The Jonathan We Know – A Response To The Antics Of Reuben Abati

::::By Dr. Olusegun Fakoya
These are indeed precarious times for Reuben
Abati. And like any sinking man, desperate to
hold on to a fast dwindling job, Dr Abati has
resorted to desperate measures. The flurry of
articles from him in recent times speaks
volumes about his desperation. For a man who
hid under the “umblellah” (sorry, umbrella) of
social activism for many years, the opportunity
to partake in the sweetness of power has been a
mesmerizing experience which he is in no hurry
to willingly relinquish. Dr Abati desperation is
such that he has even resorted to abusing and
insulting Nigerians. His latest article titled “The
Jonathan they don’t know” is just another
wasteful enterprise aimed at refurbishing a bad
product. It is rather too late in the day to
attempt to turn an imbecile into a genius.
Reuben, in his desperate article created a
strategic divide based on perceived loyalty or
otherwise. A very unfortunate division was
created based on activism or passivism. His
battle line consists of the “They” and the
loyalists. Loyalists, by his definition, being those
benefitting from the potpourri. Those in the
privileged league of the manipulators and
beneficiaries of our commonwealth. Those who
persistently deny the nation of deserved
economic and material development. The
thieves who roam the corridor of power and
keeps the lock to same in their bulging pockets.
These, to Reuben Abati, are the good Nigerians,
those who have left Goodluck Jonathan in
peace. The “They” according to Abati “refers to
all the cynics, the pestle-wielding critics, the
unrelenting, self-appointed activists, the idle
and idling, twittering, collective children of
anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts,
the BBM-pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria,
who seem to be in competition among
themselves to pull down President Goodluck
Jonathan” Obviously, to this exalted company
belongs the likes of Sonala Olumhense, Pius
Adesanmi, Okey Ndibe and a host of others. I
must confess that my humble self also has
company in this prestigious group. Reuben,
however, belongs to that other group of “good
Nigerians” those who sleep and wake up with
scandals, those who keep corruption as
comfortable bed fellows. We heard of the
rumbles of the Abuja plots of land, even when
Abati was pretending to be a social critic. This
rumble had hardly abated when the opportunity
to explore his true identity came by the way of
the presidential appointment.
To Reuben, the group of “They” are a “bunch of
unintelligent people repeating stupid clichés and
too many intelligent persons wasting their
talents lending relevance to thoughtless
conclusions”. So, our exalted group of “They”
consists of either plainly stupid people or
naively intelligent people. It is worth restating
that Reuben Abati once belonged to this
maligned group. Reuben’s insult to the
intelligentsia and those Nigerians who have
sacrificed so much to ensure that the Nigerian
state assumes its true position in the comity of
nations is unpardonable. It is bad enough for a
hypocrite to denounce his initial constituency, it
is criminal to turn around and lambast same for
failing to see the sense in your sudden turncoat
and imminent disintegration. It is so easy to
castigate the same group of “They” who fought
to ensure that the Jonathan Presidency becomes
a reality. Has Reuben pondered on the causes of
the massive evaporation of the uninhibited flow
of affection and national support for candidate
Jonathan? What turned the almost hysterical
Jonathan-mania into rabid Jonathan-phobia?
Conscience, they say, is an open wound…. Only
truth can heal it.
Reuben’s effort to blow the trumpet of
achievement for Goodluck Jonathan sounded
very hollow, even on the pages on which they
were written. For a previously “shoeless”
President (Reuben can never stop us from
making reference to this appropriate
description) who promised heaven and earth on
his campaign trips, the boast of 4,400 MW of
electricity in a nation that is still in perpetual
darkness went beyond the bounds of pardonable
mischief. Reuben’s lukewarm reference to
presidential concerns on corruption is nothing
but laughable – “That is why he has directed the
relevant agencies to get corrupt persons to
answer for their misdeeds” Reuben, when the
current charade on corruption is over, we hope
that genuine convictions would indeed be
possible. Farouk Lawan is still a free man,
walking and enjoying free sunshine with
millions of bribe money yet to be accounted for.
Otedola’s cheeks are growing rosier every day
while the nation’s Attorney-General is probably
the richest Nigerian today courtesy of a lax
regime that encourages graft. Furthermore,
Reuben’s attempt to speak about his master’s
inordinate love for the women folk smirks of
nothing but jest. True, Jonathan has loads of
females in his government compared to his
predecessors. However, the concern of majority
of Nigerians is with the innate penchant of this
man to surround himself with the most corrupt
and despicable Nigerians ever created, whether
males or females.
