By Sunny Igboanugo
The more I tried to ignore Sam Omatsaye’s diatribe, where he practically threw faeces on Peter Obi, the more something continues to urge me to respond. Because I don’t really know what it is all about – I must confess, I can’t really make head or tail of it all – I know I’ll do a terrible job in knocking out a plausible response. I mean, how could anyone make sense out of complete nonsense. But somehow, it is best to obey one’s inner mind. It has kept tugging, prompting me to action.
I guess that more more impetus has been provided by the interest the piece has generated in the social media to which some of us have become prisoners, one way or the other. No minute seem to pass by these days without my taking a glance at one of the social media platforms and there I find the issue raised by the garbage being thrown up.
Well, I might be tempted to believe that the Nigerian public has done amply by the barrage of discontent, if not outrage that have trailed the said piece. But as I said earlier, the inner me continues to urge an input, my own input.
I believe Sam, 63, two years Peter Obi’s senior, knows what would come. So, he did the needful – block his comment section to deny the same public he tried to titillate, their opportunity of reply. Is the social media no longer engaging platforms for encoder – decoder – feedback interactions that every journalist is taught at the elementary level? Typical of mischief makers.
Like the village deviltry, who must not rest until there is something to cause the villagers curse and swear in horror, the sexagenarian, having run out of mischief, simply defecates in the middle of the road, so that those passing bye are confronted by a swarm of flies patching on the ugly heap, to elicit immediate, if not temporary distress.
Sam, 63 – I keep repeating the age so that the unwary should know that this is not a young, irascible rascal, open to some form of taming – he’s beyond that now, but an old man on the other side of age’s trajectory, began his mission by giving his horrid piece a deserving title – Obi-tuary, of course, coined from the name (Peter) Obi. That indeed introduces his audience to how dingy his mind is.
Then he begins. He suggests that the South East has suddenly gone quiet because of those causing trouble, principally the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and their supporters, have swapped, their leader Nnamdi Kanu for Peter Obi. Doubtful, yet alluring to the ears.
Were this so, wouldn’t millions of Ndigbo be throwing their hands in the air in celebration? For it would only mean that their years of not sleeping with two eyes closed has ended , and that they could now afford to snore in bed for the first time in seven years, since the government, Sam, 63, trumpeted to power? Wouldn’t that mean also that the Obi phenomenon is working already? For a feat other Igbo leaders, including governors have tried and failed – oscillated from remonstration to threat and finally use of force in order to stop, ending by simple appearance of one man on the scene? Woah!
Mightn’t there be a reflection of this extraordinary outcome at the national level? If Obi, could conduce such quiet in a land strewn with death and internecine atmosphere by just emerging a candidate of a political party, shouldn’t Nigerians be looking in his direction for a permanent cure for the parlous state of insecurity in the land. It means there’s a solution to IPOB after all. It might also mean a solution for the bigger menace of Boko Haram, Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) Fulani herdsmen and other forms of banditry. What else are Nigerians looking for? What else could be found in the head of a fish?
Wouldn’t it be worthwhile if similar emergence of Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso could quieten the North as well? Wouldn’t it then be a shame that President Muhammadu Buhari could not tame the terrorists that heralded his coming to power? The selfsame Buhari, who was named by Boko Haram as their chief negotiator over the fate of the Chibok Girls? Surely, Omatseye mustn’t have forgotten there was such an outcome.
Isn’t that why Obi should be elected President, so that he could as well spring the genie out of the magic lamp to also give hope to the millions of youths in the North, the absence of which, has driven them into the forest to conduct the most heinous crimes against humanity outside becoming a breeding ground for recruits in the terror world? Certainly! Isn’t this what Obi has been saying all the while – that he would concentrate his energy towards the youths, not only to pull them out of poverty, but give them the hope they lack in this famine-driven country?
Well, regardless the contradicting views – many believe that the mayhem in the South East if not generated, is fueled by extraneous forces. There were cases of soldiers who wantonly, pointlessly and supercilious shoot point-blank at and randomly kill Igbo youths armed with nothing but flags during demonstrations for self-freedom, or those praying in a primary in a primary school.
More recently there are suspicion of fifth columnist, apparently outsiders, who cause carnage and leave pools of blood, all to give IPOB a bad name. All the same, it would be a good omen that the Obi phenomenon, has ended the odious spell.
Yes! It’s farewell Kanu. Welcome Obi, as Sam put it. A win-win situation, you’d say Why not? If Kanu, using his own style had raised the spectre of war, and the response was Igboland flowing with blood, even though he was never accused of killing anybody – check the charges against him in court – and Obi is coming with calm and calculative mien, giving nothing but hope and achieving the goal therefrom that IPOB agitation was aiming at, what would anyone be doing with war?
So, even though Sam, labours to create a negative narrative therefrom, the transference of loyalty from Kanu to Obi in the manner he paints, can only create a win-win situation in which the battle is won without spilling blood. Splendid! Isn’t it? But that is if indeed the South East is now calm as he infers.
So, what does my dear brother find objectionable where, from the battle in the streets where they are made mincemeat of by prowling soldiers by way of Python Dance, and other eerie mechanisms, the battle has now shifted to another ground where soldiers of words and not guns rule? He should be rejoicing. For in the latter, people bare their minds and open up to ideas without being cut down in a hail of bullets aimed at their bare chests and even those who managed to escape to hospitals, yanked off their beds and wantonly dismissed.
So, why should anyone be afraid of this new ground war, where no prisoner is taken? Of course, only the guilty – those who have skeletons in their cupboards. That Sam has taken fright, is in great alarm, panic and trepidation is understandable. The social media is where you dare not dare if your posterior is dirty, because it will be exposed.
