When we taught that wailing had ended with the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, Reuben Abati, the erstwhile spokesman to former President Jonathan Goodluck had demonstrated once again that he is not yet ready to pull-off his wailing regalia. His recent commentary titled “Aisha Buhari’s Politics and May 29 Blues” which appeared in his ThisDay column suggests that wailing is an incurable viral disease. Who will cure Abati of this disease of bitterness, bile, resentment and self-inflicted soreness?
The manner in which a message will be accepted depends on many factors. The most palpable is the character of the messenger and the content of the message. Reuben Abati possesses a questionable character as he lacks moral impetus to criticise this government and any government for that matter. The fact that he does shows the depth of his indecorous. For an individual, who was a spokesman to a regime that was brandished as fantastically corrupt and notorious for its buffoonery to criticise a government that is making frantic efforts to put smiles on the faces of ordinary Nigerians who were punctured, fractured and plundered by a government led by his principal, attests to Abati’s fluid and formless character. Even though Goodluck Jonathan, Abati’s principal, was displaced from Aso Rock about four years ago, at a time that Abati was still ruminating, masticating and savouring the taste and flavour of his booties, it is obvious that he (Abati) has still not purged himself of the bile and bitterness that thronged the loss of his master. For Abati therefore, criticising and spitting needless venom against Buhari’s government is a means of compensating self for this brutal loss.
Since Abati left Aso Rock, so many things left him as well, including his human dignity. About four years ago, when Goodluck Jonathan was ousted and chased out of Aso Rock in a manner considered inglorious and ignominious, Abati has been struggling so hard to get himself another job. First, having tasted power, (especially that which is laced and decorated with corruption) and saw that it was sweet, he attempted to return to the place where he made his largest fortunes, but he failed. The People’s Democratic Party, Abati’s darling party, denied him and his master ticket, suggesting that even in a den of the corrupt, some animals are more equal than the others!!
Secondly, when his phone stopped ringing and money stopped hitting his bank accounts, Abati returned to the pen profession forgetting that journalism thrives on credibility, a trait that he has since lost some years ago while trying to market a dishonest regime. Whichever trade Abati will choose today, will not get patronage because Nigerians have come to know him as one of the dishonest men that tried hard to market a government that had caused the nation and her people untold pains and agonies. Someone should tell Abati that no matter hard he tries he can’t use filth to clean filth. Someone should quickly remind him that his pen still stinks as a result of the stench of yesteryear baggage of corruption which elegantly adorns his neck like fetter. You don’t have such manacle around your neck and still reason like a normal human being.
Somebody should advise Rueben Abati and his ilk that splintering the enviable cordiality between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and among their family members, especially their wives, is one of the most ostentatious voyages that one can ever think of; Abati and his co-travellers can only get to their destinations in their imaginations. His evil intention is clearly spelt out in the article. He wants to create a wedge and deep disaffection between the President and his Vice on one hand and between Aisha Buhari and and Osinbajo’s wife and aides on another hand.
Abati, in his usually wailing said: “I don’t want to get into the battle of the women of Aso Rock under President Buhari, his wife who is probably for all we know reporting pillow talk, Mrs Uwais who is probably speaking as a proxy for the Osinbajo and Mrs Osinbajo who would not dare raise her voice because she doesn’t want trouble for her husband. But I am amused that a staff of the President would have the audacity to challenge the President’s wife and accuse her of ignorance.” It should be stated at this juncture that the President and his Vice, as well as their wives enjoy unbreakable and elastic conviviality, what the likes of Abata are not comfortable with.
Even Mrs. Mariam Uwais response was not meant to attack the President’s wife as suggested in Abati’s article. Uwais was only speaking about the scale of impact of the social safety net, reiterating that the Buhari administration had certainly made impact in that regard. Abati will agree that during the regime of his principal, there was no social safety net of any kind; he should rather applaud this administration than burrowing every available wall like a displaced rat seeking for a place of refuge.
President Muhammadu Buhari is always meticulous when it comes to making critical decision. His choice of Aisha as a spouse was never accidental; his choice of Vice President Osinbajo and his aides equally attests to his sagely disposition. This is one of the things that has placed Buhari’s regime above previous ones. Abati even attests to this in his article. Here him once again: “No staff, I repeat, no staff, could ever have tried that with some of Mrs Buhari’s predecessors. By now, Mrs Uwais’s Villa pass would have been withdrawn with strict instructions that she must never be seen anywhere near the perimeter fence of that seat of power. There would also have been drama “in the other room” to remind the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of where real and sustainable power lies in Nigeria.”
Mrs. Aisha Buhari is a civilised and an educated individual. The ebullient wife of the President knows that every member of the NextLevel team works in tandem with her husband’s overall vision for this great nation. Mrs Buhari is not like the wife of Abati’s principal, who while as the First lady, was gallivanting from one function to another, entertaining people with her poorly delivered words that became a common jibe on social media.
Many lines in the Abati’s commentary attest to his moral imposture; he forgets to note that his past and that of his principal is just a click away. More so, many Nigerians have not forgotten how they almost crippled the nation’s economy by sharing its common patrimony among friends and families, cronies and proxies. Not every Nigerian has the penchant for such posture that lacks a speck of moral integrity. Vice President Osinbajo, like President Muhammadu Buhari, is committed to ameliorating the plights of ordinary Nigerians who were denied of basic social amenities by the regime superintended by Abati’s principal. Can Goodluck Jonathan’s Social Welfare programmes be compared to the President Buhari’s carefully conceived and implemented Social Investment Programme (SIP)?
For record’s sake, Goodluck Jonathan’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme otherwise known as SURE-P which was meant to reinvest the federal government savings from fuel subsidy removal on critical infrastructural projects and social safety programmes was the surest means of whetting the insatiable appetites of the corrupt individuals in high places; those marauders of Aso Rock corridors, who, like vultures, always haunted for carcasses. They were the real “business” men Abati described in his article. No doubt, SURE-P was a complete ruse, as the funds meant for it, found their permanent abode in private coffers. If SURE-P stood for anything, it was a sure corruption.
Rueben Abati is no doubt one of those agents who specialise in deliberate twisting of information, all in a bid to score cheap political points and to deceive gullible minds. We know it better, critical Nigerians understand better too. Abati, just like the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had described President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes, such as TraderMoni, N-Power, School Feeding Programme as “vote-buying” schemes. But it still remains a big puzzle why SURE-P and YouWin could not secure the re-election bid of Abati’s principal.
In the article, Abati has clearly captured the difference between the Social Investment Programmes of the two governments For instance, while the proofs of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programme according to Abati, have been seen “in photos and videos” as Vice President Osinbajo had been seen “talking about loans and grants of N10, 000 for owners of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” those of Goodluck Jonathan were never seen as the funds clandestinely took flight to the pockets of those who implemented the programmes. Unfortunately, the few individuals like Abati, who benefitted from the scheme in form of loot, were insignificant to secure Goodluck Jonathan’s second term.
Buhari and Osinbajo are the two individuals that have been divinely arranged and delivered to Nigerians at a time the country needs morally upright individuals to pilot the affairs of the nation. Their extreme simplicity garnished with unusual humility made them a perfect combination for a country that has been strategically positioned to break the shackles of corruption, leadership deficit and all other things that had kept the country in one place for decades. Nigerians who gave mandate to these men of noble character are not foolish; they (Nigerians) know that with Buhari and Osinbajo the country is safe. No amount of cheap blackmail from detractors like Abati can prevent the duo from delivering on their promises. NextLevel is the sure level.
*Abdullahi Ojoanyonu Haruna Haruspice writes from Garki Abuja and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org