Bayo Oluwasanmi: The Abati We Don’t Know


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Every time we make a choice we’re turning a central part of us into something a little different from what it was before. Every time we turn this central part of us in choosing from competing choices, we’re either changing ourselves into a hellish nightmare or into harmony with our fellow beings.


Our choice could mean a state of war and hatred or joy, peace, and knowledge with other people. If we choose a state of war and hatred over joy, peace, and knowledge it means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness.

The right choice and the right direction lead not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man makes a better choice, he understands clearly the difference between good and evil. When a man makes a bad choice, he understands his own badness less and less.

A moderately bad man knows he is not very good. A thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. You understand sleep when you’re awake, not while you’re sleeping.

You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know both good and evil.  Bad people do not know about either.

Moral failure is caused by the choices we make, and it will cause trouble probably to others and certainly to yourself. One of the things that cause moral failure is when things go wrong inside the individual.

When different parts of the individual – his different faculties and desires, etc., either drift apart or interfere with one another.

Dr. Rueben Abati, President Jonathan’s spokesman is a metaphor for bad choice. His bad choice of serving a president of an anti-people government, speaks eminently for the Abati we don’t know.

The Abati we know was the Rutam House Abati who was always angry the ways things were with the country in general and in particular the PDP-led federal government. The Abati that relentlessly called for the ways things should be.

The Abati we know believed that journalists must report what the government does in the dark. He believed the government is accountable to the people, and any government serves at the pleasure of the people.

The Abati we know was a man many thought would be outlived by his ideas. A man many thought would be his generation’s Peter Enahoro (Peter Pan), Alade Odunewu (Allah De), Lateef Kayode Jakande (John West), Bisi Onabanjo (Aiyekoto), Abiodun Aloba (Ebenezer Williams), and other heavy weights of Nigerian journalism.

Abati’s diminishing returns caused by his Aso Rock propaganda warfare have completely erased the legacy he so labored to build at Rutam House.  He’ll long be remembered as an apostate of Nigerian journalism and a propaganda scoundrel!

Samples of Abati then and Abati now:

Abati of Rutam House on Nuhu Ribadu in 2009:

“… Nuhu Ribadu, the erstwhile Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission who lost his job under rather circumstances, and who is regarded as having been unfairly treated by the Yar’Adua government. I hugged him. He had lost nothing of his humility, his sense of humour and his humanity… a man who had just been rough-tackled by the unpredictable Nigerian state whose moral compass is subject to the whims and caprices of whoever is in charge, and not necessarily principles and values.”

“Then they demoted him in what looked like a routine administrative exercise, but the political undertones were writ large. When he tried to resist the system, they shoved him out of the graduation hall at Kuru, and his employers, the Police sent him to Siberia what Nigerians would call the Ogbugbuaja treatment.”

Abati on Dame Patience Jonathan August 27, 2010:

“The wife of the President of Nigeria, or a state Governor, or a local council chairman is not a state official. The same applies to husbands if the gender is reversed. He or she is unknown to the constitution or the governance structure … under Jonathan presidency, Dame Patience Jonathan even got a special allocation in the original budget for the 2010 Golden Jubilee anniversary whereas she has no official financial reporting responsibilities.”

“The Jonathans must be told that Nigeria does not have a co-Presidency. We have only one president and his name is Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. And by the way, what does Dame Patience Jonathan do for a living?”

“The new First Lady likes to travel, party, and talk outside script. People are beginning to read her lips in order to understand her husband. Dame Patience must not push her Goodluck.”

Abati on Democracy:

“Anyone in the corridors of power, either by chance or right, or appointment, is expected to behave decorously.”

