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The Arena

THE ARENA: John Akugbe’s naiveté on politics of ‘Deep Experience’


The narrative by one Mr. John Akugbe, dated 2nd of August 2022 with the headline: “Okowa’s Misunderstanding and Misinterpretation of ‘Deep Experience’,” was one talk that exposed the shallow perception of the writer on politics and political talks. If he knew better, he would have known about what in politics is called “calculated advancement,” which refers to the use of tactics and strategy against an opponent in the game of power struggle.

Movement for Stronger Delta (MSD) believes that it’s this poor perception that got the better part of the writer, making him to become hysterical and leading him to engage in the naïve action of railing insults and abuses against the person of the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Governor of Delta State, Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa over his response to a question put to him by his interviewer on a BBC Pidgin English programme.

It’s inconceivable that the writer would expect the PDP Vice Presidential candidate to begin to paint an opponent with whom he is engaged in a political contest for power in glowing terms. MSD indeed, believes that Governor Okowa deserves kudos for his smartness in identifying the lack of “Deep Experience” as a major weakness and consideration that should count against the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).

It’s important to get the green and local writer off his naiveté by letting him and his cohorts to understand that “Deep Experience” speaks about someone’s level of active involvement in an activity or exposure to events or people over a period of time that leads to increase in knowledge or skill. It defines the profundity and deepness of wisdom from knowledge or skill acquired through being exposed to something over a period of time. It is in the absence of this that the PDP Vice Presidential candidate has identified as a yawning lacuna in the LP candidate.

If the truth must be told, can the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate’s political experience be compared with that of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate?

Besides being a trader, importer of container loads, working in the boardrooms of banks, and becoming Governor of Anambra State, of course, which are activities that LP Presidential candidate have been involved in, can the depth of his experience be as deep as that of the PDP Presidential candidate?

Atiku Abubakar has been a civil servant, rising to the top of his career, a businessman and trader, a grassroots political mobiliser, with vast experience in gathering political like minds in forming political associations that have culminated into political parties; a man that has contested elections and sponsored political wards into various elective offices at the Local Government, State Assemblies, and National Assembly levels, and one that has served as Vice President following a democratic election and served in that capacity for eight years.

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Now, between these two experiences, Obi’s and Atiku’s, it can at least be seen and understood that one has more and better experience than the other. This is the “Deep Experience” that the PDP Vice Presidential candidate is referring to. He didn’t intend it to be seen as a pun, but as a statement of fact that is in the public space and that can be verified.

And jokes apart, does the LP Presidential candidate have the type of “Deep Experience” that the PDP Presidential candidate has in the matter of politics, political engagements, and running of government? The clear answer is a capital NO, whether the so-called ‘Obidients’ want to accept it or not.

Of course, let the point be clear that the art of politics is not about the display of emotions, especially when push has come to shove in the build-up to the 2023 political contest. This is where the masters showcase their dexterity by reaching out to their arsenals to hit at their opponent’s weaknesses and making such points known to prospective voters to aid their thoughts and consideration in making a final choice of the candidate to vote for.

It is against this background that MSD describes as crass, the emotions displayed by the OBIdient supporter, Mr. John Akugbe’s irritable attack on PDP’s Vice Presidential candidate. The attack is misguided, uncalled for, and sentimental.

It is this maudlin disposition that would lead the OBIdient supporter to lose his good senses and become degenerate in calling his fellow Deltans who are lucky to be taken away from the labour market as the “hiring of thousands of useless and needless men all over Delta State as SAs, SSAs, EAs, and party thugs.” It is infantile to describe graduates and very responsible citizens with families, as “useless”, “needless men” and thugs.”

It’s absurdly ridiculous to hear a Deltan describing fellow Deltans in such terrible language simply because they are among the select number that the Governor created employment opportunities for to earn a living in this harsh economic season. Truth is, all of the officers as SAs, SSAs, and EAs have contributed in one way or the other to Governor Okowa’s victories and successes are much more responsible citizens of the Ika nation and Delta State than this OBIdient.

