I had wanted to ignore Ike Abonyi after reading his back page column, Political Musings, in New Telegraph of Thursday, August 2, 2018 titled: “Is Oshiomhole an undertaker?” But when I realised that he is the official spokesperson for the national chair of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, it became obligatory for me to respond to him in the same tenor with which he had unacceptably deconstructed the persona of the National Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole whose spokesperson I am. First, I would like to point out Abonyi’s deliberate mischief that found anchorage in his decision to use his column to interrogate the personality of Comrade Oshiomhole.
Having taken up the job of speaking for the PDP national chair, Abonyi should have known that he can no longer continue to write as a columnist bearing in mind the journalistic principles of objectivity and fairness especially where issues in which the interests of his paymaster are directly or indirectly affected or involved. In such circumstances, his neutrality cannot be guaranteed.
I am not saying that Abonyi should not have written his gobbledygook, but he did so using a flawed platform. His mischief could have been cured, ab initio, if he had sent his contribution to the opinion page of the newspaper and signed off as special adviser to Prince Uche Secondus on media affairs so that his readers would know where he was coming from and whose voice he was. To hide behind the façade of column writing, an otherwise very sombre business, in his deceptive bid to undercut and discount the very high profile of Comrade Oshiomhole is patently lugubrious and farcical.
In his effort to gain traction, Abonyi had begun his hatchet job by insinuating that the APC settled for Comrade Oshiomhole as national chairman because it was looking out for someone who could highlight very well “what APC is against since what it stood for is not clear (sic)”. Abonyi’s claim that the political philosophy of the APC is unclear is a disaster to his reputation as a journalist whose purported forte has been political reporting.
This kind of claim would have been excused if it had been made by the uninformed and the uneducated. So, how does Abonyi rationalise the anti-corruption battle by the APC-led Federal Government, anchored on the party’s “change” philosophy that has continued to expose the monumental thievery and plundering of the nation’s commonwealth under the 16- year suzerainty of the PDP? That is a renaissance that the APC, as a political platform, stands for.
There are others. And, it is obvious that the underbelly of the PDP has been exposed. The winds have blown and the entire world has seen the rump of the fowl. I am convinced that well-meaning Nigerians know where the APC stands and what it stands for. While the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun leadership was in the saddle, the opposition had taken advantage of its placid nature to hurl invectives at and deploy unsubstantiated pieces of propaganda against the APC and the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The PDP had always gone away scot-free with its odious pastime. But that has since ended with the emergence of Comrade Oshiomhole who is boisterous and ready at all times to take on the opposition’s gauntlet and expose their shenanigans and dirty political antics. Apparently unable to contain Comrade Oshimohole’s oratorical prowess, lucid elucidation, great erudition and sound logic, the PDP, working in cahoots with other opposition elements, have found it convenient to dismiss him as speaking from both sides of the mouth. Well, I encourage them to continue in their path of ignorance at their own detriment. They will soon understand their folly. The APC is happy to have Comrade Oshiomhole in the saddle.
I can understand the reason the opposition elements have become exasperated and disillusioned. They know that with Oshiomhole, they cannot go away with frivolous and unsubstantiated claims and allegations. Not anymore! The leadership of the PDP and Abonyi would continue to preposterously wish that Oshiomhole had not stepped in the saddle.
If Abonyi, who articulated their positions, claims that the character and mien of Comrade Oshiomhole are not meant for the ruling party but for an opposition party, it is clearly an indictment of Prince Uche Secondus who is not as endowed as the APC national chair. It means that Secondus as oppositional chairman has been underwhelming in his performance. Abonyi should be well informed that the APC chairmanship of Comrade Oshiomhole is in applepie order.
Comrade Oshiomhole is working in accordance with his schedules, plans and strategies and delivering on his promises. Abonyi was obviously ridiculous when he became a meddlesome interloper in the affairs of the APC, pretending to be embarrassed as a neutral commentator, supposedly, by certain situations in the party. Haba!
What is the business of a PDP loyalist in the internal affairs of the APC, if not for some mischievous ends? Assuming, arguendo, that there were such situations as insinuated by Abonyi, in what ways have they affected the PDP to warrant any justifiable censure in the manner that he has done? I would like to state at this juncture that Comrade Oshiomhole has very clear ideas of his roles as national chair.
He understands the destination that he is taking the APC. He is, in fact, committed to building a strong and disciplined party that is supreme and to whose authority all members must submit. He is sharply focused and there is no amount of side talks and syndicated and irritating media attacks that would obfuscate his surefooted progress in that direction.
That some persons had defected from the APC was not due to Oshiomhole’s leadership. In fact, it would be interesting to know that Oshiomhole’s pragmatic and utilitarian interventions, deploying his experience in mediation as a labour leader, had assured and reassured many more who could have left the APC. Besides, Comrade Oshiomhole came on board and inherited the problems at the roots of the defections and has put his nose to the grindstone to deal with them.
It is noteworthy that politicians are also defecting to the APC from the PDP. It is true that Comrade Oshiomhole is not losing sleep, figuratively, not in the sense that Abonyi seemed to understand it. As national chair, Oshiomhole must run around to meet with his party members who are aggrieved, but after engaging with them and some of them still decided to egress the party because of some agenda that were not brought to the table for negotiation, would you expect him to lose sleep especially when he knew and still knows that the defections would not substantially affect the fortune of the APC in the 2019 general election?
Finally, it is not in Abonyi’s position to contemplate the wisdom in President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of Comrade Oshiomhole as a substitute for Chief Odigie-Oyegun. His allegory about how former President Goodluck Jonathan replaced Bamanga Tukur as national chair with Adamu Mu’azu whom he said was the eventual undertaker of the PDP in the 2015 general election is inferentially non-sequitur in the APC instance.
If Mu’azu was an undertaker, there must have been some objective conditions and reasons for that. Comrade Oshiomhole is not and cannot be an undertaker. He is playing a front and rearguard roles in the essential rebirth of the APC and in the task of winning the 2019 general election as well as helping with the building of a strong party to consolidate on the legacies of the Buhari administration in its second term.
•Ebegbulem is the Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
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