Custom Search

Special Issues

Atsar Terver
Public Commentator
Port Harcourt
Email
more articles by Terver

Nigerian
News

 

The speech for which this government has released all her bull-dogs to attack the ex-minister is one of the best speeches I have ever read in my entire life from a Nigerian intellectual. It is one of the speeches that a government with conscience would be precautious in dismissing with the wave of the hand. After all the ranting, that speech will continue to hunt this generation of leaders all the way to their graves unless they take up the challenge thrown to them by it.

 

Yesterday’s Hypocrites and Yesterday’s Men of Tomorrow

In a recent article, presidential media aide, Reuben Abati made what I could call a passionate appeal for those he called ‘yesterday’s men’ to stay off ‘their’ back. ‘Their’ here refers to ‘Today’s Men’. Today’s men can readily be interpreted to mean the current President’s men (and women) who constitute his government. Simply put, Abati was trying to pass the obvious message to ex-government officials; ‘you had your turn; this is our turn, allow us to also have our bite’.

 

Abati’s charge could be fair enough if being government is accepted as a ‘come and chop’ bazaar in which different set of politicians take turns in sharing the national cake. But if there is more to governance than this ‘it-is- our-turn-to-eat’ mentality, then his response, which was apparently targeted to Mallam El Rufai and Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, falls abysmally below the standard expected of a responsible and transparent government.

It should be a source of genuine worry and introspection for any sensible government official that an ex-president and several of his high profile ex-government officials are synchronized in taking jabs at this present regime. As insiders in their time and knowing the workings of government, theirs cannot possibly be mere uninformed allegations from jealous people as the President’s Media man would want us to believe, most especially without providing convincing contrary figures and evidence to negate the weighty allegations Mrs.Oby made in her now famous UNN graduation speech.

It is rather juvenile and preposterous to insinuate that those demanding accountability from this government, especially thos who have been in power before, are out to grab power. If criticism of government has the sole aim of projecting oneself for power, then Abiti is the last person who should have the moral right to challenge anybody on criticism because he is perhaps one person who owes his status as one of the so-called ‘Today’s Men’ to vitriolic criticism of the government. Even if sitting at the table with the President has caused Abati to forget so soon the rock from whence he was hewn, Nigerians have not.

By Abati’s new revelation, he has confirmed what most of us saw long ago that his then penchant to pick issues with every effort of the government of the day in which he was not a player, every Week in his Guardian Column, was just an attention-grabber strategy camouflaged with pretentions of patriotism and public interest. So we now have a hypocrite of yesterday as a ‘today’s man’, calling off the hypocrisy of yesterday’s men, as the saying goes: it takes a thief to catch a thief.

It is laughable that an ex-editor of a frontline Newspaper in Nigeria now sees expression of people’s opinion in the media as a taboo simply because the opinions so expressed target his source of bread. Where is Abati’s belief in the freedom of the press which gave him a career and a life? Why should Abati have issues with an accomplished economists and educationalists like Dr. Oby Ezekewsili delivering a high profile lecture at a graduation ceremony to mentor our younger generation? Why should it worry Abati that these ex-leaders are writing books or patronizing social media to air their views? Has he forgotten so soon also that his benefactor made huge political capital from a facebook account prior to his election in 2011 and also wrote a book thereafter?

From the almost unveiled self-pity Abati resorted to, I sense a very justifiable deep feeling of inadequacy for him and the President for the position they now occupy. The sympathy-wooing lamentations as to how some people feel no one else can run Nigeria, and reminding ex-Governors, Ministers, DGs e.t.c that the ‘political climate has changed’ all point to one fact that these people feel a greater sense of satisfaction from their smelling the reins of power than leaving a mark in the offices they now occupy. Agreed the political climate has changed and we have some ‘accidental public servants’ parading themselves as Today’s men, but it shall change again sooner or later and they will also become yesterday’s men of the future’ but what will posterity say about this government? I think that should be the pertinent question on Abati’s mind.

So far this government has already earned for itself several awards from Nigerians albeit ignoble ones,  the list is endless; The most clueless government in Nigeria history, The most visionless, The most corrupt  regime, the most reckless in spending, the most opaque government and what have you. It should be told Abati and his fellow rabid attack dogs of this government that no amount of grandstanding can change this perception until they begin to shed the toga of ‘Today’s men’ and look for real satisfaction from delivering good governance to the people.

It is pitiable that this government has adopted one standard response to criticism which is denial of reality and to claim that critics are out to embarrass the government .If this   government is not embarrassed by the rot in the system, that could allow a pension Fund Director shoplift 23billion Naira and the Minister in charge of the Police Ministry has not resigned, why should it be embarrassed that a Television Station broadcast a documentary on a dilapidated Police College for instance? The priorities of this government are simply not right.

The speech for which this government has released all her bull-dogs to attack the ex-minister is one of the best speeches I have ever read in my entire life from a Nigerian intellectual. It is one of the speeches that a government with conscience would be precautious in dismissing with the wave of the hand. After all the ranting, that speech will continue to hunt this generation of leaders all the way to their graves unless they take up the challenge thrown to them by it.

 

 


Unique visitors: 224