Image credit: Sahara Reporters
What was Reuben Abati thinking, or should I say, drinking, when he wrote his latest piece in your defense, President Jonathan? Not even during “your governor journey” did you have to go through this kind of degradation. What indignation could have inspired that mea culpa in Reuben?
Correct me if I’m right, but isn’t the job of Reuben to purify and sanctify you? Isn’t his job to leave you without stains, without wrinkles and without blemish? Isn’t he supposed to nourish and cherish you? And that is the best he could do? Ah, I swear, with all the money (or should I say dowry) that you paid to get him, he is shortchanging you- and shortchanging the taxpayers. I know that is not how that man treats his wife. You must demand that he treats you just the way he treats his wife. That’s what the Holy Book says.
Isn’t there an honorable way to defend you without exposing your innermost secrets? If Reuben wants to give us a window into your soul, there are less toxic things he could have told us. Instead of telling us the color of the brief you wear, he could have, for instance, told us how much you get paid every month. I know you would have approved such a gesture. Knowing that your monthly salary isn’t that far from the minimum wage would have calmed down millions of Nigerians who are making less than the minimum wage and are complaining that they cannot make ends meet.
In fact, since Reuben has seen your completed asset declaration forms, he could have told us what is inside. Like how many new homes you have acquired since 2007 –how many new pieces of land, new oil blocks, new cars, new bling-bling, new shoes etc. Believe me, we can take it. If our pastors own private jets and we still give them more money each Sunday, we will understand why our president needs to own things of substance. We may even add more to you. After all, it is not easy to think about how to save 200 million mumus in Nigeria. Reuben telling us things like that would have been a lot more useful than telling us that you don’t drink ogogoro, “kain kain.” Is he just laughing at us who can only afford ogogoro? I don’t get it.
Watching a man eat dinner is not how you know his mantle. It is in watching him lose his temper. Yet Reuben brags that he eats breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same table with you. He talks as if he knows what is served at that table when he is not there. I don’t expect that you serve the same fish pepper soup when Aliko Dangote comes over for two of you to fix cement price over dinner. Or that you serve cassava bread when the American ambassador comes over to reveal America’s top secrets to you. I mean, you’re smarter than that. Reuben fails to give you even the tiniest credit. Imagine?
Ok, the greatest of his blunders was to take his ill-conceived war on your behalf to the battalions of Nigerians on social media. I thought he was a student of the media? If he was, he would have learned that just as politicians of years past could never win an argument with newspapers who buy ink in drums, so it is that politicians of today cannot win an argument with multitudes on linked up keyboards. The only argument that works for that crowd is showing them performances that improve the quality of their lives. Where again did Reuben get his PhD? Definitely not at the same Ivory tower that you got yours. Next time Reuben wants to flex his muscles tell him to pick people his own size and stop taking on small boys and girls who type on borrowed laptops. Let him go after the likes of Okey Ndibe, Sonala Olumhense and Pius Adesanmi. Now that would be a fight that poor readers like me will like to watch.
So my president, don’t mind Reuben. You inspire men. You radiate great enthusiasm. You don’t need to be mystified and wrapped around a tattered flag. Those misguided individuals who attack you know exactly why. Some want you to give them appointments the same way you gave Reuben. Others want to ride on your gaffes to become billionaires like Ali Baba. Each and every one of them knows exactly why and what he or she is doing. You will be terribly shocked to know that when the lights are out your critics are patriotic Nigerians too.
Reuben said that public commentators who criticize you do not have their facts. But even you know that cannot be true. Does Reuben mean that these commentators cannot count the number of committees you have inaugurated without anything else heard from them? These commentators can remember those ceremonies where reports were handed over to you after long speeches. Then nothing! The wait for white paper and green paper and yellow paper go on forever. Since Reuben comes to eat all the time, he should have walked over to your bookshelf. He should have gone to the report section and told us what those reports say. I and my household know that they will all say that you have nothing to do with anything wrong about anything.
