Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Obono-Obla’s Current Travails and the Ghost of a Christmas Present —by Simon Utsu


L-R: Malami, Obla and Osinbajo 
Simon Utsu|7 November 2017 

Since the news broke a couple of days back that the Chairman of the Presidential panel on public assets recovery, Barrister Obono-Obla was relieved of his duties in that capacity, the media has been agog with an almost unprecedented inflow of reactions from the public. Asides the fact that I passively shared the story as it broke on my Facebook wall and got a deluge of negative (celebrating the fate that befell Obla) reactions, I still went to the comment section of national dailies like Vanguard and Tribune and what I saw was even worse.

The outpouring of anti-Obla reactions was alarming. Hitherto, I wasn't even aware that he irked that many Nigerians such that, what befell him was seen as some form of national respite; I now know better. Personally, I'm indifferent about his predicament. I'm not going to engage in any form of eye-service, appealing to people not to react how they best want to in times like this, that doesn't mean I would join the bandwagon in making fun of him even though I reserve the rights to do so because I remember advising Barrister Obla on a number of occasions in the past against his style and conduct. I clearly remember how about a year ago, a number of Cross Riverians including my humble self, pleaded with him not to go on air and speak against the appointment of the current Chief Justice as he was already doing on his social media platform —an appeal that he declined honouring. I can also remember talking to him severally about carrying Cross Riverians along, another request he vehemently brushed aside and even rubbished. Ordinarily, based on such antecedents and a couple of other unpleasant altercations I've had with him in the past, I would have been super delighted at his current travails but I insist that I'm indifferent. I also use this opportunity to call on Cross Riverians not to join others in celebrating the struggles and travails of their own.

Granted, he may not have been our best rep out there but like the proverbial pickin wey no fine, him Mama still like am. Whether Cross Riverians want to admit it or not, his emergence at the centre has been of benefit to a number of our people —even if he hasn't carried as many people as expected along, I believe he has carried a handful and still has the capacity to do more especially if he gets another chance and turns a new leaf afterwards.

His current predicament reminds me of the plot of ‎Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" classic and I can draw a striking similarity between ‎the protagonist here and the lead character in that novel. Ebenezer Scrooge was a grumpy and quite unpleasant fellow who cared less about how his actions and/or inactions affected or hurt others. On a particular Christmas season, Scrooge was visited by three Ghosts; the ghosts of a Christmas past, present and future who showed him things in the past, present and the future. Scrooge was shown some very graphic details of events (past, present and future) that happened around him, some which he was privy to and some others which he wasn't.

Specifically, the "ghost of a Christmas Present" showed him a vision of the few family people he called his loved ones, saying the vilest things about his personality and even wishing he was taken away from them —that particular vision really scared Scrooge. The angelic Christmas visitation was the turning point for Ebenezer Scrooge as he went ahead and turned a new leaf and became a much better and loved person afterwards.

I just hope Chief Obla would use this moment and do some sober reflection- he shouldn't take the plethora of negative opinion in bad fate —instead, like the proverbial Ebenezer Scrooge, he should do some introspection and turn a new leaf this season.

I wish him the very best.

Simon Utsu
Is a Social Commentator 



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