[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has dismissed the outburst against him by the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial Zone, Senator Smart adeyemi, as one coming from one suffering from acute dementia.
Responding to unsavoury comments credited to Senator Adeyemi to the effect that the Governor of God’s Own State was a “Champagne drinking man,” and later referred to Abia leaders as “drunkards,” Ikpeazu insisted that the Senator needs urgent psychiatric examination.
Reports said that Senator Adeyemi, while contributing to a motion on “Safe School Initiative in Nigeria,” on the floor of the Senate Monday, referred to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as a “champagne drinking man”.
The lawmaker was said to be reacting to a social media post that had cast an aspersion on Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, linked to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who represents Abia South.
However, Abaribe expressed surprise at Adeyemi’s outburst denying ever making the statement in question.
Adeyemi had said that while some Governors like Bello were committed to the welfare and protection of their people, the people of Abia are being governed by ‘drunkards.’
“Despite that some Governors are doing their best, we are lucky to have a governor who has taken the issue of security as a serious priority.
“We are bordered by nine states but we had an experience of the unfortunate incidents that are happening in neighbouring states.
“Some governors are committed to the protection of their people. In my state, the governor awarded contracts for the renovations of schools and provides security services to them.
“In some states of Nigeria today, where we have highly intelligent people, highly educated people, very enterprising people, like Abia, they are governed by drunkards. The governor of Abia is a champagne drinking man.
“Abia people are impoverished more than ever before. Abia people are unfortunate,” Adeyemi was quoted as saying”
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, reportedly cautioned Adeyemi against the use of un-parliamentary language.
However, Abaribe expressed surprise over Adeyemi’s comment and urged him to apologise to Ikpeazu.
“Mr President, I will like to make a clarification. Unfortunately, what has happened here today is one of the problems that you see on social media. I never made any comments on the governor of Kogi State. Never.
“What has happened is what we see going on today. People write something and tag your name to it. And if you don’t ask question, you will not know whether you actually said it or not.
“And I see so many things tag to me but I don’t talk. The last time I saw Nuhu Ribadu, I also spoke to him. Something was tag to his name that was very deleterious.
“I’m very surprised that my good friend and colleague decided to open up on the governor of Abia for something I never said.”
Lawan noted that the “air has now been cleared” and enjoined Senator Abaribe to address the motion on the floor.
Abaribe agreed with Lawan but insisted that Adeyemi must apologise to Abia Governor “for the very bad statement he made that had no basis.”
Responding through his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, who endorsed a statement titled: “Senator Smart Adeyemi Requires Urgent Psychiatric Evaluation,” Ikpeazu maintained that there was no connection between Adeyemi’s outburst and the motion on the floor of the Senate at that material time.
Ikpeazu who denied that he does not take alcoholic drinks maintained that it was either that the Senator “is either suffering from a protracted case of mental illness or is battling with occasional fits of schizophrenia which manifests in making careless, dishonorable, unrelated and incoherent statements.”
Below is the full text of Ememanka’s statement made available to The Oracle Today in Umuahia Tuesday.
“SENATOR SMART ADEYEMI REQUIRES URGENT PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION”
“Our attention has been drawn to comments made by the Senator representing Kogi West in the Senate, Senator Smart Adeyemi, on the floor of the Senate yesterday, Monday, 22nd February, 2021.
“While the Senate was debating a motion on how to protect schools across the country, Senator Adeyemi in his contribution stated that while his State Governor had awarded contracts for the renovation of schools, Abia is governed by drunkards. He then went ahead to say that the Governor of Abia State is a “champagne drinking Governor”.
“Our initial response was to totally ignore the story because it is difficult to believe that a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will reduce both himself and the institution of the Senate to such gutter level, but having confirmed that indeed, the Senator made such comments, a response has become imperative.
“Our view is that the Senator is either suffering from a protracted case of mental illness or is battling with occasional fits of schizophrenia which manifests in making careless, dishonorable, unrelated and incoherent statements.
“This conclusion becomes irresistible judging from the total disconnect between the matter being discussed by the Senate and the comments made by the Senator as they affect the Governor.
“If Senator Adeyemi was of sound mind, he should have known that when it comes to education, Abia is miles ahead of his home State of Kogi. Indeed, not just in education but in every single area of development.
“If Senator Adeyemi had his faculties intact, he should have known that under the watch of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State has maintained first position in WAEC Examinations in the entire country for five years now. Kogi has not come close to the first 20. Never!
“Ever since Dr. Ikpeazu became Governor in Abia State, there hasn’t been one single case of attack on any school anywhere in Abia State.
“Senator Smart Adeyemi is clearly non compos mentis. If not, he would have known that while his State is still awarding contracts for the renovation of schools, Abia had long completed more than 500 classroom projects scattered across schools in Abia State, and still counting.
“It is obvious that Senator Adeyemi is battling with acute dementia and has lost every of his instincts as a journalist. If not, he would have known that just last week, the National Bureau of Statistics adjudged Abia State as No. 3 on the list of States that attracted foreign direct investments, with only Lagos and Abuja ahead of Abia State in the entire country.
“It takes much more than drinking champagne to guide a state from zero foreign investnents to No. 3 in the country. Kogi State featured prominently on the list of states that attracted zero investments. It is only a state that is peaceful and secure that has the capacity to attract such cross border investments.
“Some weeks ago, the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) branded Kogi State unsafe for their consistent lip service to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Adeyemi was never heard to have either responded to that statement by the NCDC or raise it on the floor of the Senate. Yet, he has the effrontery, or rather, the buffoonery, to abuse a Governor whose state has maintained one of the lowest COVID-19 fatality rates in the country through proactive measures to protect our people.
“Between a Governor who has consistently denied the existence of Covid-19 and the one who has put in place measures to protect his people, one wonders who is the drunkard.
“Let us even interrogate the statements of Senator Adeyemi further. According to him, his comments against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu were in response to some comments allegedly made by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, against the Governor of Kogi State in a social media post.
“This response, without more, confirms that Senator Adeyemi is mentally unstable. If Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe made negative comments against the Governor of Kogi State, the proper approach was to respond to the Senator directly. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be vicariously liable for the comments allegedly made by Senator Abaribe.
“Interestingly, Senator Abaribe clearly denied ever making such comments against the Kogi State Governor.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu does not take alcoholic drinks and he is shocked at the schizophrenic outbursts of Senator Adeyemi whom he has never met nor had any dealings whatsoever with officially nor privately.
“Governor Ikpeazu makes it abundantly clear to the Senator that save for the parliamentary privilege which he unfortunately enjoys, Senator Adeyemi would have been put to the strictest proof of his wild and senseless comments before a Court of Law.
“Governor Ikpeazu concludes by advising the Senator to quickly seek psychiatric help before his case becomes unmanageable.”