By TONY NWOSU
I read Sam Omatseye’s piece titled OBI-TUARY with a lot of disgust, pity and disappointment. For the record, Sam is supposed to be a seasoned journalist who should know the negative implications of junk journalism. I used to respect him in those days as a fearless, incisive and cerebral columnist.
However, I later observed that Sam is anything but altruistic because his writeups started wearing unrepentant ethnocentric and parochial garbs which gave him away as a divisive ethnic bigot and a man that lacks integrity. In life, one thing that diminishes a man’s stature is when he unashamedly accepts to do the dirty job of maligning and assassinating another person’s character for pecuniary considerations. Sam is not a hungry man by any standard and I believe he understands the bolts and nuts of journalism. So, why should Sam debase himself to the lowliest of the low by concocting narratives that are outright fallacious and totally debasing.
In summary, what Sam tried to communicate rather untidily and unprofessionally is that Peter Obi is chameleonic and lacks integrity. In his narrative which is laced with venom and hate speech, he painted Peter Obi as a corrupt tribalist with secessionist bent who wants to hoodwink people from other ethnic nationalities by clothing himself in messianic robes for purposes of clinching the number one political position come 2023. What a pity! The question I want Sam to answer is this: What does he want to achieve by doing that odd, shameful job? If the reason is to demarket Peter Obi to the advantage of his pay master, then his plan has failed woefully because Peter Obi is now an ideology and a metaphor for the downtrodden and disenfranchised Nigerians who are hungry, angry, dehumanised and discriminated against. Sam is still living in the analogue age. At this juncture, let me break things down for clarity sake.
Warren Buffet once said that if an employer wants to hire a new staffer, he should focus on three key variables, viz: COMPETENCE, ENERGY & INTEGRITY. He went further to admonish that if the candidate is diagnosed to lack integrity, the employer shouldn’t bother to hire him/her on the basis of Competence and Energy. The latter highlights the supremacy of INTEGRITY. Therefore, if we use those three variables as metrics for evaluating the three leading presidential candidates, would Sam in good conscience swear by the Holy Books that his pay master is the best candidate to lead Nigeria at this most critical time in her history? For emphasis, we all saw how the two political behemoths conducted their shameful presidential primary elections in Abuja about two months ago. It was a show of shame where hand-picked “delegates” were heavily and competitively bribed by desperate presidential hopefuls in US dollars as if the US dollar has been legalised as Nigeria’s currency. It is even more saddening to note that one of the “delegates” lamented that she bribed her hirer with N8 million but was heartlessly rewarded with fake US Dollars. Can one imagine the implication of someone who is aspiring to be the Number One citizen of Nigeria giving the so-called delegates fake US dollars? What does that say about the character of such a candidate?
It is on record that the current leadership has taken us back several decades as a consequence of their seven years of clueless “ruinership”. In retrospect, the APC administration anchored its manifesto on three pillars, namely: Zero tolerance for corruption, Stamping out insecurity and total revamping of the Economy. Without boring my readers, it is common knowledge that the Buhari administration underperformed in all the three key metrics.
Regarding corruption, based on statistics released by Transparency International (TI), Nigeria slid by five points in Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from 149 in 2020 to 154 in 2021 out of the 180 countries surveyed. In other words, Nigeria is the 26th most corrupt country out of the 180 countries surveyed. As a matter of fact, Nigeria is currently the second most corrupt country in West Africa. In contrast, Nigeria’s CPI in 2014 was 136 out of 176 countries surveyed. Evidently, Nigeria slid by 18 points between 2015 and 2021 implying that the Buhari administration is more corrupt than Jonathan’s administration.
On the issue of security, even the least discerning Nigerian knows that the country is under siege by a combination of Boko Haram, ISWAP, Bandits and Herdsmen/Farmers’ clashes. In the past seven years of PMB’s administration, Nigerians have witnessed unprecedented insecurity. From Boko Haram in the North East and banditry in the North West in 2014, insecurity has degenerated calamitously to an all-time low, no thanks to the current administration who has pampered and emboldened Boko Haram and ISWAP as their members unleash terror and mayhem on helpless citizenry. From available statistics, an average of 37 people are killed per day since January 2022.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a highly lucrative business enterprise and our leaders are doing absolutely nothing about it. In respect of the economy, it is common knowledge that the middle class has been wiped out of the economic class system. I dare say that over 95% of Nigerians have found themselves in the same economic class as the “early man” who went about in search of food, shelter and clothing. What a shame for the APC administration! From an exchange rate of circa N220:$1 as at May 2015, in the parallel market, our once stable Naira has tumbled to circa N710:$1 as at last week. Without doubt, the rate may further depreciate abysmally to circa N1000:$1 by May 29th, 2023. My prediction is based on the fact that our economy is in a monumental mess at the moment. With a spiralling nebulous fuel subsidy payments that currently exceeds our income from crude oil sales, monumental (well syndicated) crude oil theft and our debt service obligations which have exceeded our total revenue, it is a no brainer that our economy is at the ICU (intensive care unit).
One other area that needs to be highlighted is the crass insensitivity of the APC administration to our ethno-religious fault lines in terms of inclusiveness (anchored on equity, fairness and justice) in the distribution of key government positions. This has resulted in unprecedented polarisation of the country leading to feelings of marginalisation and consequent agitation by some ethnic groups. Putting everything together, I make bold to say that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not only performed woefully in terms of the pauperisation of the citizenry but will ultimately leave the unsalutory legacy of mutual distrust, crass divisiveness and scandalous insecurity across the six geopolitical zones. Based on the foregoing incontrovertible facts, is it not ludicrous that Sam prefers the so-called government of continuity (where lunatic profligacy will perpetuate even when Nigeria is dead broke) to a new deal where younger, more energetic, highly cerebral, exceptionally competent and more frugal men of integrity with verifiable track records are given the opportunity to ventilate and save our beleaguered political and socioeconomic system from total collapse? Let me offer you a piece of advice Sam.
The current hardship cum insecurity that pervades the entire Nigerian landscape is a common denominator that cuts across all tribes and all religions. The youths are not satisfied with how our dear country has been ruined since 2015. They need a breath of fresh air, a new deal, a new identity. They want to take Nigeria back from the brink of catastrophic cataclysm. So, if your principal is genuinely interested in steering the ship of state come 2023, let him focus on issues; let him focus on how to convince the electorate that he has what it takes to turn things around. In attempting to convince the electorate, let him note very well that history never forgets. Therefore, he should be ready to defend his numerous uncomplementary utterances ranging from the fact that he doesn’t believe in One Nigeria to issues that border on integrity, source of wealth and several documented uncouth outbursts which are definitely unpresidential.
My dear Sam, let me remind you that the politics of 2022 is vastly different from the politics of 2015. The youths are now interested in x-raying the past activities of who will lead them. The electoral laws are now more robust. Money politics and ethnic politics are fast fading away while the people’s votes will go to Candidates with proven track records instead of voting along political party lines. The paradigm has shifted. The old, corrupt, thuggery method of election is giving way to a new robust, electronic method where individual votes count. In conclusion, let me remind you about the age long saying that GREAT MINDS DISCUSS IDEAS WHILE LITTLE MINDS DISCUSS PEOPLE. A word, it is often said, is enough for the wise.