Donald Duke’s Message Sets Example For Bob Njemanze in Imo State
Donald Duke’s widely circulated message on how his wife caused him to apologize to his Chief of Protocol while he was in office as Governor of Cross River State, has set an example on the act of forgiveness for Bob Njemanze, a political stalwart in Imo State.
Speaking today as a guest of Focus Nigeria, a program of AIT Television, Bob Njemanze who was a member of Nigeria’s Constitution Review Conference of 2014, narrated how he defied his family’s counsel and supported Rochas Okorocha against then Governor Ihedim Ohakim, in the 2015 General Elections.
He recalled that although former President Olusegun Obasanjo had warned his Uncle who was a prominent traditional ruler in Imo State that the people of that state may “end up with an armed robber” if they elect Rochas Okorocha as Governor, he still went ahead and defied that warning. Bob Njemanze regretted that defiance, saying that when Okorocha got elected, he saw another side of him.
He said, “I found out that for anything he wanted to do which he wanted credence, honour and integrity to, he involved me. In a public discussion, he would say ‘I was privy to this’. I became a victim. So much so that everything that was done by his administration, I was being held responsible for. And don’t forget, for everyone in that office, there is the morning after. What happens during the morning after? That is 30th May of whichever date the person is exiting.”
He also said that he never knew that Governor Okorocha nursed grievances against his family, until the Governor published a press statement that castigated the Njemanze family as a family that has held Owerri down. According to him, “Njemanze is a microcosm of Owerri. If you are in conflict with an Njemanze, you are in conflict with the entire Owerri people whether you like it or not…. So if you engage the Njemanzes in a conflict in Owerri, you won’t survive it.” Speaking further, Bob Njemanze accused the Governor of abandoning the Government House in Owerri in preference for another house that has been built “bigger than Aso Rock with government funds”. He said that he disengaged from working with the Governor because he cannot acquiesce to such things.
Bob Njemanze said that much later, his “little daughter” shocked him when she told him that his opposition of former Governor Ohakim was borne out of pride. For this reason, he said: “On a personal note, that is what I was saying that my little daughter did to me. I stood against Ohakim. Would you believe, I had to go, like Donald Duke, to go and apologise to Ohakim….”
“When I got to his house, I didn’t know they were going to open the gate for me. I came to Abuja, I went with my son. And I said ‘tell him I am at the gate’. And they rushed, opened the gate, took me to his living room and I sat there. Then he came in and said ‘Uncle Bob’. I said ‘are you surprised?’ He said ‘no. I am not surprised. I am shocked. But let’s thank God that you are here’. And then there was my good friend Ambassador George Obiozor. He said ‘you see, that’s what I have been expecting those of you whose families saw Christianity before our own families. That is the example I wanted you to set’. I didn’t want to tell you about it.”
Meanwhile, here is the message that set an example for Bob Njemanze’s action:
“When I See Public Office Holders Misbehaving, Probably They Do Not Have a Good Wife or a Good Marriage.”
“As governor, I was on call 24/7 sometimes. I got very angry and could take my anger on anyone. So, my chief of protocol bore the brunt one day. I had a reception for guests and he placed them in rooms, not the way I would have done it, but he didn’t do anything wrong. He used his own judgment. I would have done it the other way, but I over reacted.
I spoke very harsh to him.
While I was doing this, my wife walked in and didn’t say a word. She goes in, does some other things in my office and leaves. When I got back home in the evening, I’d forgotten about it. It’s just a normal event in the day.” “And she said to me, the way I spoke to this guy was wrong and that I had to go and apologize to him. She said I had no reason to speak to anyone like that. I said, what! He did this and she said, ‘Yes, I heard everything. The way you would have done it was different, but he didn’t do a bad thing. He used his discretion. So, what are you going to do? You have destroyed that. Tomorrow, he is not going to do anything discretionally.”
“He would wait for orders and then you will get irritated at that. You have made him lose his self-confidence and that is wrong. You need to go and apologize to him. Why should you speak to someone like that? Because you are governor?’ I ignored her. I was in my room still fuming and she came back, and said I had to do it that night and not tomorrow because I kept saying I would do it tomorrow.”
“She said no, tonight. That he was not going to sleep well and so I did not have the right to sleep well when he was not sleeping well. I said OK. We got into the car and we drove to his house. I knocked on the door. His wife turned in. They were about to go to bed. She was in her night gown. She saw me and was scared with the expression of, ‘Okay, you have come to fire my husband finally’. The guy came downstairs, petrified. My wife and I walked in. The wife wanted to get up and leave. I told the guy I was sorry.”
“They all got emotional but I got relief. It was like a load had been taken off me. I still get upset with things going up wrong, but I don’t get to a point I feel I am too big to say sorry. You can be referred to as your excellency today, but, the best, it will only last 8 years. Senator?, Minister?, Not forever, permanent sec., Director, CEO?, DG etc?, Life is a stage, a platform For services unto God. So let everyone take heed. Forgive and have regard for Human being.”
We commend Donald Duke’s message to all our readers.
- Cornelius Ellah