By NBF News
Listen to article

Okey Ndibe's attack on Ohakim
Saturday, March 13, 2010


A cursory dissection of Okey Ndibe's ill-advised attack on Ikedi Ohakim, the governor of Imo State, will readily reveal to a perceptive mind that the writer did not mean to insult Ohakim or assault the sensibility of those who know. There was nothing compelling or urgent in Okey's delivery. Rather, it was a forced attempt by a compulsive critic at being seen to have taken his turn in commenting on a man who has become a staple for misguided critics.

Okey claimed to have based his commentary on Ohakim on an interview which a certain Samuelson Iwuoha granted The Sun and which was published on Saturday, February 27, 2010 edition of the newspaper. However, it was evident, from the raw material which Okey made use of in the article that he did not read the interview in question. If he did, he would have been confronted with the counterpoise to the interview. The newspaper had published Iwuoha's allegations and my disputation of them through another interview conducted by the newspaper on the same pages. You couldn't read one without the other. Both interviews ran side by side.

There is therefore, no amount of selection or discrimination that can make any reader to read one of the accounts without taking interest in the other. But Okey's account shows that he was not aware that my interview was published alongside that of Iwuoha on the same pages. This is very doubtful. The fact is that Okey never read any of the interviews. The conclusion therefore, is that he must have written his article before the interviews were published. That also means that he must have got his information from questionable and unreliable sources.

This is the crux of the matter. Like many a Nigerian who live in Europe or the United States of America, Okey is a slave of phantoms. He is, like others, so cheaply credulous. Every story they read in the Internet on or about Nigeria makes sense to them. Their sense of circumspection has gone on holiday. They swallow every news, every story about Nigeria hook, line and sinker. They engage in extra-ordinary mental flights. They have become so idealistic that the world they construct and the reality they see approximate to that of an Alice in Wonderland.

It was this tendency that made Okey Ndibe to believe the claim by Samuelson Iwuoha that he was bullied by Governor Ohakim in Government House, Owerri. In the world where Okey lives, it is not possible for Iwuoha's story to be a lie. It must be true. Therefore, Ohakim is guilty. He is guilty not because an Iwuoha has accused him of wrong-doing. He is guilty because most of those who comment or analyse issues have lost their sense of good judgment. Doubt has no place any more in their mental make-up. Is this not imbecility of sorts? Or is it congenital or compulsive mischief?

But if there are people whose inadequacies can be forgiven or ignored in this matter, Okey is certainly not one of them. This is because the man is educated enough to appreciate the value of circumspection. He is supposed to operate on a higher realm. As a tutored mind, Okey is supposed to know the place of Descartes Methodic Doubt in critical thinking. He is supposed to know that every account is usually taken with a pinch of salt until it is corroborated by a second party. But Okey, in his commentary, fell short of these basic requirements in analysis. Rather, he went ahead, without any iota of evidence, to pass judgment on Ohakim.

His declaration of Ohakim as a guilty man was based purely on the incoherent and furious tale told by a street boy called Samuelson Iwuoha. This approach to issues is unbecoming of an intellectual of Okey's standing. Therefore, one cannot but ask: What went wrong? Why has Okey suddenly lost his logical fangs? Why is he exhibiting infantilism and crass illogic in an issue that requires and demands critical analysis? Only Okey can answer these questions.

But even if we excuse Okey for whatever reason, we cannot but underline the fact that he was operating from a position of prejudice. He describes Iwuoha as 'a one-man war machine against Ohakim.' What an appellation. From this description, it is evident that Okey thinks or believes that Iwuoha is a man of substance. He thinks that Iwuoha has the mental and intellectual clout to confront Ohakim and his government. If Okey were not weighed down by the excruciating load of prejudice, he would have tried to find out who this Iwuoha is. He did not bother to find out that Iwuoha, the near illiterate howler who manages to eke out a living, cannot be the one he should rely upon for serious information. Okey and others who believe Iwuoha are pathetic products of a delusive grandeur that has gone completely awry.

It is important to let the like of Okey know that Iwuoha has nothing against the governor. He does not even know himself too well. He is just a toy, a willing tool in the hands of disgruntled politicians of Imo extraction who are scared stiff of the political ascendancy of Ikedi Ohakim. Having done all that they could to remove Ohakim as governor through the judicial process without success, the desperate politicians have resorted to underhand tactics. One of the ways in which they are doing this is to unleash men without principle or abiding standards on the governor and his government. Iwuoha, to all intents and purposes, is an unguarded missile. He is the real instrument Ohakim's traducers need to get at him.

But they are not succeeding. What is the case instead is that Ohakim's detractors have made themselves objects of pity and derision in the eyes of well meaning people of Imo State. The good people of Imo State are not taken in by Iwuoha's antics because they know why things are what they are. Iwuoha's dance of staccato, rather than help to improve the rating of his paymasters in the eyes of the public, has diminished their political stature the more.

It is therefore a pity and, indeed, unfortunate when Diaspora writers and commentators get excited over issues that mean nothing to people at home who really understand. No doubt, dot.com commentators have the right to be excited about issues at home whenever they choose to. But such excitement must not be misplaced or exaggerated. It is important that they try to find out what the true situation at home is before they jump into the fray. Too much reliance on the Internet is very unhelpful, and this is the main affliction, which Okey and his like suffer from.