Journalist Spends 21 Days in Prison for Criticising Abia Gov Ikpeazu

*  Norman in a white leading a protest march

by Tony Icheku

Today marks the 21st day, Obinna  Don Norman would be spending in prison at Afara, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria. To put this in perspectives,
I only met Norman via the Facebook. From his various write-ups, both of us shared mutual desire for accountability, good governance, and transparency in Abia state

From his prolific and revealling expose on the decay, abuse of office, malfeasance and deep rooted corruption and politics of godfatherism
in  Abia State Government, one can immediately perceive a spiritual fervour in Norman. Like Biblical Apostle Paul who came on fire
for the gospel of Jesus Christ after his encounter of the road to Damascus, Norman was truly on fire for accountability, good governance, and
transparency in Abia. He also saw the recently held General Elections as an opportunity to effect leadership change.

I do not know when Norman had his Damascus road experience, but he began his campaigns immediately after resigning as the Media Adviser
to Senator Theodore Orji, former governnor of the State and alleged godfather of the incumbent governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Am sure Norman borrowed from Elie Wiesel, these words: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

In one  his various write-ups, his stated his mission as follows:

I am on this mission to galvanize the youths of Abia State towards a new Abia where they will not be this satisfied with crumbs.
A new Abia where they will not kowtow to the masterminds of their sufferings.
A new Abia where they will not choose charisma over character in deciding their leaders.
A new Abia where they will see themselves as leaders instead of political thugs and servants.
A new Abia where they will see our public office holders as servants not masters.
A new Abia where they will hold public office holders accountable to the society.
 A new Abia where they will take their destinies into their own hands

Norman told Abians that they must choose whether they want to continue in slavery under the current leadership in the State or to vote them out via the ballot:

After 20-years in Egypt, Abians are afforded the opportunity once again to make their decisions through the ballots. We are to decide whether to remain in slavery or seek freedom. Before we vote, vital questions we should ask ourselves are:
1. Is Abia of today our dream State?
2. Why have we remained stagnant under the PDP leadership for 20-years?
3.  What does the future holds for us, our children and generation unborn under the PDP?
4.  What are the pedigrees and records of the individuals who are seeking for our votes?

If we sincerely desired change in Abia State, we have to (as a matter of urgency) rise above sentimentalism and vote out all the individuals who contributed to our 20-years of misery. VOTE WISELY

The thrust of Norman's write ups amongst others includes the fact  that Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had accumulated the debt of N104 billion for Abia State. "It will take us 210-years to offset this debt. They have stolen our future and that of our 10th generations, even that of our children that will be born in 2119 to 2219", he stated.

He was vehement, that Ikpeazu and his former boss, Sen. Orji should not be re-elected. And he left no stone unturned to pass his message across. Beyond writing and publishing in his online newspaper, The Realm News, he was also active on the social media. He appeared in several radio and television talkshow, simply repeating his message for a new order  in Abia.

The climax of his campaign was a protest march which held successfully on Thursday 21, February 2019 despite several challenges and attempts to stop it.  Though the  Abia Police Headquarters in Umuahia and the Commissioner of Police alongside the DCP and the ACP Ops persuaded him to cancel the protest, he insisted that the protest will go ahead even if they refused to provide police protection.

"My insistence was because of the obvious need to build confidence in our youths, give them sense of belonging, liberate them from servitude and ensure they rise up to the challenges of democracy and elitism", he explained.

Perhaps, becoming jittery of Norman's campaigns, the authorities instigated the Police to declare  him wanted, a development  he challenged in the court. However even before the case could be heard, the police in a guerilla-style assault stormed a radio station in Umuahia where he was guest at a programme and arrested him

Today, Thursday, March 21 marks 21 days he will be spending in prison without trial
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