By Idemudia Oviosun (PhD)

That the transgressions of Erasmus Ikhide’s article, published in The Nation Newspaper last week initially eluded me is quite a surprise. The artful dodger niftily hid one damning paragraph among what seemed like appositely adulatory paragraphs. A busy man with an actual job skimming through the papers on a Wednesday morning would not have perceived it, as he would not have read more than only headlines for the most part.

However, when by chance my attention was drawn to the paper again, I discovered one cowardly jejune paragraph slinking behind the overall agreeable tone of the tributary article. This is what prompts me herein to admonish him accordingly in the hope that he will draw the curtain on his unending sulk and let sleeping dogs lie.

While Ikhide’s fiendish article, titled Ogiemwonyi: Celebrating Mr. Local content looked like it was born out of honest intentions, his true intents were soon revealed in the third paragraph. No sooner had he commenced the scandalous paragraph, where he made what appeared as a passing comment on Dr Ogiemwonyi’s nobility, than he denounced the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries.

That was when it became clear that Ikhide was not genuinely interested in lauding the achievements of Dr Ogiemwonyi; he had an axe to grind with another man and he was hard at it chasing down and exploiting every avenue he could find to condemn Mr Obaseki.

I will bring to heel the temptation to chronicle Ikhide’s career, and how he eventually resorted to clandestinely throwing shades at the governor of Edo State as well as how his station retrogressed from Senior Special Assistant to ‘sellsword’ – that is if the might of his pen can be exaggerated to the status of ‘sword’ at all.

Ikhide laid illegal claim to loads of spunk by having the brass neck to think himself more highly than he should have. Under the guise of ‘social critic’ (a title he should henceforth no longer defraud himself with; nobody is buying that claptrap), Ikhide criminally opined and alleged that: “After the less-than-credible APC primaries that foisted Mr. Godwin Obaseki on the party and state, it takes a selfless individual to remain in the party.

In good conscience – which is largely missing in politics as a game of impossibilities – the actors in political manipulation can’t earnestly vouch for the sanctity of the polls. That is one of the reasons this award is an icing on the cake of Ogiemwonyi’s nobility.”

Believing himself clairvoyant, Ikhide would fain try to speak the minds of the APC, the entire Edo State and ‘the actors in political manipulation’. On the latter, I cannot say much, for I do not even know of what actors he chirps. However, for being frivolous enough to speak on behalf of the state, and for being clueless enough to goof it, he must get some stick.

The truth is that no one – not a true clairvoyant, not a fraudulent one, and not Ikhide himself I conjecture – is privy to information concerning to what party the grumpy social critic belongs. As far as politics is concerned, he is either ubiquitous or he squats on the fence, like a vigilant opportunist, ready to hop on whatever bandwagon would suit his desires. I could list headlines attributed to his name, but I leave the reader to do a quick google-search of his write-ups.

In fact, a warning must be sounded to anyone who Ikhide praises to watch his back, for Ikhide’s ability to eulogise someone one minute and to give the person a bad name in order to hang him or her the next minute is well known. Ikhide’s modus operandi is subtle, but naïve. He praises an individual when the going is good, much like a fair-weather penman. When a gale blows him out of favour with that individual, he writes some more, suggesting that the public is displeased with that individual’s conduct and the individual’s success or failure lies in their hands.

In addition, is it morally or constitutionally wrong for an outgoing governor to be interested in who becomes his predecessor, when actually there is no law against such in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? In the said primaries during which Obaseki emerged as the APC gubernatorial candidate, did Ikhide, being a self-proclaimed analyst observe any variance between the total registered delegates and the summation of the total votes cast and rejected?

Was APC’s primaries conducted in secrecy or under the dubious cover of darkness? Did Ikhide witness Obaseki’s name being ‘foisted’ in the place of another aspirant who actually recorded the highest votes cast? Was the voting process disrupted or interrupted midway, even as the observant Ikhide looked on?

What exactly is Ikhide holding on to as the reason for his nebulous conviction that the primary was less-than-credible? Erasmus needs a reminder that none of the defeated aspirants challenged the results in court. Only the courts have the power to declare a primary rigged.

Unless Ikhide can redeem his image with more substance in his future articles, the handwriting is on the wall that ‘all abandon hope, ye who enter here’. No use looking for an apple on an orange tree, and no use hoping for honest opinion where dishonesty has been known to thrive. Good day, Mr. Public Affairs Analyst – Comrade Erasmus Ikhide!

Dr. Idemudia Oviosun writes from Oredo Local Government Area, Benin City, Edo State.