By Ben Ezenta
Desperation is the worst state of mind that a person should find him or herself. Desperation has the tendency to make a person irrational, agitative, unreasonable, incoherent, exhibit a poor sense of judgement and similar behaviours.
A few dictionary meanings of desperation include the following: The feeling that you have when you are in such a bad situation that you are willing to take risks in order to change it; a state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behaviour; a state of despair, or utter hopelessness; abandonment of hope; extreme recklessness; reckless fury
These definitions manifestly capture the state of mind and utterances of Dino Melaye in his recent ethnophobic video against HE Peter Obi and Ndigbo. In the video, Dino Melaye stated among things that HE Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party does not have the capacity to be President of Nigeria. Going further, he said that Peter Obi’s policies and pronouncements capture less than “1%” of the challenges of Nigeria, hence he should wait for his time to contest for the President of Nigeria after Atiku Abubakar may have completed his tenor as President.
He also made the most outrageous, divisive and bombastic statement in the history of Nigerian politics (I’m paraphrasing) that a Katsina man and core Northerner cannot trust Peter Obi or the Igbos with the Presidency of Nigeria. To avoid the risk of being accused of quoting Dino Melaye out of context, here are a few of his outbursts in the said video: … I want to advise that your time is not now ~ because you have to wait for your time; …there is no trust between the North and East, there’s no trust between the West and South East; … can a Peter Obi be trusted by a typical Katsina man … or somebody from the Northern part of this country. Can he be trusted as an Igbo man by Middle Belter, core Northern … the answer is no…”
There is a lot to unpack from this garbage video. I wouldn’t have wasted my valuable time responding to this ethnic slur but if left unchallenged, the gullible may accept it as a fact. Also, some Igbo lives may be in danger if this unwarranted assault is not corrected.
Before delving into his obnoxious statements, let’s digress a little bit to understand who this political clown called Dino Melaye is. For those who do not know, Dino Melaye is a former Senator who represented Kogi West Senatorial district in the Eight Senate. He is from Ayetoro Gbede in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi. He started his political career in PDP, defected to APC and when he had a running battle with the APC and the Presidency, including numerous arrests for maintaining a series of foreign accounts contrary to the code of ethics for public officers in Nigeria, and additional running battle with Governor Yahaya Bello who checkmated his bid for re-election, he ran back to PDP.
He contested for governor of Kogi state and lost. Since then, he has suffered a series of political losses which made him ‘partyless.’ He became a political jobber until the start of the primary elections in 2022 when he was offered an “attack dog” position in the Atiku Abubakar campaign. Record has it that he studied Geography at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) under a different name, according to the VC. He claimed that he obtained other degrees from universities in America – that is still controversial and under investigation.
So much about this classless clown. This is not an insult. He clowns as a groundnut seller, has climbed trees to evade arrest, sings to mock the political misfortune of other politicians and recently got a dose of his own pill from the Fayose family when he lost his primary elections to return to the senate.
Back to the substance of this write-up. First let’s look at the statement, “your time is not now because you have to wait for your time”. What is the measure of when it is a person’s time to aspire to be president or for leadership in Nigeria? Nigerians have been waiting since 1999 for their time to have good roads, good healthcare and hospitals, good economy, good infrastructure, good security, good electricity, and the rest of them. When will it be time for an average Nigerian to have a decent quality of life?
Nigerians have been waiting for far too long and cannot afford to bear it any longer. Our young people are leaving Nigeria in droves to other countries most of which do not have a fraction of the human and natural resources Nigeria is endowed with. Some were lucky to arrive alive to saner climes. Others perished in the deserts and oceans in an attempt to get to “greener pastures.”
Even those who manage to relocate to other countries are treated like slaves by their host countries – South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia, Dubai and others come to mind. Yet, our politicians on whom we spend billions of Naira for doing just nothing are busy buying all the luxury cars the world can offer and building the best mansions they can dream of, instead of spending time crafting legislation that will make life meaningful for the average Nigerian.
The amount of money spent on Nigerian legislators is the highest in the whole world, yet Nigeria is the capital poverty of the world with the highest number of out-of-school children.That’s the institution through which Dino Melaye and his colleagues have been fleecing Nigerians since 1999.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have been waiting for over four months; our students are waiting at home while their (the politicians’) children are all studying abroad; our industries are waiting for electricity and foreign exchange; our hospitals are waiting for equipment and medication while they (the politicians) go abroad for medical treatment at the slightest illness; our towns and villages are equally waiting for safe passage to go to their farms or sleep in their homes while they (the politicians) move around with convoy of policemen and soldiers.
