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Peter Mbah’s albatross is not only his NYSC discharge certificate; there is a roach called Reuben Onyishi

I am not in a position to entertain any compassion for the man I choose to describe as the usurper Enugu State Governor, Peter Mbah, because I am one of those that are strongly persuaded that he lost the Enugu State governorship election to Barr Chijioke Edeoga. But at other times, I feel compelled by my human emotions to have pity on him, especially given his obviously naïve approach to his illusive leadership consolidation.

For a long time, I have refrained from allowing one of the worst things to be inflicted on media and reputation management practices in the world to distract my practice, but hard as I try, Reuben Onyishi, the unscrupulous Senior Special Assistant on New Media to Governor Peter Mbah, has a way of straying into my consciousness and annoyingly standing on my firing line.

While researching a new book I am writing, a message on my WhatsApp attracted my attention. It so did because this person, a respected friend of many years standing, rarely holds conversations, but when he hits you up with a message, be sure that it is something serious and which requires urgent attention, and if you like, action.

The message he sent to me was an article, titled, “Ekpa’s sit-at-home Destroyed Enugu as Edeoga Loses out.”

As soon as I saw the headline, I did not have to look at the fraudulent aliases of Eze Nwamadi, Ogbonna Asadu and Ezema Igwenunu, the pseudonyms behind the incompetent, hate-inspired PR that bipolar Reuben Onyishi does to for those daft enough to hire his deconstructive services. I have long learned to ignore Reuben, especially after learning of his debilitatingly challenged childhood. But as a professional, I find it hard to endure his unintelligent output through which he aggrandizes his ignorance by making verbose and factless shows of his emptiness.

I did go through the horror of reading the article, inspite of my self, and that is why I started by saying that what Reuben is paid to do has frequently made me pity Mbah and I will immediately proceed to tell you why.

There were three objects of Reuben’s fancy in the article; Chijioke Edeoga, of the Enugu Labour Party; Simon Ekpa of IPOB, and Governor Peter Mbah, Reuben’s principal. Having noticed how frequently Reuben mentioned these men while struggling to infuse some form of logic into his tirade of inanities, I decided to do a headcount.

I took this decision because, in marketing, there is something we call TOMA (top-of-mind awareness), which in principle states that the more frequently advertising or PR messages are exposed to the audience, the higher their chances of being remembered. I do not want to go into the higher realms of the consequences of consistently trying to demarket a brand. I will rather leave the man to continue the good job of ensuring that Chijioke Edeoga remained, not just on everybody’s lips in Enugu, but also continues to climb higher on the moral pedestal, thanks to the doubts being sown in people’s minds through the ineffective rhetoric from Reuben.

My forensic audit of this seven-paragraph story of just 790 words revealed that while Reuben Onyishi mentioned Chijioke Edeoga’s name 15 times, Simon Ekpa was mentioned 14 times and his principal, Governor Mbah getting just seven mentions.

This is the most tragic manifestation of clueless ramble of any person hired for reputation management and public communication, by any stretch of the imagination. When I saw the headline, I felt that the story was going to document the positives from Mbah’s rather desperate and unimaginative efforts to end the unfortunate economically regressing and socially inhibiting lockdown forced on the southeast by the IPOB, but rather than seize the moment to project his boss, he wasted the entire article trying to fight someone who is not in the ring with him, and struggling to tarnish the image of a man who isn’t standing for appraisal.

Who would tell Reuben that the person who is being judged by the people of Enugu State is Governor Peter Mbah and not Chijioke Edeoga. It is Mbah who is governor. It was Peter Mbah who, without plan, announced the ban on sit-at-home. It was he who tried to force Enugu people to go to work when the streets were not safe; it was Mbah who went to Ogbete and other parts of Enugu to thoughtlessly shut down businesses for failing to obey his ban on sit-at-home, even when his own business, Pinnacle Oil petrol station, was also closed for business in compleiance with the IPOB order. It was the resistance to Mbah’s market closure that triggered protest marches in Enugu during which security agencies shot and killed two people.

So, when the people mentally chew the horrendously daft effort to link Edeoga with the sit-at-home imbroglio, these appraisal questions form the enzymes that pour from their intellectual digestive glands, and I am not sure their judgements would be fair on Mbah.

I read where, in the 3rd paragraph of his incoherent article, he claimed to have it on “good authority” that Chijioke Edeoga and Enugu Labour Party have been sponsoring the miscreants to defy the ban on sit-at-home in Enugu State, and I almost shed a tear of empathy for this soulless merchant of silly falsehood.

In Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare’s many eternally glorious works, one of the dramatis personae, Lady Macduff put out the following eternal lines, “When our actions not, our fears do make us traitors.”

I have not discussed this with Chijioke Edeoga, and did not get his permission to say this, but the Chijioke Edeoga that I know stands for the liberty and freedom of the individual. I know that while he detests the social and economic self-immolation that the sit-at-home has brought upon the southeast, he would never have taken steps that would infringe on the rights of his people even if it was his remit to bring the IPOB lingering protest to an end.