Without wasting so many words like Reuben is
fond of doing, the truth about Goodluck Jonathan
stares at one in the face. It is not for nothing
that he is viewed as clueless. This is a simple
English expression within the grasp of even the
barely literate. Jonathan has so far
demonstrated his lack of understanding of the
basic mechanism of governance, the
constitutional and moral obligation of a
government to the people and the fine
etiquettes of Presidential approach. He is an
opportunist who jumped at the ship of state
without adequate preparation. His government
is belligerent; an example is the latest crude
and rude articles from Reuben Abati and the
unpalatable appointment of Doyin Okupe as a
frenzied attack dog. Jonathan is manifestly
corrupt and he has no qualms in attempting to
brush this under the carpet. It is beyond
comprehension, that the President of over 150
million people, people who continue to excel in
various spheres of human endeavour, would
publicly declare on national television that he
does not give a damn about declaring his
assets. Reuben Abati is yet to address this sore
point in his numerous essays.
Abati has my sympathy in his attempt to
refurbish the morally tainted and structurally
deformed presidency of Goodluck Jonathan.
True, Jonathan is “nationalistic” in orientation in
terms of federal appointments (to use the
Nigerian phrase, he is a good disciple of national
character), nevertheless, former criminals of the
creeks are now handling sensitive national
security apparatus. The old Ijaw Generals of the
ill-famed creek wars are now multi-billionaires,
smiling comfortably to the banks every month,
courtesy of a truly national President. The likes
of General Tompolo et al. Who cares whether
Jonathan eats cassava or whole meal bread or
even boiled plantain for that matter? The key
thing is that in an austere environ when millions
are out of jobs, when crime is blooming like the
old Onitsha market and when terrorism is
sweeping the land like a raging inferno, our
belligerent President spends billions annually on
food. This is an undisputable fact that Reuben
failed to address. Abati has gone miles in his
unfortunate academic odyssey of rationalising a
bad product. He has thrown terms around,
starting with Corporate Social Responsibility, a
la the infamous Otuoke Church building, to the
new “Saul Complex” in his latest tirade.
Whether corporate responsibility or Saul
Complex, a decaying product would always
stink, no matter the intensity of the
The Jonathan we know? The Jonathan we know
is a President who promised so much and yet
intent on delivering so little. The Jonathan we
know is an opportunist. An over-ambitious man
toying with the fate of millions. The Jonathan we
know is a man who assumes a position of
authority fully beyond his capability and
comprehension. The Jonathan we know is a
President who is so enwrapped in the loin
clothes of his wife such that the country is
actually confused as to who is in power. He
thus brought nothing but baggage into the act of
governance. The Jonathan we know is a
president who glorifies corruption and embraces
its evil warmth – “if corruption does not kill
Nigeria, Nigeria will kill corruption” The
Jonathan we know is a non-performing
President, a colossal failure. This is the verdict
of the people, Reuben.
No Nigerian has any quarrel with any part of the
country producing the leadership. What we care
about is performance. We care less whether the
President is an Itsekiri or Ibibio. We have no
qualms with the Ijaws (whether the 4th most
populous or 10th most populous) producing the
President. All we desire is a leader intent on
ridding our body polity of its various nuances. A
leader committed to emancipating the fast
dwindling lots of poor Nigerians. A leader
committed to faithfully fighting the
strangulating hold of corruption and the endless
evils that have truncated our march to greater
glory. We need a leader that can go beyond the
pretences of party politics and truly be a leader
indeed. Our complaints against the lacklustre
performance of Jonathan have nothing to do
with his ethnic origin, Reuben and mavericks
like him do not need to confuse issues. We
simply do not want the man because he is not
performing. Period.
Yes, great minds like Abraham Lincoln,
Mahtama Ghandi, Martin Luther King and
Kwame Nkrumah made the world easier. Yet
whatever they achieved was with plainness of
approach, honesty and integrity. They were not
achieved with the purchase of hundreds of porch
cars for a frivolous and egomaniac meeting of
wives of discredited heads of governments.
They were not achieved on the lavish
expenditure of state fortune on state banquets
or meals. They were not attained with dourness
and stupidity. They came out of a vibrant
methodology and pragmatic visions. Jonathan
lacks these qualities. Comparing the man
Jonathan to these great minds is illusory and
Reuben’s attempt is that of a sinking man
desperately trying to catch a lifeline of straw.
Dr Olusegun Fakoya:

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