Why the phones no longer ring

I read with interest the article written by the former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity Dr. Reuben Abati titled “The phones no longer ring.” The article which generated mixed reactions was a reality of what becomes of a public office holder when he is out of office. As a matter of fact, the frustrations of a very prolific Abati that we used to read in The Guardian newspaper in those days to improve our writing prowess are well understood.

For an Abati, the phones will no longer ring like they used to, at least for now. As a matter of fact, the votes of Nigerians silenced the phones of his former boss from the moment the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Muhammadu Buhari winner of that memorable election.

Foremost, I have never been bothered about any ex- employee or appointee of former President Goodluck Jonathan because they have ‘Buhariphobia’ which is more than enough to cope with if found wanting and needing to make some ‘refunds’ to Nigeria.

However, I must say that I observed clearly an attempt by Abati to make his literary prowess a pedestal for which he needs to launch back into public space which he has hitherto missed during his sojourn to Aso Villa where his phones ranged for four years.

Of course, the truism that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune” cannot be left out of the situation the former spokesperson found himself. My reaction was orchestrated by my observation in what has become the personality of Abati in the last few years, even as he wrote his first article to regain back fans in his literary space.

The narration of Abati was a description of a service in a destabilised, defensive, disorganised and unwilling system. Think of this for a moment, from day one in office, Abati got a clear picture of what he was hired to do and was willing to play the card either for the glory of his esteemed office as a spokesperson for the then President and/or any additional reason(s) best known to Abati himself.

In reality, considering the cluelessness of the Jonathan government, all professionals hired to serve in that government were required to make up for the weakness of their boss which was lack of capacity to deliver on the designated tasks.

Even when out of office, Abati still referred to the then opposition All Progressives Congress as “desperate and hyper negative.” But today, the class Abati referred to as hyper negative elements are making clear difference to school him and his former principal how to run a government with adequate consideration to the feelings of everyone.

In Abati’s submission, I am worried that it is still not clear to him that one can speak for a government without recourse to insulting those with dissenting opinions about the policies of same government one works for. In most civilised world like America and Europe, spokespersons to the President or Prime Minister speak for the government but do not speak against the people as there is a clear cut difference between the two.

But it is obvious that because Abati is used to defence as conflicting strategies he has lived with for few years back, his very first article was premised on making an expose of the kind of pressure he went through in the hands of Nigerians begging for money or for favour. This is a sharp defence mechanism to attract pity and sway emotions on his side as a helpless former public office holder.

To Abati, a very friendly memoir of his account of office suitable for everyone’s consumption, possibly humorous, would have been a very good way to launch back to public space. Well, Abati has become used to verbal missile over the time. There is truly something missing in the public relation skill expected of an ex-spokesperson to the President of a country. The people win no matter how one looks at it.

Clearly, Abati is coping with the loneliness of his time, more so when the glamour of celebrating people who served with a bad government is gradually being detached from our system with on-going seriousness of the present government. I think that if not for ‘Buhariphobia,’ Abati would have bagged several post service awards of excellence weeks after he left office.

Simply, Abati missed those invitations for awards and accolades that would immediately follow his exit from public office.

And now, he should know the reasons why his phones are no longer ringing. The people are simply not interested in talking with him even if he is ready to do so.

Olulade is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Epe Constituency II

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O PARI!...IS THIS NOT THE SAME GEJ THE SOUTH-WEST AND ITS STUDENTS VOTED MASSIVELY FOR DURING THE LAST ELECTIONS?Students of Obafemi ‎Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, on Friday expressed their frustration with the ‘unfavourable’ condition they were subjected to over the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan in the institution.

Jonathan is attending a conference with South-West traditional rulers and politicians at the OAU.
It was gathered that public buses were not allowed into the school premises and majority of the stud‎ents had to trek long distances to their examination hall.
In one of the instances, ‎a Post Graduate Diploma student was seen arguing with security personnel after she refused entry.
Though she explained that she had exam, the security officials refused her plea.
Students were also seen protesting at the front of Oduduwa Hall where the meeting was holding.
The placard-carrying protesters were heard shouting “thief” on all the politicians that storm the venue.
Among the inscription on their placards are, “Education is our right, give us credible leadership, all we want is standard education.”
According to the students, they suspect that the leaders are in the school to endorse the president for 2015, despite “his failure to develop the educational sector.”
They also claimed that the meeting subjected them to suffering and was ill-timed because they are writing their examinations.
Some of the students also alleged that the buses provided by their union to ease movement were disturbed by politicians.
One of them identified as Isreal, said, “This is ‎rubbish. Is the president or politics more important than our lives? How will they subject us to this kind of suffering. Buses were denied entrance and we have to start trekking.”
Another student added, “All in the name of presidential visit, all activities are put on hold. We can’t do anything. They should not have brought this kind of meeting here. They should know OAU students don’t like oppressors. ‎They have the guts to come here after increasing our school fees exorbitantly.”
When contacted, the President of the Students Union of OAU, Isaac Ibikunle, said buses have been provided to aid the movement of the students.




President Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday embark on what the Presidency called a brief pilgrimage to Israel.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President, who will depart the country from Lagos, is expected back in Abuja on Monday.

Abati said during his stay in Israel, Jonathan would join other Nigerian pilgrims in a prayer session for the progress of the country.

He said before leaving Lagos for Israel, Jonathan would participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post on Friday morning.

The statement read, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will depart Lagos Friday to undertake a brief pilgrimage to Israel.

“The President, who will be accompanied by the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba, and his principal aides will, in addition to visiting Christian Holy sites, join other Nigerian pilgrims in a prayer session for the well-being and progress of the country at an Inter-Denominational Service in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“He is expected back in Abuja on Monday.

“Before leaving for Israel, President Jonathan will participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post on Friday morning.

“The President will be joined at the event by President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic and officials of the Economic Community of West African States.

“The Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post is being constructed under the ECOWAS Transport Facilitation Programme, which has the objective of boosting trade and economic relations among member countries.”

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