Offordile’s scheming for relevance

By Valentine Obienyem

In response to his piece entitled: Anambra: the Celebration of Mediocrity by Mr. Chudi Offodile, I forewarned readers that I would descend to his subjective level. I did. Perhaps happy that with my response, and thinking that the Governor may be coming closer to the Governor responding to him in person, he issued forth another vitriolic entitled: Peter Obi: Integrity Issues. He even descended lower and called his Governor unprintable names. It was the same Governor he told the world that was the best thing to happen to Anambra State when he was seeking the Senatorial seat through the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In reacting, I will again write what I consider as a fitting response. It may not be in terms of innate literary qualities, but a deserving counterpoint to a noisy, hollow piece deployed to seek attention and relevance.

Simply because he insinuated that Obi was a mediocre and I went all out to prove him wrong, he mistook that for comparison between him and the Governor. Did you read his piece and saw how he lifted himself to 9th heaven in the belief that he and Obi were being compared? How can we compare substance and shadow or bridled horses and unbridled horses?

Since this controversy stoked by Offodile started, my greatest happiness is that the Governor has so far resisted any form of temptation to cross swords with him. Obi’s action reminds us of Buddha, who was once pelted with foul words by a simpleton. Buddha’s response: “my child, if somebody gives you something you do not need, what will you say to him?” The simpleton said he would advise him to keep his things. Obi has not accepted what Offodile has been desperately trying to give him, so let Offodile keep them.

From the way he has written, it is easy to decipher his motive. When Mallam Nasir El Rufai told obvious lies against Obi, the Governor was compelled to reply, simply because his copious use of statistics had the tendency to mislead even the enlightened that he was telling the truth. It is not beyond Offodile to think that by writing diatribes against Obi, he will be forced to reply him and thereafter create the impression that he is so important that the Governor replied to his piece. After all, there is joy and a certain sense of importance in men of worth replying to peoples viewpoints. Many years ago, Dionysius was taken a prisoner by a famous man called Artaphernes. “Can you be cheerful under this circumstance?” Dionysius was asked. He answered “for when should I be more cheerful than now that I am about to converse with Artaphernes?” Such is the nature of some men.

Do you imagine how Offodile would have felt if the Governor had taken the trouble to reply him? Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu once told me the story of a friend of his father and a popular politician who, one day accompanied them to a dinner with the then Governor-General of Nigeria. While walking through where people were, the politician turned to the Governor-general and said: “I cannot take it from you! I mean I cannot take it.!” Later it was discovered that he wanted to let the people feel that he was strong and could challenge the Governor- General. This is exactly what Offodile is doing.

I am constrained to say the foregoing, because I do not understand the motive behind what Offodile does. Even when Obi would not reply him, he is happy replying to those he suspect, albeit wrongly, are prompted by Obi. Reading him, one will inevitably conclude that his write-up suffers from empty analysis, irrelevant interpolations, laughable analogies, rhetorical tricks, with viewpoints falling upon one another in contradictory confusion.

I do not want to dwell on his rubbish, but let a sentence surfeit for example. “I do not consider myself superior to Obi.” If he means what he said, then it means he must be something lower than the mediocre he equated the Governor with.

Look at how he pretended that he was being persecuted by the Governor’s media team. This is a case of a man dangerously close to confusion. Obi, as far back as we can pry into his life, has not said any foul words about anybody, it is not in his character. When every Nigerian, especially concerned Anambrarians were condemning the nonsense El-Rufai wrote about Anambra, people like Offodile celebrated him and even went on to grant El-Rufai’s piece some measure of literary sanctity. When we responded to his lies, he branded it waste of public funds on the part of Government.

If you read in between lines, you will easily notice that the entire write-up was a tissue of lies. Maturity must have taken flight from Offodile for him to write what he said was bad grammar from Governor Obi. Consider what he wrote as the spoken words of the Governor: “of the five people who have been given this award (Sun Man of the Year) before now, four of them {is} from Anambra State.” This was in 2008. What a lie from a master lie-teller! Obi was Sun Man of the Year, 2007 and not 2008. The award which started in 2003 was first won by Chief Mike Adenuga in 2003; Prof Charles Soludo (2004); Dr. Oby Ezekwesili (2005); Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (2006); and Governors Peter Obi and Rotimi Amaechi in 2007. Before him, two people from Anambra won it, so he could not have said, as Offodile wrote, that four people from Anambra had won it before him.

If proficiency in English is the measure of intelligence, all native English men would be supremely intelligent. He said that: “no matter the certificate a person parades, first, second or third degree as the case may be, once you cannot express yourself in English, the language you used in acquiring the certificate, it should be legitimate to question the authenticity of that certificate or the integrity of the bearer if not both.” What this shows is that Offodile does not understand what integrity means. He probably mistakes speaking what is called Queens English to effective expression of oneself. With this, one can gauge the depth of Offodile’s logic. Interestingly, Offodile failed (as he used to fail his Law exams at UNN Enugu Campus) to pass the test of his English competence boast. Even a secondary school student will teach him that ‘Those who lost their access to the public treasury on his ascencion to power.’ as he wrote, cannot stand as a sentence. For Offodile though, ignorance is blissful.

It is laughable to see how much effort Offodile made to prove to us that he is a genius. The measure of academic brilliance is in transparent achievement not in grades obtained when exam malpractice was prevalent in Nigerian secondary schools. Chukwuemeka Ike has a novel on the phenomenon entitled Expo 77. Let Offodile deny that he read law for 7 years at a time it was read for four years. At a point he was advised to withdraw. As a defense, he told us that the reason was that he was “distracted”. What sort of distraction? To prove to us that he was truly “distracted”, he said he got aggregate 34 in primary school. He should have made the joke more interesting by telling us his performance in Nursery School! The worth of education is what you make out of it. You don’t need more than the West African School Certificate to go to the House of Representatives.

Being clever by half, Offodile told us that the court removed him due to internal squabbles in the PDP. You and I know the character of those that made it in Anambra’s PDP. Why was he silent on the fact that the State Commissioner of Police said on NTA that he was caught engaging in rigging? He should make a statement on the widely published reports that the hotel he built with impeachment money is notorious as a hideout for election rigging.

Today his name is spoken with bated breath in Awka for not attracting a single project to the town, only to now shamelessly tell us the Committees he headed as if that was another wonder of the world.

Today in Awka, the Barnhill Hotel has become a danger zone, because of activities of Ndi Akwuna. It is not enough for Offodile to tell us he was once a member of the House of Representatives. What else was he or has he become now? What does he do? Does he practice law? Howsoever you look at it; he belongs to the old order of politicians who see politics as a job rather than vocation. I mean those the saintly Governor Obi is trying to re-orientate. It is unfortunate that such people are more in Anambra State than any other State. But refusing to be discouraged, the governor is moving on with great speed, rebuilding and developing Anambra State.

Obienyem wrote this piece from Awka.

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