Edeoga would not lock up the businesses of people who have already lost one day in a week to the lockdown. He would not shut down Ogbete, the biggest market in the entire Enugu State where big traders, small traders, and artisans depend on for their daily bread. He would have understood that the people he was shutting down their businesses were his people; he would have appreciated the fact that they were staying away from their businesses, not in disobedience of a governor’s badly thought-out decree, but rather because they feared that the non-state actors driving the lockdown could swoop unannounced and take their lives, sending their dependents and loved ones into avoidable sorrow and grief.

More importantly, he would have spared a word of regret and condolence for the people cut down in their prime during the protest.

In Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare’s many eternally glorious works, one of the dramatis personae, Lady Macduff put out the following timeless lines, “When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.”

It seems Peter Mbah believes that hiding behind the scenes while projecting quasi-despotism through his hirelings could by some chance insulate him from culpability. This would be rather laughable. I assume that the item on his CV that said he studied law is also not as questionable as his NYSC discharge certificate, because as a lawyer, he should be very familiar with the concept of vicarious liability. The actions of those his minions are his, whether he directly actioned them or it was done by proxy.

On July 27, 2023, I published an article here, in which I criticised the Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Chidiebere Obyia, for issuing a press release, after the protest by the Ogbete Market traders. I pointed out in the article that it was cruel for the SSG to not even give a mention to the young men that were unfortunately hewn down by bullets from security operatives.

While I did not expect the government to change its course of cruelty and court compassion, it touched my emotions when I noticed in this daft intervention under review here, that Reuben Onyishi did not just also fail to make a reference to the young men that were killed, but added a mixture of salt and insult unto injury by calling the protesters, including the people who were killed, miscreants!

I have worked and walked closely with Chijioke Edeoga for exactly 13 months now, and I have never heard him describe any person born of a woman and created by God in languages that are uncomplimentary. Edeoga believes in the usefulness of everybody, if given the opportunities and if treated with the compassion, empathy, and tolerance needed for self-discovery.

I pity Peter Mbah. I am aware that he is on an imperiled journey, and in his desperation to survive, has found it functionally convenient to surround himself with all sorts of people. I also believe that it is still this same motivation that impelled him to retain the services of such an innately unimaginative and functionally uneducable person like Reuben Onyishi.

Chijioke Edeoga, as far as I know, is not straining his neck across the fence for what Mbah and his team are doing. He knows that he was the choice of Enugu people on March 18, and as a dogged fighter, he knows that truth and justice are chauffeuring him to victory in a few months to come.

I am aware that when the crises between Mbah and the traders resulted in protests, Edeoga maintained his silence, not because he was not pained by the infringements government’s action brought upon the rights of the people, his people, but because roaches like Reuben would reach for their keypads to rant in opportunistic lack of understanding. But as a compassionate leader of the people, he did issue a brief but profound statement via his official Twitter handle, where he said:

“I have just been notified of the death of a trader, protesting the sealing of his shop in Enugu metropolis. This is Sad, unfortunate, and avoidable. Human life is sacred and must be treated as such. I call on the security agencies to engage the protesters in a more civil manner, to avoid breakdown of law and order in our dear state. Legitimate Protest is the right of every citizen as enshrined in our constitution.”

These were the words of an empathetic leader; measured and flowing with the milk of human compassion; the same compassion that moved him to tolerate Reuben even when at the time, he did not deserve it; the compassion that made him to rent a three-bedroom apartment for Reuben when he was homeless; the compassion that compelled him to place this ingrate on a special family allowance to stem the frequent public brawls he was having with his wife over his inability to meet the most basic of marital responsibilities, which was to place food on the table.

I pity Peter Mbah. The medicine man he hired to cure him of his reputational elephantiasis is slowly choking the life out of him with his mix of incompetence and gutter upbringing


Ikem Okuhu is a journalist, a Public Relations professional, brand strategist and teacher. With a career that traversed Print Media, Oil & Gas, Banking and entrepreneurship, Ikem is the author of wave-making book; PITCH: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths, a dispassionate exposition of the dos and don’ts of successful engagement in the marketplace, especially the Nigerian marketplace. He is the founder/publisher of BRANDish, Nigeria’s first nationally circulating Brands and Marketing magazine. He has also handled the PR and reputation management consultancies for a number of brands, businesses and public figures.

  • Obaigede

    I honestly thought that after several schizophrenic manifestations or what could best be described as an advanced chronic psychiatric disorder as exhibited by Reuben Onyishi during the last campaign season, one would’ve thought that his closeness with Gov Mbah upon inauguration would earn him the privilege of a better mental health care at the intensive care unit of the Enugu psychiatric hospital before he makes it to the market naked.
    However, our people say ” it is better late than never”, I would suggest that this carefully penned down elucidation should also serve as a gentle reminder to Gov Mbah of his duty of care on Reuben Onyishi’s mental health care challenge.

    August 2, 2023 at 4:47 pm Reply
  • Onyinyechi

    This dose befits him, “Kpakwurugede”.

    August 3, 2023 at 8:28 pm Reply
  • Chidibere Francis Ezeh

    May the labours of our heroes past never be in vain. Amen. The enemies of our dear state Enugu posturing as temporal malfeasance administrators shall be short lived in no distant time. Iseee.

    August 5, 2023 at 3:33 pm Reply

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