_By Segun Adenigba_
Erasmus Ikhide over the last 15 years has done hatchet jobs in the media. He picks his targets randomly. For example at a point he was appointed by Rauf Aregbesola who was then the governor of Osun State to work in his media unit and he sang the then governor's praises to high heavens until the appointment was terminated, and then he turned his sword against his former employer.
He did exactly the same thing with Senator Adams Oshiomhole who was then governor of Edo State. He was one of the media hands who ran errands in the office of the then Special Adviser on Media, Kassim Afegbua.
As is consistent with his character, he was not Oshiomhole’s attack dog for long before turning his teeth on his master and calling him names.
For Ikhide, once you stop paying him, he looks for your enemy to pay him to attack you.
Meanwhile he has another method. He could just look at a politician he believes is vulnerable to attacks either because he is up for reelection or any such situation and immediately begin a barrage of attacks, hoping that the politician will call him and negotiate. Most of them do.
But he confronted a stubborn one in the person of Mr. Godwin Obaseki in the months leading to his reelection in 2020. He huffed and he puffed but thick-skinned Obaseki paid him no attention. Although his lies against Obaseki were painful, but you don't reward a blackmailer because that reinforces his resolve to persist in the illicit trade.
Recently, Ikhide has embarked in a novel mission in his dark and perfidious trade. He has decided to extend his shameful merchandise to the private sector. Like the ambitious fellow that he is, he decided to target the biggest fish in that pond.
Ikhide must have imagined that Aliko Dangote and his business is bigger than many States combined, so if he can arm twist some governors, then why not Dangote. He will soon find out how wrong he is.
Unfortunately for him, his lack of experience and condition of being only half literate makes it hard for him to understand the vast difference between people serving the people as public servants and those who have never had any reason to administer public resources, like Aliko Dangote.
When one gleans through the drivel by the upstart, Erasmus Ikhide, couched to detract from the success of Dangote Refinery commissioning in Lekki, Lagos, it is immediately clear that he is on a mission to obfuscate facts and procure for himself another day’s bread.
For the many people who have had to deal with Ikhide’s serial mudslinging, he comes across as a lowly rated pen pusher who is in the habit of concocting gibberish to gain attention, smear his target and negotiate for settlements.
A pathetic writer, Ikhide’s reputation as a blackmailer precedes him, but it would have been tolerable if he was able to string words in an intelligible manner, in his inordinate quest to rip his targets off.
It is embarrassing that he struggles with English language – the vehicle for his media machinations. In the first paragraph of his windy and incoherent piece targeted at the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Ikhide insults the intelligence of the reader by writing the plural of foot as foots, instead of ‘feet.’ These infantile grammatical blunders litter the write-up, making it largely unintelligible.
He is a serial blackmailer, whose only job is to cobble lies and falsehoods together and seek juicy targets and then publish poorly written pieces to force them to the negotiation table, where he makes demands of them so he can shield his pen.
But the unwarranted attack on Dangote is over-stretching his reach. Not only did he deliberately attempt to reference a circular to give credibility to the lies and alternative truths he intended to pass off as facts, he attempted to single out Dangote as the principal cause of Nigeria’s economic challenges – a rather ridiculous argument.
There is no gainsaying that Dangote is unarguably Africa’s bravest businessman who treads where others flee. This much is evident in his unwavering drive to industrialize Africa and doing so unapologetically.
For anyone who has stepped foot on the Dangote Refinery complex, it is abundantly clear that the man who dreamt of building such an imposing complex is not one to dwell on the inanities that Ikhide’s lazy mind conjured in his pitiable write-up. It is evidently the stuff of small minds of a similar ilk.
As anyone in Nigeria will attest, there is healthy competition in all of the sectors that the Dangote Group is involved with and the necessary regulatory oversights are carried out by relevant government agencies to ensure that players abide by the rules. It is only in Ikhide’s mind that competitors do not exist across various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The reference that the Dangote Refinery is not traded in the books of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) puts Ikhide as one with very skewed understanding of basic economics. If he were barely economically literate, he would know that it is not possible to trade the shares of a privately-held company on the bourse.
So unintelligent is Ikhide that he listed companies which Dangote never owned or had long exited from, exhibiting his ignorance and malicious nature.
In his chameleonic manner, he quickly changed his name from Erasmus Ikhide to Dele Alabi, obviously a pseudonym. What a deceitful soul!
The advice to Ikhide is that he should get a decent job and stop the embarrassing play of seeking out targets to fire at with his grammatically-challenged missives. The faster he does that, the better for the polity – and his village people.
---- Adenigba, a public affairs analyst writes from Lagos