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Between Pius Adesanmi and David Mark

By Manni Ochugboju on 10/12/2015

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When Professor Pius Adesanmi wrote his caustic caricature of Senator David Mark – “We are all Otukpo”, it was not intended to enrich the genre of satire. On the contrary, it was intended to impoverish it. It is a misuse or abuse of satire. It is a sleight of hand, a dubious political hatchet job dressed up in a grotesque apparel of satire. Adesanmi’s piece is in essence, a lurid tabloid, gutter journalistic misrepresentation, devised to defame Senator David Mark and the entire good people of Idoma land.

By Adesanmi spewing innuendos and malicious falsehood in a rabid scatter bullet style, his seemingly funny jokes transformed him in our view into a despicable hireling. Like a puppet or court jester that he has become, one wonders, who is paying Professor Pius the piper, for such an intellectually dishonest hatchet job?

As the saying goes in Nigeria, when a handshake extends beyond the elbow, without consent, it takes on the appearance of assault and battery. We do not go throwing stones on our neighbour’s roof, and do not expect pebbles in return. Taking potshots at Senator David Mark as former Senate President, fairly or unfairly is one thing. However, when Adesanmi begins to deliberately piss on the entire Idoma people of Nigeria, he should be stoutly rebuked, and reminded that such provocative conduct is unacceptable in the century. 

Professor Adesanmi’s “We are all Otukpo” we maintain is not a satire. It is a vitriolic political polemic full of misinformation and vituperation. It is that generalised insult, perhaps motivated by petty tribal jingoism, or misguided political allegiance, that makes the article so disgusting, disgraceful and defamatory. 

Imagine the grandiose delusion of Professor Adesanmi, claiming that we in Idoma land are still living in the 17th Century, while they from Kogi next door are in the 21st Century. That Kogi compared to Otukpo is Dubai. This is a heart wrenching case of unintelligent snobbery among the wretched of the earth. Kogi is Dubai? Yeah, he was joking, right? Yep, even so, what planet could he come from? Jupiter? Pluto? He is so spaced out he must be on something psychedelic.   

My mum lives in Otukpo, just a stone throw from Senator David Mark’s residence. She authoritatively asserts that all that talk of David Mark distributing rice, yam, fish, etc., is utter nonsense. So, who are we to believe? Professor Adesanmi in far away Ottawa, Canada, who will not read his books, spending all his time on Facebook, or my mum who lives next door to David Mark?

Still on the accusation of promoting “Stomach Infrastructure” which Adesanmi is charging Senator David Mark with. The last time I checked, that lexicon got into Nigerian political praxis from Ekiti State whence it was perfected, by Governor Ayo Fayose. So much so that, one of the finest then incumbent governors Nigeria has ever produced was shockingly defeated in an election, using the “stomach infrastructure” methodology. The defeated governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, (now appointed Minister for Solid Minerals) aptly opined that a “new sociology” has evolved in Ekiti State. But Adesanmi would present this new political sociology as if it is so prevalent in Otukpo, thereby simply advertising his social distance the Idoma people.

The revisionist history of David Mark that the Professor adduces is inaccurate, out of context, and grossly pejorative.  It was not Ibrahim Babangida that first appointed David Mark as a Military Governor. Incidentally, it was President Muhammadu Buhari. The idea of David Mark ever saying telephones are not for the poor remains an interpretation. Nigeria has never pretended operating even a populist regime. We have never had any regime for the poor anyway. Even the article written by Adesanmi is not an advocacy for the poor, per se. I concede I have never read his other writings. But this thrash on Otukpo is surely not an advocacy for the poor. Professor Adesanmi sounds like a petty bourgeois rascal, mocking, even insulting, the poor people of Otukpo. So let’s cut that histrionical crap about anyone saying anything is not for the poor. 

Still on Adesanmi’s historical revisionism. Knowing the character of the hitherto primitive political system we had in Nigeria between 1999 and 2015 and how President Olusegun Obasanjo fabricated PDP’s formative structure according to his own image, it is balderdash to say David Mark “further spoilt Nigeria’s bad name” for supposedly not winning any election that brought him to the Senate. Which political party did not engage in election rigging in that era? Which one? Making David Mark carry the can for the collective failure of leadership of that era is mendacious.

