By Innocent Okon
Once upon a military government in Nigeria, there was a military President the Press nicknamed IBB. He did so many things right and so many things wrong! Arguably not an intellectual, but courted and retained services of intellectuals and critics both in his formal and kitchen cabinets.
It was during IBB’s regime that Nigerians knew that there was a gulf between precepts and reality. Performance and theories. Walking the talk, and betraying ideology! He it was that appointed Tony Momoh as Minister of Information. Momoh is a Journalist and a lawyer. While on the job, Momoh disappointed not a few! IBB also appointed Chief Duro Onabule as his Chief Press Secretary.
Onabule was the Editor of the now rested NATIONAL CONCORD and a personal friend of the late Chief MKO Abiola. He was on the job when NEWSWATCH news magazine and the CONCORD titles were proscribed and many of his colleagues thrown into the Labour market with ‘hard Labour’! Chief Duro Onabule still served IBB when June 12 which was won by MKO was annulled!
IBB also gave the Education portfolio to the late Prof. Babs Fafunwa, a renowned educationist. It was under Fafunwa’s watch that public universities were closed down for several months, and the beginning of the brain drain in that sub-sector!
The late fiery social critic, Tai Solarin was appointed the Chairman of THE PEOPLE’S BANK, a micro-finance bank floated by IBB government. Tai literarily and literally slept while some smart alecs feasted on the funds of the bank! Another social critic, Beko Ransome-kuti was appointed as Chairman of LUTH. The crisis his style of administration generated forced him to quit the job, leaving his tenure unexhausted!
IBB regime taught Nigerians one unmistakable lesson: Nigerians have two lives! Private and Public. The former is pure and altruistic while the latter is regulated by the size of bread and quantum of butter on it!
The recent bloodbath in Plateau State has thrown up another classical example. Femi Adesina, the Presidential spokesman, was reported as stating that the country witnessed more killings under the watch of PDP than what has happened since 2015 under APC. What an opinion! So, the blood-letting must continue unabated until casualties meet the figure PDP left for APC in 2015? What is the business of a presidential aide joining issues with a political party without a second that his stance may be construed as the position of his principal?
Must political aides in-charge of media affairs join issues on every statement and development in the polity? There are some developments that a sound professional judgment will advise that ‘silence is golden’! What Nigerians are seeing is the public life of Femi Adesina. It is not the Adesina that authored incisive columns in NATIONAL CONCORD and THE SUN newspapers! All that belongs to his past now! But how far can one run from his professional past?
Okon is Akwa Ibom-born journalist and legal practitioner