Hunger is in the land but hunger can’t wait. Dino, Atiku and PDP want Nigerians to wait for them to complete the pillage of the Nigerian economy. They want us to wait until they complete allocating the oil fields to their cronies. They want us to wait. We need to wait for them to complete the fulanization that started with Buhari. They want us to wait until Nigerian indigenous people are completely emasculated and turned into slaves and refugees in their own land – in the land our ancestors bequeathed to us. They want us to wait while Atiku lives large in Dubai while the majority of Nigerians are living in penury not sure of when the next meal will come. They want us to wait while Dino Melaye turns his house into a showroom with all types of exotic expensive cars.
They want us to wait for eternity for electricity while his principal Atiku Abubakar sells his Mikano generators to all the homes and businesses in Nigeria as an alternative to public electricity.Can a person who profits from the sale of generators ever get serious about providing electricity to Nigerians? The answer is capital NO. Because when his business interest conflicts with the national interest, his business interest will override the collective interest of Nigerians going by his antecedents. Nigerians are saying – hell NO we will not wait any longer. Our time is now. That is why they are massively supporting Peter Obi. From the North, Middle Belt, Southwest, South South and South East, we all are united in one accord and saying we’re OBIdient.
Nigerians and especially the youths want to be part of the effort to turn Nigeria from “Consumption to Production”, and from “Sharing Formula to Production Formula”. Nigerians want to take their chances and destiny into their own hand and are willing to “waste” their votes. That is why they are coming out in droves, enduring all challenges to register for their PVC. Dino Melaye, Atiku and
PDP cannot stop a moving train. PDP had the opportunity for 16 years to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria and they did nothing. They are asking for an opportunity to Rescue Nigeria from APC but Nigerians want to Rescue Nigeria from PDP and APC. Michael Okpara said “first fool no be fool, second fool is a proper fool.” Nigerians do not want to be proper fools.
The unexpected ray of hope for Nigerians, which was initiated by the #ENDSARS protest and violently taken own by Nigerian authorities and the military is now being given a new lease of life by Peter Obi. The youths have latched on to this opportunity and are not willing to let go under any circumstance, inducement, threat, obstacles and what have you. The movement being championed and driven by the youths is what is causing desperation in the camp of the legacy political establishments.
This sign of desperation is manifestly visible in all the sponsored attacks on Peter Obi and his supporters. Noticing that the youth are not giving in, the rhetoric changed to mockery that the Labour Party does not have any structures. Peter Obi responded that the structure is human beings – the over 100 million hungry and poor Nigerians; the millions of pensioners with months and years of unpaid pension arrears; the millions of university students who have been at home for months; the ASUU lecturers who have been on strike for over four months while government officials spend N100 million in APC and N45 million in PDP to purchase primary election nominations forms; the millions of fellow Nigerians in IDP camps etc. They immediately backed out from that argument. How can you drink Panadol for another person’s headache? They (the legacy political parties) again changed the narrative to – the North cannot vote for Peter Obi or an Igbo candidate. As if it is a choreographed response to that claim, On Friday (July 1, 2022), the Labour Party held a rally in Benue State with a massive turnout that shocked everybody, including Peter Obi himself. The following day, Saturday (July 2, 2022), Northern youths launched the Northern Youth campaign for Peter Obi in Arewa House Kaduna – the game has not even started.
This is just testing the microphone. The coming tsunami in the 2023 presidential election will be devastating to parties like PDP. Some sensible members of their party like Godwin Obaseki have forewarned them of the impending doom. I hope they are listening. Even if they do, they do not have an antidote that will turn back the hand of the clock. The inevitable must happen. Vote-buying, ballot snatching and hiring of hoodlums cannot bend the arc of a movement whose time has come.
Peter Obi has so far conducted his campaign with poise, dignity, grace and class. He does not hide behind surrogates to deliver his messages. He is evangelizing to groups and individuals big and small, one person and group at a time. His message is penetrating even into the strongholds of the opposing parties. That is why they are throwing every imaginable kitchen sink at him, concocting and making up stories to tarnish his image and distort his records. Instead of sending surrogates, Peter Obi voluntarily subjects himself to the national, private and all sorts of media – television, radio, town halls, church group, formal and informal groups, to take questions, preach his message and respond to all sorts of accusations in open and uncensored fora. That is what a confident and focused political candidate does. At the end of his message, he will always punctuate it with “go and verify.” Other candidates send their “attack dogs” and surrogates to go and bash reporters for daring to ask questions instead of answering the accusations levelled against their principals.
