– The Sun News

When a press secretary’s brain snaps

Levi Obijiofor

Simon Ebegbulem, who describes himself as the chief press secretary to Adams Oshiomhole, read my article that was published in The Sun last Tuesday, July 31, 2018, and he went berserk. The article was a critical analysis of Oshiomhole’s inappropriate behaviour and constant use of offensive language against other people. After reading my article, Ebegbulem’s eyes popped with anger. His face was contorted. He jumped around hysterically in his office. In that moment of madness, he decided thoughtlessly that he would respond to my article.

READ ALSO: Oshiomhole and Ngige: Not about contestation or supremacy battle

Anger, particularly fury without rationale, has a way of twisting a press secretary’s intelligence, including his capacity to communicate effectively. Less than 24 hours after the publication of my article, Ebegbulem rushed to the editors of The Sun his awfully articulated defence of Oshiomhole, which was published last Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

Ebegbulem was furious because I dared to expose the character flaws of the man he adores and serves, the same man he regards as his pin-up political mentor. In his twisted reaction to my article, he deployed every abusive word he could find in his dictionary of insults. Today, I am returning Ebegbulem’s serve with clarity and level-headedness but in a robust manner.

When I wrote the article, titled “Oshiomhole meets his match,” I was mindful that a character such as Ebegbulem might rush a jaded reaction without attempting to understand or engage rationally with the key issues highlighted in the article. His hasty response proved me right.

Simon Ebegbulem is embedded in political jobbery. In this political season, when charlatans make themselves available to politicians for hire, Ebegbulem presented a fanciful but sham defence of his boss. In doing so, he attempted to sully the image of a columnist whose track record he can never match. His life is defined by a high degree of bitterness and misery. He is so blinkered in his uncritical support of, and fawning adulation for, Oshiomhole, his political hero, that he is willing to jump into a canyon in order to gratify his boss. I can understand Ebegbulem’s rage. In his sleazy world, criticisms of his political tin god, Oshiomhole, constitute an unwarranted attack on his own source of livelihood.

READ ALSO: Delta APC leaders dare Oshiomhole, reject Erue as party chair

By responding hurriedly to an article he clearly did not understand and by moving swiftly to write a reaction that was largely incomprehensible when he was still writhing in pains over the contents of the article, Ebegbulem exposed his inadequacies as a press secretary. The position of chief press secretary should never be occupied by anyone incapable of reasoning in a logical way, or someone who is intellectually challenged. Ebegbulem prepared and presented to the public his half-baked ideas and expected readers to consume them. Like a meal half done, his arguments tasted horrid.

After reading Ebegbulem’s diatribe, I asked myself repeatedly whether I should dignify the man with a response. In the end, I resolved that a vigorous response would be appropriate. My decision to respond to Ebegbulem is in recognition of the words of South African legend, Nelson Mandela, who said: “Fools multiply when wise men are silent.”

The lack of preparation in Ebegbulem’s article was obvious. In his article that was dressed in poor logic and inaccuracies, he spelt my surname incorrectly seven times. The first error appeared in the very first sentence of his essay. There are various ways to detect intellectual deformity. Misspelling someone’s names is one of them.

I am not surprised by the numerous gaffes in Ebegbulem’s article. We live in an environment in which people are politically appointed into positions they are not qualified to hold. Nowhere in his article did

Ebegbulem refute or invalidate the specific examples I cited of instances in which Oshiomhole behaved like a bully. Rather than engage in informed debate, he threw insults haphazardly. That is the hallmark of a vacuous man, a man who cannot reason.

Ebegbulem wants us to believe that the open confrontation between Oshiomhole and Chris Ngige, a war of words in which Oshiomhole threatened publicly to sack a minister appointed by the President, was not a confrontation. He should take that to the dogs. Oshiomhole stated categorically and openly that, if Ngige refused to obey the ultimatum to reconstitute the boards of four agencies in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, he (Oshiomhole) would get the minister thrown out of the party. He gave the minister seven days to comply. Ngige responded that Oshiomhole lacked the power to sack him from the party that he (Ngige) helped to establish. If these exchanges did not constitute evidence of confrontation or contest for power, someone needs to tell me the meanings of those words.

READ ALSO: Ngige dares Oshiomhole: I’m not afraid of expulsion

Through flawed and twisted argument, Ebegbulem portrayed the audience as gullible people who lacked the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and between right and wrong behaviour. He must be deluded. Ordinary citizens are indeed more discerning and more sophisticated than he assumed.

Ebegbulem engaged in semantic argument when he said that when Oshiomhole used the words “We will suspend …” against Ngige, it was the party speaking rather than Oshiomhole. The folly in that view is that Oshiomhole is the APC chair. He made the statement implying he would carry out the order. When Oshiomhole threatened to sack Ngige, he meant that he (Oshiomhole) would do so. It was also Oshiomhole who thundered that if President Muhammadu Buhari would condone disrespect from his own ministers, he (Oshiomhole) would not tolerate it.

In his puny defence of Oshiomhole’s character flaws, Ebegbulem stated that: “You can accuse Comrade Oshiomhole of being too vocal. You can accuse him of being too assertive. You can even accuse him of not suffering fools gladly, but not arrogance.”

Assertiveness, Simon Ebegbulem, is not the same thing as heaping abuses on people, using offensive language, being indecorous, and yelling unnecessarily at other people in the manner that Oshiomhole did and is still doing. Oshiomhole cannot be assertive when he throws offensive remarks at people he does not like, and when he makes blanket allegations against people without presenting one shred of evidence to support his outrageous claims.

It is obvious that Ebegbulem was brought up in an environment in which the abnormal is deemed normal, an environment in which corruption is an approved way of doing business, and an environment in which his display of bad manners is celebrated by his petty-minded contemporaries because he cannot produce anything of substance other than the servile protection of his boss whose adoration he sings in the public domain.

Ebegbulem likes to live in the glamour of the office he occupies, forgetting that in politics, nothing lasts forever. In life, political positions or offices are transient. Ebegbulem can never see anything iniquitous in the public behaviour of the man he serves. A man who dances naked in a marketplace to the applause of deranged onlookers must be a jester.

When Ebegbulem insinuated that I must have been paid to criticise Oshiomhole, I knew he had exhausted his bag of insults. A disreputable press secretary must never assume that everyone is as immoral as he is.


About author

Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

Writer and editor.

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