Opinion: Between Abati’s Ghost Stories And GEJ’s Fairy Tales By Peter Claver Okpara

​Editor’s note: About a week ago, the former spokesman to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati,

claimed that there are demons in the Aso Rock villa that cause Nigerian leaders to behave in an improper manner. He was even backed by former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode who even went as far as calling for prayers for President Muhammadu Buhari to survive the evil spirits in the presidential villa.

Peter Claver Oparah in this piece believes that the former spokesman in his article was trying to introduce a spiritual angle to the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

When I saw Reuben Abati, former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s article on demons and ghosts that took over Aso Rock when he was there, I honestly took it as the lighter side of Nigerian discourse. I knew Abati, right from his days as a Columnist with The Guardian newspapers, maintained a weekly satirical column where he entertains his readers with satirical sides of our daily national life. But on reading the hair-raising stories Abati recounted in the piece, I knew he was dead serious.

Don’t ask me if I believe his story. Am I mad? At this age? I equally find it hard that people will believe the gory narrative of Abati that certain deadly ghouls reside in the nation’s seat of power, wrecking havoc both on the lives of men that pass through there as well as the affairs of the country, which have suffered irretrievable damage by successive occupants of Aso Rock.

On better reading of Abati’s article, I ended up with the inescapable understanding that Abati was trying to introduce a spiritual angle to the gregarious failure of the government he served. Abati was only trying to awe us with ghost stories for us to resign to the bunkum that the failure of the government he served, which led to its deserved electoral defeat last year was not natural. It was spiritual. The Jonathanian failure was caused by spirits. It was beyond his human capacity. Who can wrestle with ghosts? Who can wrestle with unseen powers, which, according to Abati wrought such damages as castrating the male occupants of Aso Rock and forcing their spouses and other sundry female occupants to resort to using dildos, visit illnesses and death on the men and women in power and force those who were charged with governing the country into making huge wreckage of that charge, among the many havocs Abati painted?

If we remember very well, one of the most glaring areas of Jonathan’s dereliction as president was on security and the ravage caused by Boko Haram insurgents was the hallmark of that failure. It was so serious that Boko Haram seized close to a third of the country’s landmass, killed thousands of Nigerians in its bloody trail, maimed thousands and damaged properties worth billions of dollars, carted hundreds of innocent school children to captivity and constituted real danger to the nation’s seat of power in Abuja where it picked easy targets for ceaseless bombing. What was Jonathan’s response to this audacious challenge? Boko Haram members were ghosts according to Jonathan so who can fight ghosts since ghost fighting is not one of the requisites for aspirants to the country’s leadership? So Abati’s was just a mere rehearsal to what was a standard belief in the regime he served; weave a supernatural narrative around the problems facing the country and exculpate yourself from possible inaction. He intended his ghost story as an excuse for the failure of the regime he worked for.

But how does one explain Abati’s principal, Goodluck Jonathan’s display this week when he addressed a gathering at Oxford? Jonathan came spruced up for an outing- one of the syndicated outings he has been desperately soliciting for since he was thrown out of power. He painted such a rosy picture of Nigeria under him that you would have been forgiven if you believe he was talking of the Garden of Eden.

To Mr. Jonathan, he transformed Nigeria to an Eldorado which was flowing with milk and honey. He said he worked for the next generation of Nigerians and not the next election, that CNN told him that Nigeria was the third fastest growing economy in 2015 (and you wonder why not the fastest growing in the world?). Mr Jonathan further said he fought corruption without making noise and that Sambo Dasuki his National Security Adviser did nit steal the $2.1 billion for which he is facing trial at moment. It was a fine polish to himself and his regime. How Jonathan hopes to mend his tardy image from this outing remains to be seen but one should admit, he made good dabbing so much talcum on his not-so-pleasant image. I don’t know whether he meant his to have much more value than a fireside story.

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