It is imperative to this author that this piece is viewed accurately as an attempt to provide insights into his perception of Captain Hosa Okunbo’s character and personality, rather than a self-serving agenda. Besides, it must be recognized that the author is neither his mouthpiece, nor a hired gun on an image laundering mission on his behalf. However, the author takes full responsibility for, and fully accepts any potential backlash that might follow from the position and views expressed hereunder.
Captain’s recent “Open Letter to The President………” generated mixed sentiments across Edo state. Having personally read the letter over and over again, I have come to better understand the deep anger and frustration expressed by the respected and usually charismatic Captain, in the letter. Indeed, such action would seem out of character for Captain Hosa who prefers to keep his personal affairs out of the media and public glare. However, both social and traditional media have recently been awash with attacks and innuendos about the person and businesses of this illustrious son of Bini and Edo State. My candid opinion is that no sane person could have expected a different reaction from him in the light of the flurry of attacks that he was having to endure on a daily basis, simply for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right to support any candidate of his choice. Surely, God knows and appreciates Captain’s good deeds and intentions even if humans pretend and feign ignorance.
With real and imagined supporters of the respective key actors being singled out for character attacks and abuse, Capt. Hosa has come out as the biggest casualty and collateral damage amongst the “non-key political actors” in the mudslinging that presently characterizes Edo state polity. Captain Hosa is considered, here, a “non-key political actor” for the known fact that he willingly passed up the opportunity to become Governor of the “Heartbeat state” of the nation – something that must be a record in Nigeria. However, it must be said that refusing to be an active player in politics does not make him apolitical, hence he is at liberty to develop sympathy for any candidate in any election or electioneering process, as enshrined in the constitution of this Federal Republic. So, it is hard to see how that constitutes an action to attract angst and assaults on his person, character and integrity. What is intriguing is that those who are allegedly vexed by Captain’s perceived body language in the current battle to capture the Edo Government House were themselves beneficiaries of Captain’s political support and goodwill in the past. What an irony!?
Sadly, though, these attacks and associated innuendos, smack of mischief and an intent to malign the highly and internationally respected Captain. This is so because the allegations on which the attacks are based are not only spurious (given that they are mostly unproven), they are also as slanderous as they are malicious. The social media space, given its huge potential for publicity mileage, has not helped matters. Uninformed “internet warriors” have become willing tools and agents in the hands of political actors, intent on damaging the hard-earned image and reputation of others. To paraphrase the words of late General Sanni Abacha, the nature of the campaign against Captain Hosa have been evil in machinations, ruthless in execution and sadistic in expectations, as the attacks/ campaign, no doubt, were designed with intent to cause maximum injury to the man’s reputation and business interests.
A browse of the internet reveals, inter alia, Capt. Hosa as the recipient of the 2012 “Africa Titans” Award of the United States Congress (in collaboration with the African Society Summit). This, in recognition of his “strides on behalf of Africa in the international arena”. Also, he was in 2014 recognized by the late Oba Erediauwa I for being a worthy son of the ancient Bini Kingdom. So, any action that impugns the person and reputation of Capt. Hosa is an attempt to insult the wisdom of the highly revered late Monarch and the entire Bini kingdom by association. Likewise, the recognition by the US Congress is confirmation that Captain Hosa is not overtly or covertly associated in any form of criminality, be it presently or in the past. The extensive intelligence resources available to Congress would have picked up any such probability during the award vetting process, which no doubt would have scuttled the chances of Captain receiving the coveted award. Indeed, there are many highly placed Nigerians, today, who would not venture outside the shores of Nigeria because there are outstanding extradition requests and arrest warrants on them for various forms of international crimes. Surely, Captain Hosa does not fall in this category given that he goes about the world freely and without any Let, whatsoever.
It must be said that Capt. Hosa reserves the right to defend his name and brand however he deems necessary, within the provisions of the law. Hence, the aptness of his open letter to Mr. President. The authors and perpetrators of the campaign against Captain will do well to learn not to hide under the cover and anonymity of the internet and proxies to peddle half-truths and outright falsehoods to malign a brand that has taken decades to build and nurture. Capt. Hosa is a businessman of international repute and ought to be seen as a source of pride to the Bini Kingdom, Edo state and the larger Nigeria and Africa. His brand speaks for itself, as according to Williams Shakespeare, “there is no need sensationalizing the truth, ‘cos the truth isn’t disguised”.
Finally, it is hoped that this piece serves as an awakening to Nigerian politicians across board, to learn to focus their politics on issues, as opposed to mudslinging, and character and integrity assassination of perceived opponents and enemies.
Ushomoh IBRAHIM writes out of Calgary, Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.