My president, since Reuben is going to write a book anyway, please show him as much as possible. Show him your PhD thesis. Show him your bank account. Show him your will. Let him see what is in them so that he will not be writing out of ignorance. That will hurt you the more. Because everybody will believe whatever he says because he will begin by saying that he used to sleep on the same bed with you and have peed in the same toilet that you have peed in. Sir, I am warning you now because I care about your awesome legacy. I don’t want any man to mess it up.
If I were you, next time Reuben comes over to eat eba and ewedu, when he is done eating, I will send him to the basement. I will let him climb the attic. I will open the secret vaults in that Aso Rock for him. I will ask him to find the Okigbo Report wherever it is hidden. When he finds it, I will ask him to go and announce what Ibrahim Babangida did with the $12 billion dollar Gulf War windfall. I will ask him to find the report on who shared in Obasanjo’s $16 billion dollar power plants scam. I will ask him to unearth documents on those who shared in the Halliburton bribe money.
Sir, Reuben wrote that you surround yourself with intelligent people but he never said that your mind was always busy in a solution oriented way. There is something sinister about it. It is as if you are just sitting there as a piece of land surrounded by water. He said you have no ethnic sentiment. And then he wrote that you belong to the intelligentsia. What tribe is that? I don’t know anybody who speaks that language. Are you sure he is not using backhand personal abuse to insult you with that kind of talk?
My future most-praised president, you pay Reuben to think for you. Yet, he reduced your signature mantra- a shoeless man – into a mere metaphor. So what is left of your narrative? Is your presidency a metaphor too? Is good luck a metaphor that says we don’t need a president? These are serious questions. If Reuben’s nightmare is that serious, maybe you should get him to undertake some other tasks that require a little less thinking – like writing speeches for Patience.
Reuben has worked for you for how long? Still, he hasn’t gotten the core of your vision. What kind of nonsense is that? It is ludicrous that Reuben is comparing you with ordinary mortals like Abraham Lincoln. Why? Lincoln was just a sissy. Doesn’t Reuben know that General Stanton tore up President Lincoln’s letter in front of the president’s messenger and called the president a fool? Lincoln, the wimp, did nothing. Is that the kind of man he is comparing you to? Meanwhile, more than once you have lambasted the media and your critics. You did not blink when you told ungrateful Nigerians that “You don’t give a damn.” Every now and then you put on a general’s uniform. You even refused to say Amen in front of God to stupid anti-corruption platitudes. Now that’s a man’s man.
Reuben, if he is not acting like a metaphor that he is, should be comparing you with a stronger man, like Jesus- a man who kicked out corrupt money changers from the temple. How could Reuben be so mean not to compare you with the Lamb of God who gave all to die for the world? You left your lucrative life as a fisherman to save Nigeria. Now, that is a story that would have endeared you to all. But this Reuben was only interested in selling another story- the one that says he saved you from the jaws of the lion.
Just when you were eager to see the news of your $40 million dollar a year payment to Ijaw generals like Dokubo, Tompolp, Toms, Victor Ben and others buried in the internet graveyard, this useless Reuben reignited it. It is wrong for Reuben to say that you never do anything wrong. It is wrong for Reuben to come out and proclaim “Can anything bad come out of Otuoke?” It is wrong. Such careless talk is enough for Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to kick you out of the Lilliputians club that Reuben smuggled you into.
We all know that Reuben wants to save his job and make himself relevant in Aso Rock, especially with the arrival of the pit-bull. But must he use glorified lampooning to ridicule you in front of the multitude, Mr. President? You, my president, are doing a great job of that. You don’t need any help from that department. If anybody asks, say that I told you so.
So, my president, you will agree with me that Reuben has turned into a relic. He is suffering from the disease of every critic – double Joshua complex – the desire to see the sun and the moon stand still until Nigeria is transformed and the desire to march around the wall of Aso Rock blowing trumpets until it falls. I, hereby, recommend that you promote him to the post of a permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Anachronism.
Your true subject,
Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo
Signed – August 26, 2012