NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: The other day, Mr. Sam Omatseye – a writer many used to have respect for due to some reasons, including the fluidity of his prose – wrote an article entitled “Obi-nomics”. In the said article, clearly embittered by resentment, he hurled obloquies at Mr. Peter Obi. He saw Obi as a rising sun that must be totally eclipsed. I did a rejoinder to that piece as part of the respected “right to reply”, which readers are supposed to enjoy. I appropriately sent the rejoinder to Mr. Sam Omatseye, who, contrary to the liberality of “The Nation” newspaper refused to present it for publication. Of course, I felt bad. Omatseye may not know that I have come a long way with “The Nation”Newspaper not to be denied such a right. In any case, I was privileged to have written the first letter to the Editor at the birth of “The Nation” (then Comet) Newspaper entitled “The Comet Cometh”. Am I not qualified to be a stakeholder?

A few months after that piece, Omatseye was at it again. On the 1st of August, he wrote another piece entitled “Obi-tuary”, literary wishing Obi dead and buried as the easiest route for his patron to become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In his recent piece, he pelted Obi with poisoned ink by inventing imaginary flaws in Obi’s character which he served in hot-peppered sauce. It is hard to find, in all records of opinion-writing, a piece more barbarous, stinking, and oozing scalding lava of obscene volcanic words not just about a person, but also about a people – The Igbos. Like a sightless lover whose inexplicable increase in hydraulic pressure drove to a blind erotic hunger that led to rape, Omatseye employed the weapons he is at home with: satire, ridicule, vituperation and crafty distortion of the truth. What are those untruths? We shall see them through the narratives he tried to push through.

The first segment of his venomous vituperation may be summarised through the lines he addressed directly to the Igbos with the aim to injure them in body and spirit: “They have transferred the temperament of their former master into the new. And they have not spared any incoherence, any lack of finesse, and threats and tantrums, any show of rabid, primitive cants, or any ululations. They have abused, cursed, thrown imprecations. They have hugged lies about their candidate. They have pelted lies about others. They have distorted material”. Here, Omatseye simply presented the symptoms of a man who is worried by sleeplessness on account of the popularity of Mr. Peter Obi by trying to make his candidacy an ethnic movement. Just like our Uncle Joe You-Know-Who, would you blame Omatseye for vigorously attacking a man who appears to have made a ship-wreck of their sweet dreams of occupying Aso Rock in 2023?

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For the instruction of Omatseye and his admirers, Peter Obi’s candidacy cannot be reduced to an ethnic movement. If there is anybody who has raised the banner of ethnicity, it was the man who gleefully pronounced that it was “his turn”.

Nigeria is bleeding on all fronts. Our leaders of today have plunged the country into hostile halves of the North and the South; the rich and the poor; the haves and the haves-not. Daily, they are guiding Nigeria into anarchy. Today, there is hardly any spot or town where the torch of insurrection does not openly flame. Rather than write responsibly and contribute to extinguishing that fire, Omatseye is bracketing the Igbos as the problem of the country.

To prove to you how depraved Omatseye has descended into, because the “turn” of his master is “challenged”, let us consider some of his words: “Kanu lashes out at Obi as governor and stated what this essayist wrote about him over building a NEXT supermarket while still the governor of Anambra State. The video clip referred to him as a sort of sexual being on the fringe. You can imagine an Aso Rock sweltering with romps of the evil flesh. His so-called Obidients know this. But it counts for little.” The fact is that Next Mall in Abuja was conceived and started long before Peter Obi became a State Governor. Before then, Next already had facilities bigger that the Abuja Mall.

On the issue of sexual perversion, all I can state is that many Obi-watchers are appalled as certainly as most Nigerians are by Omatseye’s ungracious scurrility. I observed some people that called themselves “Batists,” those he is old enough to be their fathers, hailing him with guffaws of applause. Deep inside him, is he happy trying to destroy another man with obvious lies? There should be limits a gentleman should go in tarnishing the image of others simply because he is fighting for a master they place value in his favours than his reputation. I understand he is avoided in “The Nation”Newspaper because of his habitual gossips and snitches to BAT about those that support or do not support him.

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No writer has the monopoly of lies and use of empty amplifications, deceptive analogies and rhetorical tricks. The difference is that sometimes it is a matter of choice or being constrained by maturity and objectivity. We have obvious truths about other presidential candidates, which nobody that works closely with Peter Obi has used because it is not his style. Who says we cannot, for example, refer to some candidates thick and dropping under lips, hesitant and incoherent speeches, and hands that twitch spasmodically as evidence that age and narcotics have rendered them unsuitable for the post? Who says we cannot demand from Omatseye the real name of his patron, the clearing of the cloud surrounding his education and the clarification of the fact of having been jailed in the USA once upon a time. We would not write certain things, especially those bordering on the use of diapers as it will amount to disrespect for the aged or the sick. It could be you or I tomorrow. However, our stand does not vitiate the fact that such are factors in governance.

Exhausting the arrows in his quiver, Omatseye wrote confusedly about Obi: “This is Obi, who claimed he saved money, while pensioners were looking desperately at their graves”. The verifiable fact is that pensioners had it best under Mr. Peter Obi in Anambra State. Besides clearing arrears of pensions and gratuities that had accumulated in the State since 1999 till he became Governor – to the tune of over 35 Billion Naira – Obi did not owe any pensioner till he left office. Under him, retirees got their benefits within three months of disengaging from service. Sam Omatseye should know and anyone else can go and verify.

Dourly inflexible and embittered by Peter Obi’s rising profile and elevation to stardom of good governance, Sam Omatseye wrote: “But no economy works in history by saving money. It stifles the economy. He has not been able to tell us how he will do it, and whether he has done it.” Would it be reasonable to think that Omatseye does not have a savings account as a private person? If he could save for any reason, why does he rationally think that States should not save? Could he point at any prodigal State that he knows that expended all their revenues without savings? In any case, Obi is ever ready to explain the rationale behind saving for the State. Here he goes: “I saved N48,629,473,469 in local currency some of which we tied to specific projects like payment of 2-year salary of civil servants we employed for him [his successor, Willie Obiano] not to be encumbered, Agulu and Onitsha Hotel, Awka and Nnewi Malls and some critical roads like the completion of the dualization of the Dual carriage road over which we had got permission to do so and be paid back by the Federal Government. We also left some for him to continue what we were doing aggressively”.

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On the US$156 million saved, Peter Obi explained the purpose thus: “After our study of the Chinese phenomenal achievements as we were coming to the end of MDGs, we learned that the Chinese Regional governments were able to attract a number of investments because of the ability to contribute or partner with the investors in setting up productive facilities within their regions.

“For example, some of them effectively made equity contributions of 10-20%, which they were able to achieve due to their robust saving.

“So, our calculation was that if the State would be able to save a particular amount (US$18-20 million) as we did in eight years, up until 2030 at the average interest rate of a little over 6%, we would be able to achieve about a billion Dollars in savings and earnings. We would then use about 50% of this amount to attract investments, considering that the average Chinese Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME), for example, was set up with about two million Dollars. Our goal was that if we would be able to invest 25% in each enterprise, which is $500,000, we would be able to achieve 1000 SMEs facilities scattered all over Anambran State, which would jump-start aggressive economic growth within the State, especially as income from oil is coming to an end.”


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