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OPINION: The Affliction of Dele Sobowale

By Ebun Asagbe

I am no medical practitioner, but surely there must be an appropriate term for the malady that ails Dele Sobowale. How did I arrive at this conclusion? Well, anyone who has read his recent articles on the ASUU strike would think the same way. I resorted to my old friend, Google, to see if I could come up with some logical explanation to the inner workings of Sobowale’s clearly wool-infested mind. Alas, I came up with nothing.

This naturally leads me to conclude that Sobowale’s problem is either the first fruits of the green-eyed demon most of us deny having ever met, or it is just plain spiritual. After all, we have all, at one point in time or another, attributed the unexplainable to that thing the Niger Deltans like to call, “home trouble”. Be that as it may, whatever we may decide to call Sobowale’s affliction, it is high time he sought help for it.

Last week, Dele Sobowale wrote an article titled, “ASUU and its Self-Made Problems”, to which he added a part 2 today, and as I read, I wondered how someone who claimed to be an economist, a columnist, a media and management research consultant would write such a piece for publishing and expect to be taken seriously. I shuddered as I read comments from Nigerians, some of whom Sobowale can father, teach this acclaimed consultant the way government works. Many kept repeating the phrase “government is a continuum”, something Sobowale himself should know and I smiled…the teacher has become the schooled.

We see that happen again and again with Sobowale. Ever so often, he crosses the line of logical reasoning and enters the realm of the ludicrous.

From my observation, there are two people for whom Sobowale often abandons all reason and spews sounds closer to gibberish than actual words that any reasoning being can make sense of. Wale Babalakin and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are two names that evoke such intense feelings in the heart of Dele Sobowale; the one he loves to protect, the other, he has clearly vowed to pull down. Imagine, then, Sobowale’s good fortune when he found an opportunity to achieve both in one fell swoop. This time, he takes out his frustrations on Okonjo-Iweala by blaming her for the lecturers’ strike because ASUU refused to enter negotiations with his beloved Babalakin.

I particularly found this excerpt from his article enlightening: “When the Honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, drafted Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, to hold discussions with ASUU, two Mondays ago, he was turning to someone whose firm — Bi-Courtney — had claims of over N160 billion against the Federal Government which he was pursuing in Abuja that Monday. Yet, Adamu was also calling on the patriotism of Babalakin who had left an indelible mark at the University of Maiduguri as Chancellor and is embarking on more achievements at the University of Lagos. From information reaching me he has delivered all his services to the universities free of charge. There are only two business magnates known to me in Nigeria who can be so selfless as to abandon their own self-interest and attend to national interest so promptly – Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr Tony Elumelu. For Wale’s sake alone, ASUU should have temporarily shelved the strike“.

The way Sobowale deified Babalakin here is nothing if not pitiful, and his angst that Babalakin was not so honoured by others is evident in the rest of his article as he unleashes the full measure of his wrath on ASUU itself, on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, and then on Goodluck Jonathan saying the strike was entirely their fault. I wonder if it is another Wale Babalakin Dele Sobowale is trying so hard to sell to us or the same one we all know? Anyway, that is another matter.

It is pathetic that a man of Sobowale’s claims seems not to be aware that the ASUU problem has existed in every administration, in one form or another, from time immemorial and the Jonathan administration inherited an agreement signed before its tenure. Why didn’t the GEJ government wash its hands off and cry foul that Yar’Adua or Obasanjo should be blamed for ASUU imbroglio it contended with during its reign?

It’s high time we stopped these emotional finger-pointing and get to work. The Buhari administration is getting on with its own version of the ASUU problem and they don’t need an apologist like Sobowale to speak for them or start to pinpoint guilty persons for that matter. As a matter of fact, Sobowale may not have formed this opinion if his dear Wale had not been shot down by ASUU.

Dele Sobowale has proved time and again that he is reduced to nothing more than a discredited commentator ready to blame Madam Iweala for everything and anything under the sun. Wale Babalakin failed in the assignment given to him by the education minister and suddenly, it is Okonjo-Iweala’s fault. Is it because she was one of the few people who would challenge his bogus and wrong economic opinions?

When a man like Dele Sobowale begins to act in a way that is irrational or we perceive to be contrary to the person we expect him to be, we wonder what ails him. Like I said earlier, I am no medical doctor, but I sure would like to know how he can be helped before he plunges himself so far down this pit that he becomes nothing more than the silliest of all jesters in the king’s court.

Ebun Asagbe is a brand consultant who writes in from Ado-Ekiti.

 

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