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The evil spirits Reuben Abati met at Aso Villa

The former presidential spokesman has rushed to the media with what seemed like a trite Nollywood script, a tale of existence of a�?evil spiritsa�? at Nigeriaa��s seat of power. It was a tragic and pitiable attempt to attribute to things we cana��t blame, the failures of Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan.

We were told that what took place at Aso Villa were beyond mana��s comprehension, spiritual. And that the forces of the world unknown were responsible for the bad decisions made by the occupants. The Villa of Abatia��s story was where the sane and healthy suddenly began to fall sick, lose lives, experience sexual dysfunction and the government authorising a�?misunderstooda�? policies. And that, on vacating the Villa, all of the spiritually afflicted men became well again, free from the hold of those spirits.

It doesna��t matter that Abati kept his job even though, according to his story, he was in the know of the evil spirits, having been warned by his pastor. The man not only stayed to manage the reputation of an infamous leader, he made nonsense of himself doing so, selling Jonathan to continue in his role as spin doctor.

Perhaps Abati was too a�?busya�? to see that thousands of Nigerian died, some killed, others natural, while he was there. And even though ita��s true that Yara��adua died in office, which Abati would want us to see as a plot of his story of the spirits, several Nigerians who elected the late President died before and after him. So what killed those other Nigerians? Aso Villa spirits?

We need to unlearn these fairytales that have long dominated our movie industry, creating a society of escapists and gullible demographics. We cana��t be talking about a�?evil spiritsa�? for our obvious misdeeds, when other nations are busy exploring science to get cure for cancer, exploiting technology to reach the limits of mana��s adventure, capacity and wisdom.

Because, as I have understood, what Abati described as spiritual are clearly the stress and pressure that came with the inability of the government he served, to deliver on their electoral promises. Ita��s the reason Jonathan appeared to have aged faster in office. Ita��s biology and psychology, not spiritual. In 8 years at the White House, American President Barack Obama looks almost like the father of that young senator who once told Americans, a�?Yes, I can!a�?

And if therea��s any excuse likely to come from Obama, it must be an apology for not meeting the expectation of some supporters or citizens. Thata��s what you need to offer when you misuse a peoplea��s resources and abuse their trust. Not a dumb attribution of onea��s failure to to evil forces.

What Abati needs isna��t only a session with his psychiatrist, but a reminder of things hea��s chosen to forget, that he was writing in defence of an administration that kept Dasuki and Diezani close to its vaults, and calling critics exercising their civic rights a�?children of angera�? and a�?yesterdaya��s mena�?. Ita��s sad that even with the revelations already in the news as the administrationa��s legacy, evidences of monumental corruption, he still did not have an why the government failed.


I know Abati found oblivion scary, and he yearns for spotlight again, but he really needs to enjoy the nostalgia on the quiet. The story of Abati is, in the briefest summary, that of a reckless marketer who pandered to pettiness and disabled the use of intellect and wit for which he was known, to sell a damaged brand. Not even his remorselessly condescending post-office reflection of what he termed the period of a�?potential nervous breakdowna�?, months ago, was honest in describing his stint as the tragedy it really was.

Even out of office, it amuses me that Abati remains the same obnoxious and delusional salesman wired to remind us that the popular perception of his brand, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was born by our unrelenting ignorance, despite his honest interactions and skills deployed in easing our collective stupidity. He left out all the bits on his descriptions of critics of the government as a�?yesterdaya��s men and womena�? and a�?children of angera�? while serving as President Jonathana��s spin doctor. Ia��m really shocked that he is shocked their PR failed. Woefully.

Jonathan may not have been an irredeemably bad brand, but the salesmen hired to market him were an uninspiring quadruplet Reuben Abati, Doyin Okupe, Reno a�?Wendel Similina�? Omokri and Laban Makua��who, instead of establishing and maintaining respectable and humanizing communication with unimpressed Nigerians, some of whom had tried to give them the benefit of a doubt, were intolerably indecorous and dedicated more time to multiplying the enemies of the government than in actually managing perceptions.

The quadruplet insulted both partisans and unaligned citizens who sought explanation for why things kept getting worse. You cana��t be so insensitive to expressed grievances, squandering the last kernels of your goodwill, yet expect the same people to volunteer as foot-soldiers of your principala��s bid to remain in the very Office that gave you the opportunity to insult them.

It is, however, heartbreaking that a First Class graduate of Theatre Arts, PhD and one of of the nationa��s praised creative minds, became a plagiarist for lack of simple ideas to defend an employer. Still, we must mitigate Abatia��s fear of oblivion. We have to assure him that ita��s impossible for a writer to be out of the bounds of memories, and that so long as he writes, without restraint this time, and brilliantly, he shall be read, quoted and assessed by critics and fans.

The bits of Abatia��s memoirs Ia��ve read so far showed money is indeed a dangerous thing, and that ita��s capable of transforming an intellectual into that pitiable character thata��s desperate to tell us hea��s the Abati we used to know.

What Abati saw and experienced at Aso Villa were stress and pressure, not spirits. Not all are gullible. And for all who have failed us, may their pathway to oblivion be smooth, and that to redemption be of understood lessons. As for Abati, with a pen to keep his memory alive and to manipulate the gullible and the amnesic, he will be remembered by some of us as that firebrand who served the government with his brains locked in a drawer at the headquarters of The Guardian newspaper. Instead of enjoying a quiet life, hea��s a�?talkeda�? himself to EFCC net, arrested to explain his part in a spiritual tale in which Sambo Dasuki was the protagonist. May God save us from us!

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