Fictive reportage (1) By Ebere Wabara

When the National Chairman of the Peoples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, in company with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, ad­dressed the party’s faithful at the Township Stadium in Umuahia recently, he mandat­ed them to collaborate with the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, in order to ensure resounding victory for our transformative presi­dent in this Saturday’s election. Mu’azu pointed out that the PDP top shots in Abuja have a cordial and robust working relationship with Kalu. The di­rective was unambiguous and not a subject for reportorial subjectivity amplified by an un­suspecting credible medium or a fluke two-person public opin­ion poll.

With all sense of responsibil­ity, over 30 years of quintessen­tial professionalism in journalism and existential maturity, the report published on Monday, January 19, 2015, Page 12, by THISDAY and credited to its Umuahia-based reporter, Emmanuel Ugwu, must have been an unedited govern­ment press release sent to Ugwu for transmission to the news­room en route to public space by Charles Ajunwa, his former col­league and now chief press secre­tary to Gov. T. A. Orji. There was nothing newsy about the poorly-written statement as it lacked all the attributes of good reportage: balance, preciseness, fairness, dispassion as much as possible, objectivity, equity, public inter­est, general wholesomeness, jus­tice and credibility. Distinguished newspapers like The Guardian and The Punch cannot allow this kind of trash to be smuggled into their frontline publications. At the opportune time, I will petition the Editor-in-Chief and Chairman of THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Prince Nduka Obaigbena and the Managing Director, Mr. Eniola Bello.

This apoplectic reporter-cum-government megaphone in Umuahia will, through the instru­mentality of reprehensible media corruption, bring the flagship of Nigerian journalism to indus­try ridicule, opprobrium, odious misperception and loss of flour­ishing organizational credibility and superlative reputational fi­nesse.

It becomes curious and self-serving when Ugwu, corresponds that the efforts of Mu’azu to “re­integrate” Kalu and the grassroots PDP members in Abia State failed as they insisted that they did not need Kalu. Let me point out from the outset that the PDP national leadership did not go to Abia State to reconcile or “reintegrate” Kalu and all the oppositional forces in Umuahia who have also success­fully and inexplicably pitted the South East PDP Caucus against Kalu.

This viciously willful misrep­resentation of Mu’azu is part of a systemic scheme by the local PDP champions to futilely shut out Kalu, a founding and staunch member of the PDP and more ap­preciated/valued by those who matter in the party than all his scurrilous critics lumped together, from the party for reasons that border on fear of Kalu’s charac­teristic dominance and domineer­ing antecedents in party affairs, possibility of hijacking the party’s machinery in the South East and his nationalistic clout and popu­larity that keeps soaring which unsettle the peripheral and pro­vincial players who are palpable that such a scenario will margin­alize them and vitiate their straw relevance!

As a matter of fact, it is the warlords in Umuahia that need Kalu more than he does and the PDP national leadership cannot be deceived on Kalu’s critical and exponential relevance. This con­sciousness underscored the recent waiver granted to him by the party to contest as a senator in the forth­coming elections before those strongly and irrationally opposed to him manipulated and schemed him out the race and even went ahead to concoct stories that he had collected another nomination form to run on the platform of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA)! Can you imagine the tim­ing of this yarn and its potential deleterious capacity? Interesting­ly, the Mu’azus of the PDP know and publicly appreciate, from time to time, Kalu’s unflinching loyalty to the party and profound belief and varied commitment to the Jonathan presidency currently and as he returns for a well-deserved and inalienable second term.

If the reporter had known that Kalu, as a matter of principle, can never work with the present PDP leadership in Abia State for obvious reasons, he would not have expended his energy filing that malicious, mischievous and wicked story taken completely out of context to make the spon­sors bring more beneficence. This is not just unprofessionalism in its crudity but understandable alma­jiri journalism! When a reporter is noted for vaulting partisanship and beggarliness, that is what hap­pens. Ugwu’ benefactors are con­scious of this void and have been filling the lecherous vacuum.

Ugwu should not because the Abia State government gave him a Toyota Camry car not too long ago be fabricating stories, particu­larly as they affect Kalu. Even if Ugwu must inevitably take sides, he should exercise some decorum, restraint, responsibility, candour and an iota of professionalism by deceptively trying to balance his journalistic mercantilism and pro­pagandistic inclination. Working manifestly as a freelance hack in a reputable and respected medium like THISDAY easily confirms his reputation as a mercenary!

The Abia State government can be buying cars and building houses for select/friendly news­paper reporters but that should not make the Ugwus to lose their heads over messy porridge that will soon come to an end as they wait the next benefactor! No work ethic, no professionalism, no self-dignity—just a life of survivalist peanuts that borders on social in­frastructural challenges that must be sorted out at all costs.

Ugwu should not allow what he will eat to kill him in the long run when those using him must have moved on to greener pas­tures while his legendary poverty continues to ravage him. Coming from rustic Ebonyi State should not make Ugwu to be greedy and constipate himself with slush funds and fleeting Greek gifts like the Camry car and commissions from advertisement placements by a government that thrives on globally-acknowledged propa­ganda, falsehood, deceit and in­timidation.

All the elders and other citizens that should have been speaking up have all been fatalistically com­promised beyond comparison na­tionwide! Public funds that should have been used in developing the state are diverted to servicing the Ugwus, famished elders, amnesic patriots (a euphemism for hang­ers-on), all manner of vanguards and hungry stakeholders of non­descript nomenclatural classifica­tion!

SUN