PERSPECTIVE – It’s time to tell Basil Okoh to shut up

PERSPECTIVE – It’s time to tell Basil Okoh to shut up

By Iwemdi Nwaham

Like a tap with broken tap head, Basil Okoh, of proud Agbor origin, has been spewing streams of hate speeches against the PDP, the presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, the Vice presidential candidate Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and every move that the party makes. The latest is his tirade titled ATIKU ABUBAKAR: THE HALT BEFORE THE FALL. Before now he has written many venomous articles in quick succession.

Following his write-ups closely like I do, (Basil Okoh has been my friend of over four decades), I have had cause to engage him privately, not too long ago. He turned it into a scathing abuse of my person. I knew where his bitter bile is coming from and I offered an advice. This proud Agbor man showed his pride.

Mr. Iwemdi Nwaham.
Mr. Iwemdi Nwaham.

But after all is said and done, what Basil Okoh, the literary guru is doing, is dabbling, with emotional charge, into the specialised world of politics, an area he is least competent to direct affairs. He can make comments like he is doing with anger and mischief, thinking he can direct the course of events. But he cannot, because he is far from the scenes of action. He reads the headlines and jumps into conclusions and he emotively proceeds to pour venom.

A few facts here:
1. With all his writings, Basil Okoh cannot win any election in his Ward. If he is too old to contest, let him sponsor a candidate to any office and see how far. Methinks that it is only then that this hate monger will show some respect to those who win elections.

2. Back to this present article, Basil Okoh believes that the strategic move made by Atiku Abubakar to roll out the itinerary of the flag off of his presidential campaign, then hold the first one in Uyo, then suspend it temporarily to give another window of opportunity to rebellious Nyesom Wike and his group to come on board, are “signs of obvious failure…”

3. Basil Okoh says “it is a long decided turn of the south to produce a president for Nigeria in 2023”.

How can a prolific writer and therefore, supposedly a voracious reader make such a gaffe? Who decided? And did that decision bind all political parties in Nigeria? PDP has argued that the last person to occupy Aso Rock from their party is President Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner. So in their party arrangement, it is the turn of the north. If after Buhari a northerner, it behoves his party to cede the ticket to the south, why must it be binding on the PDP, to the extent that vexatious capital is being made out of it, to stifle the free running of another party. Why label players in a party doing their things traitors? There are other logics that address this “it is the turn of the south” cocktail, that time and space will not permit me to veer into now. But they will come your way soon.

4. Basil Okoh calls “Atiku Abubakar a rambunctious usurper of that agreement” and calls his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, “… a back stabbing traitor to the collective agreement of the people’s of Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt to take their turn to produce the president in 2023”. Haba Basil.

With all his claims to literary prowess, I am shocked that Mr. Okoh has not sniffed out the right intrigues that torpedoed that agreement and who actually betrayed who. And I will attempt to guide our friend here, a little bit, for want of space. Let me simply itemise the following (I shall make a detailed presentation subsequently).

Okowa, Obaseki and many other southern party bigwigs wanted a microzoning of their party’s presidential ticket to the South East, with a view to routing for Peter Obi, for proper fairness and equity. But Wike would not have that. He wanted the party to zone it simply to the south, because he had his interest firmly as the consideration. Knowing Wike for whom he is, a loose cannon, boisterous, uncouth, rude, unpresidential, many of the party bigwigs knew that, if left to the entire south, Peter Obi will not stand a chance to a rampaging Nyesom Wike. Wike’s aggression was what sent Peter Obi out of PDP, using the likes of Sen. Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, Gov. Ugwanyi, etc. And Wike must be stopped, in the reckoning of some other partymen. Politics is about interests.

This is politics we are talking about. So to placate Wike, some people fought to have the ticket thrown open to all Nigeria, not just to the South alone. What is wrong with that? In came Atiku and the rest is now history. So who sabotaged who? And how can our pugnacious, voiciferous critic not know this detail? And he calls his own brother a traitor with so much relish. And he has done this repeatedly in virtually all his writings even before Atiku Abubakar emerged the presidential candidate of his party. In the article under reference, he calls both Atiku Abubakar and Okowa “two obsequious traitors”. Haba, Haba.

Let’s hear Basil Okoh further, “Peter Odili, James Ibori should be fools to beg Wike to accede to Atiku Abubakar. David Mark is a dripping northern lackey…”

If writings alone sway political direction, Basil, with all his hatred for Okowa and PDP would obliterate that party from his local government. He was there when Victor Nwokolo of Igbodo kingdom beat a high chief of his almighty Agbor kingdom in the primaries of the PDP, to emerge the flag bearer of the party to the elections for Federal House of Representatives, for the fourth time, a few months ago. What did Basil Okoh do to help his compatriot win? If that is late now, the real election is coming up February next year. He has his chance to make sure all his vicious attacks are moulded into strategies for the defeat of the party and people he so badly hates. Let us watch out.

Now, what are all these bitter virtuperations about? I averred a guess and I private chatted my friend. His response was unbelievably hostile, brash, abusive and scornful. He ridiculed me that I have no electoral value in my Umunede. I consummated my membership of the PDP in the month of May this year after a soujourn that began in 2019. Basil read condescending meanings to it. I wish he will have the courage to publish our exchanges. But let me let him know that elections are won on the field, not by writing lampoons and pontificating theories. He should throw his hat into the ring or back a candidate. And he will know how far.

Politics is about happenings on the ground, about facts and statistics on the ground. Not conjectures, not wishes based on your warped emotions or your past humiliating experiences. You look at what is on the ground. Things don’t happen because you wish them. They happen if you come home, hold meetings, form alliances, build bridges, do horse trading, etc.

Your interpretations must be without bias, for it to be taken seriously. In this Wike’s latest drama, Atiku is right. What he has done is to give Wike a face saving opportunity to come back into the mainstream of the party, with all his dignity intact. Else, he has started loosing rating and loosing out in the perking order in the party, by being left out.

Peter Obi that Basil Okoh has eulogised to high heavens in his previous write ups, as the saviour Nigeria has been waiting for, is having teething problems with coupling a presidential campaign council. Getting to the presidency of a country like Nigeria is not a venture for boys and for Basil Okoh not to see it, roundly defines his understanding of Nigeria’s politics. Putting together a PCC and flagging off campaigns is where crowd, quality membership matter, not the street shows that say nothing but uncoordinated jibberish nonsense. And Peter Obi has been found wanting this far. What catches Basil Okoh’s fancy is that Atiku Abubakar halts his brilliant campaign flag off to welcome more of his party members. If Wike thinks he matters, he would have gone to Labour Party or test his strength like Peter Obi by going to a Fresh Party. For now, it is Wike that needs the PDP more, not the other way round.

My candid advice to Basil Okoh is to come down from his utopian horse and learn that politics has its pathways and idiosyncrasies. It has its legitimate levers of expression. If you don’t have people on your side in your constituency, if you have not invested in such people, you can never give expression to your wishes and thoughts. You will only be rabble rousing or at best blowing big, fancy grammar that is worthless at the end of it all. Compare Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and what happened to Vice President Osinbajo during the APC presidential primary. That should be a lesson for Basil Okoh and the likes of him.

His brother, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa (they are both from Ika federal constituency of Delta State) that he is mindlessly vilifying and ridiculing at every twist and turn, has a good chance for becoming the next Vice President of this country. Basil can go on, on his path of self-destruction alone. He should not drag the good people of IKA South LGA along with him.

* Iwemdi NWAHAM writes from Asaba.

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