Upon interrogation by the EFCC Abati agreed receiving the huge amount from ‘Santa Dasuki’ but when asked where he kept the money he claimed that he had disbursed it and could not remember the names of those he handed part of the money to. Latest online reports indicated that Abati, granted bail by the court, had not been released because he was unable to meet his stringent bail conditions!
Reuben Abati is a household name in Nigeria. A great professional journalist he had worked in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper based in Lagos and rose to the top as the Chairman of the editorial board. He runs two weekend columns in the flagship newspaper which circulate simultaneously online. He was appointed the Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on media and publicity. He desperately coveted the job and got it hence his constant exhibition of professional pride and arrogance.
When he was in Aso Rock Abati derived joy in berating social media ‘warriors’ calling them names and lamenting the freedom the Internet conferred on the netizens. At a time, the Dame, Patience Jonathan, complained of his poor performance and prevailed on her husband to either sack him or engage the services of a better ‘attack dog’ who could defend the interests of the presidential couple more robustly. Enter Doyin Okupe! Okupe went about the job with professional dedication: defending the indefensible and attacking whoever ‘offended’ the Dame or “Dumbo Jumbo”.
Now that GEJ has risen in sharp defense of Sambo Dasuki by declaring recently in far away United Kingdom that he never believed his former NSA could have stolen more than two billion Dollars he was accused of stealing it is to be imagined that Jonathan must have been nursing some inner reservations over Dasukigate or Diezanigate or the anti-orruption crusade. But GEJ was talking trash and balderdash! His declaration was worrisome in many ways. It raises the question as to whether the Otueke man was not under any spell during his presidency? Was he bewitched to the extent that he saw nothing wrong with corruption and did nothing to combat same? To what extent was he absent-minded during his stint as Commander-in-Chief?
Few weeks back Reuben Abati released a controversial piece captioned “The Spiritual Side Of Aso Villa” in which he narrated his experience in the seat of power and what he made of the present and past occupants of the presidential abode. He painted a grim picture of death stalking residents, diseases (some curiously incurable) taking hold of the body and souls of ‘Aso Rockers’ and officials using blood to bathe every other morning! He chillingly described those he said “walked upside down”, that is, ghosts working and walking with the living within the precincts of Aso Villa!
He told us about women buying and selling dildos in order to maintain some sanity and dispel the imagination of sorcery by sex! He postulated that some government policies and programmes were so influenced by evil spirits or demons that attitudes of leaders were often changed or diluted from supernatural heights. He reported that he never slept in the Villa for one night but his relatives who did barely escaped with their lives as their apartments caught fire inexplicably at night!
After reading through the Abatian tale of blood-bath in the Villa I concluded that he must be a man of little faith indeed. He should have told us about his mortal fear for the unknown and his belief in superstition.
Two other great journalists (Olusegun Adeniyi and Femi Adesina) had written rebuttals to the controversial piece. Segun was Reuben’s predecessor and Femi his successor. They both dissected Abati’s wild claims and rebutted his conclusions. Adeniyi questioned the spiritual basis of the submissions saying that he went into Aso Rock Villa and came out unscathed. His ‘manhood’ (or “instrument” as he put it) was intact and functioning normally and his wife and children were all alive and well.
Adesina, at present resident in the Villa as President Buhari’s media and publicity top aide, tore Abati to shreds even though he used diplomacy to deliver the message. He ended jocularly by saying that he slept very well inside the Villa, even snoring deeply that sometimes he got transported to another ‘planet’! Femi provided a robust counter arguments that rubbished Abati’s submissions calling his motives into question.
But the posers are: did he write that article to defend GEJ and blame his spectacular failure on things spiritual? Did his principal not claim during his presidency that he believed in God and visited some churches in different cities for prayers? Or do we conclude here, then, that Abati was questioning the supreme power of God and His Omnipotency? Or was he celebrating the triumph of evil in our national political life? If Jonathan was a target of spiritual attack why did he not raise alarm that he was seeing demons in his bedroom or ghosts in his dreams?
The truth is that Reuben Abati is after something: attention or rehabilitation! Having been associated with the GEJ presidential mess Abati is smartly unearthing whatever exists in the figment of his spiritual imaginations to becloud our appreciation of how and why a President could ‘abdicate’ power and went to sleep without giving a damn about the monumental heists happening at every sector under his watch? And/or cause confusion in the minds and hearts of Nigerians by looking for some spiritual scapegoat to hang whatever went awfully wrong during those years of infamy on. But we are no fools! We are smarter and more discerning.
If the Villa was infested with blood, ghosts, diseases and death why then did Abati not resign immediately citing such as reason? Why then did politicians go to the extreme (including committing murder and rituals) to get to power at the zenith? If the presidential edifice in its breathtaking splendour was indeed haunted by evil spirits why did OBJ have to go to extra miles in order to ‘buy’ a third term after spending eight eventful years there? Why did Jonathan himself scoff at Obasanjo’s “decent descent” admonition in the celebrated open missive?
If every President or administration would conveniently blame whatever shortcomings registered in their stewardship on the influence of malevolent forces then the likes of Singaporean Lee Kuan Yew, British Winston Churchill, South African Nelson Mandela and Ivorian Felix Houphouet-Boigny would not have worked patriotically hard to gloriously change the course of history in their respective countries.