Of the three adjectives used in titling this article, I will explain the word bigorexia since it is not commonly known or seen in contemporary English dictionaries.
The term denotes the wish-list, desire, dream, hope, aspiration which we lack in ourselves but see in others that make us Jealous or infused with bad blood. In other words, if you are a lilliput or dwarf and you meet a full-bodied man, your spine and muscle will start chuckling with envy as you wish it was the other way round. Sometimes it leads to what Nigerians know and describe as PHD (Pull him down), of course without justification.
It has become a national past time for certain political figures in Nigeria to insult, abuse, talk down or regard Igbo people as second-class citizens. Their condescending vituperations, a product of systematic oppression and suppression of Ndigbo by state actors are usually born out of envy for their prowess more than any other reasons.
Over the years, the likes of Rabiu Kwakwanso, Mallam Nasir El-Ruffai (Ruffian), Alahji Bola Tinubu, Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Kassim Shettima, Senator Solomon Olamilekum, and recently pseudo- activists, namely Reno Omokri, Deji Adeyanju, Festus Keyamo, and Omoyele Sowore, etc, have all been sending coded messages and diatribes against Ndigbo.
Of all these tirades, the attack by Sam Omatiseye, the Editor-in-chief of Nation Newspapers on Peter Obi, His supporters, Ndigbo and their heroes stood ignominiously out. The Newspaper owned and published by Alahji Bola Tinubu aka BAT has been turned to a veritable platform to dish out series of racist and inflammatory and condemnable insults on Igbo race and their leaders. All these attacks and missiles directed at peace loving Igbo people has become a recurring decimal from people who should treat sensibilities and sensitivities of one of the three major tribes in Nigeria with respect and civility. In recent times, the attacks have become more ferocious and toxic. No doubt, the decision of Peter Obi to seize the brave space and fight for Nigeria presidency in 2023 general election has fueled the anger of some segments of the society of self-entitlement predilection who questions silently why Ndigbo should not accept slavery and servitude in Nigeria.
Sam Omatseye shamelessly wrote one of the most demeaning and insulting editorials in Nigeria history wishing “Obituary” for Presidential Candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi and his supporters. He did not stop at that as he went further to attack Igbo heros and Leaders who contributed so much to development of Nigeria. The said write-up like the proverbial faecal droppings of the Tortoise will stick with Sam Omatseye and define his entire career until his own obituary come to pass. The question that kept ringing in my head was; how much was Sam Omatseye paid to play the real devil’s advocate? What it means is that if somebody pays Sam Omatseye to go public and denounce his father for some form of material gains, he would willingly collect the dough and do the dirty job. To him, there is no off limits or red flag. Painfully, these are people we regard as intellectuals who are expected to guide and mould our societies through accepted norms and good governance using their positions in fourth estate.
Lets digress a little. Alahji Rabiu Kwakwanso who has a record of talking down on Ndigbo declared that Peter Obi will be president of the Southeast only. Mallam Nasir El-Ruffai pontificated that Peter Obi and Labour party cannot mobilize more than 200 supporters for their proposed rally in Kaduna state, the home state of Vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party. He went further to claim that those 200 persons would be Igbo traders imported from south-east who will close their shops on Mondays as a result of on-going “sit at home” protest in South East to come to Kaduna for the rally. Senator Shettima, Vice- Presidential Candidate of APC declared that Peter Obi, a two -time governor of Anambra state does not have experience to govern a country like Nigeria. Reno Omokri keeps punching that Igbos do not have voting strength in Nigeria even though the Igbos are the most populated ethnic group in virtually all the Thirty-six states in Nigeria after the indigenous/ethnic Community.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) meaning “Usu” in igbo language has always wished Peter Obi and labour party supporters death. In his campaign speech during the Osun gubernatorial election, he declared that those who labour should labour in vain until they die. As if that is not enough wish and prayer, the Editor-in-Chief of his Newspaper, Nation followed up from where he stopped in most unprofessional editorial that cast huge aspersions on Igbo race. If the journalism profession has any rules and etiquettes, Sam Omatseye ought to be sanctioned and his licence withdrawn. Such brutalisation of Igbo nation using a national newspaper amount to serious hate speech which could spark tribal war as the case in Rwanda if not for the fact that Igbos are tolerant.
Let’s make a little breakdown of these attacks and innuendos. Kwakwanso who said that Peter Obi will only be the president of southeast is instigating Nigerans to hate and tribal politics and by that statement was maligning the Igbo people for daring to compete for Nigerian presidency. It was arrow directed to Ndigbo and not Peter Obi. The same can be said of El Ruffai.Senator Shetima, the vice-presidential candidate of APC whose alleged link and story with Boko Haram is yet to be cleared declared that Peter Obi does not have experience to preside over Nigeria. Peter Obi who was two-term governor of Anambra state with impeccable legacies does not have the experience in the judgment of Shettima. Barrack Obama who was a one-term Senator was elected the president of the most powerful country in the world and he left and indelible legacy.
