To Whom It May Concern: Isaac Asabor Ceases From Reading Any Opinion Article That Bears Omatseye’s Byline
There is no denying the fact that most people that do not have the predilection to express their views through published articles on news media might think that avoiding other people’s writings makes them a more original writer. As an opinion writer, I can without being immodest in this context say that nobody can write in a vacuum. Even the meanings of words depend on how others have used them. The plain truth is that you did not invent the English language. Everything you write, you learned from someone else, even if only from your first grade teacher. Only when you are aware of your influences as a writer can you transcend them, instead of unconsciously copying them.
Instead, reading other writers (which most of us always do) and learning from their style always help in developing how we write. Besides improving our vocabulary, learning from other writers undoubtedly gives a wider array of tools from which one can choose from. As the write-ups of others are read, there is the tendency of recognizing one’s own style as someone else’s is read. Or one may learn what he or she do not want to sound like.
At this juncture, it expedient to ask which writers should an aspiring or already arrived writer read. To me, I have so many writers whose articles I do not miss even if it means foregoing other needs in order to read their opinions on trending national issues. Names of such writers cut across Reuben Abati, Magnus Onyibe, Charles Okoh, Dakuku Peterside, Dele Sobowale, Ayo Baje, Sunny Ahwefadah, Austin Oboh, Sandra Ijeoma Okoye and Sam Omatseye among other good writers.
However, I must confess that I am disappointed in Sam Omatseye since he developed a somewhat psycho-political illness called “Obiphobia”. As one of his vicarious mentees, I used to have respect for him due to some reasons with one of them not being far from the fluidity of his prose, but he has bungled such respect since he wrote an article entitled “Obi-tuary”. In the said article, clearly embittered by resentment, he hurled insults at Mr. Peter Obi, and to an ignoble extent to Ndigbo. I am particularly pissed off with Omatseye for demeaning my tribe as an Igbo in Diaspora in Edo State, specifically an Igbo of Igbanke extraction through his recent article that is widely been condemned by virtually every Nigerian.
In fact, not few Nigerians have been taken aback as Sam Oritsetimeyin Omatseye’s enviable profile did not in any way suggests that he was the one that authored the seeming hatchet opinion article that come across as a literary product of a green horn in the field of Journalism as he chose to turn the noble profession on its head.
For the sake of clarification, Sam Omatseye is a Nigerian poet, novelist, playwright and journalist, and a 2019 recipient of the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM). Ostensibly as an icing on the cake, he is the Editorial Board Chairman of The Nation’s Newspaper.
Sam Omatseye attended Government College, Ughelli, (former Bendel State), Delta State from 1973 to 1979 for his secondary school education and obtained West African School Certificate (WASC). He attended the Federal School Of Arts And Science, Victoria Island, Lagos for his higher school education. He studied history at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University from 1980- 1985 and obtained Bachelor Of Arts Degree.
As gathered, he taught English and Literature at the Aminu Kano Commercial College, Kano during his National Youth Service from 1985 to 1986. From 1987 to 1988 he worked as a Reporter-Researcher at the Newswatch Magazine, and covered a variety of beats from Foreign Affairs to Culture. In 1988 he had a stint as a Staff Writer with the African Concord Magazine, and anchored stories about tyrannies and turbulence that characterized the Babangida Years.
In the same vein, he became the Deputy Political Editor of the Concord Newspapers in 1989 with specific assignment to help lead the coverage of the rigmarole of the political transition programme of the Babangida Years. In 1990 he was selected by the United States Information Service (USIS) to cover the off-year elections, and worked for six weeks in the country including an attachment with the Kansas City Star in Missouri. He was appointed Managing Editor, Abuja Bureau of the Concord Newspapers in 1993. He covered the June 12 Election crisis. He left town later that year after being subjected to military surveillance from dawn to dusk. In 1995 he served as Editorial Page Editor, Thisday Newspaper.
He became Deputy Editor, Sunday Concord in 1996 after The Concord Newspaper Group was unbanned. From 1998 to 2006 he taught Media and Journalism at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. He also taught classes and gave talks at the University of Colorado and the University Of Denver. He also became a Technology journalist covering the wireless world in its bursting beginnings with RCR Wireless News. From 2006 to the present, he has been chairman, Editorial Board of The Nation Newspapers. He oversees the Opinion Section of the newspaper and runs a weekly column, In Touch. He has given talks several times in Nigerian universities, including Obafemi Awolowo University, University Of Ibadan, University Of Lagos, etc. He was appointed a member of the Governing Council of The Lagos State University. He has been a frequent commentator on television and radio shows on contemporary Nigerian issues. He hosted a television show, Standpoint, on TVC and The Platform, an edgy political programme that airs every Saturday on TVC.
However, as a writer that has decided not to vicariously follow him as par his writings any longer as indicated at the embryonic paragraphs of this piece, I am poised to avoid any opinion article that has Sam Omatseye’s byline like plagues as way out from gaining nonsense knowledge in that process. You may have in this context wondered why I took the decision to unfollow Omatseye in his writings. What majorly influenced my decision cannot be farfetched as Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti also known as Abami Eda, a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist of blessed memory in his lifetime said the role of the teacher in any society with the concept therein culminates into all the things we consider as problems, and all the good things we accept from life as good, begin with what we are taught. As a mass communicator, I am not unaware that Omatseye has turned opinion article on its head, so I don’t want any iota of proselytization from him through his seeming and poisonous writings. I hereby through this medium ceases to be his follower, and vicarious mentee until he turns a new leaf.