By Jerry A Ochada
Solana Olumhense’s article, “As EFCC confesses the sad truth” calls to mind the proverbial chichidodo in Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, a bird that relishes maggots but abhors excrement with all its soul even when its meal would only come from the lavatory. There are writers that abhor corruption but the ink in their pen gush only from the fountain of corruption. An unwary reader would plod through the write up in question believing that Saint Olumhense is Nigeria’s magic pill to end all corruption and that by the way is for those that are able to reconcile all the unrelated issues dragged into the writer’s frantic attempt to render paid service to whitewash a fetid sepulcher.
Olumhense, apparently at pains to satisfy whoever it is that is paying the piper this time around cast the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu in bad light, by deciding to contrast him with someone who wanted to be perceived as worse off. Sadly, for him, his choice was the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, whom he possibly has unresolved personal issues against. There is no nexus between the COAS and the EFCC.
The kind of venom that oozed from the piece cannot just be the product of a paid hatchet job or driven by a fanatical love for the fatherland; it takes the vengefulness that comes from previous failed attempts on the same subject to marshal the intensity of hatred that manifested in the article.
Had this been the writer’s first shot at assassinating the persona in question perhaps there would not have been need expending energy to set Olumhense on the right path. But to repeatedly tarnish the image of someone that is giving his best to the country and be allowed to get away with it implies that we will wake up one day and not have upright persons agreeing to serve the country again because of the likes of this compromised writer.
He was categorical in declaring Buratai guilty even when there was never evidence to prove the flimsy allegations raised and this is despite the concerted efforts made in the past to nail the Army Chief. Even Magu, who was equally stylishly maligned in the piece, did not find the evidence to charge the Army Chief to court. There is of course no law that listed the position of the Chief of Army Staff as one of those granted immunity from criminal prosecution so Magu has no excuse for not putting him on trial if the many conjectures in the opening paragraphs were facts that could be taken to court.
On the other hand, the accusations of failing to decisively crush Boko Haram or capture its leader, Abubakar Shekau is sheer mischief borne out of hatred for the COAS and based on ignorance and misinformation.
When it comes to performance, Olumehense is apparently not at home with the reality that even as he was writing five Boko Haram commanders and at least 82 other high-ranking terrorists were neutralized. A lot of other terrorists’ assets- human and hardware, were decommissioned within the period Buratai gave for the capture of Shekau. This is not factoring in the other exploits of the Buratai-led Army such that the ridiculous piece was not enough to dwarf his achievement.
The duplicity of the write up is best appreciated with the realization that it blatantly omitted to acknowledge the actual challenges that those entrusted with crushing terrorism and corruption face.Not the least among them is paid activists and writers like Olumehense, who for a pittance deploy their skills in furtherance of the agenda of those that want these twin evils to thrive. When sponsors of terrorism and Boko Haram want to distract the Army they procure the services of such unprincipled writers, whose only concern is getting the right price.
Since Olumehense is playing the ostrich it may be necessary to give him a few hints, perhaps he would take the cue to at least ask those he is running errands for to make fair disclosure. They should tell him how their perceived and real grouse is that the war on terrorism is being prosecuted by Buratai in a manner that leaves no room for ill acquisition of money. What they enjoyed prior to the COAS’ coming was practically a bazaar that had rendered the army unable to fully perform as they stole and counter stole resources meant for procuring weapons to fight Boko Haram.
The writer conveniently suffered a memory loss to the extent that he no longer has recollection of how President Muhammadu Buhari was chastised by the citizenry for seeking to engage only angels to head vital institutions. At what point did some of these same saints become as rotten as Olumehense wants us to believe? What is the use of rehashing a media trial that collapsed for want of evidence? It was the same media trial that Buratai was subjected to and at the end of the day the baying lynch-mob found nothing to hang him with. A popular portal based in Abuja at what time reported the clearance by the Code of Conduct Bereau issued not only to clear Buratai but others in Buratai shoes regarded as angels in the service of our fatherland but when the pay came calling, they betrayed their professional and ethical demands and still preferred to rubbish whatever credibility they had before their readers. Why then would Olumehense insist on being stuck in a rut that had led him nowhere in the past and certainly would not take him anywhere useful in the future.
Olumehense must learn not to trivialize national issues by comparing instances and individuals that have no correlation. He needs to step back from the euphoria that bank credit alerts can induce to evaluate issues from the proper perspective. For one, he can allow some lapse in time between when he gets the brief and when he pens his articles so that the cloud obstructing his reasoning must have lifted.
The sad truth remains that the likes of Olumehense, comfortably ensconced in the comfort of imperial nations that are behind the emerging world’s woes, have become the new problem for the trusting readers in search of information. His likes are abusing the sacredness of media platform and ridiculing their loyal followers by regularly slipping paid content into their columns and presenting same as gospel truths. This they do with such arrogance that suggest they never expect anyone to find them out. The fact that they are on the take to defend the interests of those seeking the downfall of the country should not translate into this level of arrogance that dispose of facts to wallow in inanities and believe that the rest of humanity should kotow to their perverted worldview.
Ochada, is a Guest Columnist.