Ipidei and Etolor: One suspension by presidential amnesty office, two many
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
To GbaramatuVoice, each passing day brings to mind how astray Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) handlers have taken the once laudable initiative by the Federal Government introduced to among other objectives to bring peace and development to the Niger Delta region via disarmament, empowerment, and reintegration of the youths.
A classical example of such crisis driven leadership is the painful awareness that before the dust raised by the PAP handlers deformed and slanted decision to suspend the scholarship scheme could settle, another from the same office was up.
This particular misfire on the part of Presidential Amnesty Office has to do with a widely circulated statement signed by Mr. Freston Akpor, Special Assistant, and Media to the Interim Coordinator of PAP, Major-General Barry Ndiomu (Retd), announcing the suspension of two amnesty scholarship beneficiaries identified as Patrick Ipidei and Papems Peter Etolor without following due process.
The referenced statement reads in part; “The Presidential Amnesty Programme, (PAP) has suspended two students from its scholarship scheme over what it described as making spurious allegations against the leadership of the programme.
Going by the quoted part of the suspension letter, the latest action coming from PAP, more than anything else again confirms as true, GbaramatuVoice long held view that there is something deeply troubling about PAP handlers relationship to reason, their disdain for efforts and lack of curiosity about any new information that might produce a deeper understanding of the problems and policies that they are supposed to wrestle with on behalf of the good people of Niger Delta region, youths in particular.
Aside the fact that PAP which was initially planned to bring peace and development has suddenly become an agent of distraction, destruction and tormentor-in-chief to the youths of the Niger Delta region, the latest decision by Major General Barry Ndiomu (Retd) led leadership elicits the following posers: What is wrong with a student asking constructive question about a programme that he/she is involved? What were those instigating and spurious allegations made by these students against the leadership of the programme?
Are these comments inexplicable? Is it not something that Amnesty authority could have shared with the general public so that the students can be frontally condemned and disciplined? Were they reported to the stakeholders as the students in question did not fall from heaven? Were they investigated by any panel? Were they given fair hearing? If yes, where is the panel report? What is the outcome of the panel? Can Amnesty authority kindly make it public?
Why is it that PAP leadership is always in the habit of viewing someone outspoken, with a different set of ideas, values, or organizing techniques, as an enemy within? And perceives constructive debate as unnecessary, messy and divisive? Who told Ndiomu led PAP office that differing ideas and strategies coming from a student about the organization’s way of doing things translates to opposing interest?
While it will be appreciated if amnesty leadership ponders and provide answers to these questions, there are in fact, even more reasons to believe that if what happened in PAP under the previous handlers was considered a challenge, what is happening now is a crisis.
The facts are there and speak for it.
Like every Niger Deltans of good will, the Newspaper is concerned about the increasingly sophisticated effort by PAP handlers to manipulate public opinion and selectively control information relevant to collective decision making as it affected the amnesty programme and Niger Delta youths.
Not even GbaramatuVoice is insulated from PAP leadership attacks, insult and name calling through proxy.
For example, very recently, GbaramatuVoice published a well considered editorial comment where it, among other concerns, condemned in strongest terms the suspension of the PAP scholarship programme for Niger Delta students. Less than 24hourss after that publication was made; the newspaper received a slanted rebuttal from a pseudo author.
Aside deliberate attempt to force-feed GbaramatuVoice with a copied version of features of a good editorial without ascribing credit to the source, the purported analyst and self styled author, amply but ignorantly demonstrated that he was not only at home with both environmental matrix and operational illegalities that laces Amnesty programme actions from the time of the outgone Dikkio-led administration till date, his graphic description of the day to happenings in PAP office proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is an insider. In addition to this recognizable fact, the Pseudo author tenaciously exonerated the present leadership of any wrongdoing but ironically heaped blame on the now outgone Col. Dikkio.
As an organization, GbaramatuVoice did not bother responding to the wishy- washy article because even the list member of the Newspaper’s editorial team knew who the real author was, where he operates from and whose interest he was trying to protect.
Essentially, while this present deformed leadership era reigns supreme at PAP, GbaramatuVoice again, as it always do, condemn in strongest terms, this ill-willed suspension of these seemingly innocent students and therefore, calls for their immediate reinstatement.
If actually they have committed an offence punishable by suspension, let the Presidential Amnesty Office constitute a panel that is made up of objective personalities to look into the allegations in an open, free and fair environment.
In the same light, the newspaper urges Major General Barry Ndiomu (Retd) to remember that with sound education giving to these students, Niger Delta region is as good as made – as they will no longer contemplate going back to the creeks. But if they are denied of this education through suspension of their scholarships, chances are that they may find their ways back to the creeks. And by so doing, the whole purpose of the amnesty programme will be defeated. After all, this scholarship programme remains the most important benefit that Niger Delta youths have so far received from PAP.
The newspaper therefore urges Major General Barry Ndiomu (Retd) to study history, study the actions of his predecessors, to see how they conducted themselves and to discover the reasons for their victories or their defeats so that he can avoid the later and imitate the former.
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