My attention has just been to drawn to an article posted on the website of Premium Times, a leading electronic newspaper in Nigeria.
As a writer, I am, spurred by the mounting exhibits from the ongoing Edo farce, tempted to conclude there might indeed be a correlation between the physical ugliness of a visage, crooked reasoning and foul verbiage.
In an attempt to divert public attention from iron-cast proof of sloppiness and/or incompetence, Peter Okhiria (Chief Press Secretary to Edo Governor) resorted to making dangerous innuendoes and retailing falsehood.
In the the article under reference entitled "Letter To Comrade Oshiomhole" published last week, Azu Ishiekwene, a senior journalist and respected columnist, had weighed in on the raging Edo political turbulence and made a couple of assertions which those paid to mind Oshiomhole's PR would certainly not find funny.
In order not to worsen matters, the least expected of a competent and sensible Press Secretary in the circumstance is answer the weighty questions raised in a civil tone that would, at least, disarm foes, if not win over more friends for his boss. But demonstrating rank incompetence again, Peter, obviously dictated to by a no less empty superintendent, permitted himself the liberty to malign my hard-earned reputation in the latest literary misadventure after the recent "iconoclastic" mishap.
To begin with, it bespeaks low moral breeding to assume that everyone who says or writes anything negative about you is paid to do so. Well, I believe Azu, who had risen to the zenith of the media ladder through hard-work and professionalism, is competent enough to defend himself on the farrago of illogic spewed by the company of kindergarten spin doctors in Benin City.
I wish to dwell on the sections pertaining to me. Among other things, Peter claims Azu's piece "would be the second in the series of what is now seen as syndicated attack by A&L."
Thereafter, he plumbed deeper into the sewer of intellectual fraudulence by not only attempting to present his boss in borrowed robes but going further to tell Azu "(Y)our friend who was once his (Oshiomhole's) appointee can attest to the fact that Comrade's eagle-eye editing skills punctured several of your partner's drafted speeches."
By that, you can again see an incompetent media aide in his true colours. In the said miserable rejoinder, Peter had boasted by reminding us that his boss is "orator par excellence". Of course, everyone knows that. He is known to prefer to speak extempore even at official occasions where many would expect written speeches. So, is Peter saying Oshiomhole's speeches were always written for him? Of course, it is another "iconoclastic" lie. We are talking of written, not spoken word here. Permit the immodesty, how can anyone say Comrade Oshiomhole usually edits Louis Odion? Official memo or external communication?
In expressing his anger recently over the now controversial Edo Government's misstatement on Oba Erediauwa's transition, Dr. Thomas Omorodion spoke about a creeping degeneracy. His words: "A situation where illiterates, touts and criminals make it to top positions and the educated, smart and hardworking are relegated to the background would definitely limit the interest and motivation in high achievement among the youths."
With the likes of Peter, an unknown quantity extracted from the backwaters of the Sub-Desk of Vanguard newspaper to the high office of CPS, taking liberty to issue silly, juvenile statement in the name of Edo State Government, I think Omorodion could not be more apt.
Indeed, in all of this, part of the fawning illiteracy is seeking to narrow the error in the said obituary misstatement to only the repeated misuse of the word "iconoclastic" instead of "iconic". The piece is actually riddled with other shameful lexical errors like using present tense instead of past tense in the context of the dead.
When I was Information Commissioner, Comrade Oshiomhole often lamented to me that Peter's otherwise boundless energy for work is incurably diminished by a dumbness - being incapable of taking initiative. But I never reckoned that that dumbness would include a temerity to allow himself to be further abused in advertising shamelessness. If only Peter knows what his boss thinks of him.
Though Peter was still afraid to directly mention my name in the disjointed rejoinder, everyone knows the innuendoes fit Louis Odion. Everyone knows my affiliation with Global A&L founded in 2008 (specializing in writing, media advertising and relations) after I voluntarily resigned as editor of Sunday Sun (then the highest-selling title within the Sun Group).
Well, it is also public knowledge that I took the Edo appointment in 2011 only after the second offer and was until then Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of a national daily. I resigned voluntarily from Edo last year when I thought my task was done. I have a second address in Nigeria. But every discerning follower of the Edo narrative today knows the hustler and political rodent who viciously gnawed Comrade Oshiomhole's feet through a miserable newspaper column, week in week out, until he was invited to Benin City in 2012 to "come and eat" and is, without shame, now leading the hallelujah choir around Comrade Oshiomhole.
Mark my words, the day the Comrade Governor stops giving them something to eat, they will resume their attack.
Only Oshiomhole's true friends will tell him the truth, however bitter.
Finally, God knows I have tried to restrain myself as far as the unfolding Edo conundrum is concerned. I can overlook the bleating of these political he-goats, but certainly not an "iconoclastic" attempt to cast aspersion on my professional competence and integrity by kindergarten spin doctors seeking traction.
I want to believe clueless Peter and his "iconoclastic" shepherd fired this salvo as usual without reference to their boss. It is for this reason I am using this medium to demand Governor Oshiomhole to direct Peter to retract his falsehood on me and apologize. Otherwise, he bears liability as I would be left with no option than to take steps to defend my hard-earned professional honour.
Comrade Governor, I expect that is done within 24 hours.
By Louis Odion, FNGE