Even when Uche Uzodinma, Governor Hope Uzodinma’s younger brother is said to be seeking the assistance of some government appointees to enable him reach out to the victim of his brutal attack for peaceful resolution of the unfortunate incident and the furor it has generated, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba, who has not deemed it fit to reach out to the victim to sympathize with him over the attack, has rather allegedly engaged a retired photographer, Christopher Akaraonye who was to foisted on the Imo state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in 2019 by the past government for the primary reason of helping them sell the NUJ secretariat to do the hatchet job and discredit the position earlier taken by the Spokesperson of Imo NUJ Caretaker committee, Comrade Sunny Ndukwu.
Imo NUJ had last week in a release signed by Sir Sunny Ndukwu as Spokesperson condemned the attack on their colleague, Comrade Precious Nwadike.
A government house source disclosed to this reporter that, Emelumba, overzealously mismanaged the matter when he assured the Governor’s brother that he would manage the situation the same way he assured the chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue, Justice Okoye who had demanded #5million from every media house in Imo that he will ensure that no newspaper publishes the report.
He was also said to have gone a step further by mobilizing some publishers and gullible journalists with price tags into defending Uche Uzodinma whose action has, from the onset been condemned in very strong terms by right thinking men and women across board.
A retirement letter captioned,“Notice of Retirement : Re: Akaraonye Christopher E. (Senior Photographer) dated November 22 2015, personally signed by Akaraonye and addressed to the Chairman, Civil Service Commission,through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Owerri, through the Director of Administration and Finance, Ministry of Finance and Strategy, reads, “ it is my wish to inform you that I shall be be retiring from Imo State Civil Service with effect from 12th August 2016, on completion of thirty five years in service”
“I was born 12th October 1959 and was employed in the Imo state civil service on 12th August, 1981”.
The hirelings in a bid to justify their pay and sustain the crumbs for their ignoble roles have continued to dish out disjointed reports. They had earlier argued that the Publisher of Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper, Comrade Precious Nwadike, was not attacked. Later, in a desperate attempt to twist the facts and save themselves attendant embarrassment, acknowledged that, the acclaimed human rights activist was actually attacked but not the magnitude he portrayed.
It was also gathered that Chris Akaraonye who was employed as a photographer in the Ministry of Information, from where he retired does not have any form of journalism training, hence Imo journalists rejected him when former Governor Rochas Okorocha attempted to install him as chairman of the Imo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
A government house source who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity revealed that the Governor is not comfortable with the way and manner Emelumba handled the matter, without adopting alternative dispute resolution strategy.”The latest release by Imo NUJ worsened the case for the information commissioner”.This, the source said, “prompted Emelumba to reach out to Akaraonye and instructed him to issue a release dissociating his dissident group from the stand of Imo NUJ on the issue.
Most people who commented on the issue recalled that this is not the first time that Akaraonye is mortgaging and sacrificing the genuine interest of journalists he claims to lead on the altar of selfish and pecuniary benefits.
“He did the same thing when Barr Vivian Ottih, a nursing mother and staff of Imo Broadcasting Service IBC and Chair person of National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) was suspended for requesting that she and her colleagues be paid their three months arrears of salary. He was also used to discredit and rubbish the case of Destiny Osinwa, a journalist with the Horn Newspaper, who was assaulted by a lawmaker, among several other cases.”
Some, journalists who commented on Akaraonye’s alleged penchant for controversy arising from pettiness, insincerity, lack of courage and inability to be assertive in condemning injustice have wondered the rationale for his desperation to want to cling to the Imo NUJ top seat amidst overwhelming rejection when he has continuously proved himself unworthy and incapable of defending the journalists whose rights are infringed on.
Effort to to reach Emelumba for his comment on the allegation proved abortive as he did not take his calls or return same.