My take now is that those who choose to abuse and malign my race (Igbo race) or question my identity or right to live my life to the fullest as a Nigerian at any slightest opportunity should be ready for rofo-rofo fight. I urge Ndigbo to return five sharp- pointing fingers to anybody who take joy in pointing one leprous finger on our race.
The Peter Obi supporters otherwise called the obidients are civil and courteous youths who want to take back their country. They are neither abusive, insulting or uncultured as being claimed by some cowards in pollical race for presidency. It is a blackmail from the pit of hell for those who are after Peter Obi’s progress in the presential race. You cannot call someone a monkey and not expect them to call you a chimpanzee in return.
It is unfortunate that Tinubu who is frail and sickly has been the one wishing Peter Obi and his supporters’ death. While Peter Obi has been focused discussing issues that will redeem Nigeria from her current quagmire occasioned by years of bad leadership and corruption, Tinubu and his enablers have only involved in satanic verses, hatred and death wish for Peter Obi and his supporters. They massively insult generation of Nigerian leaders of Igbo extraction including Ojukwu and the great Zik, who brought independence to Nigeria.
What is Tinibu/APC going to campaign with in 2023 election? A man whose name, parentage, village, town, local government, state, is unknown and subject of debate and controversy. Again, a man whose primary, secondary, and university education and qualifications is unknown and subject of controversy? Again, a man whose source of wealth has been linked to some drug mafias and a company known as Alpha-Beta, a conduit pipe through which resources of Lagos state and other states under his control have been siphoned out. A man whose health status and ability (physically and mentally) are subject to debate, guesswork, even jesting in form of musical compositions, a clear case of reps ipsa loquittur on his incapability and incapacitation.
2023 Nigeria Presidential election is an election like no others in Nigerian history. The election is not going to be a referendum on Tinubu, Atiku, Peter Obi, APC, PDP, or labour party. It is going to be a referendum on all of us, Nigerians. The type of leaders we elect or choose (with a caveat that the election will be free and fair) will define who we are as a people/ nation and how we want to be seen by the rest of the world. Whether we reward people that smoke corruption, eat corruption, breed corruption with shady their identities or people with openness, transparency, track record, competence and prudent management of public resources will be the final testament of who we are since there is a saying that birds of the same feather flocks together.
In a civilized clime, the likes of Tinubu should be smoking his old tobacco pipe in one isolated hamlet in rural area far from public view.
Ironically, Tinubu and his team are fixated on Peter obi and Ndigbo where they live rent free. The more they throw their missiles on Obi and his supporters, the more they multiply in numbers and determination. A case for biblical reference in Exodus (Chap 1 Vs 12). They cannot understand why the youths and supporters of Obi voluntarily and without any form of inducement continue to fight for him because what has been hidden from the wise and the prudent has been revealed to the babe and the suckling. (Matthew Chap 11 Vs 25 ) They are not fighting for OBI/DATTI, they are fighting for the soul of Nigeria. They are fighting for remnant of their future ruinated and destroyed by the likes of Tinubu and other oligarchs that have kept their ignoble knees on the neck of our nation.
My support for Peter Obi is not because he is an Igbo man but because he is competent, epitomizes what a leader should be and what a nation would present with pride. Our children and this generation would learn from him how to comport themselves in public offices, shun corruption and flamboyancy. They will learn how to manage state resources frugally and shrewdly to achieve common good and development rather than use them to build corrupt empires. Peter Obi has a unique selling point on integrity which other candidates does not have; for instance, by not enacting or signing Pension laws through which most outgoing governors re-looted and still re-looting resources of their states when his contemporaries were all neck-deep in the act including the presidential candidate of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he showed character and uncommon integrity in a clime filled with wolves and financial mongers. In Peter Obi’s words, Anambra state has not bought him pure water since he left office, these and other unique qualities set him apart from the rest.
What Nigeria needs in 2023 is a good manager of men and resources. More than 50% of Nigeria Annual budgets and earnings are frittered away through wastages, corruptions and diversion into private accounts. This has led to lack of or stunted development. Even Billions of Dollars borrowed from China in the past seven years traveled this unfortunate trajectory. Any leader who will be able to plug this hemorrhage will return Nigeria back to sound health and good standing. Peter Obi’s track record in public service bears eloquent testimony that he has the capacity to achieve this feat for the benefit of Nigerans.
Fellow Nigerans, the auctioneer bell roaring; going! going !! gone!!! and the song of nunc dimits is sounding on Nigeria head. The country is in a state of anomie and needs urgent intervention. The sufferings and the pains which an average Nigerian is going through today is indescribable. Hunger, Security, Kidnappings, Killings, Inflation, high cost of goods and services, Collapse of our National Currency (Naira), all manners of hardship know no tribe, religion or sex. This is time to put our differences aside and let a God-fearing, competent leader and nationalist who will put the country first be given a chance before Nigeria becomes history.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) who is shouting “Emilokun” (it is my turn) knows in his conscience if he has any that it is not his turn to be president of Nigeria in 2023; not after Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (a Yoruba/South westerner was elected president of Nigeria for 8 years (1999-2007), and Professor Yemi Osibanjo elected Vice president of Nigeria for eight years (2015-2023). it is the turn of the Southeast to produce Nigeria president of Igbo extraction. Tinubu knows it. His supporters and enablers know it. Heaven knows it. The God of Ndigbo knows it.
