Interview

Homeboy Captain Hosa on a slippery Edo backyard

“When the good name and mainstay of a caring breadwinner come under unfair threats, the just persons are prompted into disallowing it. This best explains the counter reactions that have attended the spate of ceaseless attacks on Edo ‘homeboy, Idahosa Wells Okunbo (aka Captain Hosa). From faraway Australian country, furthest on the globe from the Nigeria shores by 15,398 km flight distance, an equally damaging news article on Captain Hosa emanated from his Edo State, where he has tangible business investment and numerous care giving deeds, which have etched his name in the “heartbeat state” and some other outside places. The odd news spread like the Harmattan fire on the wings of the winds and in the speed of light on the “information superhighway”, seeking to destroy him and his positions.

A disapproving article, the latest in the series had surfaced which numerous respondents saw as done in a pseudonym (unreal name), although it bore the byline of Frank Agbons Idehen. Amongst other things, its accused Hosa of gunrunning and engagement in oil bunkering operations and creating “another round of havoc, this time a political atrocity on Edo youths” when “Edo people are seeking a very peaceful election…” The piece scandalised Okunbo not to arm his youths to spill their own blood for his governorship choice in the September 19, 2020 governorship election holding in the state. Those in the Diaspora would naturally rely on ‘authentic’ or ‘trained’ information gatherers to confirm the “home news” spreading to them abroad.

Whilst away from home the ‘been to’ who often take all the sources of the social media information seriously, without verifying, are often misguided and misinformed to no end. A civil society activist, Michael Adorho, regarded the Idehens article as a “figment of distorted imagination perfected by some crooked minds. His assertion was that for the fears of a backlash ligation, the writer(s) chose to hide their true names”. And he who rightly accused others and could prove it, do not have to hide his identity, he remarked. When a sibling or a kin is so maligned as Captain Hosa, it is only natural that his blood relations and admirers are agitated as Dr. Tiyan Okunbo, Captain Hosa’s eldest brother and a patriarch of the Okunbo family tree tended to show, when he freely expressed, alongside a plethora of angry reactions.

He reacted that Frank Idehen, the author of the said article doesn’t exist in the Okunbo’s family neither in the Captain Hosa’s maternal lineage as he claimed to be his cousin. Tinyan Okunbo, a Medical Doctor, countered that it was a further proof that Hosa’s persecutors use of fictitious names in their relentless campaign to hide their identities and wrongly accuse him. Nevertheless, checking the veracity of the name of the author on the Google search engine and other terrestrial investigation would give credence to his very claim of a pseudonym.

Simply put, the name Frank Idehen apparently doesn’t exist. But, how come Hosa is called some ugly names by a handful of his fellow Edo men, although the all-important Black Caucus of the Congress, the national lawmaking body of the worlds most powerful nation, duly honoured him with the Black Titan, a title only given to credible persons, which they hold in circumspect? Could it be that the ever meticulous legislative body of a USA that is unbiased and thorough in the investigation of institutions and individuals made an error in honouring him as having done so well for mankind, the peoples? Could it also be that the givers to him of the Global Peace Award, in Geneva, Europe also wrongly honoured him? Particularly, did the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Human Persons (NAPTIPS), including its Edo regional office, err as it recently recognised the same Captain Hosa as its “Anti Human Trafficking Hero”, whilst marking the 2020 World Day Against Human Trafficking”?

Has an eagle eye NAPTIPS also failed to see him in the tainted view of his backyard accusers? What about the most prestigious and rare honour with Ivie, the traditional decoration rite with the Beads, which the famous Oba of Benin kingdom, (Hosas origin) bestowed on him in 2015? Are the numerous meritorious awards he had received from within and outside the country also mere freaks? Therefore, is the Captain Hosa situation not like the situation which the Lord Jesus Christ lamented about that a prophet is hardly honoured and would be (unduly) persecuted in his home by his own kin? The billionaire entrepreneur was said to have pointedly rebuffed intense persuasions to contest political office, owing to the fact that he is wary of partisan politics and that he didn’t want to abandon his huge investments to handlers.

Even though he rejected the overtures to run for the post, the public had witnessed more attacks on Hosa. But Captain Hosa, the son of a Reverend gentleman and a disciplinarian, who numerous people see as a man of peace, had been issuing statements and dissuading his teeming admirers and all Edo people, particularly the youths, against violent conducts, and that no politician was worthy enough for the youths to lose their lives. Edo people, he was quoted to have said, must do away with divisive politics so as to have a better leisure of life.

•Erha, a journalist and pro-democracy activist, writes from Benin City, Edo State.

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