Former Special Assistant to Ex-Pres. Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, has been mounting a valiant effort to defend what he must consider to be the honour of his former boss.
In his Jonathan Defence Mission, Omokri throws in everything – articles, tweets, advise, fact checks, interviews. He also applies a good helping of lies, half truths, wilful omissions and hyperbole.
His latest attempt on Sunday was to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to emulate Jonathan by firing the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi and other officials in the current government who have been accused of corruption.
“Mr President, you said you are fighting corruption and I really applaud you but what kind of corruption are you fighting, when the gloves are off for people in the previous administration but when it is your own people the gloves are on?” Omokri said.
To an extent, he is right.
President Buhari’s double standards and blind eyes to the serious corruption allegations against some of his cabinet members is worrying.
Abba Kyari, his chief of staff; Ogbonnaya Onu, his science and technology minister; Amaechi; Tukur Buratai, the chief of Army Staff; among several others have been accused of corruption. But the reaction so far from Aso Rock has been loud silence.
However, Omokri’s pretend-advice to Buhari calling on him to follow in Jonathan’s footsteps does not have any grounding in facts.
“President Jonathan had a minister who wasn’t guilty of corruption, Professor Barth Nnaji; he wasn’t guilty of corruption. He was accused of being guilty of conflict of interest and even upon investigation, it was found out that he had not done anything.
“But just that mere accusation, President Jonathan relieved him of his appointment as minister of power and appointed somebody else. When the story burst about Stella Oduah, when she was minister, even before any investigation was done, President Jonathan relieved her of her appointment.”
Let’s start with Barth Nnaji. It’s true that there were accusations of a conflict of interest against the former power minister. However a few weeks after he was let go, Pres. Goodluck Jonathan said the reason Nnaji was sacked because there were “lots of conflicts” between him and Reynolds Dagogo-Jack, who was an adviser to the president and secretary of the presidential task force on power.
Jonathan chose Dagogo-Jack’s vision of the power sector over Nnaji’s, which turned out to be an error of judgement on his part. But here Omokri is, claiming that Nnaji was sacked for another reason. Unless he means to tell us that Jonathan was lying when he gave reason for Nnaji’s sack, we would stick with the former president’s explanations.
Concerning Stella Oduah, everyone knows how much Jonathan defended her and refused to let her go despite all the allegations of corruption against her with the most notable being the bulletproof BMW saga. Finally, the president let her go – she actually resigned – alongside three other cabinet ministers.
What reason was given? According to the former minister of information, Labaran Maku, Oduah and the other three ministers resigned in order to “further their own interests, some in politics, others in their own private enterprises.”
“Clearly, what the President did today,” Maku said, “was to allow ministers who have indicated interest in pursuing further goals in the polity, in the economy and in the life of the country to be allowed to go.”
How is that a sack over corruption allegations as Omokri claims?
How about the others who Omokri failed to mention, like Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former petroleum minister; Sambo Dasuki, the former national security adviser; and Abba Moro, the incompetent former interior minister who conducted the job interview that led to the death of dozens of graduates?
How about Reno Omokri himself, who used a pseudonym – Wendell Simlin – to propagate a dangerous lie about a former CBN governor that sought to tarnish his image, discredit him and paint him as a bigot? What did Jonathan do when Omokri was found out?
That is definitely not the kind of leadership Nigerians want Buhari to emulate. In fact it is the type of leadership Buhari was elected to break away from.
Unfortunately, the president seems to be emulating Omokri’s old boss. And he didn’t need any advise from Omokri to do that.