A former Chief Communications Manager to ex-governor Idris Wada of the Kogi State, Phrank Shaibu, has described the re-arrest of Austin Okai, a celebrated blogger and activist as a national shame and height of insensitivity by the authorities.
Shaibu in a statement personally signed by him, expressed outrage that Okai was arrested by officers of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) after he was granted bail by the magistrate Court.
“This is indeed a national shame and an open disgrace. It’s the height of insensitivity. I’m totally shocked that Comrade Okai was re-arrested inside the court after the magistrate had granted him bail. This is clearly a barbaric and belligerent act”, he stated.
The renowned communications strategist and public affairs analyst also came hard on the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who is said to be the mastermind of the initial arrest, detention and re-arrest of the celebrated blogger.
“If it is true that Governor Yahaya Bello is the actual mastermind, then it is unfortunate. It is definitely a sad narrative that such a young man who became Governor in uncertain and strange circumstance could order the arrest of a citizen whose only offence was the exercise of right to free speech. This is absolutely crude and despotic and should be condemned by all lovers of democracy worldwide”, he added.
Shaibu wondered what Yahaya Bello would have done if he were in the shoes of his immediate predecessor, Captain Idris Wada who was widely insulted, publicly embarrassed and attacked in the media but maintained a cool mien.
“Everyone in Kogi State and Nigeria knows what I did to Captain Idris Wada. I consistently lampooned the immediate past Governor. There were so many of us including but not limited to some of the media aides to the the present Governor. Not once was any of us threatened or arrested because Wada concentrated on the positive side of our criticism of his administration and tried to make peace with everyone “, he disclosed.
Accordingly, he asked Bello to order the release of Okai and seek the path of rectitude, while further advising the governor to change his leadership style.
“Alhaji Yahaya Bello should order the release Austin Okai immediately. He should also seek the path of peace and change his leadership style. The narrative out there is diametrically opposed to his attempt at addressing the malaise of kidnapping in kogi state and does not fit a young man like him. He should be more interested in uniting the people as against the divisive style that is the hallmark of his administration”, he stated.