Peter Obi’s penchant for honesty and exemplary leadership by example is what is enduring him to his teeming supporters. This is adding to the untold levels of anxiety and desperation in the camps of the opponents. Unfortunately for them, Peter Obi’s support base is super organic and self-motivated. He does not even have control over them. The amorphous nature of the groups makes them highly unpredictable. That notwithstanding, they are the most dedicated, loyal and OBIdient political supporters any politician can dream of. The youths and Nigerians do not want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be blessed with a candidate in the mould of Peter Obi.
Yesterday at a continental Peter Obi support group zoom conference meeting, with membership and participants cutting across all ethnicities in Nigeria, people were coming up with ideas and suggestions on strategies for a successful election we hope will put Peter Obi in Aso Rock. Nobody was thinking about the next person as coming from a different ethnic group. Peter Obi does not even know about the existence of the group. Yet the group is spending their time, money and other resources in support of a cause they believe in. Their only reason for doing this is because they believe that with Peter Obi as President, a new and better Nigeria is possible and with a better Nigeria, everybody stands to benefit. That is their reward. Their reward is not in money that will be shared, or contracts that will be awarded and appointments that will be given but rather, in the hope of the collective well-being of Nigerians as a whole. That is the difference between Peter Obi’s campaign and the others. That is the ideology Dino Melaye and his group can never fathom because they are wired and oriented to a life of massive material acquisition, looting, selfishness, self-centeredness and cash-and-carry politics.
Now to the big elephant in the room. By saying that Peter Obi and the Igbos cannot be trusted by other parts of Nigeria for the presidency of Nigeria, Dino Melaye has crossed the forbidden Redline and has injected a devilish and demonic ethnic poison into the Nigerian body politic. This is the worst political opinion that can be held by a political party, its agents, presidential candidates and their cabal. Thank you Dino Melaye for revealing what is being discussed in the closet of the enclave. This rightly explains why PDP threw open the presidential nomination of their party when they know very well that the Presidency should have been zoned to the South East according to their party’s constitution.
By saying that the Igbos cannot be trusted with the Presidency of Nigeria, Dino, Atiku and PDP are saying that they do not want the Igbos in PDP. Ndigbo should hear the message loud and clear. May I remind Dino Melaye, PDP and Atiku that since 1983, the Igbos have supported every other region and ethnicity in Nigeria to produce the president including Shehu Shari twice and MKO Abiola. Particularly, since 1999, the Igbos have given nearly 100% of their votes to PDP candidates at all levels, including the support that helped to produce presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. The Igbos also voted to elect candidate Atiku Abubakar in 2018 in the PDP presidential nomination primaries and voted massively for presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 presidential election. It was this blind loyalty of the Igbos to PDP that created the opportunity for the hyper-discrimination against the Igbos in all aspects of policies and administrative decisions, including constitutionally mandated rights.
If the Igbos cannot be trusted to be president by the PDP, then what are Igbo people doing in PDP? Why would PDP want the support and trust of the Igbo man or woman? Bashing of Ndigbo seems to be the new past-time of PDP operatives and their alumni. The other day it was Reno Omokiri who was vomiting garbage against Ndigbo. Today it is Dino Melaye. The funniest part of it all is that both men come from the minutest minorities that cannot even be located on the map of their states how much more, the map of Nigeria. That insignificance notwithstanding, they have the effrontery to disparage the people of God that is recognized worldwide as the epitome of hard work and achievements. Maybe it is envy or do I say complex.
Dino Melaye, if you are an intelligent person, you could have seen the parallel between the support of Nnamdi Kanu and support for Peter Obi. Nigerian youths believe in the genuineness and sincerity of Peter Obi. This optimism is not a blind affection. They followed his antecedents and were also able to verify and collaborate all his claims. When his records are challenged by sycophants like you, Peter Obi will always make himself available for cross-examination which has never happened with any other candidate in Nigerian political history since independence.
I’m aware that History as a subject has been banned from being taught in Nigerian schools. Maybe, that’s why you – Dino Melaye do not have any inkling about Igbo history and who they are. Let me save you from your cerebral ineptitude and educate you a little bit about Igbo history and who they are. Ndigbo as we are proudly called is a republican tribe by nature. They are industrious, fair-minded, religious, and believe in a superior being, who they variously call Chi, Chukwu or Chineke. An average Igbo believes in Egbe bere Ugo bere (live and let’s live). The Igbos have no expansionist tendencies in Nigeria. Even the ESN that was formed by IPOB is for homeland security and not for the annexation of the land of their neighbours. The Igbo have lived in every part of Nigeria long before your great, great, great grandfathers were born.
