This is probably one of the most difficult things I have battled in between, to believe or not. It is really very difficult for me. I am making reference to the story in town about one Jones’ attitude to drugs. It is hard to believe, and let me just say my mind, that I am yet to reconcile myself with this story which I find very troubling. But the story has been told so often that I am making effort to look at Jones’ recent outings in the public space in order to see if there exists anything suggesting that he is into drugs, outside the story tellers’ claims. And yet these stories seem to have been around for some time that they need to be really examined. But, just for the curiosity of my mind, can it be true that this Jones is a drug addict?
I don’t want to apply the saying that the witness of two or more persons must be true, because even the witnesses brought against Jesus Christ told blatant lies against him. They know why they did so, but such witnesses still exist. That is why I want to see whether there is something suggesting that the story could be, just could be, true. And I need you to find the answers yourself. But not few people would believe that this Jones is not into drugs, because when you really sew together his recent writings, many could either believe he is high on some hard substance, or maybe, that he deserves a bed at the mental health department.
For example, when this Jones left his former mentor and former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, he did not leave anyone in doubt of his next move. Not that he was making new friends entirely; he was going back to what some could call his root. But what does he say about his leaving his former camp? He said he was deceived for years to write all sorts of chilling articles, even referring to the state governor as a dead man in one of the articles. Did you doubt? Ok. Writing under the heading, “Good bye Onwuemeodo”, Jones said, and I quote: “However, the Sam Onwuemedo that I know and respect is a self-contented man. If anything is to be blamed for this erroneous choice of job, I daresay it is either a flawed sense of judgement or a refusal to come to terms with the fact that the Owelle Rochas Okorocha, we all queued behind and marketed in 2011 is ‘dead’, that in his place is one inscrutable Roche who has become more unpopular than the Ikiri he promised to rescue us from.”
Does Jones own up to his writings? Not at all. He has been making excuses and passing the blame to others, and what he sings all the time is that he was deceived, and now he has seen the light. And to justify his new pay and to get the confidence of hid new friends, he now swallows his words and writes the exact opposite of he had written. Did he think he had everyone else in his pocket and that he dictates how the people think?
There is only one ground to accept Jones’ excuse of being deceived. It is that Jones might not have been deceived at all. That he knew all he was doing, or that he might have been so high on some hard substances, making him lose all sense of fair judgement. For anyone to be a credible activist, the idea of being deceived does not arise, especially when one had taken a particular cause for so many years and got some compensation for it, either in terms of salary of contracts or financial rewards from time to time. Moreover, when Jones says he was deceived to do all the damage he had done, what he is saying is that he cannot be trusted. Jones is also saying he does not think for himself. Because political activists have their own minds, Jones’ excuse that he was deceived could mean that he is fake.
And taking that further, if he had been deceived for about four years, and now he claims to have come back to his senses, what guarantee do we have that he has actually come to his senses? I mean what is the guarantee that he is not being deceived by his new set of friends or employers? The only guarantee, I think, is to take him to the psychiatrist for proper examination. If he cannot do this simple task of convincing all of us who labour and spend our monies buying newspapers to read him, then he is asking us to believe that he is high on drugs and that it is not him that speaketh, but that which is in him.
You can imagine the embarrassment a newspaper publisher or editor could get after publishing series of articles by Jones for years and he turns now to say that those articles were not true, that he had been deceived? Now, do you think that a newspaper worth its name would give him pages anymore? If they do for any reason, do you think his readers would believe him, like foolish or mad congregation? For example, his readers might have been in some dilemma over his recent article lambasting the former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, whom he had presented to the whole world as not only the foremost Igbo politician but also a man with good vision for Imo, and now he is accusing him of nonperformance for the same number of years he was in power. Should his readers believe he just changed his opinion or that it was some hard substance speaking to them? Many could accept the latter.
Anyway, don’t rush to judge Jones by my words, judge him by his own words. For example, sometime not in the distant past, Jones, (is it drugs?) picked his pen, and guess whom his target was? – the then APC Senatorial candidate for Okigwe Senatorial election. What did he say? He said that any vote for the APC and Uwajumogu was a sacrilege. Today, same Jones, from same mouth says that the APC is the land of Jerusalem and he now sings Uwajumogu’s praises. But I think Uwajumogu knows who is talking?