Anybody who takes what belongs to SouthEast by forceful means, by intimidation, by use of power, incumbency, monetary and other inducements should know that they will contend with God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is the omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresent.
The legacy bequeathed to Nigeria by Dr Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria Nationalist of blessed memory and first-class philosopher to bring about an inclusive and equitable society founded on peace, unity and progress is that power (Presidency) rotates between Northern and Southern Nigeria and amongst the Six-geopolitical zones namely, North Central, North East, North West, South East, South-South and South West. The southwest has had their turn just like the North. Any occupant of Aso Rock after May 29th, 2023 who is not of Southeast origin is clearly challenging God! He is a God of justice and fairness.
This brings me to issue of some self-acclaimed Igbo leaders planning to come and sell Tinubu’s presidency in the Southeast on account of material gains or promises of what they hope to gain in the event that he wins the presidential race.. I am not a tribalist and I hate tribal politics or any form of tribalism whatsoever. But the truth must be told and spoken to power irrespective of whose Ox is gored. I am waiting to see what Chief Hope Uzodimma, Chief Rochas Okorocha, Dr Chris Ngige, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Engr. Dave Umahi, Dr Andy Uba, Barr. Sullivan Chime, Osita Okechukwu, etc will tell Ndigbo about Tinubu and 2023 presidency. That we forgo our right like the Biblical Esau who sold his birthright to his junior brother Jacob in momentary exchange of porridge meal. That we should wait for another 30-50 years to attain Igbo presidency. God forbids!
Chief Dan Ulasi made himself a subject of mockery when he said that his friends in the North are laughing and scorning at the mention of Peter Obi in the North. So, who is Dan Ulasi? What has he done in Nnewi and Anambra state? Who are his almighty friends in the North that have not found him worthy of any appointment beyond chairmanship of PDP (Anambra state)
It is people like Dan Ulasi that has brought Ndigbo to where we are today, where some people treat us as carpet beggars and only good for servitude. I’m sure chief Ulasi knows the Igbo adage that says “ Nwa na-amu ure ji nna ya amu bu aguru ga agu ya ka- ona amu” ( Literally translated, means a child who laugh at decayed yam barn of his father is inviting the hunger that will deal with him”)
While respected elder statesmen and men of good conscience like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clerk and host of others are shouting to the rooftops that it is the turn of Ndigbo to produce Nigeria president in 2023, some Igbo sell- outs are busy negotiating political and material gains from the North and Southwest.
Let me state here that history will not forgive any Igbo leader who join forces with our oppressors and deniers of Igbo’s right to ascend to power in Nigeria.
NO sacrifice is too much for us individually and collectively for the sake of Igbo nation. Late Dr Nelson Mandela of South Africa spent 27 years in prison for liberation and good of his people. Why should we put greed and selfish interest above the long-suffering, marginalisation, injustice and oppression of Ndigbo. Peter Obi may or may not win; it all depends on will of God and the decision of the electorate. However, if Ndigbo speaks with unanimity of purpose that they are annoyed with Nigeria for denying them their rights and entitlements, that would send a strong message irrespective of the outcome of the presidential election. That demonstration will make Nigeria to take us seriously and engage with us in profoundly constructive ways. You cannot beat a child and expect her to be clapping for you. Any true Igbo man or woman should be livid with anger the way the two major political parties namely, APC and PDP shunned the South-East in selection of their Presidential candidates when it is an unimpeachable truth that it is the turn of the Southeast to produce Nigeria president in 2023.
I refuse to be a slave in my country. I will not be a candidate for temporary material convenience and gluttonous acquisition of power and benefits at the expense of my people (Ndigbo).
Finally for Tinubu and Omatseye who always wish Peter Obi and his supporters’ death, I urge them to learn from history. All the people who announced the death of great Zik while he was alive were buried one after the other as Zik outlived all of them. Politics is a game and should be devoid of bitterness and rancour. Anybody aspiring to be president of Nigeria should act presidential and speak presidential. If Tinubu and Omatseye’s death wish on millions of Obi’s supporters come to pass and if peradventure he, Tinubu wins (God forbid), who will they rule? A society of dead people! It is only people with history of schizophrenia that speaks, writes and acts in such manners.
Sam Omatseye and his sponsors therefore needs to purge themselves of bigorexia, schizophrenia, Obiphobia and I add also Igbophobia.
Chief. Barr. Tony Chukwuelue
Formerly Senatorial Candidate, Social Democratic Party
Anambra Central 2019.