Sam Omatseye: Shut up, Orubebe!

by Sam Omatseye

If it was by grace and by competence, Orubebe should not be minister. That is why he is taking on Amaechi. He has nothing concrete to go on as minister but the politics of sycophancy. He is not a performing minister. He is a grovelling cheerleader and a Rottweiler on an errand.

The exchange of brickbats between Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe reflects the larger picture of the implosion in the Peoples Democratic Party.

We can see it clearly as a contest between two tendencies within the party. Orubebe, who loves to be called elder, represents what the Yoruba call the agbaya tendency of the party. Agbaya stands for the elder who does not appreciate the wisdom of age but only the rascality. So such an elder torpedoes the wise counsel. Governor Amaechi, the younger, has evinced a brilliance that baffles the elder. So the elder resorts to the impunity of accusation that takes away attention from his superlative bumbling.

So, while Amaechi, a working chief executive with something to show for his performance, is the target of an Orubebe whose colossal ineptitude is responsible for the terrible image we have of the Niger Delta. He is one of the reasons it is a region of waste without guilt, ineptitude with bravado, plenty submerged by scarcity.

While Amaechi speaks from the platform of performance in office, Orubebe rants from the frivolity of politics. We can bring this up to the larger centre of PDP politics where the forces on Jonathan’s side are at loggerheads with the governors over party leadership, Jonathan is jousting Obasanjo over the leader of the board of trustees and, in Adamawa State, two dinosaur politicians want to initiate dynasties by imposing their sons on their state.

In all the imbroglio in the PDP, no one has brandished the idea of performance or values. It is a Hobbesian battle today when Jonathan wants to impose Tukur on all the party faithful. The next day, it is a Machiavellian fest when an Oyinlola, no hero by any account, is ousted as party scribe.

It is in that context you can locate the exchange between Amaechi and Orubebe. Orubebe lashed out on the ground that Amaechi, and the head of the Governors Forum, was eyeing the presidency and therefore undermining the boss of all, Goodluck Jonathan. He charged that Amaechi “feel(s) that he is bigger than the president.” He waxed spiritual as an elder and attributed the elevation of Amaechi as governor to the grace of God. “He has forgotten so soon. He has arrogated to himself powers that he does not have. It is God that has powers,” sniped the elder.

I should say to the elder, “smile while you say that.” What does he know about the grace of God? Orubebe only understands the grace of man. No one was sure that Amaechi would become governor because the all-powerful, all-knowing Olusegun Obasanjo had inflicted a K-leg on him and he was at the mercy of the judiciary which, as a man out of power, he was not in a position to influence. So, if Amaechi got it, it was because, as Orubebe said, by the grace of God and the integrity and erudition of the judges. But on whose grace does Orubebe rely? That of man, and the man is Goodluck Jonathan. The elder can also say that he relies on good luck, not divine grace.

If it was by grace and by competence, Orubebe should not be minister. That is why he is taking on Amaechi. He has nothing concrete to go on as minister but the politics of sycophancy. He is not a performing minister. He is a grovelling cheerleader and a Rottweiler on an errand. Amaechi responded by saying that he has performed, but let the elder tell us what he has done. He has been challenged to deliver on the East-West road. That road is the eyesore of the Niger Delta. We have had many dead, fire tankers exploded, billions of Naira incinerated. But the elder knows that not much has been done on that road. One of the reasons, perhaps that a helicopter crashed with the fatalities of the former Kaduna State Governor and the former National Security Adviser, was that many dignitaries did not want to ply the road between Port Harcourt and Yenagoa, with its ominous craters and snaky traps. He has not performed.

Rather the elder has turned himself into a culvert minister, inspecting projects of dubious significance.

That is why I say the jousting between Amaechi and Orubebe represents, in its micro punches, the fight between a minority of doers like Amaechi and the majority of crafty never-do-well politicians with eyes for the spoils.

For instance, the Nyako versus Tukur battle in Adamawa has not raised any issue of significance to the ordinary voter. It has not even raised the question of morality in that Tukur’s son, who is now in the furnace of subsidy allegations, has the bravado to want public office. Should he not clear himself first? Even the same Bamanga Tukur who, in the past, dissociated himself from his son’s business entanglements easily entangles him in his dream to become the Saraki of Adamawa. Nyako cannot even recoil with shame that the only quality he sees in his son is that his boy’s blood flows ruddier than his but from his. In none of this conversation do we hear about how Adamawa will advance from poverty, from its suffocating lack of health services, from infrastructural nadir and educational sewers.

We see the same thing in the politics of Jonathan and 2015. As for the omniscient and omnipotent Obasanjo, we know that the man is fighting for relevance in his hoary years. He does not want to live idly in his Ota retreat. He abounds with energy for a septuagenarian but no useful work for it. Since Jonathan does not pick his calls and he could not flex his brawn of old, he quit the BOT position so as to fight from outside with looser limbs and surer punches. So far, no one is bleeding. Jonathan is having the upper hand. It still remains dicey whether the Southwest PDP can coalesce with the core North PDP to asphyxiate Jonathan out of the party ticket.

The Presidency shies away from Jonathan’s performance. They know they cannot win on that. Only last Friday, Jonathan paid a shock visit to the Police College in Lagos in the aftermath of the Channels Television expose. The president, after seeing the mess, was only interested in the image of his government. He showed himself the snake again. He pretended he was visiting out of interest. He wanted to know how the television crew penetrated the place. The word “penetrated” struck me. It had a sneaky quality to it, the sort you associate with snakes. He did not get any answers. So he concluded an insider organised it to embarrass the image of his government.

I beg you, readers. What image does Jonathan’s government have? Of non-performance. So how does the wreck of a police college change anything? He only wanted to see whether the Channels expose was a lie so as to attack the station for exaggeration. Now that he had nothing to prove that scheme, he decided to come out in true colours out of frustration with conspiracy charge.

That is the PDP to which Orubebe belongs. He loathes performance but luxuriates in witch-hunting. His master, Jonathan, is not performing, so a man like Amaechi, who is doing well, becomes a pariah. If Orubebe wants some respect, he should perform, or shut up.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

  1. Omatseye is equally a lowly paid sycophant of Bola Tinubu, he needs to take his own advice and also shut up, Omatseye has no credibility, even though questions exist on the performance of Orubebe, Jonathan's daily progress is clear for all to see

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