No wonder, his camp complains. Lest we forget, these were the same people who presented former President Goodluck Jonathan as a goat, made his coffin and various unedifying effigies with which they danced around. They are the ones caterwauling of being visited with a mere snippet of their own underpinnings. Just shikini, tachere, minute dose, and they are crying.
Not that anyone has gone outside to invent something else. Just the basics. Oga, are you Amoda Yekini Ogolere or Bola Ahmed Tinubu? Are you from Isaleko in Lagos or are you from Iragbiji in Osun? Oga, how come you claimed to have attended St. John’s Primary School Aroyola, Lagos, and Children’s Home School Ibadan? Who are or were your classmates? Why claim to be 70 when you’re actually 86, as recently attested by your long time friends including of recent, Tee Mac? With what results did you enrol in Chicago State university, where you made First Class? Where were you engaged for your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, both orientation and primary assignments? Where are your ceritificates? Are these what Sam is objecting to? Are these what constitute vawulence?
Now, would it not amount to the most infantile and laughable move for Sam Omatseye to move into the arena of corruption when talking about Obi? Yet he tries the gambit. He alludes to Obi investing Anambra money into his family business – NEXT supermarket specifically. I know that Obi had clarified all the issues in this regard, including the said convoy “arrested” at his Apapa office and the offshore accounts, and has since been given a clean bill of health, having been found guiltless, after the relevant authorities examined everything with a magnifying glass.
But assuming, though not conceding that he was guilty as charged. How does this compare to the case of Amoda Yekini Ogolere, alias Bola Ahmed Tinubu? It’s like comparing a pickpocket with Shina Rambo, Lawrence Anini, and Ishola Oyenusi combined. Where do you begin? Is it by pocketing half of the land in Lagos including seizing the land belonging to the Lagos State Polytechnic or other choice properties belonging to the state? Is it by causing a law to be made to hand over a choice chunk of the state revenue to Alfa Beta, your own company as has been the case for more than 20 years now? We hear that the amount has now increased from N800million monthly to N2.5billion since the Jagaban threw his hat into the ring for the presidency.
Obi, has boasted that since he left government more than eight years ago, Anambra has not bought him pure water. Could Tinubu, the man Sam is promoting boast of same? What is his pension package like? Humongous? Out of this world? Yet! Obi again boasts that he has no other personal house outside Onitsha. How many houses, including hotels does Tinubu own in Lagos alone? 500? 1,000? 5,000? How does one compare life and death?
I believe Obi’s outing at the Dunamis Church activities last week, must have spurred Sam back to work. Seeing the effect, his patron must have yelled at him, what are you doing? And off he went with his pen. Imagine accusing a Christian of attending church activities! What could be more asinine? Where else are you supposed to find a Christian? In the shrine or Mosque?
Unlike the Jagaban, Obi honours invitations. He’s a man of the people. I’m sure even with Sam’s bile directed at him, if he invites Obi tomorrow to his birthday, he would honour it, seteris paribus. So, his attending church services, where he is invited, cannot raise eyebrows. He will even attend a Muslim event, if he is invited. That is vintage Obi! Even as an opponent, he attended the flagoff of Atiku’s campaign? Who else could do that. Nobody will quarrel with Tinubu if found in a mosque either in Lagos or Kano.
Omatseye, laboured to link Obi with Biafra. I’m sure he would have accused him outright of being a member or sponsor. But he finds himself in a quandary, because the alter ego of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, made a video in which he accused the same man of anti-Biafran activities. So, he doesn’t know what to do outside picking the negative side of Kanu’s allegation.
That brings me to the issue of Obi’s sexuality. Cowardly Sam couldn’t bring himself to label Obi a homosexual as Kanu did. So, he tried his best to paint a picture of Obi sweating it out with his fellow man in hotels, without using the word.
Now, folks, up until recently, the last time I knew of him, Sam Omatseye, was not known to be married. Well beyond his 50s. If he was, it’s not known to many people. If he were married, it must be yesterday – 63-year-old man o! Okay, you’ve seen Obi’s beautiful wife and his children, evidence of the fact that he at least knows what to do with a woman. Could that be said of Sam? Who is more prone to homosexuality – a man who got married in his 30s or one who didn’t until his 50s or beyond? People don’t have shame!
Yes, Omatseye may say anything. He may huff and puff. Everything will amount to the Shakespearean tale of an idiot – all sound and fury signifying nothing! As he rightly pointed out, after trying to pigeonhole the Obi project to the South East, he later accepted that it has gained national traction, but all the same infers that the support would peter out. I suppose by that he means that the same people supporting Obi now, would abandon him for Tinubu.
Would that be the case? Would Nigerians make a choice of Tinubu, 86, who could hardly maintain a straight gait, gaunt and bent by age, who could neither flip through a paper at the APC convention, nor hold a flag firmly, who couldn’t string few words together sequentially to make a meaningful sentence – a man who leaves patches of liquid stains on his agbada constantly and has to be guided to the podium because of unsteady steps? Would they replace a papa with kaka?
Alternatively, wouldn’t they rather choose an Obi, who could impromptu tell you the price of shares at the New York Stock exchange or the GDP of 20 countries of the world with near accuracy, who is constantly at tune with micro-second developments across the world? Would Nigerians bypass a man who has shown immense capacity of commonwealth husbandry and using public money for public good for the person, who pockets the same commonwealth and from there dispenses privileges to a few, all in the name of building political base?
That’s what it will boil down to at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Tinubu has been challenged to conduct a one-hour interview. Let him peck at the bait and let Nigerians see what happens. Let’s start from there. That’s when Sam Omatseye, 63, might know that khaki no be leather.
Igboanugo is a journalist based in Abuja