Between Yesterday’s men and Today’s Lords of the Manor

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REUBEN ABATI was at his most combative last Sunday, with his withering attack on “The Hypocrisy of Yesterday’s Men”.

It was obviously a riposte to recent attacks on the Jonathan administration.  Reuben reflected the angst within the administration, which first surfaced in the inept press conference addressed by Information Minister, Labaran Maku, to the challenge one of the most visible elements of Abati’s “yesterday’s men and women”, who seem “to be on an offensive against the Jonathan administration”, in the person of Oby Ezekwesili.

It was Oby that threw the challenge in the first place, saying that Obasanjo’s administration left $45B in foreign reserves and $22B in the Excess Crude Account. These huge sums, Oby claimed, were frittered away by the Jonathan administration.

An angry Reuben Abati described the Obasanjo group (that is actually what they are at a time when relations have gone sour between Obasanjo and Jonathan!), as “a navel-gazing, narcissistic group…” and “a bunch of hypocrites” who “mask self interest as public causes”, while “they are perpetually hanging around, lobbying and hustling for undeserved privileges”.

And to make the point even clearer Reuben Abati said of this group: They “are in different sizes and shapes: small, big; Godfathers, agents, proxies. The tactics of the big figures on this rung of opportunism may be slightly different.

They parade themselves as a Godfather or kingmaker or the better man who should have been king”. Abati rubbed it in naming the affliction: “They suffer of course, from messianic delusions”! PHEW!! The gloves are off in Nigeria’s political society and the scorpions are truly stinging themselves to death.

The Obasanjo group has truly become a nuisance as far as Jonathan can see. And the reason seems clear from evidence coming out of Nasir El-Rufai’s new book, being launched today.

When Nigerian’s defeated Third Term, Obasanjo’s fallback option was to install Yar’adua and Jonathan, hoping that he would rule by proxy from Otta.

El-Rufai said the old despot assured that the economic team and other members of the Obasanjo inner circle was still going to remain in place. 2007-2011, he assured, was merely a transition period, that will see no change. Third Term is dead; long live Third Term.

Those who believed they were the best things to ever happen to Nigeria,were deluded that change was never going to come.

They would continue to strut the platforms of policy, selling their MADE-IN-WASHINGTON madness, which saw some of the most criminal transfers of national assets to dubious private groups, in African history.

In truth, I share the Jonathan administration’s disdain for the “men and women of yesterday” who think Nigeria is an experimental laboratory for discredited doctrines around the world. ObyEzekwesili’s claim to fame, was having been vice president of the imperialist institution, World Bank.

But we remember her arrogant know-it-all posture, especially when she ran our education, and the disdain with which she treated national intellectuals!

The fact that Jonathan has not moved things decisively forward in the national interest (and who will contest that the present administration is a product of an incestuous political liaison of theObasanjo group?), has emboldened yesterday’s men and women to grandstand on the national policy stages.

In truth, neither group can be credited with processes of a patriotic content and that is the tragedy of the Nigerian situation. Between yesterday’s men and today’s lords of the manor, the choice Nigeria faces is that between six and half a dozen; between tweedledum and tweedledee! “TWO FIGHTING” as the popular parlance goes, yes; but it is a lot of hot air and posturing for position to serve narrow interests!

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