In Search of the Embraer Legacy 3000 [Reg. N0: 5N GRS] Dash 8-Q200 series aircraft
‘’And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.’’ – (Acts 17:11)
I try to put forward my queries on issues, based on the facts at my disposal. In so doing, I have extracted and attracted venom and other banal opprobria from latent, base and uneducated boot-lickers and underlings.
My life in the social and political struggles in Nigeria has been consistent, tenacious, bold and forward looking. I always identify with causes that are positive and progressive – (from my time as a Students Union Leader in UNICAL,NACRISS and NANS, through my imprisonment with MKO Abiola in the June 12 Struggles) and have never written any article or petition with a pseudonym. I write as Orok Otu Duke (worldwide) or as Orok Duke on Facebook. So, I pray not to be linked with any other name. And I refuse to be distracted.
On inexplicable actions taken by Ex- Gov Liyel Imoke? I had written previously written queries and private Memos and it came to a head when I openly questioned all these actions in the CRS Library, in the midst of all the PDP politicians and Political office holders. We had a feisty exchange to the point of Senator Imoke stepping down to the floor to seize the microphone from me, saying, ‘’Rocky, you are inciting and agitating everybody here, I have to take the microphone and stop you, sorry.’’ He had promised to attend to the mentioned issues and problems then. I handed over the microphone and left.
By 2011, I had done all that was necessary to pre-empt and prevent the profligacy that we have now realised from a government assessed as a failure by even Mr James Aniyom (former CRS Commissioner for Agriculture under Liyel Imoke ) What did others do?
All those who enjoyed under Imoke and took part in the looting of Cross River State, cannot openly identify and defend their master, but are wearing different togas and pseudonyms to attack, insult and abuse perceived opponents of the inglorious and indignant regime. This façade from even some of them who are Imoke’s victims is indicative of what hunger and loss of self-esteem can cause. ‘’How are the mighty fallen…’’.
CROSS RIVER STATE AIRCRAFT BEYOND 30/06/2015 : (Embraer Legacy 3000 [Reg. N0: 5N GRS] Dash 8-Q200 series aircraft)
On July 1st 2015, Ebony Life TV celebrated their 2 years of existence, courtesy of the 2 Billion naira lifeline from CRS. And this was the same day that I was preparing to go to Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, to receive or at least have a look at the Imoke Plane that Aero Contractors had promised to repair and release to us that day. Alas, I was disappointed.
I want us to be properly guided by the historicity of this Imoke Plane issue:
In 2011 CRS Budget, Imoke had proposed to buy an Aircraft to boost Tourism. At the end of that fiscal year, the sum of money provided was utilised and no Aircraft purchased.
In 2012 CRS Budget, the same provision was made for the same Aircraft and repeated again in the 2013 CRS Budget, yet we did not see any plane.
In July, 2013, we heard that an old Aircraft was purchased from Rivers State Government for USD 6 million (United State Dollars). We also heard that Imoke had ordered for the Aircraft to be stretched out and properly furnished to his taste. Nobody else heard of or saw the phantom Aircraft again.
However, as Imoke’s tenure was drawing to a close, Cross Riverians started asking questions and Okoi Obono-Obla led a team to petition the EFCC, Imoke and Aero Contractors/Airline panicked and issued a Press Statement thus:
“The Cross River State government had commissioned Aero Contractors of Nigeria Limited to undertake repairs on the state owned Dash 8-Q200 series aircraft with registration number 5N GRS (Aircraft). The maintenance charges have been fully paid for by the Cross River State government since July 2013.
“However, due to logistic constraints, the maintenance has not been concluded; Aero Contractors confirms that it will complete the maintenance and deliver the Aircraft to Cross River state government not later than June 30th, 2015. Aero Contractors further reaffirms its commitment to restoring the aircraft as agreed with the Cross River state government and regrets any inconvenience experienced as a result of the foregoing.
“Aero Contractors is aware of uncomplimentary media reports, in some quarters, concerning the aircraft and hereby uses this medium to offer its unreserved apology to the (former) governor, His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke and the people of Cross River State, for the embarrassment and discomfort caused by the delay.
“The Cross River state government has also notified Aero Contractors that the aircraft will be operated on the Calabar-Bebi route to support the tourism operations of the state.
“Meanwhile, prior to the completion of the maintenance work to restore the aircraft back to service; Aero Contractors will commence scheduled weekend flights services with its DHC Q300 aircraft between Calabar-Bebi in the following weeks.
“The flight services shall be operated from Calabar to Bebi between 11:00am – 11:50am and Bebi to Calabar between 12:50am – 13:40am.”
Today is July 3rd 2015 and I have not seen the Imoke Plane that belongs to my state. Is any of you flying to Bebi based on the published schedule? If you read the Aero Contractor statement, you will realise that, money was gotten for the actual purchase of the plane and also, for extra fitting and refurbishment. How much was the total amount used in addition to the 2 Billion naira figure that I have been informed of?
The extra information that I have, is that some Coaches and Tracks that were ordered in 2007 by Duke for the Calabar Monorail Project, were exchanged with the Rivers State Government for the Aircraft. The original length of the Tracks was 10 kilometres (not the 200 metres length that is being used to defraud and deceive us in CICC, Odukpani).
Now, we cannot find our Monorail Coaches and Tracks- fully paid for by Duke (and stored in the former Strabag Yard along Atimbo road). We are also looking for Imoke Aircraft that was fully paid for by CRSG to the tune of over 2 Billion naira.
Until and unless we physically see this Imoke Plane, which was in working condition as of the time of purchase (Ameachi was using it daily), we will assume that it is a phantom plane (2 Billion is a huge Investment).
You do not take the sacrifice beyond the mouth of the shrine. Liyel Imoke should account for and justify the Investment in Imoke plane. If and when the Imoke Plane is found, he should be the first passenger to test the plane…from Calabar to Bebi please. I still remember Peregrino and all subsequent accidents on the Bebi route, especially the Wings Aviation Airlines crash. And I will not encourage more Cross Riverians to take any risk in an untested and uncertified Aircraft.
I strive to question activities of Government based on facts that I discern, so must the rest of you.
‘’Three wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house.(The Bible doesn’t say they were three. See Matthew 2:11)’’ That is why Acts 17:11 is so relevant.
You see, the people of Berea not only were willing to listen, but they examined what Paul was teaching and compared it to the Scriptures. They didn’t just believe Paul. They took the time to confirm the accuracy of his teaching.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
By Rt. Hon (Otuekong) Orok Otu Duke