Something is wrong in the Villa… (Jonathan-Abati Drama) – Lanre @Basamta

Published:20 Nov, 2012

Something is wrong in the Villa… (Jonathan-Abati Drama) – Lanre @Basamta

Something is wrong in the villa…

It could be the late rains this year, or the oven-hot heat that’s enveloped the atmosphere

But there is something wrong in that rock!

There surely is something undeniably wrong in that cave-like mansion that houses President Goodluck and beautiful Patience

There is something going on so inappropriately for the president to make such un-presidential gaffes at his media chat Sunday

Something else must be going on enough to make our president go on a fly

Something disturbingly awkward was wrong enough for President Jonathan to leave his mouth piece-Reuben Abati on the pole to dry


Ok, go on this journey with me

Mr. Ruben Abati was employed-highly recommended by his notorious reputation

With years of cerebral doggedness and cantankerous campaign against the many useless Nigerian governments over the past 20years, it was assume that Abati could deliver

With words as sharp as spears and mien as right as rain,

Abati was employed to save the presidency the endless errors and gaffes that afflicted the Yar’Adua’s administration


It is no mean feat therefore whenever Abati releases an official press statement

Neither is it mincemeat anytime he chooses to make official statements on any pressing national issues

So when on Nov 14th Abati in a press statement said the presidency has cancelled the PHCN contract to Manitoba-the Canadian company, nobody argued

Also, when on August 26th, he informed state house correspondents that the governments were dialoging with Boko Haram, the people merely grumbled but eventually agreed

And when Abati told Nigerians and the world that the First Lady was on vacation when there was daily fasting and prayers for her all around the nation, the people-still confused, agreed abit with him

Yeah, Jonathan was the president, but most would agree that he is not orator, nor is he Obama

Abati was to be his mouthpiece and pen ink

The man who made Mr. President looked good to the ensnarling public


But on Sunday, President Jonathon poured poo on Abati’s face on national TV

The President told us that indeed Patient Jonathan was sick, when Ruben Abati and that loud mouthed Ayo Osinlu said she went on vacation?

He said the Federal Government hasn’t revoked the power contract to Manitoba, when Ruben Abati had released multiple official statements to the contrary

And clearly, ‘His Excellency’ stated that the government wasn’t in any negotiation with Boko Haram or other terrorists group, even when  Abati again and again alludes to that in official speeches and interactions with the press corps


So who is lying, the president or his lieutenants?

Who is duping Nigerians of the truth?

Who is depriving Nigerians the privilege of knowing what is really happening?

Who really should be behind bars right now for falling foul of the freedom of Information (FoI) Law?


I have always had issues with liars and their confounding gibberish

Not only because lies are the foundation of every evils, but also because every lie needs three more lies-possibly more, to pass as truth

I have always had my issues with official secrets or government lies

For one, the people elected you to be their leader, and they pay you handsomely for this privileged duty

The least therefore is to account to them as truthfully and accurately as possible


The constant problem however is the endless lies

On Sunday, November 18th, President Jonathan unbundled some of the lies of his lieutenants-Ayo Osinlu and Ruben Abati in particular

It was a mammoth embarrassment as many lies the public had allowed uncontested were brought to the open for what they are-untruths

President Jonathan feeling like Super-Ted exposed the web of deceits and deception around him

He made us realized that Abati and co are loyal to no one but the prevailing code of the day-or so it looked

President Jonathan made us realized that his puppets need never be trusted as they often speak of their own accord without his blessings-or so they were made to appear

Mr. President made us acknowledge that governance in Nigeria, is really nothing more than the nuances a student union government in Myanmar


Now I might have allowed this to pass, just like many before even as I expect many more to follow

But the patriot in me wouldn’t pass

The nationalist deep within me would not allow the perpetration of SELF as evidenced by this government

So I ask of the actors some question that needs urgent answers


To Abati and his Crew:

Ruben, where really have you been getting all the news you have been feeding the unsuspecting public since you assumed office?

If the president can rubbish all you efforts of 19months in less than 90minutes, then help me answer, do you really deserve you beastly salaries and monstrous allowances anymore?

To start with, who is lying, yourself or the president?

How come you tell such disgusting lies, or rather, you disgustingly distort the truth and remain straight-faced all through?

Tell me if you woke up with your usual swagger today, if you didn’t feel that emptiness in your stomach that most of us feel when our boss publicly rubbishes our efforts?

Tell me how you have been able to keep this charade going until the president busted your bubbles on Sunday?

Even most critically for me, how do you sleep at night during those times when you claimed Madam Patience Jonathan was actually on vacation, when Infact she was critically ill and convalescing abroad?


I know you have claimed to eat and dine with the president

I even heard you swore than our simple president eats only cassava bread, drinks kunu and go on dry fasting like an 80year old grandmother looking for fruit of the womb

The real question for me is why weren’t you able to prep Mr. President for his media chat?

Even if you had lied for him as expected, or to him without respect, your team should have anticipated the poke-nosing of the Nigerian masses/Press and how we wouldn’t have allowed him rest

Do you still think you qualify for you role in the light of this?

Do you in all fairness think you can continue to draw righteous salary for job not properly done?

Do you think you can still save face when the president has so unashamedly rubbed you face in dog poo on national television?

Don’t you think you should respectably resign and keep some semblance of dignity through all this mishmash?


Ok, I’ll allow you respond to that and not second guess your response


To Mr. President:

Thank you for trying to be truthful, though in truth I see beyond this façade

Why sir did it take you many months to correct official position that your wife wasn’t on vacation?

You have made public appearances and even had a national broadcast since then, why did it take you this long to say the truth after the lie has been a convenient excuse for so long?

Why did it have to come to this media chat before you and your government corrected the many lies, errors or misconceptions in the public space about your government’s policy choices and directions?

Why did you have to so belittle your men publicly?

Why did you have to skin them so badly on national television?

Think about how the military would react to a Commander-in-Chief who publicly dissociates himself from the actions or utterances of his subordinates

A Commander that allows his lieutenants rot on the battle field, one that in trying to appear glorious turned out vain glorious?


How will you face your crew now?

How do you expect them to react after now?

Will they not now view every press statement with heavy doses of cynicism and detachment?

Would they defend you like they often did at the expense of sounding childishly ridiculous and so very unbelievable?

Would they follow you to the death and protect your reputation to the public without recourse to their own reputation?

Will the Abatis, Okupe, Omokiri and Osinlu not begin to worry for their post government reputations and begin to play it safe rather than being sorry?

Would you in all fairness stick out your neck for a leader that treats you just the way you treated your men?


Well, truth is that am sure these are road you both would rather not have travelled

These are incidences both camps would rather have avoided

These really are times when textbook diplomacy and being truly presidential would have come in really handy


The question really is, are you both willing to make it work?

Are you both willing to paddle this canoe across this treacherous bend?

Are you willing to learn from this and forge a bond that allows us critics’ better issues to debate on?

Will the President commit to being presidential and his mouth pieces act professionally (even with their lame lies) and return some dignity and pride to the person and position of the Presidency?

Or would we come back to this drama soon enough to rack our head around this ‘Jack and Jill’ nursery rhyme drama again?


I hope not….

Here is hoping that sense prevails over the present eccentricities

Here is hoping that whatever is wrong in the villa is righted

Here is hoping that this debacle is confined to the dustbins of history

Here is hoping




Lanre Basamta

Twitter: @basamta

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