Also, he had picked the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, and said his fate was sealed for accepting the job of SA Media and later Chief Press Secretary to the Governor. But today Jones has accepted to do a very lesser job, a job that is far away below that of the CPS. Is this guy not like one of those masquerade in my village that sing and kids follow them about? They only serve for their entertainment value. Nothing more.
Growing up, I was told not to blow hot and cold at the same time. But what I see is that Jones could be worse than blowing hot and cold at the same time. In fact, someone told me recently that jones could have become more dangerous with his new excuses. He warned that when a snake enters your house and Jones enters too, that you should first do justice to Jones, and in fact entertain the snake because it could be from the gods.
I have resolved, for the sake of space, to reproduce only snippets from the “Good bye Onwuemeodo” article by Jones, where he condemned Sam for accepting the offer made him by the Governor. He said, and I quote: “Some people told me you were not going to accept the offer. I wish you never did. But you jumped at the offer and grabbed it with both hands as if it is the ultimate prize for the many years you have invested into this ink fraternity of ours.”
He wrote that “It is understandable if a writer identifies with a political leader who is known to be popular with the people. It is even more understandable if a journalist still sticks with a political leader whose policies and programmes have become unpopular with the people, if the same politician was at a time seen by a majority of the people as progressive and people friendly. But for a renowned and highly regarded journalist to pitch tent with a Governor whose massive goodwill with the people has been washed away by his massive errors and lies, that journalist needs to be sympathized with. At this stage in Sam Onwuemedo’s career, I wonder how much HUNGER could still lead him into taking up a shovel to dig a grave for his popularity and respect with the people. However, the Sam Onwuemedo that I know and respect is a self-contented man. If anything is to be blamed for this erroneous choice of job, I daresay it is either a flawed sense of judgement or a refusal to come to terms with the fact that the Owelle Rochas Okorocha, we all queued behind and marketed in 2011 is ‘dead’, that in his place is one inscrutable Roche who has become more unpopular than the Ikiri he promised to rescue us from.”
Jones continued: “There is also chance that people like us will not complain if he chooses to remain with him even at the rate his popularity wanes. But, being brought in at this stage is being brought in to tell lies and tell Imolites about the things that never exist. Sam Onwuemedo has been picked to deceive the same Imolites who depended on his ink to know the truth.
“While Imolites were still trying to come to terms with the reality of Sam Onwuemedo’s decision to serve in this government that has decided to use every opportunity available to it to deceive Imolites, they were further taken aback by the annoyingly deceitful assertion by the new Special Assistant to the Governor on media that the government of Owelle Roche Okorocha has never borrowed a dime from any bank. Haba, Oga Sam.”
He added that Sam “should have concerned yourself more with clearing us on the real figure this government has borrowed, rather than demeaning your enviable status by starting off with such an annoying lie”, even as he also dropped yet another missile: “a media adviser with as wonderful a background as Uncle Sam Onwuemedo should always be careful in passing out information as openly false as that of Imo State not having borrowed a dime since the time of Okorocha as Governor. Such lies apart from being impossible to market are also insulting to the cooperate sensibility of the people and when Uncle Sam starts off his beat on the new job, he risks sacrificing the massive goodwill he has built over the years on the altar of one very temporary job.”
On 14th July, 2016, writing under the heading, “How Governor Okorocha pulled a gun at a protester”, Jones said: Revelations have continued to trickle in on how Imo State Governor nearly killed an auto mechanic who was one of the protesters who demonstrated against the Governor's demolition of their workshops.
“Trouble started when Governor Okorocha physically assaulted the protester, who in trying to wriggle himself out of the Governor's grip pushed the Governor to the ground. Feeling disgraced, the Governor collected his ADC's rifle and allegedly fired at the fleeing boy, but missed him by the whiskers.
“It is said that the Governor who had initially [had] given the mechanics two weeks notice within which they should have relocated to their new site, angrily commanded the bulldozers to descend on the mechanic village without further delay, in retaliation for the embarrassment he suffered.”
