“Sam Omatseye slavishly serves his paymaster through his many bought-and-sold writings with a frightening giddiness that belies his age.”
By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
I had an extravagance of laughter when a dear friend of mine showed me a so-called column written by Sam Omatseye.
To give him his due, Sam Omatseye has been somebody I always wanted to encourage; for instance, agreeing to serve as the official reviewer of his novel at its launch in Lagos barely a week after burying my father in the East.
I had my hilarious laughter upon seeing Sam Omatseye’s column because when you already know the end of a writing after reading just the first sentence, there’s no doubt that the writer is not up to par.
Sam Omatseye slavishly serves his paymaster through his many bought-and-sold writings with a frightening giddiness that belies his age.
I’m yet to see as much feather-brained excitement in any infant.
This make of soppy adoration of a paymaster can only be seen in a kept woman – and Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines Kept Woman thusly: “a woman who is given money and a home by a man who visits her regularly to have sex.”
We are of course dealing here with the first and only Kept Man in the history of the world, but I have to admit, as we learnt in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair, that the sex act has stopped short of penetration.
There is the local proverb which says that a freeborn given the job of a slave must at the very least apply the work ethics of a freeborn. Maybe I’m even making the mistake of calling an excited slave a freeborn.
Obviously no medicine, local and foreign, can cure Sam Omatseye of acute and chronic Igbophobia.
Well, a man suffering from devastating inferiority complex should be left strictly alone to play an indulged toady and lickspittle to his masters.
Truth be told, Sam Omatseye has been a laughing stock in our circle such that one young journalist brought to our notice that the compromised columnist does not know the difference between Ben Jonson and Samuel Johnson, and thus quotes one as the other. I shall not reveal the name of the young journalist who keeps feeding us with the pathetic bloomers of Sam Omatseye because I do not want to expose him to danger, given that the likes of the crude columnist is actually a dangerous state agent, what the East Africans call “askari”.
Even as he serves as the butt of jokes, Sam Omatseye deigns to pose as a jumped-up intellectual in some primordial spheres with his pseudo-intellectual illogicalities and cut-and-join prose. There is always the minority minion’s anxiety to praise-sing fiercely to be counted among the court jesters of the major man.
The Sam Omatseye tragedy is that he has spent his entire lifetime serving certain interests such that he has completely lost touch with broad-minded reality.
Like Rip van Winkle of Washington Irving’s short story who slept for 20 years and thus lost touch with reality, Sam Omatseye appears to be caught in a time warp such that he uses the ancient dictation of his crumbling owner to approach modern logic.
Sam Omatseye has given me cause to have a belly laugh, but he has to watch it by not bringing too many enemies for his master because, as things stand, if he should give me cause to write about his paymaster, he will be promptly given the sack in short and very fast seconds.
The only Kept Man in history deserves his title to be celebrated by all, so I am advising all my people to put “KM” after writing the name of Sam Omatseye, thusly: Sam Omatseye (KM). The KM stands for “Kept Man”, a title he richly deserves because I am sure that he will put it in his CV that he has risen so high such that Borojah wrote about him.
• Uzoatu is a poet and literary critic.