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The man who claims to have been born in the same village where Governor Okowa comes from, was honest enough, at least, to admit that “I am doing this simply because of my patriotism and OBIdience as the situation in Nigeria has demanded of us.” Does this not mean that by his OBIdience, he is serving Peter Obi’s political interest and ambition?

If this is true, why is he castigating Governor Okowa for emerging as a Vice Presidential candidate to Atiku Abubakar? If he is one truly born in the same village with Governor Okowa, and can be OBIdient, what does he think is wrong for his kinsman, Okowa to be ATIKULATED? You are OBIdient and Okowa is ATIKULATED. Everyone has a freedom of choice.

John Akugbe will latch on to anything in his desperate bid to hit at Okowa, including using the hackneyed alleged borrowing of =N=150 billion, which the State government has explained times without number, that it is not a fresh loan but the expected release of funds due to be paid to the State government by the Federal Government. And that the said money is to be taken to offset payments to contractors being owed by the State government, while the government will pay back as the Federal Government makes its releases to the State.

But of course, the explanation will not make any meaning to the OBIdient supporter, who is full of sarcasm and unbelief in his State government. He has become entrapped by his political bias, just like his cohorts.

The OBIdient man asked: “My dear Governor Okowa, how much Delta money did you spend in Abuja while lobbying to become a tool to Atiku as his running mate?” At least everyone knows that the LP Presidential candidate was a member of PDP and not a foundation member of LP. But how did he suddenly become the LP Presidential candidate when there were persons in the party already angling to be Presidential candidate before Peter Obi?

In fact we know for a fact that Mr. Peter Obi first spent =N=40 million naira to buy PDP Presidential nomination form, before spending another whooping =N=30 million naira to buy Labour Party Presidential form. That alone is N70 million naira and when you include all the add-ons and settlements to people who had already bought forms to step down for him and how much he must have used to lobby and settle Labour Party officials with, especially given the manner they all quickly agreed to play ball in a Country like Nigeria and also lavishly mobilized and organized the kangaroo convention in Asaba where he emerged as the party’s Presidential candidate, then we must be looking at a figure of over =N=300 million for starters.

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Okowa on the other hand did not spend any fixed constitutional amount to be selected as Vice Presidential Candidate of the PDP and that is a fact because there is no law that compels Vice Presidential Candidates to buy nomination forms.

So, when hypocrites in the likes of John Akugbe and other Obidients go to town with their useless and deceitful slogan ‘Obi no dey spend shi shi’ and raise spurious allegations of how other candidates spend money and lobby, we must remind them to first remove the huge log of hypocrisy and corruption from their own eyes before looking for the moth in other candidates eyes.

On the growing cliché about betrayal, how do you convince a political greenhorn, displaying self-indulgent emotion on account of his bias against Okowa, to understand that political parties do as it pleases their fancy and interest, and that no individual person has control over the mind of a party. So, how could Okowa rail against the decision of his political party which threw the party’s Presidential primary contest open instead of zoning it to a section of the country? This OBIdient man has not learned anything about party supremacy and in fact, Okowa should be commended for being a good party man, and loyalist.

Besides, the Vice Presidential candidate has stated that he did not express interest in contesting for the Presidential election because he was not led by God to contest and that he was not going to go into what he did not prepare himself for. So, the betrayal thing is the figment of the imagination of mischief makers who are attacking the Vice Presidential Candidate.

The thing to tell John Akugbe and his co-travelers in the penchant of throwing tantrums and diatribes at Okowa just to discredit his person and paint him black, is that Senator, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa, the Governor of Delta State and Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP is a man blessed by God and MSD stands on the authority of God’s word in Numbers 23:8, that “it is futile to want to curse he who God has blessed.”

That, as we have always declared, is the SIMPLE Agenda


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