Oseloka Obaze and Gov Wiliie Obiano when they worked together: aides should not create problems where none exist
What a week. A lot happened that took one's breath away. So much that picking a topic became a Herculean task. Indeed, with the speed at which events in the country happened, one seemed like one lost in the middle of the road in a strange place. But there were quite a few I decided to mull over with you, especially the ones that concern us.
NUJ's Obaze faux pas
What better topic to start with than with the NUJ Media Summit that took Awka by storm last Tuesday and Wednesday? It was a two-day event that pleasantly wowed everyone, especially given the little chance given to the committee that handled it to succeed.
The event may however have come and gone but there was one incident that left a sour taste in the mouth. It was the treatment meted out to the keynote speaker, Mr Oseloka Obaze.
It happened that Obaze's name mysteriously went missing from the event brochure after his name had been announced on radio jingles and appeared on the fliers. It came as a surprise therefore that when the governor of the state came, and the protocol announced names of resource persons and dignitaries for the event, Obaze's name was conspicuous by its absence. What went wrong?
Feelers are that some overzealous government sympathisers in a bid to please their boss, contrived to have Obaze's name removed. Their thinking was that their principal wouldn't be happy to see one of his major opponents at a major event in his state. Obaze is contesting for Obiano's seat in the November 18 election. Well, that had threatened to put a cog on the wheel as Obaze wanted to pull out. It took the pleas of the organizers and other well-meaning people to get him to change his mind on what clearly was a big slight.
At the end of the day, however, Obaze emerged the hero of the event by swallowing the obvious insult and staying. Imagine what would have been carried as paper headlines the next morning: ''Shocker! Obaze in Last Minute Pull Out from Media Event''; ''NUJ Media Summit Collapses as Keynote Speaker Walks out from Hall''; etc. So you can see what Obaze saved us by acting like a statesman?
The lesson here is that the state government should be more tolerant of opposing views. It is true that Obaze is gunning for his former master's seat, having served as SSG under Obiano. But this is democracy. Allies today can be opponents tomorrow but that shouldn't warrant the throwing of punches.
Perchance, Obiano might not have known what played out. But those behind that machination did what they did because they felt it was what their master would like. If the governor had frowned at previous misdemeanours, I can bet that they would not have done what they did. Leaders must at all times keep a close watch on their charges to forestall embarrassing or awkward situations. A situation where a keynote speaker's name went missing from the event's brochure and programme is serious indeed.
But thank you, Obaze, for not letting us down. Your action sure marks you out as a gentleman worthy of his aspirations.
An Angry Country
These are not normal times in Nigeria. If we are not reading about someone attacking another, it is about people jumping into lagoons or attempting to do so. We still recall the case of the medical doctor who jumped into the lagoon at the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos. Some hours later, a lady did same but was promptly rescued by fisher men.
Then came the story at Agulu where a man macheted his uncle to death for refusing to help him in business as though the killer's hands were tied from working hard.
Then we saw the gory picture of a man being pulled out from a soak away pitch where he was thrown into by some boys who stole his phone and killed him. One would ask: why still kill him after stealing from him?
Then were the pictures of people being burnt alive for some crime they committed while onlookers captured the sordid act in their phone cameras.
After watching, reading and hearing all these tales, I am constrained to ask what has gone wrong with Nigerians. Why have Nigerians suddenly become very angry with themselves? Why have animalistic tendencies taken hold of us? Is it the harsh economy? I thought that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Maybe I'm losing touch but the signs are worrying.
Dirty Politicking is Back
Not long ago, the social media went viral with stories of a divorce suit filed by Mrs Margaret Peter Obi against her husband for infidelity and abandonment. But even before the stories could be assimilated, Peter Obi and his wife were seen in various public fora walking hand in hand and looking very happy. End of tale.
Later was the story about how Tony Nwoye, a guber aspirant in Anambra State, played a part in the killing of the Igwes in Onitsha many years back, precisely in the dying days of the Gov Clement Mbadinuju regime.
Before then was the story of how Apostle Suleiman defiled a lady who then decided to blow open the sordid matter.
There were many other tales.
But in all of these tales, many people took them with a pinch of salt. It seems Nigerians are beginning to understand the antics of politicians who hire hatchet writers to run down their opponents. This phenomenon usually surfaces during elections. One therefore wonders why so, if it is not to cause mischief.
Indeed, those behind these unsavoury acts are petty criminals. And those who sponsor them are worse. These acts portray politics as a dirty game, a perception that still contrives to keep good people away from it.
Politics shouldn't be so. It should be issues-based, such that the electorate will be better equipped with the backgrounds and track records of those they will vote for.
The authors of such lies in the social media should know that Nigerians no longer believe them. They should therefore find better vocations, rather than subjecting themselves to the manipulations of mischievous politicians.
FRSC…Ajayi, Call your Boys to Order
Last Thursday, I was nearly run over by a speeding commercial bus after I was stopped by officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, at the side of the Amawbia flyover. It seemed that as I was asked to stop, one of them also attempted to stop the driver of the bus who rather than obey, revved up his bus's engine and sped away. Had I not frantically driven off the road, perhaps I would be telling this story from a hospital bed; that is if I am lucky to be alive.
I have often wondered why officers of the FRSC should stop vehicles in the middle of the road, despite the grave consequences of such. When accidents had occurred in the past as a result of this, those concerned, whether FRSC, police or civil defence, had always disappeared from the scene.
I don't think it is right for people to be stopped on the road that way just because they want to check for proper use of seat belts or fire extinguishers. This practice is causing more harm than good. Just recently it caused a man to skid off the road in his car at Aroma after he suddenly ran into a team of FRSC officials.
These same people who disturb and harass road users over seat belts and some other minor things have failed to fight the menace caused by heavy duty vehicle drivers who use false head lamps at night, a development that has caused many accidents.
I think the FRSC people should only move in on defaulters at traffic hold ups so that minimum damage is done. But the way they harass people on the road smacks of something else they don't want us to know.
For goodness sake they are people saddled with the responsibility of ensuring safety on the highways, not preventing such. This is why I call on the Anambra State Sector Commander of FRSC to look closely into the activities of his boys before they derail further. There should be sanity on the roads.