“Democracy is readily associated with freedom: the freedom to be free in many respects and increasingly in Nigeria, many of our compatriots, particularly persons in positions of privilege and authority confuse this with the right to be disagreeable… The sober truth is that democracy is about rights and responsibilities…”

Here is Abati of Aso Rock we don’t know:

On Leadership Newspaper journalists: (April, 2013)

“The circulation of a fictitious ‘presidential directive’ that seeks in the main to cause civil strife, engender a breakdown of law and order, and negate the values of our democracy is a very grievous act indeed that should not be ignored. At its core, such a disruptive act erodes the ethos of governance and professionalism and naturally stirs up those entrusted with the protection of law and order; as it should also, every responsible citizen, interest group and the entire media. In that regard, President Jonathan did not have to issue any orders before those who have as much constitutional responsibility as the media; that is, the police, see the need to act in the public interest.”

On “The Jonathan You Don’t Know”: (Sep., 2012)

“…all the cynics, the pestle-wielding critics, the unrelenting, self-appointed activists, the idle and idling, the twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM – pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria, who seem to be in competition among themselves to pull down President Goodluck Jonathan. This army of sponsored and self-appointed anarchists is so diverse; many of them don’t even know why or how they should attack the President.”

On a speech given by Nuhu Ribadu at Ahmadu Bello University, Abati dismissed Ribadu’s characterization of Jonathan administration as a “sinking ship” as “false, hypocritical and self-serving.”

“It is very unfortunate indeed that the once highly respected former EFCC Chairman has now taken to political prostitution and developed a penchant for irresponsible and reckless utterances aimed at improving the electoral fortunes of his new friends and “leader,” who he once famously denounced as crook who is “not fit to hold public office.”

Abati described Ribadu as resorting to “shameless wolf-crying, the peddling of arrant falsehood and denigration of the elected government of his fatherland in furtherance of his selfish quest for continued national political relevance after his wholesale rejection by Nigerian voters in 2011.”

The Abati we don’t know is Aso Rock Abati: a greedy, cowardly, liar, ill-tempered, and self conceited man who practice a wicked hybrid of journalism and propaganda.

The Abati we don’t know is a fiction writer with no respect for the truth and facts. The Abati we don’t know is the alchemist of Nigerian politics who wants to turn garbage into gold.

The Abati we don’t know is Dr. Faustus who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for four or eight years at Aso Rock as the case may be at the beck and call of Mr. Jonathan.

Morality is concerned with three things: fair play, and harmony between individuals, and tidying up. Abati has successfully abandoned all three. Leaving Rutam House is a blessing rejected that has become a curse for him at Aso Rock.

Abati as the presidential spokesman has reinvented himself through propaganda and fabrications as a direct violator and trespasser of the four cardinal virtues: prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude.

Prudence means practical commonsense, taking the trouble to think out what you’re doing and what is likely to come of it. When Abati took up the position as Mr. Jonathan’s propagandist, it is obvious that he left prudence in the editorial halls of Rutam House for Aso Rock.

In the absence of commonsense, Abati spuriously engages himself in self destruction in his defiance to prop up lies and follies of Mr. Jonathan.
To Abati, his blind defense of flaws and failures of Jonathan’s administration must be swallowed by Nigerians hook, line, and sinker and would like us to believe that there is no difference between straw and grain.

Temperance refers not specially to drink, but to all pleasures and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further. Abati’s appetite for luxury and pleasurable life, and his infatuation to dine and wine with Emperor Jonathan, makes him to obstinately remain ignorant.

Justice means much more than the sort of thing that goes on in law courts. It is the old name for everything we should now call “fairness,” it includes honesty, give and take, truthfulness, keeping promises, and all that side of life. In this regard, Abati is a living and thriving lie!

Fortitude includes both kinds of courage – the kind that faces danger as well as the kind that “sticks it” under pain. You cannot possibly and successfully practice any of the other virtues very long without bringing this one into play. Abati in this context, is a duplicitous idiot who needs cleaning – inside out.

Nothing but the courage and unselfishness of individuals is ever going to make any system work properly. It is not easy enough to remove the particular kinds of graft or bullying that go on under the Jonathan administration.

But as long as men and women are twisters or bullies they will find some new way of carrying on the old game. You cannot make men good by law. And without good men you cannot have a good society.

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