Also, other tribes, including the Northers, have lived in Igboland for a long time so much so that the first Mayor of Enugu in the First Republic is from the north. There is hardly any major Igbo town you cannot find Ama Awusa (Hausa village). Growing up and up till now, we have Hausa tenants in my father’s compound. Some of the Hausa families have up to their fourth generations still living with us. They are like part of our family and participate in almost every community activity. Some have even married locally and are now fully integrated into the community. That’s who we are. That’s who Ndigbo are. We do not discriminate against anybody or tribe.
If you want to prove this, let’s set an opinion pool or election with only South East voters for Prof Yemi Osibanjo on one hand and Dave Umahi on the other. Osibanjo will win hands down. Or the group of Ifeanyi Ugwuani, Okezie Ikpeazu, Orji Uzo Kalu, and Hope Uzodinma against Gov Rotimi Akeredolu or Gov Babagana Zulum on the other hand, Akeredolu and Zulum will win those Igbo bunch in a landslide. The Igbos don’t have ethnic loyalty. Their loyalty is based on what the individual has done for the betterment of the society. That’s why the Igbos don’t depend on the government for the development of their communities rather they depend on communal efforts through their various town unions, age grades and philanthropic members of the community. When you see an Igboman or woman with a chieftaincy title, the title was given to him or her based on his/her contributions to the development of society. You may be the richest person in Igboland but if your riches do not trickle down to assist the community, no person in the community will recognize or accord you any respect. The Igbos carry this mindset to wherever they sojourn or live. They believe in the development of their immediate communities and extend love to all and sundry. The Igbos believe in “ebe onye bi k’ona awachi” (where a person lives is where he/she protects or develops).
Now back to your unscrupulous characterization of the Igbos, you mentioned that Atiku is detribalized because he married a Yoruba man (I hope he’s not what I’m thinking according to you), he married an Igbo woman and also married an Hausa woman. Now let’s interrogate that. How many businesses has
Atiku established in Igboland or in Yorubaland. How many schools did he build in Igboland or Yorubaland. That notwithstanding, the Igbos have supported all his political adventures since 1999. If marriage is the qualification for contesting the presidency of Nigeria, nobody will qualify because you have to marry from all the 250 ethnic tribes or thereabout in Nigeria for one to qualify, going by your unscrupulous analogy. The reason Peter Obi has a mass appeal throughout Nigerian including the core North, Middle Belt, South South and South West is because of the following:
- a) Integrity: Does your principal have it?
- b) Record of verifiable achievement and antecedents: Can you come close?
- c) Record of prudent management of public resources and trust: Are you still with me
- d) Understanding the needs of Nigerians especially the youth: Can you compete
- e) Believable vision of where to take Nigeria: Still following
- f) Simple lifestyle, believability, respect, compassion and honesty: Unmatched
- g) Sound educational qualifications from world-renowned institutions: Can you try h) Etc Etc?
Public office should be about service to the people, but people like you went into public service to amass wealth. What were you and what did you have before you were elected to the House of Representatives. You now own a fleet of cars through ill-gotten wealth and dare to challenge somebody who did not only serve meritoriously for eight years as governor of a state but was poorer compared to when he went to public service. That is why Nigerian people love him.
When he left office, he invited ICPC and EFCC to come and audit his tenor as governor. They did but did not find anything incriminating against him. Peter Obi has received numerous awards in Nigeria and internationally because of his excellent performance in office. He has truly earned the accolade to be called His Excellency – unlike others who debase the import of that title.
You on the contrary, when you were invited for questioning by EFCC, you faked illness, climbed to the tree top, hid inside the closet and exhibited all types and manner of theatrics reminiscent of a guilty person. All in a bid to avoid justice. Can you tell Nigerian how many meritorious awards you have received in your life and how many has your principal received. How dare you compare yourself or your principal with Peter Obi.
To prove that PDP and Atiku Abubakar are not complicit in this utter vituperation, I call on both PDP and Atiku Abubakar to unequivocally publicly repudiate this garbage within the next few days and dissociate themselves from it. Failure to do so will leave Ndgibo with no other choice but to conclude that the comments by Dino Melaye represent the official position of the Atiku Abubakar campaign and the PDP as a political party. We are waiting and watching.
Peter Obi’s time is now. Nigerian youth’s time is now. Nigerian time is now. Nigerians trust him and Nigeria trusts Ndigbo. It is bigots like Dino Melaye, PDP and do I say Atiku Abubakar (if he fails to repudiate that statement) that Nigerians abhor and despise.
Ben Ezenta, an engineer, lives in Canada