We have read a certain “right of reply” by President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, in which he struggled, albeit unsuccessfully, to burnish up Mr. President’s strange outing of 03 February in Yenagoa during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally. We are shocked by the cheap prevarications of Abati and would have been upset, too, but for the good fact that Nigerians have demonstrated clearly that they cannot be duped by such lamentable imitation of truth and irresponsible misrepresentation.
What we never knew, however, was that at the supposed campaign rally, President Jonathan had set out to deliver an academic seminar meant to be deciphered only by “intellectuals” like Dr. Abati. We thought that an event like a campaign rally with audiences that cut across all spectrums of society would have been an occasion to speak to the hopes of the people and in the language that they understand.
Abati would certainly need a lot more seminars and lectures to interpret his principal’s 03 February “metaphor” in the language Nigerians will understand and, perhaps, exorcise him of the evil burden and guilt of “stoning” to conquer his home state.
Besides, it is correct, as Abati stated, that the achievements of Sylva cannot be captured in a mere press release. We perfectly agree, and there was no attempt whatsoever in our response to the 03 February disgraceful incident in Yenagoa to outline the enormous achievements of Sylva. What we merely did was to take on specific issues, which those who wanted to capture Bayelsa State with the weapon of petty mudslinging raised on their own terms.
Since the beginning of the Bayelsa governorship crisis, arising from President Jonathan’s attempts to exclude Sylva, we have been very careful not to drag the presidency into it, in the belief that whatever President Jonathan’s personal interest may be, we all needed to respect the institution of the Nigerian Presidency. But the point at which President Jonathan tended to forget that he was the president and became so partisan and petty that he jettisoned virtually
all known principles of objectivity to celebrate lawlessness and anarchy, we had the responsibility to call him to order. And that was what we did.
Sylva has no interest whatsoever in hauling insult at anybody or telling lies against anybody. Indeed, if anybody has been lied about, Sylva is the one. President Jonathan has done a lot of things to de-nature himself. No one wants to do him a favour by insulting him. His failed promises and the disaster, which he left behind, even in Bayelsa State, are there for everyone to see.
Abati talks so much about a “law-abiding regime” of President Jonathan. It is interesting that the presidential spokesman is talking about a regime that is law-abiding at a time when there is no known law which Sylva broke to warrant his illegal exclusion from a governorship race he is eminently qualified to participate in, except a law known only to Mr. President and his spokesman. How do you talk of a law-abiding regime when you have to militarise a state on the eve of an illegal party primary election deliberately to wage a psychological warfare against the people and make your anointed candidate “win” without a contest? How do you talk of a law-abiding regime when Mr. President openly declared at the rally that “NOBODY CAN STOP US”? This was a point we deliberately did not want to go into since the matter was before the Supreme Court. When Mr. President threatens that nobody will stop him from having his way in the Bayelsa governorship race, he has ceased to speak the language of politics. Does this “nobody-body-can-stop-us” attitude not constitute a threat to even the judges who are yet to rule on the matter before them? We used to think that it was only in motor parks that such an attitude was preferred!
Mr. President and his handlers would definitely require more than media seminars to explain these travesties to democratic humanity.
We think the most sensible thing for the president would have been to stay away from the embarrassing event or just appealed to people to support his anointed candidate. But, alas, it became an ego thing for him.
But most disastrous in all these, perhaps, is the fact that President Jonathan is dividing Bayelsa State for his self-aggrandisement, and he has done so in a very crude way. One would have thought that no matter the “sins” of Sylva, the president would have found a way to manage the situation since this is arguably our best time for development, so that there can be unity of purpose on all sides to develop the state. It is sad that rather than unite the state for the purpose of development, President Jonathan is dividing the people in ways that
the division would remain with us for a very long time to come. This, certainly, is not a good payback to Bayelsa and, indeed, the Ijaw nation for their enormous contribution to the making of the first Nigerian President of Niger Delta origin.
Doifie Ola is Media Aide to Chief Timipre Sylva
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