By Reuben Onyishi
Truth is irrepressible. No matter how you may want to trample on it, cover, subjugate, submerge and suppress it, truth has this resilience to resurface in time and space and may even be told from unexpected lips. When truth germinates, it grows inexorably through either the vocal cavity or through the ink. It really does not matter from whose lips or pen it occurs. What matters is that it be told.
Senator Ken Nnamani was the Nigerian senate president during the second term of the Obasanjo administration that lasted between 2003 to 2007. Ken was the surviving senate president that ensured the miscarriage of the alleged Obasanjo’s third tenure bid, a feat for which he was celebrated; something that earned him a golden stool in the political consciousness of Nigerians. Ken was reputed to have nursed the then national assembly of the wounds of the infernal grip of the executive arm, which was so powerful it controlled the national assembly and manipulated it to its biddings.
From the surface level,Senate President Ken Nnamani was a political saint of sorts. However, his sainthood might not have percolated the depth of his dealings as the head of the then national assembly as some other questionable underhand corrupt sharp practices might have variously taken place and got suppressed. A case in point is the video clip gone viral on social media where Senator Nnamadi admits to his obstruction of justice to favour his clansman, Chief Chinyeaka Ohaa. Nigerians were to know this 14 years after the act was perpetrated and the story was ironically told on the lips of the perpetrator himself and on the podium of the alleged criminal, Chinyeaka Ohaa.On Chinyeaka’s podium Ken tells the truth, the truth of his obstruction of justice to save Chinyeaka Ohaa from the punishment of his alleged financial impropriety that might have earned him the punishment of going to jail as criminal on conviction.
In the Igbo cosmogy, there is the spirit called Ajija whose function is to lead its victim to foolery. Writing on Ajija, the erudite professor of African Literature, Prof. Damian Opata, said of it, “It is also the dominant image of stupidity which the person inflicted with Ajija is made to assume. Indeed, it does appear that one afflicted with Ajija behaves like a fool.” This foolery is the precursor of death and death comes in various dimensions: the dying of freedom, the punishment for the wrong done, the deprivation of some vital elements of existence, the imprisonment of the convicted and in the real death of the mortal body. What could have led Chief Ken Nnamani to mount the podium on the day of Chinyeaka Ohaa’s reception and celebration by his Awkunanaw clan to tell the story of how he obstructed justice by inviting the the then chairman of Economic and Financial Commission ( EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, to his house in the presence of the alleged criminal,Chinyeaka Ohaa, and by some corrupt sophistry exchanged the accused for the witness? Ken told the public from Ohaa’s podium that if Chinyeaka was not so switched, he could not have attained the position from which he retired in the federal civil service. Perhaps he might still have been serving out his jail term. Didn’t Ken Nnamani realize the implication of what he was saying? The finality and irreversibility of Ajija seemed to have impressed on him to confess nothing but the whole truth; otherwise, a politician of Nnamani’s standing would have known the ostensible legal, political and moral implications of his obviously self-serving speech.
Besides the legal implication of the said obstruction of justice, did
Senator Ken Nnamani give a thought to the violation of the essence of moral rectitude his action had brought to bear on his personality the institution and the generation he represents? Or was he so carried away by the urge to praise himself for the clannish deed done a kinsman he forgot himself? Or was he so gripped by Ajija he would not realize he had undone himself and his kinsman, Chinyeaka Ohaa? Alas! Howsoever it be, the truth has been exposed and it really did not matter how long it took to be told.
Chinyeaka Ohaa has always been a beneficiary of unmerited favour. Story has it that at a time when he did not qualify to become the accountant general of Enugu State, he had found favour in his kinsman, Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, who caused him to be promoted to that office. He had basked in the protective hands of his kinsmen in positions of authority and had climbed to unexpected, perhaps unqualified, heights. The same story also has it that Chinyeaka is in the habit of biting off the fingers that fed him. It was he who testified against the same Chimaroke Nnamani (who ‘created’ him)before the same EFCC out of whose hands Ken Nnamani perverted justice in his favour. Chimaroke indeed made Ohaa who he is but he was said to have paid him back with evil.
When His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, came up with the mantra, Enugu State is in the hands of God, he was led by the Spirit of God. The Almighty might have led Ajija to exposed the personality of some persons aspiring to replace Ugwuanyi as the governor of Enugu State in 2023. Men who are given to criminal tendencies of defalcation of public funds, men who easily bite the fingers that fed them, should be avoided as one would a hot iron.
Now that Senator Ken Nnamani has confessed to the obstruction of the of justice that was meant to implicate his kinsman, Chinyeaka Ohaa, the law should naturally begin to flow from the point where it had been obstructed. It is incumbent on EFCC to go back to its records and dig out the fossilized and suppressed remains of the case and ensure that justice is clearly done to it, and also see to it that any other person who had suffered injustice as a result of the clannish act of Senator Nnamani is fully compensated. Senator Nnamani should be caused to appear before the EFCC and appropriate security outfits to help them in thorough investigation of the matter.
This is a lesson to Nigerians and public office holders who perpetrate financial crimes and cleverly dodge justice. Let them from Nnamani’s unobtrusive self confession learn the lesson that truth indeed is irrepressible and would always emerge in due course.