do not be surprised when he starts singing another praise song for another political machine-that is his stock in trade. What has changed between 1999 and 2006 when Joe was a paid writer of PDP and Obasanjo and now he is writing for AC? The problem with the likes of Joe Igbokwe is that they think Nigerians are gullible and have poor memory. I call him a desperate chameleon whose preoccupation is to make money, but I leave him to the public to describe him in the most suitable language or words they choose. Just to remind him that Nigerians are watching and they know those who are trying to deceive them and those who genuinely defend their interest. The people only need a genuine working class party that will protect their interest and not the Active Crooks (AC), People Deceive People (PDP) and their likes. It is time the labour movement and other pro-people organisation begin to build a mass working class party that will save Nigerians from the devastating grip of looters, opportunists, extorters, exploiters and crooks.


Bosah Chinedu

National Secretary

Education Rights Campaign (ERC)