A Lesson From Abati’s Travails

Image: ReubenAbati.com

I disagree with Dr. Abati’s article in The Guardian of 14 October 2016 titled: “The spiritual side of Aso Villa”. Abati’s spiritual tonic about Aso Rock villa’s redemption, the seat of power in Abuja, Nigeria should be taken with a pinch of salt. Abati’s exposition about the Aso Rock demon or witchcraft is complete balderdash. Nigeria, nay Africa, will remain in perpetual darkness and retrogression if we refuse to grow up and get out of our self-induced bondage of religion.

Image: ReubenAbati.com
Image: ReubenAbati.com

Every time Nigerians go spiritual in politics or social nuance, it makes us a laughing stock in the eyes of the civilized world. Most Nigerians are very religious but pretentiously ungodly in all ramifications. Providence has given us the robust platform to be one of the greatest countries on earth, but we daily squander the opportunity. We should leave God alone to rest on His majestic oars. We aren’t his only holy creatures!

Nigerians should wake up from their 19th century slumber to meet the rest of the world in this 21st century of progressive imagination and seriousness. I bet you. Abati’s sanctimonious stance will be noxious to his contemporaries in other civilized world. So, my former Muse should shut the f**k up!!!

The greatest damage a man can do to himself is to throw away integrity for short-term rewards; fantasize with the immediacies of everyday living, and dwell on other worldly mundane things. If a man refuses to take heed of opportunists, or have an eye open with fake people around him, those who are celebrating him today may be his worst enemies tomorrow. Dr. Abati, our once epitome of intellectual sagacity has now become a ping pong on the touchscreens of the Nigerian print and social media users.

Abati is a master sartirist and a prolific writer. He has carved a niche for himself in the academia and became the editorial darling of the media, but the homo sapien’s gene in him prevented him from predicting his own future in order to create it, or maintain his integrity. He made irrevocable the mistake of his lifetime to have dined with the devil with a short spoon. It is unfathomable to note how Abati manages to balance his current life without a regurgitation of his immediate past.

Every time I think of Abati, my journalistic instinct, intellectual quest and inquisitiveness go to Dr. Ebenezer Babatope of Nigeria’s defunct second republic politics. Babatope was one of the Apostles of Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was a monumental betrayal of Awo’s legacy in the dark days of Ibrahim Babangida and Ogbeni Sanni Abacha. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Man is the architect of his own fortune and misfortune. Ebenezer Babatope is a by-product of his gross political miscalculation and self-interest, his legacy of Awo’s glorious days has been cast into the dustbin of history. He now belongs to the comity of looters. Just like Babatope, Abati was used and dumped by the state. The option left for him was to join a lootocratic party, and then struggle with his past and present for a future with uncertainty.

Despite the various admonitions to quit governments that were destined for failure, they bluntly refused to quit. Now, they’re having a forced date with history. We must all beware of the burden of history.

Dr. Abati was the conscience of the nation and the voice of the impoverished millions of the strayed youths in the country. Before he compromised his intellectual integrity, every inquisitor in Nigeria always looked forward to purchasing the edition of The Guardian on Sundays for his articles. His rich articles were intellectual tonics for insatiable minds like us. He was a literary engineer who mesmerized us in the construction of sentences with unique words.

This writer unrepentantly empathize with Dr. Abati’s present conundrum and his clouded future. History seems not to be on his side. Since his debut after the inglorious tenure in the administration of ineffectual president Goodluck Jonathan, his efforts at coming back to win his admirers has been an unmitigated failure. His attempts at revamping his glorious past has been abysmal failure. Those of us who are infatuated with Abati’s intellectual acuity are reluctant and unrepentant to detach ourselves from his academic prowess. The more his antecedents nauseate us, the more we look back, and feel attracted to his literary gymnastics, or get subsumed in his presentations and scholarship.

My humble advice to Dr. Abati is to come to term with the existential reality of life. He should come out of his oiled ego and apologise to all his admirers; he should be humble and remorseful in his demeanor to fully atone for his “sins” and come back to us. Some of us are very forgiving of those with remorseful minds, who by commission or omission have transgressed against the will of the people. To some, no amount of professorial writings or exposition can sway them to him unless he honestly admit his mistakes in order to move on. Abati’s preachment after he has benefitted from habitation of what I call ‘ the forest of demons’ is not only insulting but ludicrous.

Consequently, we should always preserve our values. Our values are our principles, standards and qualities, those values shape our lives and define who we are as individuals. Our actions at any given time reflect those values. The true measure of a real man is when he is faced with the most difficult choice of his life. As an individual and a stakeholder in the project of Nigeria, or elsewhere, I dread the judgements of history in decision-making. Man must be careful to look back and avoid the pitfalls of the past; the present, in order to secure a well deserved future.
Abati’s pitfall is a big Lesson for those who are subsumed in vanity and political opportunism.


Written by
Yahaya Balogun
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