2023: Tinubu’s ally, Sam Omatseye under fire over ‘Obi-tuary’ article
Sam Omatseye, chairman of The Nation Newspaper’s editorial board, has come under intense criticism from Nigerians over an article targeted at Mr. Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party, and an opponent of his principal, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 presidential election.
Omatseye in the article titled “Obi-tuary,” which many have described as ‘excrement,’ and a ‘bad attempt at ethnic dog whistle,’ tried to link the Labour Party presidential candidate to the agitation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), even though the separatist group has continuously distanced itself from his presidential ambition.
In the article, published on the back page of Monday, August 1 edition of The Nation, a platform published by Vintage Press Limited, owned by Bola Tinubu, Omatseye argued without evidence, that those agitators for Biafra have gone quiet because they are now supporting Mr. Obi.
He wrote, “The Biafran babblers are alive and well. They just swapped icons, rechristened the shrines and rewrote the rites. They left the prophet for a secular priest. They have had a switch of battle gear.
“Maybe it is not quiet. We can hear and feel the cacophony. The chants and caterwauling are everywhere, especially on the phones. The Twitter bees, the Instagram grimes, the Facebook freaks. They are alive and well, but they have not been at war at the side of their icon, who is griping in detention.
“It’s farewell Kanu. Welcome Obi, at least until the new priest peters out. They are at his worship. They embrace it because it does not, for the first time in years, feel like they are outside the mainstream. They are not falling foul of the law, not howling from the fringes. They have Peter Obi as their man. He is mainstream. He belongs, not to the MASSOB, or Kanu’s assembly called IPOB. They can say they have a legitimate tribe and rhetoric. They may pretend to love Nigeria. They may claim to embrace INEC, cling to a political party no one in the police or DSS will harangue.”
Omatseye went on to write, “Obi has turned out to be an excuse for even closet Biafrans to betray open emotions about Biafra without being accused of it… It is like wearing a colour beneath another colour. Obi has become a shelter for both miscreants and activists of the crowd.”
Many have taken umbrage at the attempt to link Obi, former governor of Anambra State to Biafra agitation simply for the fact of him being from the South East geopolitical zone.
Mr. Obi, whose campaign has been mostly issue based, is winning the support of many, especially young Nigerians who see him as the ideal person to lead the country at this critical moment, a situation that has apparently made the Tinubu camp uncomfortable.
Many commentators have taken to social media to express disgust at the arguments advanced by Omatseye, with some labelling him a “disgrace” to the journalism profession.
Reacting to the piece, Chris O. Ògúnmọ́dẹdé, @Illustrious_Cee, said, “this is a disgraceful piece that’s purely ethnic baiting without any hint of subtlety. It’s one thing to oppose Peter Obi’s candidacy for whatever, but this consistent effort to smear him (and Igbo folks by extension) with the “Biafra” tag is repulsive and condemnable.”
On his part, Editi Effiòng, @EditiEffiong wrote, “In which @samomatseye comes out of the closet as a rabid ethic warrior, a formless piece of ruminant excrement.”
Also commenting, Onye Nkuzi @cchukudebelu wondered, “You no dey shame? You wrote beautifully during the 1990s, and it appeared you had genuine convictions then. Aren’t there more dignified ways to earn your daily bread?”
Toyin @toyinjaz, on his part, said “The clown basically rehashed all the failed talking points that jagabandits/Segalink and co have touted on here. But I guess this is targeted at offline readers. They are hoping ppl will be so gullible. Una go cry blood next year
Equally condemning the article, Iyanda Okin @IyandaOkinEsq, said, “This is utterly despicable, stupid and shameful from Omatseye!”
Similarly, Bankole Ajewole, @WoleBanks, said, “It’s clear you have done many good things in your career, but see how you chose to end it all. What do you think you will be remembered for now?”.