Audi Alterem Partem is an enduring legal principle that journalists understand as being fair and balanced in letting the other side be heard. Following the recent nullification of Senator David Mark’s election by a Makurdi Appeal Tribunal on the premise that the result of the Benue South senatorial district election was announced while the collation of the result was still on-going, Professor Latif Tiamiyu, the Returning Officer in that election, faulted the ruling and submitted that the former Senate President won the election. “I have integrity to protect and I am ready to defend it at any time. The election was peacefully conducted on March 28, we started collation through March 29th and 30th when the result was declared”, Professor Tiamiyu stated. Professor Tiamiyu contended that the claim of the tribunal that the result was declared while collation was still on is a fabrication, untrue and unfounded. But our Professor from Kogi would only present a one sided, dubious argument, that is neither fair, true or balanced.

Senator David Mark has a thousand well informed and capable people to hold brief for him. I am sure they will respond to Adesanmi in due course. But hey, if the man says he has done enough for his people, perhaps it is on comparative basis. Who the heck is Adesanmi to come tell us in Idoma land whether our Senator has performed well as a legislator, or not? It is dubious when you see a stranger weeping more than the bereaved. He may be shedding crocodile tears. What is Senator Dino Melaye doing for Adesanmi’s “primitive Kogi” as he calls it? What did Senator Smart Adeyemi do for Adesanmi’s “primitive Kogi” that David Mark has not done a thousand times more for his Idoma people? It is an awkward dilemma to be perceived as adducing a race to the abyss argument. Neither do I wish to dabble into the illogically counter productive debate of which Senator is worse than the other. I do not see anything I gain by asserting that Kogi’s Senators are terribly worse than our own from Otukpo.

You were there arrogantly pontificating about how David Mark allegedly commits electoral “crime” and is not punished. And you are simultaneously committing the offence of defamation by calling him a psychopath, knowing that as a privileged academic, you will get away unpunished. That is living in a glass house but throwing stones. It is dishonourable to deny the devil his due. Some Idoma, including myself, may have their misgivings with David Mark. And for the record, I am one of his critics when we are having our Idoma family conversations. But, having one pompous Professor coming to unfairly attack him and having the effrontery to insult the entire Idoma people is an outrage. For which we will not turn the other cheek.

All that patronising pontificating of Professor Adesanmi, alleging that David Mark committed electoral crimes, and was never punished for it, etc., and of a “society run as an enterprise of crime without punishment” rightly speaks to the perverse prevailing culture of impunity. Which, as we have shown, is a perversity even Adesanmi himself exploits. Thus, it was never a mischief peculiar to David Mark. Which Senator from Kogi or Kwara, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos or anywhere can Adesanmi absolve of impunity? Also, I would have appreciated it more, if the context was elaborated to include the fact that the last Attorney General of the Federation, was from Adesanmi’s Kogi. And, for goodness sake, denying Senator David Mark the presumption of innocence in itself is uncivilised.  

Hear Professor Adesanmi, “Nobody in Otukpo is happy with David Mark. They are mad at him, going by the responses that I read”. Hello? Now I can’t help laughing out loud. This is Political Science gone bonkers. This Professor researches how the “social media” affects the materiality of literature and culture. Yet, he could not clinically detach himself from the “responses” he reads on Facebook about how “nobody in Otukpo is happy with David Mark”. Oh yeah? That’s loony. Stretching sarcasm into malicious falsehood is lunacy. See why I keep wondering what planet this Professor is from?

To add salt to injury, our politically ill-informed Professor claims that we in Otukpo are angry because “[we] are wondering why all the stomach infrastructure that David Mark is now distributing was hoarded and not fully distributed in the first election”. I repeat, this is defamatory and despicable. Why does this Professor have to insult the entire Idoma people, just because he wants to take a cheap potshot at David Mark? Is he so intellectually lazy? Has he become so wishy washy, biased, jaundiced, a mirror image of the subjects he researches on social media? We are all Otukpo, is a dastardly troll, a pernicious, poisonous, political pamphlet, from a pompous, pugnacious Professor.

Professor Adesanmi’s parents are known to be retired school principals in the “old colonial mould”. And his upbringing was supposedly “Spartan and thorough”. His father is reputed to be a very stern, and disciplined principal of his school, St Augustine’s College, Kabba, Kogi State. Who encouraged brutal corporal punishment. If he were still around today, I am sure he will lampoon his son for unfairly insulting the good people of Idoma. He may even get some spanking from his old man. Naughty, naughty, naughty boy!!

•Manni Ochugboju is a lawywe at Ochugboju & Co, Abuja. Photo shows Prof. Adesanmi.

Source News Express

Posted 10/12/2015 01:02:08 AM





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