What is next for Dr. Reuben Abati?

by Yahaya Balogun

What is next for Dr Rueben Abati?

Reuben AbatiDr Reuben Abati, the spokesperson for the outgoing government of president Goodluck Jonathan is a person we will not love to hate. His place in the history of Nigeria sadly seems unassured and cloudy. We all remember his pungent article titled: “Okadigbo and the forty thieves”. It can now be rechristened or retitled as ‘Okadigbo and the forty one thieves’. Dr Reuben Abati, a wordsmith and revered literary gymnast who soared in reputation and gave all the youths of the 90s a sense of hope of a new Nigeria.

His command of literary ideas in politics, economy and current affairs enhanced the sales of tabloids and equipped some of us in our penchant and famished quest to be like him in the literary world. His artful gymnastic and dark horse in the editorial board of the Guardian was phenomenon.

Dr. Rueben Abati’s dexterity and prowess in communicating his principles, ideas and opinions on the state of the nation were second to none. Principles, ideas and opinions, which are now very  irredeemably questionable in the minds of his then numerous admirers. When the news of his appointment filtered into our ears, it was a complete rude shock and disbelief. We knew we were losing one of our own to the political wilderness of Nigeria. Our muse has been sentenced to Nigerian ugly political history and we mourned.

Regrettably, this writer wrote him a passionate missive and got one published in The Guardian Newspaper and other media for him to “come back to us”; that the government of the day was not sincere with its incompetency to see us through our mundane problems in Nigeria. Our own Abati refused in spite of the overwhelming facts and signs on ground. Just like Joseph Goebbels of Hitler, Dr. Reuben Abati megaphoned one of the clueless and corrupt administrations in Nigeria.

I remember I had a heated argument with a brother when he staunchly defended Dr. Rueben Abati’s acceptance; that he took the appointment to effect change within having been a constructive critique of the previous failed administrations.

Sadly, instead of our icon of inspiration then to change a clueless administration, the administration succeeded in changing his principles and his hard earned reputation. He forgot the burden of history and the Nigerian political ides of March, he got subsumed in the ugly history of our bruised country.

Dr. Abati in this new normal, suppose to be essential asset to this emerging hope. The good thing is that, as  Nigerians, one love in our hearts can neutralize or eliminate one million hatreds.

I have literally wept in the deserted museum of Dr. Rueben Abati’s literary arts and also grieve what history and the future will have for him. I still love the man’s ingenuity and adroitness but feel nauseated by his self-inflicted journey to oblivion.

Yahaya Balogun

Arizona, USA.

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