In it, he succinctly submitted that we, the people, messed up when we universally elected an unhealthy man into a strenuous office in a complex society like Nigeria. He accused the National Assembly of negligence. He charged that the president’s wife and the cabal around her have lost their moral compass. According to Abati, it was our entire fault and we should, therefore, be ashamed of ourselves.
Pardon me if I do not get all the nuggets of his immaculate piece in the summary above. After all, I am just a little baby and when I bathe I only wash my belly.
But join me as we run down a few of his words that should be placed on an eternal marble for generations unborn to read and memorize.
Abati rightly hoped that “those whose moral authority has been openly called to question will feel compelled to put Nigeria first.”
Moral authority. What an astonishing psychological observation. Nothing advertizes sin like hypocrisy.
Abati asked, “where were we all when Yar’Adua became President?” Good question. Where was I? Where were you?
He stated that we agreed with Obasanjo that Umoru had what was needed to be President?
We did? I cannot recall. Maybe I am getting old. Does the ‘we’ include the likes of Wole Soyinka? Does it include those who went to the Supreme Court in search of justice only to have justice thwarted by the likes of James Ibori who bribed justices of the court? Oh, what am I saying? Abati hears no evil and sees no evil when it comes to the likes of James Ibori and Andy Uba and Tafa Balogun and Dangote and Peter Odili and anyone else capable of meeting his retainership rate. He probably missed that story. Maybe that is why Abati is interchanging himself with we?
The Guru of the Guardian declared that Obasanjo’s sick candidate won about 24.6 million votes in the election.
Wait a minute! I thought we screamed that the election was a farce? And some news outlets like the Saharareporters have refused to call Yar’Adua president as a result?
Am I losing my mind?
In Abati’s world, INEC “sealed the matter of election rigging” when it declared that ‘Yar’Adu was the most serious of all candidates.’
Now I get it. Abati takes INEC’s word to the bank.
Abati noted that, “We did not take the connection between Presidential health and national security and stability seriously.” Ehyaaa!
“The National Assemby is made up of unserious people.” Gbosa!
“We fell asleep.” Flagrant fowl! Told them!
“The state has failed.” Damn it! Lexicographer Noah Webster could not have said it better.
“A nation that fails to do right is bound to embrace crisis and water the seeds of its own destruction.” Gbam! Ka-chineke mechie okwu.
“The President’s family doesn’t get it.” Stupendous insight. Disarmed truth!
“…Yar'Adua tragedy is about all of us: the greed of the Nigerian political elite, the failure of institutions, and the desperation of housewives.” Inverted platitudes!
In conclusion, Abati noted that attempts by American presidents to hide their incapacitation had ceased with the advent of media scrutiny of the presidency. “ Nigeria,” he thundered, “should learn from best practice.”
Tommy-slapping guffaw! Two elongated thumbs up!
Just in case anyone was in doubt, Abati roared that, “The real people on trial are the legislators.”
Yes. Don’t even think that probably, Dr. Reuben Abati is also on trial. How dare you?
In April of 2009, Dr. Reuben Abati was one of the editors of the Guardian newspaper who went and interviewed Yar’Adua at Aso Rocks. Unlike when they went to interview Obasanjo and were lost in their confusion about the pounded yam they were served, this was a serious interview. It was probably the only major interview Yar’Adua granted any newspaper before he went AWOL.
After the interview, Abati and his group painted a picture of a president in great physical and mental shape. They characterized the president as ‘sharp’ looking, ‘comfortable in his skin’ and a man whose words were full of passion. According to Abati and his team, the president they interviewed (allegedly) for hours enjoyed talking. They said he exuded ‘boundless excitement’ that became infectious.
Aha! Infectious Infection. That was the word I was looking for.
He reeled off facts and figures off his memory, Abati team reported. (Was that a satire or an irony?)
The Abati team which included, the Editor of the Guardian, Debo Adesina and Abuja Bureau Chief Martins Oloja began the interview by saying, "You're looking good, Mr. President."
Did Yar’Adua’s cabal use Abati and his team to launder the image of an incapacitated president?
So what’s the what? Who is fooling who? The fragrance of fart foretells the taste of feces.
There is no thrill that compares with pontification when ones integrity is in shambles. It is therapeutic. If Reuben Abati dares to interrogate himself, if he looks in the mirror, he risks seeing the abyss.
Just like Yar’Adua, when it comes to Reuben Abati, “what we see is not as dangerous as what we do not yet know.” For a while now, the moral authority of Reuben Abati and his Guardian newspaper has openly been questioned. Those who know what regular readers of newspapers do not know are wondering when Abati and his team will put something but themselves first. Some argue that people who run the Guardian are made up of unserious people who have fallen asleep as the nation flounders. Some even say that the Guardian has failed. Reusing the words of Abati, a newspaper that fails to do right is bound to embrace crisis and water the seeds of its own destruction. The Abati’s team at the Guardian doesn’t get it. The Guardian’s tragedy is in the greed of its elite, the failure of its role as an institution and the desperation of its gatekeepers. It is sad that Abati and his team have refused to learn from best practice.
As a full disclosure, I know Reuben Abati. And I know the Guardian.
If Reuben Abati is just a pathological newspaper man bereft of moral certitude, I will join others in saying, “Isn’t he adorable?” But Reuben Abati is the total embodiment of all that is wrong with the Nigerian media. He is a serial quid pro quo practitioner deeply entangled in all the iniquities that are stopping the Nigerian media from effectively carrying out its constitutional mandate. If you place in parallel the corruption index of the media and those of the politicians, the corruption of Turai Yar’Adua and her cabal will rank at the same level as those of Rueben Abati and his cabal in the Guardian.
Insiders in the Nigerian media have since known that something was wrong with Reuben Abati and his Guardian newspaper. They just did not have the guts to say anything on the record.
I happened to be one of them. I tried satire. The trouble with satire is that those you expect to use their tongues to count their teeth often do not have that skill. Men created riddles out of fear, not out of any noble desire to stimulate thought.
Until we fix what is wrong in our media, we will continue to have a tough time trying to fix what is wrong in our body polity.
I predict that the trial of Dr. Reuben Abati will happen before the trial of Dr. James Ibori.
Here’s some parting truth for Reuben: You knew (that Yar’Adua was a phony, that he was not elected in a credible election, that he was sick as hell) and you did something: you and your colleagues told Nigerians that Yar’Adua was a picture of perfect physical and mental health.
Given a choice between the grand deception you advanced and the choice made by those you accuse of doing nothing, I would take the sin of doing nothing.