Daily Trust (Abuja)

8 November 2012

Nigeria: Wamakko, PHCN Face-off - Sokoto Government's Story

The person of the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and in fact, the entire people of Sokoto State, feel insulted by allegation that the governor physically assaulted certain officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. From a news report credited to the Acting Managing Director of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC), Malam Muhammed Adamu and the ensuing actions and utterances of the leadership of the organized labour in the power sector, one cannot but design a planned and an orchestrated machination of vendetta and libel built on lies and falsification.

According to the initial report, the governor and his security aides were alleged to have variously beaten three PHCN officials, Engineer Moses Osigwe, Malam Isyaku Dauran and Malam Nurudeen Muhammed. In the words of Malam Muhammed Adamu, Governor Wamakko was said to have "brought out a horse whip and lashed him (Engineer Osigwe) to a pulp. His Excellency's brutality did not just end with him alone, as he also invited and instructed two hefty mobile police men to continue with the beating spree until the business manager fell to the ground and became unconscious". For this alleged actions, the national leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees has demanded a "public apology" from him or, "not only Wamakko (his home town) will be in darkness but his entire state and that includes the Government House". That threat from the Union's Secretary General, Comrade Joe Ajaero has since been carried out! All these insults on the people of Sokoto State are without foundation, logic and sanity.

This is what happened: Engineer Moses Osigwe accompanied by two of his subordinate staff had honoured an invitation by the Governor for explanations on the persistent lack of electricity in Wamakko and other towns of the state for several months. The governor's invitation was against the backdrop of the strident complaints from people across the length and breadth of the state over the lack of electricity. The dismally poor, erratic and near absence of electricity was particularly puzzling, in the face of the numerous financial and other material assistance given by the state government to the PHCN in the state in a bid by the government to provide electricity to the citizens. Engineer Osigwe who has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Governor was in fact, the one who usually requested for such material and financial advancements because in his words, "Sokoto will have to wait for eternity if we are to wait for the National Headquarters to provide our needs". Specifically, the Governor wanted to know from Engineer Osigwe why electricity had not been restored to Wamakko town and environs close to two years after he had demanded and was given the sum of 17 Million Naira which he had said was the amount required to rectify the problems!

To the amazement and guile of officials of government and visitors present, Engineer Moses Osigwe was not forthcoming with convincing explanation; he was also rude and haughty. To him, he had honoured the invitation in the "belief that Your Excellency had something much more serious to discuss with me". The governor was furious and ordered him out of his sight with the words: "You will have to explain at the appropriate quarters!" Rather than tendering apologies for his lack of comportment and decorum or, to take his leave, Engineer Osigwe in raised voice, said the governor could do nothing to him because he was "neither his boy nor an employee of the state government". On this note, the governor simply and, in his characteristic calm posture, asked his security aides to walk them out of his sight. It is an ungodly, callous and wicked lies that some people went to town with the tale that Governor Wamakko descended so low to the unthinkable level of "using a horse whip to whip Engineer Osigwe" or any of his companions on that occasion. It is equally a patent fabrication that the security aides of the governor were ordered by him to beat up the PHCN officials. If, and only if there was anything like a physical contact between Engineer Osigwe and the Police aides, such was certainly neither on the orders of the Governor nor did it occur in his presence! As a matter of fact, Isyaku Dauran, who is the service engineer in charge of Wamakko area, said in his statement to their regional office that the governor only told them to shut up and say when the job would be done. In any case, discerning members of the public have been wondering about the physical strength of the Governor, the length of time it took him and the type of horse whip used to beat Engineer Osigwe to the point of unconsciousness!

Umar is a media aide to Governor Wamakko

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