By Mohammed Adamu

They say that my erstwhile National Concord senior colleague, Sam Omatseye’s harmless titular use of the phonic pun-word ‘Obi-tuary’ was an ominous death-wish on their Labor Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

Plus they had warned that if anything happened to Obi, Omatseye would be held responsible! And I was like: what, in Jove’s name, should we call this scaremongering political intolerance? Do we call it ‘superstitious idiocy’ or ‘idiotic superstition’?

My university linguistics lecturer would aptly have described this malady ‘para-phonic superstition’ -a psychosis triggered by the innocuos play (pun) on word to elicit a political laughter, but which ironically is educing an ominous apprehension of morbidity by the politically intolerant!

If when Obi’s supporters punned on the princely name, ‘Obi’ to create the servile word ‘Obi-dient’ his opponents did not say that was ominous for an obeisance-seeking political dictatorship, why should they resort to superstition when all that their opponents have done is to equally pun on the same name to arrive at a dissimilar homophony: ‘Obi-tuary’?

Why should Obi’s supporters enjoy the right to play pun politics for effects but their opponents should not have the corresponding right to enjoy the same? Or aren’t ‘Obi-dient’ and ‘Obi-tuary’ both homophonic ‘make-believes’ rooted in the metaphorics of ‘poetic license’?

Just like ‘Thief-nubu’, like ‘Boo-hari’, like ‘Atiku-looted’,and like ‘Lie-Mohammed’? But who has ever, publicly, taken offence at or protested the use of these politically pejorative twists of names for political effects? Who has ever threatened fire and brimstone because of these? No one that I know!

You guys have the nerve to live in glass houses and throw rocks at people, but when you are mildly pelted even with ordinary pebbles, you have such a cowardly way of crying wolf that is as amusing as it is disgusting! But you must hear this: you cannot eat your cake and then have it! If you do shege, ‘you will have to see shege’!

There is a rule of evidence in the Law of Evidence which says that you cannot give evidence of an opponent’s ‘bad character’ unless he dares gives evidence of his ‘good character’. Meaning that his ‘bad character’ is not normally an issue unless by brandishing his ‘good character’, he now makes it an issue!

The rationale is that by giving evidence of his ‘good character’ to persuade the judge to rule in his favor, he legitimizes the right of his opponent to equally give evidence of his ‘bad character’ in order to persuade the court not to rule in his favor.

And so in politics, for example, if you dare to make a political issue out of the fact that a certain Vice Presidential candidate, ‘Yusuf’ is ‘Yus-full’, you only legitimize the corresponding right of your political opponents to assert the contrary, namely that he is ‘Yus-fool’ -or that for short, he is ‘Yus-less’!

You have not only called Tinubu ‘Thief-nubu’, you also say that he is a bloodsucking ‘vampire BAT’. And his supporters have not only humorously taken this in their stride, they have even learnt to suck it up by proudly admitting ‘we are Bati-fied’!

For God’s sake when will you bellyaching bigots ever learn to borrow a simple leaf of democratic good behavior even from the victims of your own venomously undemocratic conduct? If you are bold enough to reduce politics to a pun game on ‘name-calling’ you must be bold enough still to stick every jab!

All through political history, effigies of political figures have been burnt publicly as symbol of bitter, even if hateful, rejection of them or of what they stand for.

Mock-coffins too, of political opponents, have often been paraded publicly and they have been mockingly buried too, to symbolize an end to ‘obnoxious’ political reigns or the end of political ideas that they represent. The heavens have never fallen!

Germany’s Angela Merkel had been called Angela Merkin; Italy’s Benito Mussolini had been called ‘Benito Pussilini’; America’s Nancy Pelosi is being called ‘Panty Pelosi’; Paddy Ashdown, a UK MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, on allegation of having an affair with his Secretary, had been called ‘Paddy Pants-down’!

No big deal anywhere! Except in Nigeria, where we have a bunch of democratically uncoachable anarchists who have crudely placed a stranglehold on, and are sworn to take the fun out of, our democracy! Only in Nigeria are the heavens threatening to fall because of an innocuos use of a political pun-joke! It is time we all told these intolerant bigots called ‘Obe-dients’ that they are spoiling our democracy!

How do you wish a person ‘death’ by the use of the word ‘obituary’? I thought that ‘obituaries’ are post-dying matters. They take place after death. To suggest that a thing or a person can be both the subject of ‘obituary’ and the object of an ominous wish for ‘death’ is to say the least, preposterous!

You cannot wish something ‘death’ that is already the subject of ‘obituary’! The allegation that Omatseye was wishing Obi ‘death’ is as tardily ironic as the irony contained in the English saying: ‘after death, the doctor’! Who needs the doctor after death?

And so, if it is any consolation to Obidients, let me say that the use of the term ‘Obi-tuary’ for Peter Obi does not and cannot signify a wish that he dies or a wish that he be killed! No!

As a matter of fact Pita’Obi, perse is not even the object of that metaphoric bite in the homophonic use of the word ‘Obi-tuary’. His candidature is. Or should we say his political ambition to be President!

If you ask me, it is the personification of that ambition that we are saying is dead ab initio (on arrival) and that it is therefore the object of a soon to be political ‘funeral’. Herein lies the reison deter for ‘Obi-tuary’!

But how these – need I remind ‘usually Einstein-brained’- Obi-dients are woefully unable to grasp these rather elementary metaphorics, really beats me!

“O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts; and men have lost their reason”.

This is all that a grieving Marc Anthony, at the ‘funeral’ of his assassinated friend, Caesar, is able to say; namely that ‘judgment’ unfortunately now resides on the whims and caprices of the wicked; and there is no hope for ‘justice’!

And it is in parodic contemplation of Anthony’s lamentation that I say: O literariness! thou art fled to illiterate brains; and men have lost their buffing! Meaning that literary appreciation has now been left to the fickle adumbration of the un-schooled and the un-lettered!

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