NEFERTITI, @firstladyship, on her part, wrote, “Sam Omatseye is one of the journalists & old foxes making a mess & a mockery of the profession in Nigeria. @samomatseye is one of Tinubu’s brown envelop journalists, & a tribal bigot. What he does is no journalism but incitement & ethnic dog whistling. HE IS NO JOURNALIST
“Sam was bankrolled by BAT in 2012 & 2015 to instigate the same tribal wars & bigotry against Goodluck Jonathan. Tinubu & his men will set Nigeria on fire. Sam has come full circle with hate for Peter Obi. But he is not alone. He is now the bottom of the barrel. THERE’S MORE
“His failed attempt to link Peter Obi to IPOB, is the last breathe of dying old foxes. Sam & others like himself will be retired next year. Journalism in Nigeria must be sanitized, the bad eggs weeded out. Agent provocateurs like him will find themselves alone, broke, dejected.
“It is time for every South Westerner, especially the elites in the SW, rise now & condemn Sam Omatseye. Call him to order before it’s too late. SegaLink played the same tribal card & failed. Nigerians know better now, we will fall into their hogwash & subterfuge no more.
“If Tinubu have anything positive to campaign with, by all means, bring them out. If you guys want to muddy the already murky waters with more violence, then BRING IT ON. I have firepower, enough to scatter your whole campaigns. 2023 is no 2015, WE ARE READY FOR YOU GUYS!!”
Dash™, @147_dash on his part, said, “Just see what Sam Omatseye has turned into. It’s such a shame. FYI The Nation Newspaper is owned by BAT so don’t expect any truth from that side.”
Also commenting, Eniola Daniel @UnlimitedEniola, “How can a veteran like Sam Omatseye use the back page of a national newspaper like the Nation to write something so polarising like this? Comparing Peter Obi to IPOB, calling his supporters Obituary, is wrong. Time will tell who belongs to the caterwauling group. 2023 will tell.”
On his part, Henry Shield, @henryshield, “People like Sam Omatseye don’t mind a dollar exchanging for N2000. They don’t mind a liter of fuel at N1000. They care only about their stomach. The bastards we ceded the media space to for so long. SHAMELESS cretin!”
Master v★c, @Ekezieukwu, said, “Sam Omatseye is 61yrs. PO is 61yrs old. PO was already a billionaire at 30 sat on several boards of banks and establishments as chairman went on to become a two term Governor of Anambra state now vying for President of Nigeria but Alas! Sam is dancing bongo in the market square.”
BIG JOE OF LAGOS, @JosephOnuorah, wrote, “Sam Omatseye is a complete expired moron. I am 💯 OBIdient and I am neither Obituarist nor do I play ethnic politics. I play DEVELOPMENT politics and PETER OBI is by far the best option in this cycle. How can an old man like this not have common sense.”
Dr Ayo Sogunro, @ayosogunro, on his part, said, “Another slave in the Tinubu maize plantation has revealed himself.”
Solace Chukwu, @TheOddSolace, said, “This is why the uniquely African culture of doing obeisance at the feet of experience has never sat well with me. Does not matter to me how long you have been doing something or how many people you purport to have mentored. Are you, on the most basic of levels, a human being?.
“So you’ve won a thousand awards and a million people have worked with you on the way to building careers for themselves. Aw… Must be nice. Did you pay them for their work though? If you did not, I cannot respect you under any circumstances. I scoff at your experience.”
Osasu Obayiuwana, @osasuo, wrote, “Wow. It’s one thing to support @officialABAT and not @PeterObi. That’s your right. But this is not what a journalist of your experience should write or say, @samomatseye. This is pretty incendiary
Chuks Nwanne, on his part, noted, “I understand that this is season of politics, but this one… I disagree. And coming from a very senior journalist is distasteful. No matter how you coin or spin it, “Obi-tuary” headline with Peter Obi’s photo on the back page of a national newspaper, belonging to his political opponent, is a capital “NO.” Even Asiwaju himself will disagree with this gibberish. No, this is in bad taste biko. Oburo onye kwue key moto ya efue!”.
Godwin Nnamadidun Robinson, noted that, “Be entertained by the stupidity and comic . His boss is desperate. Wait until you see all he has in stock for his opponents. Dark hearts.”
Edmund Chucks wrote, “He has turned to a bunch of disgrace to his noble profession.”
Akin Ayilara said, “His points are baseless. He has run out of point.”
Gbenga Asaba noted, “Very sly character. Every gra-gra will stop soon. Make we dey look.”
The end of chicken is Chop chop ,Sam is ready for the cooking pot