By: Dominic Kidzu.
For FORUM OF SPECIAL ADVISERS To GOVERNOR AYADE.
We in Cross River State are concerned about the virtuperations of the very well known Dr Reuben Abati on the person of Professor Benedict Ayade, Governor of Cross River State, and the citizens of the State for two reasons. The first reason is that Dr Abati as a very experienced journalist should understand the culture and proprities of public speaking and the language that is suitable and appropriate for large audiences. The second is that there is a level of caution and decorum that is required in addressing leaders in whatever field of society. When they are leaders of an entity such as a state, undeserved insult on them will unfortunately wreck collateral damage on the people of that state as well.
While we cannot deny Dr Abati the right to his own views and personal opinions on public issues, we don’t agree that such rights also include the free choice to insult and disparage the reputation of holders of views he may consider disagreeable. The trending video in which he asked Governor Ayade to ” just shut up” and described his Commissioners as ” psychophants who have removed their brains and replaced them with sawdust ” shows up Dr Abati as a rude and uncouth public policy analyst who has become a guest at his own wedding. By all means the citizens can interrogate public policy with stronger arguments and alternatives, but to descend to insults is clearly below standard and therefore unacceptable.
If in Dr Abati’s theory of power relations, as expounded in the video under reference, officials of government promptly replace their brains with sawdust upon their appointment, then the people can now understand why Dr Abati was such a crass failure as spokesman for Goodluck Jonathan’s government. Operating by his own logic, with sawdust in his head in place of brains, Dr Abati allowed a lawyer, Lai Mohammed, untrained in the art of media relations, to make a complete fool of his person and office. There are many in the industry who believe that Abati’s crass media underperformance cost Jonathan his Presidency.
No Governor in the federal republic has toiled as hard as has Professor Ayade since the outbreak of COVID 19. Along with his cabinet and aides, Ayade has been operating ahead of time in setting up Isolation centres, procuring ventilators and other critical medical equipments and also deploying an effective public education and sensitization program tagged NO MASK NO MOVEMENT, which Dr Abati denigrated with such vehemence. And the Governor’s strategy up to now has been effective as no case of infection has been confirmed throughout Cross River State.
The speech from which the mischief makers excised that brief moment lasted for about 15 minutes, with the Governor explaining the economy of the State as mainly artisan and sole proprietorships. He explained the danger of a blatant shutdown of enterprise and shut in of the populace, adding that there was also danger in allowing death by starvation. His advice was that when people by their occupation and social standing have no choice, covering themselves up could suffice. But the triumvirate, perhaps with pre – existing biases, jettisoned all that and attacked the straw man.
If seasoned Journalists in the rank of Reuben Abati can so flagrantly misuse the opportunity of television appearance to defecate in the public space then there will seem to be very little hope for the poor youths unlucky to have him as mentor. President Jonathan is said to have been warned against bringing Reuben to the Presidency because of his insipid pride and bombast, and his tendency to be uppity and rude. Jonathan didn’t listen and now has paid the price. The Governor of Cross River State Abati laboured so hard to put down has worn elections thrice in Cross River State. Once for Senate and twice as governor. Abati recently tried to be Deputy Governor and was folded up like an old piece of adire by smarter folks. There, perhaps, lies his angst with the ones who better him in the field. For years Abati theorised in the newsrooms of the Guardian Newspapers, and the people gave him plaudits. The two times he has tried to walk his loud talk have both ended Waterloo.
Fifty brand new cars branded with COVID 19 prevention messages and manned by Commissioners and other senior aides now man all the entry points to the state. The fear of fines for contravening the lockdown order of government has forced usually incredulous citizens to stay at home and safe. The Garment factory is producing one million face masks for the citizens who have also received assistance from the state food bank. All of these are part of the “appalling ” stories coming from Cross River State, according to Abati and the two plaster saints sitting in the video and speaking with artificial affection.
It is our honest advice that Dr Reuben Abati and his City Sisters should rise above their congenital hubris and redeem themselves by
apologising to the Governor and people of Cross River State, who they have chosen to insult and deride without cause.