Keyamo’s costly mistake throwing stones from a glass house By Emmanuel Aziken

It was undoubtedly a very costly mistake on the part of Festus Keyamo, SAN, when last weekend he made comparisons between Seyi Tinubu and the children of Peter Obi, in their capacities for political mobilization.

Basking in the successful turnout for Tinubu in the youth rally organized for him by his son, Seyi, Keyamo rubbed it on Obi that his children were missing in action on the political arena.

It was not only Keyamo that was involved in what was an avoidable mistake in dragging the children into the political arena.

Reno Omokri, the Atiku social media strategist and former pastor who has taken it up as a new ministry in finding faults around Peter Obi also spoke in the same vein.

However, I guess for strategic reasons connected to the deep respect that Obi may have for Atiku that the Labour Party presidential candidate stepped away from firing his response to the Atiku campaign.

As the Seyi Tinubu march for his father’s presidential aspiration ended last Saturday, Keyamo who has otherwise been doing well in the estimation of some as a non-media man in his new job, tweeted a one-week ultimatum to Peter Obi’s children to organize a similar march in Awka.

This is an open challenge to Peter Obi to allow his son hold a similar walk in Awka, Anambra State, where he governed for 8 years within the next one week, especially on a Monday, or throw in the towel!

Indeed, once Keyamo made the challenge, your correspondent knew it was a mistake that was bound to blow up in the face of the APC media manager. And it surely did.

The response of the Obi campaign was undoubtedly the most scathing attack in recent times against Tinubu and surely the most biting response ever from the Obi Campaign to any of the presidential rivals.

The Obi Campaign hit at Tinubu accusing him of monopolizing the wealth of Lagos for himself and family charging that family members without any trace of productive entrerpise were among the richest and most influential in Lagos.

No one needed that mud on Tinubu. It was as such no surprise that the normally reactive Keyamo drew back from responding, at least as he allowed the bomb from the Obi Campaign to pass away.

In its response, the Obi campaign depreciated the hijack of Nigerian governments in recent times by friends and family at the expense of constitutionally appointed personalities.

The Obi campaign did not make mention of any one in the Buhari government. However, most Nigerians know that one of the most reliable ways to get anything from the present administration is through family from Katsina, particularly a famous octogenarian nephew.

Indeed, one of the younger influence peddlers recently honoured with a national award for being a presidential aide, according to some gist, was until the advent of the present government a mobile phone recharge vendor in Daura.

The vicious response from the Obi Campaign accused Tinubu of monoplising the commonwealth of Lagos to himself and family saying that under an Obi administration that family and friends would not have roles to play. Remarkably, as governor, Obi lived by his words as his wife, Margaret and children did not play overt roles in his government.

It is indeed a sad commentary in Nigeria that what ordinarily should be condemned is elevated to acceptability in the context of family intrusion in the affairs of governance.

Indeed, Keyamo recently showcased the vagueness of family in the Tinubu political structure during the recent holiday of the APC presidential candidate in the United Kingdom.

Asked in an interview one night on the whereabouts of his principal, the APC campaign spokesman confessed that he could not give details. The following morning after some more efforts he came to another television show to say that he was able to speak to Seyi that morning who told him that Tinubu was okay and resting!

That narrative brought home the sad role of unelected family actors in the political arena. How the campaign spokesman could say that he could not give the precise location of his principal and only relying on the son is a reminder to the events during the Umaru Yar‘adua years when family and other kinsmen relayed to the citizenry the circumstances of the president.

This correspondent believes that Keyamo erred in going through Seyi to know the circumstances of his principal and even worse, glorifying him despite the absence of a fixed political role in political mobilization.

Indeed, when Obi was asked the similar question on his children some time ago, his response was that his children are doing well in their respective professional endeavours that they don’t have time for him when he passes through London.

The Obi children have left their father to his passion for Nigeria while they develop their own passions in their professional endeavours.

The fact that Seyi Tinubu could be holding court around his father in London would suggest to the discerning that he perhaps may well be a businessman or a political operator around his father unlike Obi’s children who have day jobs that they are fully engaged in.

This often resort by Keyamo and Reno Omokri to tempt Obi’s children from their professional callings into political fixers should not be encouraged. The new Nigeria we are looking for should prioritise competence, character and capacity over other considerations as family ties.

Keyamo apparently knew it and hence he did not respond to the bomb from the Obi Campaign earlier this week. It was a costly mistake throwing stones from a glass house.


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