A comparison of the spokesmen of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Muhammed in different roles is like cattle calling pot black; writes Okechukwu Jombo
Before now, the name Lai Muhammed was synonymous with the voice of the opposition; every time he spoke the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, would vibrate. He carried on so well that he became a thong in the flesh of government, poking his face into almost every issue. Most times people feared that he might be killed or harmed but nothing happened to him till that era passed and his party won the election and his voice changed.
He is now defending President Mohammedu Buhari’s government and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, turning over the baton to Chief Olisa Metuh who is now the voice of the opposing.
The question now is whether Metuh is doing a good job of speaking for the opposition; will he be able to keep the government on its toe like Muhammed did?
Maybe that was why Muhammed offered to take Metuh on a free six-week crash course on his new role as the opposition spokesman.
Reacting to an allegation by Mr. Metuh that the APC had been working to destabilice the PDP, the party said in a statement by Mohammed in Abuja that during the training, Mr. Metuh would be given free lessons by his APC counterpart in the spirit of cooperation and for the advancement of the nation’s democracy.
“Metuh will need the training to effectively carry out his new, tough task. It is now obvious that he needs to understand that for him to succeed in his new role, he must be credible, empirical, more sophisticated in language use and very passionate, in addition to being able to operate on a lean or zero budget,” it said.
To this offer by the APC, Metuh replied saying the incessant and unnecessary attacks on his person was targeted at cowing him out of his statutory function as the mouthpiece of the opposition party.
He restated unequivocally that he is not deterred, as he is now, more than ever before, determined to ensure that PDP provides robust and credible opposition, which is inevitable to further grow the nation’s democracy, adding that ‘’a credible intelligence information available to us has shown that apart from instigating some unsuspecting persons within our party to peddle lies and insults against Chief Metuh, there is a well-coordinated assault by anti-PDP forces who have engaged heavily paid consultants masquerading as writers and columnists, in addition to social media hirelings, some of who use pseudonyms to attack him for daring to speak out against the undemocratic actions and tendencies of the All Progressives Congress-led administration.’’
Insisting that While he is fully aware of the challenges that come with his new role of providing firm, issue-based opposition, Metuh decried the resort to “dirty politics by the anti-PDP forces, instead of focusing on the issues,” as not only shameful but also a despicable act of cowardice.
Lai Mohammed, who has been referred to as “lying Lai Mohammed” and “Liar Mohammed,” by several political commentators, fancies himself a mass communication specialist. And perhaps, if the evidences of his manipulation of truths are anything to go by, his mass communication expertise must have been acquired from parodying the antics of Josef Goebbels, the notorious propagandist of Germany’s Nazi era.
While Mohammed was speaking for the opposition he ventured into so many issues that almost got him into trouble; but he never minded he threw basic decorum to the winds all in an attempt to “reclaim” for the APC what he perceived as a stolen credit over the successful containment of the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in Nigeria. And yet in the same breath that he impugns former President Goodluck Jonathan for supposedly assuming credit for the containment of the EVD in the country, the same Mohammed went on to say: “We will also like to give credit to the former Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu.”
The question was: did Mohammed forget that Prof. Chukwu was a cabinet-level appointee who served at the pleasure of President Jonathan, or was it another case of the man just being the usual “Liar Mohammed?” But again, perversion of truths and manipulation of facts were hallmarks of Goebbels brand of mass communication, and it is clear that Lai Mohammed had clearly adopted these deviant practices.
It is also beyond the pale to see Lai Mohammed attempt to posthumously make the late Dr. Stella Adadevoh a member of the APC through Goebbelsian extrapolation and sheer evil machination. Dr. Adadevoh most unfortunately lost her life in the fight against Ebola and it is the height of irresponsibility for Lai Mohammed to drag her into his mudslinging politics rather than allow her family to grieve in peace.
Strangely, that the states where the EVD struck are controlled by the APC seems to be a fact that fills Mohammed with glee. His reasoning seems to be that President Jonathan’s directive to Prof. Chukwu to lead the federal government’s response to the virus has nothing whatsoever to do with Jonathan’s leadership, simply because he was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. This sort of defective reasoning must be what informed the same Lai Mohammed to recently rail against the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Excess Crude Account, a faux pas of monumental proportions.
Since Lai Mohammed is all about the cheap political sound bite devoid of sound reasoning, it is important to slay the imaginary demons he is fighting where the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Excess Crude Accounts are concerned. Bloomberg, the international financial news outlet, recently reported that: “Foreign investors closely monitor the Excess Crude Account, which has helped attract high portfolio flows to Nigeria in the past two years.” And Lai Mohammed should know that Nigerians closely monitor the Sovereign Wealth Fund as an indicator of how well the government of the day is preparing for future generations.
Of course, it is not as if Lai Mohammed was not aware of these facts. His grouse was simply because, instead of his beloved APC, the Jonathan-led PDP administration was the one that initiated the Sovereign Wealth Fund with three sub funds; the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund; the Future Generations Fund and the Stabilization Fund as its pillars. Lai Mohammed would have been pleased if these people-oriented initiatives were carried out by the APC, but since it was done by the PDP it must be condemned despite the benefits to the Nigerian people. What a crying shame!
For Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government, when it was formed by the PDP, must be saddled with the blame for any unfortunate happenings in the country, including those in APC states like the Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged Borno and parts of Yobe and Adamawa states. However, if any success is recorded anywhere, only the APC deserves to take credit since, in Lai Mohammed’s Goebbelsian logic, it is the only flawless entity in Nigeria. This is what makes Lai Mohammed a mock man, for the truth, as every discerning Nigerian knows, is far more complex; and real men accept their fallibility rather than glory in self-delusional infallibility.
Like the perverted medical specialist in Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialists, Lai Mohammed would like nothing more than to imprison and torture former President Jonathan with his version of events, however far-fetched or wrongheaded they may be. And while Jonathan maybe hampered by the decorum of his office to tell Lai Mohammed what he may do with himself and his pack of lies, those of us who are not similarly constrained have no problem whatsoever telling the Goebbelsian mass communication specialist to give up his needless mudslinging and seek help from a mentally-balanced medical specialist.
So he doesn’t have any moral right to call Metuh names now that the tide has changed Metuh has not even started .