Oboh’s villainous write-up on Uba

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Austin Oboh, Snr Reporter (Lagos) with the Independent newspapers is a powerful reporter that has love for words. But his Sunday, August 15, 2010 piece entitled “Maximus Uba: A restless mind goes back to his 'vomit” was not only an insult on the integrity of Maximus Uba, but was a mischievous piece that was intended to mislead the reading public about the persona, Uba. The piece would be a ho-hum to anybody who knows Uba.

To put the bunch of hokum in Oboh's article straight, I called Maximus Uba when the news filtered the air that he has gone back to Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State, having been recognised by the public as a fighter for justice. I told him that I read that he sent Ohakim a congratulatory text message. For what? Maximus chuckled and said that he will call me back.

It was not up to two minutes and Maximus called, sounding very jovial. “Onwumere, I owe no one explanation about my congratulatory text message to Governor Ohakim, but because I have seen how worried you are, as one who believes in me. To correct an impression, I only sent Ohakim a congratulatory text message and have not surrendered to criticise any unbefitting policies in his government, any day. Besides, we were not quarrelling in the first place. I was only against the portal that made him governor. And I see that there is no sense continuing in the fight since the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court has proved me otherwise, that Ohakim won the 2007 gubernatorial elections in Imo State. Should I continue to fight a decision the Supreme Court had buttressed?” Uba said, and we cut the conversation.

In our conversation, he didn't sound “restless”. I see Uba's decision in congratulating Ohakim with the eye of something that has shape and is normal and natural to do. What I learnt in Uba's decision with the congratulatory text message is that he has accepted Ohakim as the governor of his state. That doesn't mean, in my understanding that he has gone back to his 'vomit' as Oboh wants us to believe. And if there was any truth in Oboh's vituperation, Uba did that based on the rulings of the court and not that he went to Ohakim through the back door, whereas his cohorts were fighting in the bush.

Myself, as a diehard critic of Ohakim's policies, I don't think that Uba will be against Ohakim and the means that made him governor again since the Supreme Court had proved him wrong. Like many of us, Uba has shown a rare habit many politicians are yet to bring into their politicking by sending that text message to Ohakim. And that was supposed to earn him accolades, as a critic or social crusader without bitterness, and not condemnation.

When Uba later told me that he was out to go in for the House of Reps in the 2011 elections under the platform of the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA), I didn't tell him that no one would have convinced me that he was not “settled” if it were under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is the party Ohakim is the leader in Imo State.

In a nutshell, I think Uba, who has paid his dues, needs our support to achieve his mandate after he formally declares on August 23rd. Uba is a man loved by many for his stance against corruption. The Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo once talked about Uba thus: “I salute his courage and doggedness for standing up against corruption and tyranny in Imo State...”

It is the courage against injustice in Uba that we have to really encourage him by giving him our support. We should see that he will remain steadfast in the course he believes in so that the truth will triumph in Nigeria when he gets to the House of Reps. We should see Austin Oboh's write-up on Maximus Uba as an action intended to hit the ball badly so that it doesn't go where people had intended it should go.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author and Media Consultant, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]