By Abiodun Komolafe
Reno Omokri would not stop amusing Nigerians! Maybe it is the nature of the Jonathanists to regale us with aimless cuts oftentimes synonymous with poor understanding of socio-political issues around them.
In a conflicting and confusing tirade against Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun recently, Omokri mistook Aregbesola for a “lazy talkative” and a “confused man suffering from verbal diarrhoea” for daring to expose former President Goodluck Jonathan as a man too incompetent and obsessively profligate to run the affairs of a country as rich in resources as Nigeria.
Well, let me start by reiterating that, just as truth hurts, Omokri’s unceasing whimpering almost three years after Nigerians have spoken with their thumbs has shown that, if not properly managed, the pain of defeat could last a lifetime. Little wonder our friend has continued to caress terrible information which he knows in reality are untrue. In any case, that his “phones no longer ring” deserves our sympathy, not an outpouring of euphoria! But, while the politrician in him is at liberty to fantasize that Nigeria “witnessed an era of unprecedented growth” under Jonathan, any attempt to blackmail Aregbesola for reminding Nigerians of their experience under the former president will be tantamount to rewriting history.
Back to the brass tacks, Omokri’s assertion that “calamity did not strike the Nigerian economy … at any … time that former President Jonathan governed Nigeria” is nothing but an insult on our collective intelligence. Let it be noted that Nigerians were not ignorant of the price per barrel of crude oil during Jonathan’s era as well as how much of our commonwealth went into private pockets from which consequences Nigeria is yet to recover. As fate would have it, militancy and terrorism added their own flavour to Nigeria’s cup of woes and it was as if the gods were angry! As things stand, our situation is likely to be compounded should world powers like China, Europe and USA make good their“threat” to fully embrace plug-in electric vehicles in the near future.
While Omokri might have forgotten that most of the states which currently appear healthy are only so on the surface, his weak and sickly categorization of an oil-producing state like Anambra as one that “… has creatively come up with ways to generate revenue without taking loans or the bailout” calls to question his belief in his political party. Does it mean that People’s Democratic Party (PDP), fittingly described as ‘a blind giant groping in the dark’, is in want of governors with “producer mentality”? Well, with Anambra’s touted fortune which has all along pitched the godfather against his godson, it’s like ‘Nigerians ain’t seen nothing yet!’
Quite frankly, Omokri’s friends should wake him up from deep sleep on the issue of “$25 billion scam at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation” when such a gesture still has some semblance of honour in it. Having said that, rather than strike Nigerians with shock, our friend’s puerile, 10-for-10 kobo tantrums should be a wake-up call to the electorate that it is not over until it is over! After all, the cumulative impact of the PheeDeePhee’s contribution to the decline of democracy in Nigeria was so devastating that it shouldn’t be given any opportunity of resurrecting in Nigeria again; not even in Osun! Essentially therefore, All Progressives Congress (APC) needs to, as a matter of urgency, upgrade its political arsenal in line with international best practices. Instructively, post-Isiaka Adeleke controversies have compelled Nigerians to tie the party’s success in future elections to its ability to prevent any internal squabbles from imploding into unmanageable conflagrations.
“The purpose of life,” according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that” one has “lived and lived well.” It is interesting to note that Kehinde Agboola as the man at the centre of it all has over the years discharged himself as a man of honour – always as plain as the nose on his face. As a matter of fact, our friendship dates back to our days as students and hall mates at the University of Ilorin where his candour and forthrightness eventually led him to become the president of the institution’s Student Union Government. Yours sincerely ended up serving as Editor-in-Chiefin that government. Aren’t Nigerians surprised therefore that the lawmaker and Omokri belong to the same political party?
But then, why did Prophet Elijah, once credited with slaughtering prophets of Baal in their hundreds have to speak to his legs on mere threats from a woman? Well, this is where Muhammadu Buhari’s roles as president and leader of the party come in! Frankly, the APC-led national government needs to do more, especially, in the area of strategic marketing of its policies, programmes and achievements. In my candid view, constructive engagements on how to exit the salary quagmire which has the potential to become a national embarrassment if not carefully handled ought to have been populating the space by now. Yes, the president’s “frowning at the inability of state governors to pay outstanding salaries” of their workers is right on point. However, accompanying it with a good measure of extreme caution is also important, taking into consideration the dead-and-about-to-be-buried opposition’s capacity for shameful inequities.
Again, what’s Aregbesola’s sin? Put in strict terms, it is either the Jonathanist was not well-informed about Aregbesola’s huge impact on the state’s economy or he has willfully acquired a certain notoriety for walking where success fears to walk.
For the avoidance of doubt, the governor is a confident administrator and sure carrier of hope whose achievements have propped up Nigerians’ belief in themselves.
Lastly, let Omokri be reminded that PDP-controlled states like Ekiti, Enugu, Abia, Taraba, Ebonyi and Bayelsa are also captured in this witches-and-wizards created salary turmoil. From the foregoing, subscribing to such silliness as Aregbesola having “tens of cars in his convoy” will always remain the exclusive preserve of ‘narrow thinkers.’
And Reno refersto ourgovernor’s performance as “massive failure”? Honestly, facts on ground point to the contrary!
May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, scatter!
*Komolafe writes from Lagos