By Reno Omokri
The ill-thought-out remarks by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, to the effect that rodents had damaged the President’s office, forcing him to work from home should not come as a surprise to discerning Nigerians and neither should we blame Mr Shehu for the infantile lie.
You see, once the decision had been reached at the highest levels to be less than transparent about President Muhammadu Buhari’s health situation, there was really nothing much that his media aides could do.
If I was Garba Shehu, what I would have said is that the President has a backlog of work and so had to cancel FEC and focus fully on clearing this backlog from home! It would not be a lie being that the President is always on call 24/7.
As a Presidential spokesman, lying is the last thing you want to do. Your job is to find creative, but not dishonest, ways to make the bitter truth palatable to the general public. Lack of creativity is a greater liability to a Presidential spokesman than lack of funds.
And the remark itself (“Following the three months’ period of disuse, rodents have caused a lot of damage to the furniture and the air conditioning units”) reminds me of the iconic movie, Of Mice and Men.
Of Mice and Men is a 1937 book by John Steinbeck, which got made into a movie. It tells the tale of two California migrants workers who roam from town to town during the Great Depression in search of greener pastures.
How fitting that the lie told by Mr Shehu should dovetail into Steinbeck’s classic.
Just like in Of Mice and Men, we have a migrant President who moves from back and forth from London to Abuja. And again like Steinbeck’s classic, he does so in a depression.
The only difference is that while George Milton and Lennie Small were the victims of a depression caused by others, President Muhammadu Buhari is not a victim but a perpetrator of the fastest negative turnaround of an economy from the third fastest-growing economy in the world to an economy in recession.
There are many other parallels one can draw from the movie and the comedy the Buhari administration is unleashing on the nation, but one has to be careful in drawing attention to them especially in these days that the military is scouring social media for “anti-government and anti-military information”.
But I just wonder how Garba could have said ”Rodents have caused a lot of damage to the President’s office” with a straight face! Really Garba Shehu! There should be limits to propaganda.
It is only in Nigeria that “rodents” will chase a lion away from his den! Garba, please you should be too decent for this, leave lies for Lai Mohammed! If President Muhammadu Buhari is not strong enough to go to the office, simply say the truth and shame the devil.
I have been in the President of Nigeria’s office. It is cleaned everyday. I also had an office in the villa and I travelled abroad for a long period and nothing happened to my office.
The Presidency has projected President Buhari as an anti-corruption crusader with strong integrity and credibility. Such infantile lies as this rat story rubbishes that image! It also portrays the Buhari administration as a government severely deficient in intelligence!
Almost every international news agency carried the ridiculous story in a way that belittled Nigeria: BBC, AFP, RFI and even China Xinhua News!
Worldwide the Muhammadu Buhari administration has turned Nigeria into an international joke because of an inept President and his inept aides!
I mean it is just clear that the President still needs to recover and that he only returned because the pressure from Charly Boy’s #ReturnorResign group had become unbearable, especially when they announced that they had got a permit from the Metropolitan Police in London to protest outside Abuja House.
Of all things to use as an excuse, it has to be rats! If you are wondering why the rats in your city have reduced, wonder no more. They have all relocated to seek greener pastures at Aso Rock!
But on a serious note though, President Yar’adua left Nigeria on November 23, 2009, and did not return until February 10, 2010. Thereafter he was at the Presidential Villa until he died on May 5, 2010. For a period of 6 months, his office was vacant until Dr Goodluck Jonathan succeeded him. In all that time, rodents never destroyed his office. Which just makes you wonder the type of rodents that exist in Aso Rock under President Muhammadu Buhari, the man who promised Nigerians change but ended up giving those who voted him as President – chains!
As for the Nigerian military that will now monitor social media for “anti-government information”, I can only say what a lovely change! Did I hear you say chains?
Can any comment be more “anti-government” than this comment made by Buhari on May 15, 2012 “by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood”? And can any comment be anti-Nigerian than this comment made by the same man on July 25, 2015: “The constituents, for example, gave me 97% cannot, in all honesty, be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5%”?
So funny when the father of hate speech and the kingpin of anti-government talk now wants to deal with those who have not even come close to doing what he has done! And after His misspeak on why the President had to work from home, Garba Shehu followed up with a statement warning that the Presidency will henceforth not tolerate harsh words being used on President Muhammadu Buhari and said “calling Buhari an enemy of Nigeria was in extremely bad taste”.
Is this not the same Buhari that said on May 15, 2012, and I quote, “The biggest Boko Haram is the Federal Government.” Buhari called the government of Goodluck Jonathan a Boko Haram government without providing proof and now complains about being criticised! Mr. President, buy a mirror and arrest the person you see in it as an example of your zero tolerance for “harsh words”!
These shenanigans are annoying enough, but to add salt to injury, along comes Yahaya Bello!
To show how useless governance has become under the APC, Yahaya Bello, a state governor declares a public holiday to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari’s return!
Now, I sympathise with President Buhari, but aren’t public holidays meant to be for events pertaining to a nation’s history? President Buhari has been a resident of the U.K. for over a hundred days, has he ever known the U.K. to proclaim a public holiday because the Queen returned from hospital?
Our army killed at least 347 Shiite men, women, children and infants, our Air Force killed 119 people at the Rann IDP camp in a mistaken bombing. We did not declare any national mourning. Yet we declare a public holiday for Buhari’s return! This is the height of sycophancy!
Well, enough about the Presidency’s ineptitude and comedic behaviour; let me change the mood of this piece and enter second base.
Someone tell Oby Ezekwesili that it is hypocritical to complain about a soup you helped cook just because you were not given your share!
She was used to bring down a good man and thereafter dumped and now she is bitter and she wants to feign that she is one of us who are genuinely opposing a dictatorial and clueless government for patriotic reasons!
Where are her fellow #BringBackOurGirls colleagues? Are they not now holding very, very, very juicy positions in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government? She is a woman scorned because her lover (APC) enjoyed her pleasures but refused to marry her. Now she wants to use Nigerians to get her revenge! We are not that foolish!
Imagine Oby Ezekwesili complaining of President Muhammadu Buhari’s “missed opportunity”. She is one of those who helped him get the opportunity to miss an opportunity!
It is an insult to our sensibilities for this woman to start wailing like she is doing! Has she forgotten when she was giving keynote speeches at All Progressives Congress events where she demonised former President Jonathan and deified Buhari by calling him a “discipline-instilling” leader on March 7, 2014?
Did it occur to her at that event that she was empowering the very person she is now denouncing?
People like Oby are like the bush rat that Chinua Achebe wrote about. They bite you and blow breeze on your wounds so you won’t know the damage they have caused. If Oby wants to know who is responsible for bringing Buhari to power, I can buy her a mirror. I assure her it won’t be a pretty sight!
Oby Ezekwesili is a sanctimonious hypocrite who likes to criticise but does not like to be criticised. She once threatened to report me to then President Jonathan when I responded to her criticism, as if Dr Jonathan “gives a damn” about her opinions! The sad thing is that everybody, but especially her Southeastern kith and kin, knows she was used and dumped by people who know only too well her real nature. I suspect that her bitterness is that she could not attain the heights Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has attained and is still attaining.
Now she continues to prance about giving subdued messages to the Buhari administration because she knows that if she unleashes on them like she unleashed on Jonathan she will be taught the difference between a democrat and a dictator!