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OPINION: SAM OMATSEYE & HIS OBIPHOBIA

Sam Omatseye
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Sam Omatseye is a highly intelligent man, no doubt. But intelligence does not start and end with the mastery of a language; in this case, the English language. What Omatseye did in his August 1, 2022 article published in The Nation newspaper, morbidly captioned ‘Obi-tuary’, was to intelligently unveil his abysmal lack of emotional intelligence. Nothing testifies to this more than his reducing the Obidient Movement, in the face of the huge support the movement is garnering across all demographics and all regions of the country, to a Biafran enterprise and “a caterwauling group trying to seduce, without much success, those outside its ethno-religious tent.”

For Omatseye to spit on the graves of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Zik of Africa, and Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, both revered by millions of Nigerians, despite their personal shortcomings, by diminishing them to a “flair” and a “flare”, suggests that he is in urgent need of psychiatric assistance because, as Emmanuel Ogbeche says in his rejoinder captioned ‘Inside Omatseye’s Heathen Heart’, this is nothing short of “a descent into madness”.

Meanwhile, he has unwittingly disclosed another ailment haunting him – Obiphobia – the fear of Peter Obi’s rising popularity and ‘universal’ acceptance, and what that portends for his dream of living in one of the boys’ quarters of Aso Rock.

The less said about Omatseye’s vacuous attempt to paint Peter Obi’s church attendance in political colours, the better. It is obvious from his vituperations and the obscene hue of his lexicon that he has neither appreciation for, nor comprehension of, things of the spirit. Anyone who watched the reception Obi got at Dunamis Church should know that, truly Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

Omatseye joins Obi’s traducers to peddle unfounded allegations. He claims that Peter Obi is the new master of the IPOB Movement. According to him, “Obi has turned out to be an excuse for even closet Biafrans to betray open emotions about Biafra without being accused of it.” And that “Obi has become a shelter for both miscreants and activists of the crowd.”

Omatseye believes that Obi, as Anambra State Governor, spent N1.5 billion on himself and his family on tours and that he did not follow due process when he placed Anambra money in his family account. He also claims that Obi saved money for the state “while pensioners were looking desperately at their graves”, despite public attestations that the former governor removed billions of naira unpaid pensions yoke from the necks of Anambra State pensioners.

One would have expected Sam Omatseye to deploy his donkey years of award-winning journalism practice to interrogate those allegations with evidence, on a formal platform, or prepare his master to confront his opponent with the allegations at the envisaged presidential debate, assuming he will pitch.

Talking about his master, Tinubu’s loud silence on his publicity errand boy’s monumental indiscretion is akin to what may happen if animals make a bat that is neither a rat nor a bird Emperor of the Animal Kingdom. Now, Omatseye is crying for protection from ferocious bees after stirring the hornet’s nest. Unfortunately, the puppet master that could have saved him is on an indifferent vacation.

This is not the first time Omatseye is displaying this loony tendency. He obviously hasn’t learnt his lesson. In June 2011, this same Sam Omatseye insulted the Matriarch of the Awolowo family, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo in The Nation’s newspaper article, compelling the publisher, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to send a personal apology to Mama. Tinubu said then: “I wish to assure Mama that I cannot disparage the Awo family without disparaging the legacy that all of us proudly embrace and are trying to sustain.”

He absolved himself of blame citing editorial policy:

“Anybody with knowledge of how newspapers work knows that every newspaper has its editorial policy, most times independent of even the publisher… So, how can I possibly be behind the opinion of a columnist, simply because he writes for a newspaper, which I am associated with?”

Tinubu should know that the stakes are higher now. He was not a presidential candidate then.

There is a big lesson in all this for members of the media fraternity, especially those who might find themselves in the same position occupied by Omatseye: It may be suicidal for a puppet to dance faster than the pull on the puppeteer’s string.

By Tony Ekata