A TURNCOAT VOICE OF THE MASSES.

"When one's position within an organization brings one prominence, it is important to remain true to the organizations ideals, but all too often ministerial (and other political) appointments cause a wall between a person and his ‘constituency' of professional colleagues."

-AfricaNow Magazine

I used to be an avid follower of Reuben Abati however he dropped a couple of notches in my ratings when during the strike by staff of ‘The Guardian" over poor remuneration he stated in his column that a cursory look at the car park of "The Guardian" would show that the staff had no basis to complain about poor pay if they could afford to purchase cars! That was the first pointer to the fact that his then weekly columns in which he pretended to champion the course of the masses was only a ruse to feather his own nest and gain social relevance. He completely lost me when he gave a pretty lame excuse when he tried to explain why he received the "unmerited" gift of a parcel of land in Abuja from the Federal Government.

Now from the era of the man who spoke for the voiceless plebeians he is now the voice of a capitalist President. All the years when he attacked government for their anti people policies conveniently and completely discarded. However there are a couple of things the masses will like you to answer for Mr. President.

Is there any fund appropriated to the office of the first lady? Where does the money used to run her office come from?

In 2012 government has planned to remove fuel subsidy, introduce road tax, introduce toll booth, increase PHCN tariff, ban the importation of rice, all these will have negative and drastic impact on the average Nigerian. In your uncompromising and uncorrupted days you would have written an article titled "The Threats of Twenty Twelve" to point out the contradictions of a President who came into power promising to help the masses and now desires to instill punishing stringent policies on them come the year 2012, but now that you are comfortably on the other side of the great divide, smiling and thinking why you should get involved; what have the masses ever done for you!

A lawmaker recently awarded a national honour had the probity and courage to decline the award. People who have NEVER done anything forNigeria, politicians, civil servants, sportsmen and actors who have never given back to the society found their names on the list. So because someone is good in acting and has a couple of home videos in the kitty, he (or she) is now qualified for a national award. In saner climes actors raise money for charities while others have charities they sponsor. Sportsmen who will never appear for the nation for free are now award recipients. No one will fault it if Kanu Nwankwo, the soccer star, is given a higher award; at least he has and is still given back to society through his charity. Even some office now come packaged with awards even if the person is a well known rogue as long as he occupies the office, he (or she) gets an award. I would have expected you, Reuben to respond to the lawmaker but alas your bread in now well buttered and you cannot be bothered. I am sure you will soon receive your National Honours award. Congratulations in advance.

Of recent your task has been more of issuing rebuttals here and there, putting you and your team on the defensive. There are times when you could have been proactive. An example would suffice here. The birthday party Mr. President organized for his wife in Australia ought not to have found its way to the media. You could have advised Mr. President to make it a very private party or you could have killed the story before it got out. Either way that item came out in bad taste owing to the fact that your Principal is asking everybody to make sacrifice and he, his wife and some close pals are having a jolly good time inAustralia. It's like a Dad telling his kids that owing to current financial challenges breakfast will no longer be on the menu for the family only for the children to discover that their Dad takes breakfast in the office!

Transformation agenda seems to be the catch phrase of the present government and it will do us good if you can take time off your busy schedule to shed light on what they usually mean when they say "the transformation agenda of Mr. President" Nigerians are yet to feel any positive impact from this government and I remember one of your articles where you tried to list the achievements of this government and you were so hard pressed that you even listed the visits of some foreign dignitaries to Nigeria as an achievement. Unbelievable! Hope your role is not just to issue (or sign) press statements but you do have time to offer pieces of advice to Mr. President. Hopefully you have started work on your book detailing your time at Aso Rock to be released (or is it launched) as soon as your tour of enjoyment (oops meant tour of duty) is over. Perhaps then we will be privileged to read about your challenges and excuses for your various action and inaction.

Imohimi Airenevboise