HURIWA, opposition parties and the ‘come-and-chop’ CSOs



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barrister Okoye:Also concerned about the syndrome

 

Jim Pressman, Freelance Gender Rights Reporter, Abuja

 

Poor Osita Okechukwu and his media friend, our dear colleague the ex-Guardian Judicial reporter – turned – Rights Activist-writer, ‘Comrade’ – forgive my skepticism – Emmanuel Onwubiko of  Human Rights Writers’ Association, HURIWA. I happen to know Onwubiko pretty well since his Guardian days soon after I had just relocated from the Niger Delta to the FCT. We enjoy mutual professional respect for and from each other, let us leave it at that…

I watched the duo lead other members of their selected Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) groan aloud on television about how many fake and illicit groups and individuals parade themselves about town as Civil Society Organizations or members/Heads of such portmanteau arrangements, no offices, no fixed addresses and all that. Those are the ones Osita calls come-and-chop (Food is Ready, his exact words).

And I wondered, were they only just waking up to the news or it was a revelation of sorts, just hitting them like thunderbolt? Where were they when the Nigerian Union of Journalists screamed to high heavens about the phenomenon, even as we fought and are still fighting what seems to be a losing battle against our own more than fair share of the menace?

Every group, every association or profession, has its fair share of  quacks, fakes pretenders and deceitful lazy drones looking for cover for their professional rogueries, in the name of man must whack, against the grain of God’s own decree in the Holy Books that the lazy shall not eat!

A day after I watched formerly Kaduna – based TMG – man Barrister Festus Okoye answering defensively the question put to him in Sokoto by AIT’s election studio anchorman Adebayo Bodurin, about the now worrisome case of quacks and self-appointed CSO people who go for Fine-bara (well-dressed begging) sprees doing their own monitoring from the Government Houses and expansive living rooms of Opposition party leaders or both, rather at polling stations.

We also know Festus, enough since my days in the Obasanjo Presidency as Communications Researcher – Staff Writer when TMG made Dennis Hotel the hang-out of the CSOs in their regular critique sessions; though these days Okoye feels better (elsewhere) Okoye hedged and was a bit on the defensive, but was honest enough to admit some awareness of the troublesome trend, in answering Bodunrin’s query about ‘who monitors the Monitors?’

As Osita pointed out, and as we sometimes wondered in the NEITI/ CSOs Interface Committee where I have sat a few times for Media, there are journalists and there are journalists; there are also CSOs and there are CSOs – time to check all these funny funny identities among us the watchers so we get to find someone who watches the watchers!

A stitch in time, they say saves nine… And a word they say, is enough for the wise so, thank you for your attention!

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