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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Between Jonathan And Abati – By Godday Odidi



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The recent interview granted by some Nigerian print media to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati was a welcome development but was logically in favor of President Good luck Jonathan. It is sad that Dr Abati, the ferocious critics in Nigeria both print and electronic media and as a former Guardian Editorial Board Chairman and Astute presenter of the popular Talk show programme ‘ Patitosgang’ could just deviated from his constructive and creative criticism as a result of monetary benefits from Aso Rock.
Having critically read Dr Abati’s interview indicated that he ingeniously and intuitively deviated from his pen because of institutionalized corruption and poverty that has been created by our self-centred and rapacious political and bureaucratic leaders in Nigeria. After all Dr Abati is a PhD holder of dramatic literature and other relevant qualifications as President Goodluck Jonathan but abysmally failed to carry out his positive advocacy in the seat of power. In 2011, after the presidential election of Mr. President, Dr Abati was the first journalist to criticize the President’s speech that was crackpot but today the music of Abati has changed entirely to let Nigerians know that Aso Rock honey is better off Guardian newspaper or practicing full- time journalism in Nigeria where fourth estate profession is poorly remunerated.
In his dramatic interview of Dr Abati where he stated that those that criticize government are not insiders who make them neophyte of Aso Rock governance and Nigeria as a whole. He is equally telling avid Nigerians that all his political and economic criticisms in the time past were all nonsense to the core. The truth of the matter is that anybody that has tasted Aso Rock money cannot remain the same again. Dr Reuben Abati initially stood for equity and justice through his constructive criticism that distinguished him from his peer profession in the print media industry. In the days of ‘Patitosgang’, everybody was glued to his or her Television station to watch Dr Abati or reads his Friday column and nothing more.Dr Abati analyzed issues that was of concern to average Nigerians then. The fact remains that Aso Rock power has taken over the spokesman of President Goodluck Jonathan. He sometimes wrote on Jonathan you don’t know that generated a lot of controversy in the print and electronic media and among social commentators in Nigeria. Though one senior lecturer of University of Lagos, Dr Anele challenged Dr Abati’s write up on Jonathan but equally replied his critics as novice in government.
Again, Dr Reuben Abati also raised a point that only those that have tasted Aso rock power as journalists (insiders) can creatively write well about the present government which is now one of them. The likes of late Dele Giwa of Newswatch Magazine died for exposing reprehensible activities of the then military government of IBB. Dr Reuben Abati was one of the highly respected columnists in Nigeria with integrity but was ceremoniously carried away by Aso Rock antics.
Few years ago, one Activist lawyer, Festus Keyamo was one of those Nigerian young lawyers that was always criticizing government wicked policies and his veritable audience increase astronomically but later deviated when government appointed him as EFCC lawyer and his chapter of criticism changed with immediate effect together with his popular column in the Sunday sun. Another notable social commentator, Fani Kayode fought tooth and nail to see that late Sani Abacha regime never existed with other constructive critics but Obasanjo’s government gave him political appointment where he used the position to run down some prominent Nigerians like Prof Wole Soyinka and others. He never had respect for elders at that time. Today, Fani Kayode is now criticizing government after he was part and parcel of the national cake.

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Nobody takes his write up into consideration anymore. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice- President of Nigeria, was a full- fledged of the PDP, until he was frustrated and left the party for the then AC now ACN and criticized the former party mercilessly and returned to the PDP again and the ACN saw him as a sycophant and nothing else. Dr Reuben Abati is also playing the same politics with Dr Doyin Okupe too. Some schools of thought said Dr Abati is doing his plum job which is being paid for. Some Nigerian social commentators are still maintaining their status quo in terms of constructive criticism despite of various government tempted offers to silent their voices. The likes of Pastor Tunde Bakare, Dr Joe Odunmaki, Femi Falana and just mention but a few.
Finally, Dr Reuben Abati is a highly educated fellow but being carried away by unfulfilled government policies, He must tell Nigerians the bitter truth of Jonathan’s leadership now. He should know that those of us that were with him in Patitosgang are vigorously watching his political mistake and nothing else.

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BY GODDAY ODIDI. PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST. 08058124798. 20 Oro street Ajegunle Apapa Lagos

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