My question: was Jones deceived to write this or he just said the truth? If he was deceived, I need to remind him that ignorance or deception is never an excuse before the law. But we can ask for his forgiveness if it is true that he was actually high on some substance.
Writing on “My N500,000 deal with Chike Okafor” on 16 July, 2016, Jones referred to Hon Chike Okeafor as a sycophant for believing in Rochas. Today, Jones is doing similar job. Is he a sycophant or something else, considering also that the same projects he considered substandard are the projects he pour accolades on the Governor for?
“Sometimes, keeping quiet over certain lies spread about you, leaves some people with the wrong impressions about you, hence, the need to set the records straight most of the time”, he began.
The he said: “When I did a short article here (Facebook), querying Chike Okafor’s sycophantic fixation on Governor Rochas Okorocha, to the extent that he goes around taking pictures of the Imo Governor's substandard projects across the State and uploading same on the social media. Hardly did I know that some innocuous questions, would attract the level of reactions and attacks to my person as they did.”
Then he queried: “Is it right for the Governor to embark on some of these needless and mostly substandard projects, while majority of Imolites are hungry as a result of non-payment of workers' salaries, pensions and even contractors? Does Chike as an economist and former banker think it is right for the Governor to abandon the people he governs while embarking on these projects?”
Of course, he admits: “Obviously frustrated from the rate of attacks he got from majority of the commentators, Chike Okafor resorted to blackmail, commenting that if I had got what brought me to his house, I would not have put up the post.”
Then came the killer: “The next day, my attention was called to posts by promiscuous APC myrmidons. Some of them claimed that I fell out with Chike after he failed to pay me 500,000 Naira which I requested of him.
The second time, he admits that “sometime in 2015, when I made a post about my grandmother's death, he (Chike) came into my wall to commiserate with me and promised to be in attendance and to also assist in whichever way he could. That promise made, I followed it up, and after much disturbances to him, he transferred the sum 100,000 Naira to me on the eve of the funeral. I acknowledged his assistance here on Fcebook, after the funeral.
“After that, even with all the pressures he tries to put on me through Facebook inbox messages to soften my criticism on the government, I told him it is not about me, but about the people. On one occasion, I asked him if he truly believed that Okorocha was doing very well as Governor, he responded by telling me that he owes Okorocha Okorocha everything he is today.”
Then came the twist: “In a message he sent to me on the 14th September, 2015, he wrote. "Rochas is my OGA & u know it. He gave me the start in politics. Maybe you don't know my antecedent. This man picked me up from the bank in 2011 & made me Finance Commissioner. See me now".
And the judgement: “This convinced me that he considers his loyalty to Rochas more important than the welfare or whatever becomes of five million Imolites.” Now, who is Jones loyal to? The people, or the Governor?
And finally: “When I was getting ready to shoot my current film, I wrote to several people and organizations seeking for assistance. Most of them never made any commitments, hence, I did not build any hope on them, but Chike Okafor invited me to his house, and over breakfast encouraged me to go on with the job, that he was going to send his support by month-ending. I built that into my plans and went to location. Month-end came, several text messages, calls and even Facebook inboxes, Chike never responded, I only sent him a message telling him that it is quite dishonorable of him to make promises he was not sure of keeping, and it ended at that. Even within this period, I still went ahead to put up a vehement defense for him, when some people unnecessarily, tried to criticize him for taking his children to his office in the National Assembly.”
You could see that many people would find it very troubling to believe that the young man who had put up all these articles and appeared on radio was really doing something he never believed in, or according to him, he was doing what he was deceived to some? Some who claims he is a political commentator? It is easier to believe the story that this Jones who has defied all shame and spoke from two sides of his mouth and by extension “deceived” Imo people must be high on drug.
It should be noted that no one is missing Jones in the Ohakim camp. As matter of reality, there is joy in heaven that Jones left, because anyone who changes his opinion the way Jones does and claims he was deceived has shown every ingredient to be considered a very unreliable and dangerous man. While he was in the Ohakim all he was doing was creating enemies and liabilities. Now that he out and away, we have breathed fresh air, and we thank God he left on time.