By Wilberforce Iheukwumere
One would have dismissed Atedo Peterside’s rambling rant on the backpage of Thisday of today, January 27, 2015 (“The ugly side of Jonathan and Buhari”), for what it is-a ludicrous attempt at blackmail-but for the time and context of the publication. Again, coming from one of the more prosperous AGIPs (Any Government In Power) in these parts, complete with his notoriously famous stable of exotic horses (even with so much hunger around his community), new-found love for bowler hats and a largely uninterrogated background in banking, it becomes even more compelling to tackle the kettle calling pot black.
To start with, I wasn’t seized by the misleading headline, which was treacherously crafted to obscure his obvious determination to cast venomous aspersions at the People’s General and APC candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. I mean, Mr. Peterside, or Chief Peterside, depending on your disposition towards this consistent rent-seeker, is unpretentious about his love for Mr. President. While it is well within his rights, constitutional and otherwise, to love whom he pleases and who pleases him, he must not insult the sensibilities of right thinking Nigerians by hiding behind a facetious headline to accomplish his dishonorable intentions.
This particular Peterside doesn’t seem to know when to stop. He ruined my Sunday afternoon by his amateurish handling of President Jonathan’s Meeting with Corporate Area Boys (apologies to Eniola Bello of Thisday). The lowly courtesies and couching could fire the blood of ordinary man and turn pre-ordinance and first decree into the law of children, as Emperor Julius Caesar would say. His prodding and blatant ass-kissing compelled other AGIPs like Emzor Chairman, Stella Okoli and co to embark on a disgusting chorus of hero worshipping, which in turn made Mr. President go on an avoidable ego-trip about his accomplishments, which ironically includes “unemployment”.
The same Peterside had in 2011 launched into a similar shameless rhapsody of platitude shortly after Mr. Jonathan’s highly contestable election, where he hailed his man for saving “some of us” from going into exile, had the other man (GMB) won instead. I lost respect for him that day.
In a failed attempt to confer some credibility to his hatchet job, Peterside quoted a fabricated poll thus: “Opinion polls commissioned by ANAP Foundation and conducted by NOI Polls (using Gallup methodology) show that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) and his main challenger, Major-General Mohammadu Buhari (Buhari) are currently running neck-to-neck in the 2015 Presidential race”. How convenient! While he is the founder, promoter and sole member of ANAP Foundation, hopefully with his family as members, NOI is an acronym for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. You can figure it out yourself, dear readers, how profoundly jaundiced the so called poll conducted with Gallup Methodology will pan out. Neck and neck indeed! Wicked people!
Now to his insipid composition of illogicalities: It is on record that GMB indeed said he wasn’t going to contest again. It’s also on record that the old man was put under significant pressure by people who love Nigeria to reconsider his quit notice and return to rescue the drifting country. Perhaps, Peterside has forgotten that it is traditional for experienced, wise, old men to step forward when things aren’t going right. Nigeria is currently at the slippery edge of the precipice, and we need a patriotic, committed, incorruptible, disciplined, experienced and wise old man to save the situation.
Unlike Peterside’s candidate, who has let down even the most ardent of his admirers, GMB carries no baggage of heedless association with known enemies of the country and common criminals. Indeed, his candidate hoodwinked Nigerians with his “statesmanly” posturing about a one-term presidency knowing full well he would renege on it, when the time of reckoning comes.
Hear the sanctimonious Peterside at his grandstanding and self-deluding best: “During the course of the 2014 National Conference, where I was a delegate, I made a contribution to the effect that past military rulers, who toppled democratically elected governments, should still be tried for treason so as to serve as a permanent deterrent to young and ambitious military officers who will the understand that the long arm of the law may get them even in their old age and even after they claim to have repented.” Simple-minded as this might seem, one needs to stop the charlatanism evident in this messianic expression because he has benefitted massively from every government in this country hence his fitting monicker, AGIP.
GMB is widely acknowledged to have been drafted by the IBB-led coupists of 1983, who felt he had the requisite leadership capabilities, comportment and integrity, to lead the junta. It’s on record that, while the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the highest decision-making body of the government as it were took collective decisions on Decree Four, the killing of Bartholomew Owoh and his co-drug peddlers, among others, IBB and his co-conspirators blamed for everything and anything to remove him in palace coup. The rest, as they say is history.
To be continued.
Iheukwumere, a public affairs commentator, contributed this piece from Abuja.