By Adeola Aderounmu
When late Abacha held Nigeria in his palm, Reuben Abati stood out as Nigerian Government Critic Number one! There was no dispute about whose article would be most read on Friday or Sunday back in the days in the Nigerian Guardian.
I do not recall anyone in Abacha’s government or thereafter calling Abati names. Abati was not even arrested despite all his criticisms of the dictatorship and later civilian governments in Nigeria.
At the height of his fame as a government critic Abati asked Nigerians to stone those in power. Was he testing his fame? This was when the Federal Government increased the price of petroleum products-the old subsidy lies that Abati would come to champion in January 2012.
I was told by someone who knows the Guardian very well that Abati was actually collecting brown envelopes for many of those articles that he wrote those days in the Guardian. Everything has fallen into places now that Abati has shown his real image. It may be true that he wrote many articles for money afterall many Nigerian journalists today still have their own favourite politicians.
I am fond of writing that Nigerians have no heroes today and when the likes of Abati remain the mentor for Nigerian journalists, then hope is quenched!
Last week Reuben Abati who now works for the inglorious Nigerian government blasted internet warriors and the rest of you who are fond of abusing Jonathan on facebook and on your blog pages. I am an internet warrior, I have abused Jonathan on facebook and my blog since 2006 is full of abuses and criticisms for the worst and probably most corrupt government in the world with headquarters in Aso rock, Abuja.
So I take Reuben Abati’s message as a direct war. But this is a terrain I know too well. So he and his bootlickers can bring it all on. I will help them spell their last names. T-H-I-E-V-E-S IN P-O-W-E-R.
Some of us have been here-online- long before Jonathan. I wrote to the late Yar Adua government about the futility of taking on internet warriors. Anyone who cares can browse my articles at the Nigerian Village Square. We-the internet warriors-don’t lose and we don’t come last. If Mr. Abati needs a reminder, I will like him to know that long after the reign of his present master, internet warriors will be here in different forms and shades.
It is be an over flog to remind Abati about the nature of the government he serves. How do you begin to recount the stupidity of the government of the day in Nigeria?
A government whose moral compass was lost even before it started sailing. You can tell, unless you wear the garment of the Pharisees.
Farouk Lawan just returned from Mecca. Under the government that Abati is serving, corruption was magnified and redefined. Only men who have no shame will serve in corrupt and useless government. In Nigeria whatever happened to protecting your father’s name and your own integrity?
If Nigerians heed Abati’s call of just a few years ago, then they should be stoning people like him now. It was his call, maybe we should obey him.
I recall my meeting with two of Nigerian’s finest bloggers (names withheld) about 2 years ago in Stockholm. Of course we talked about Nigeria and the government. They laughed at me when I told them that I stopped reading Abati after the Abuja-land saga.
They laughed because they thought I was ignorant to have been one of the several thousands of Nigerians that Abati took for such a long ride. When Abati appeared in Jonathan’s government, it was not a surprise to them. Both of them stopped reading Abati many years ago. They said they saw the light a long time ago.
No doubts I have also written in the Nigerian Guardian a handful of times. No doubt my articles started appearing in the Nigerian Guardian days after I got Abati’s email from (names withheld).
But Reuben Abati should continue to serve his new master according to his conscience. If he likes let him continue to fire at internet warriors and the critics of Mr. Jonathan. It will show his real colours and the nature of his job.
I have been in the blog industry since 2006. I don’t have the intention of retiring now because Abati is serving corrupt people which confirms his own status as a corrupt man who used his articles to buy his way into the corridor where everyone (according to him) should be stoned!
Some of us will never serve in government. Our middle name is Ilesanmi.
Those who join government only to turn against their own constituencies will not find peace. It’s a natural law. Those who join government and cannot resist the temptation to also become corrupt will live with both personal burden and the burden of history.
I have not met a blogger or a government critic who is campaigning for absolute moral purification. Human nature does not tally that line. This is why we separate private from public life I guess. All we have asked for is that those in government must deliver on their promises and stop looting our common treasury.
All we have asked for is that the wealth of Nigeria should serve Nigerians. Just yesterday Bobola Babalola wrote on Facebook that democracy in Nigeria is government of some people, by some people, for some people.
Abati has now joined the few who are taking the rest of Nigeria/Nigerians for a ride. That doesn’t make it ok. That doesn’t mean that Jonathan, his family, friends, executives, senate and other corrupt people can loot and we have to stay quiet.
Abati in government is not a receipt with guarantee. Abati in government is not a form of immunity.
No matter who serves in Nigeria, no matter who is looting in Nigeria, no matter how foolish or wise the government becomes, social critics and public commentators will be here.
It doesn’t matter how we are addressed, we take on this social burden to tell things as they are.
In 2009 I warned about the flood that has now taken Adamawa (check before 70 000 people perish overnight in the NVS). NEMA almost asked for my head. Even the government as a unit was quiet because it is a useless government, constantly so since 1960. People are dying now after N26 billion was spent on invisible dam projects.
Anyway, the government of Jonathan, in my view, is the worst government ever in Nigeria. No matter how much Abati and his followers rant, the truth about the cluelessness of Jonathan, the waste that his government has come to represent and the calamity of the consequences of his inactions (especially) in Northern Nigeria cannot be taken away like a pinch of salt. A thousand Abati and a fake permanent secretary in Bayelsa (aka ghost worker in Rivers) cannot do that.