Abati, presidential villa and witchcraft
Reuben Abati last Friday came out in The Guardian with a strange article he wants everybody to see as his great revelation of how the presidency he served for over four years was jinxed, with the entire Villa given over to the service of Satan. He titled the article “The spiritual side of Aso Villa”. Abati, as you know, served as Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 until the end of the Jonathan administration on May 29, 2015.
Since his return to his beat as a columnist in The Guardian, Abati has been using every article he puts out to try to recapture his lost voice and win back his audience. He lost all that when he abandoned his popular weekly columns and went to Abuja to serve President Jonathan. Though on his way to the corridor of power, he boasted he would keep up speaking for the masses the way he did why working for The Guardian as Chairman of the Editorial Board, it was ‘to your tent O Israel’ the moment Abati’s feet touched down at the Presidential Villa. He never kept the promise he made. Or if he ever advised Jonathan on ways to better the lot of the common man, the public never got to hear of it. Now Abati has come out with what I perceive as a self-serving article to explain away why all the ‘wise advice’ he and his colleagues gave to President Jonathan turned out sounding foolish in the public perception, just like when God turned the wise counsel of Ahithophel, David’s counsellor to foolishness!
Now, hear Abati: “When Presidents make mistakes, they are probably victims of a force higher than what we can imagine…When you issue a well- crafted statement, the public accepts it wrongly. When the President makes a speech and he truly means well, the speech is interpreted wrongly by the public. When a policy is introduced, somehow, something just goes wrong…Those mistakes don’t look normal.”
If you are doubting all this coming from Abati, one of Nigeria’s foremost public affairs commentators and a media professional with a multi-disciplinary background in drama, management, journalism, law, and so on, then I don’t know what you are going to think of him when you read this one too: “I am therefore convinced that there is an evil spell enveloping this country. We need to rescue Nigeria from the forces of darkness. Aso Villa should be converted into a spiritual museum, and abandoned.”
Truly, I have several problems with this article. Apart from what I have already said, the article is self-serving, that is, it is an attempt by the writer to ingratiate himself with his lost audience. I think if Abati wanted to be fully believed, he should have opened up and told us his own involvement in witchcraft in the Villa. Or if he felt that’s too heavy to admit openly, at least, let him tell the readers how on coming to the Villa he had to join in the worship of Satan once he discovered Satan was the god every occupant in the Villa worshipped in order to stay alive! Rather than confessing to that, Abati presented himself as a small baby who had never heard about Satan or Satan worship until he took up the Jonathan’s appointment and resided in the Villa! That’s very fantastic for an Abeokuta man!
Abati claimed he came to the villa “using Lux soap, but that most people around the place always bathed in the morning with blood. Goat blood. Ram blood. Whatever animal blood…” And for not following his fellow occupants at the Villa in bathing in blood, Abati here recalls the direct consequence of that foolishness: “I really don’t envy the people who work in Aso Villa, the seat of Nigeria’s Presidency (But Abati was there for four years; he didn’t resign!). For about six months, I couldn’t even breathe properly. For another two months, I was on crutches. But I considered myself far luckier than the others who were either nursing a terminal disease or who could not get it up.” He concludes by choosing to talk like Donald Trump, the American loquacious Republican Presidential candidate, who never cares a hoot about the untruthfulness of most of the things he says. Hear Abati as he signs off his fantastic piece: “Aso Villa is in urgent need of redemption. I never slept in the apartment they gave me in that Villa for an hour.” Truly?
I believe Abati wrote: “The spiritual side of Aso Villa” as a satire but if indeed he meant what he said about the presidential abode, I would agree with him that the Villa should be “converted into a spiritual museum, and abandoned.” But Abati should have suggested this while he was still savouring the glory of his office…
• Edaghese lives in Wisconsin,United States.