WHEN on God's Green Earth did it become a sin for someone to take credit for his handiwork?
That is the question that any random reader may ask himself after reading another of Kennedy Emetulu's drivel attacking others - the primary victim this time being a man by the name Reno Omokri, and a few others who worked on the campaign organization of President-Elect Goodluck E. Jonathan. In a piece that reads like a rushed pedestrian commentary, Mr. Emetulu resorted to what this writer has long identified as Emetulu's trademark in loquacious exaggerations and bombastic sensationalism to attack persons who did nothing more than work to promote their preferred candidate and tried to take credit for their efforts.
So, yes, the presidential election is over, and the men who sweated and toiled for a campaign that a majority of Nigerian and foreign observers perceive to be a success of sorts are going out to sell their efforts, in the face of determined attempts by others to undermine the same efforts. But for some out-of-this-world reason, their decision seems to be driving Kennedy Emetulu nuts. "When you work for President Goodluck Jonathan in the shady underbelly of his presidency as one of the many legs of his money-morphing millipede", Emetulu says, "you've got to grow legs longer than the rest to get noticed." So stated Emetulu in a meandering piece that dripped of petty name-calling, never mind the impossible talk about "legs [of millipedes] growing longer legs"[!]. I mean, whoever heard of legs growing legs?
Anyway the first impression that Emetulu gave his reading audience, whether deliberately or otherwise, was that [the win by] Jonathan was responsible for the deaths in "Kaduna, Kano, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Yobe, Kogi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Zamfara, Taraba, Niger, Bauchi and Gombe". Those people died "for no other reason than that President Jonathan won the election", said Emetulu in a manner that seemed to suggest that Jonathan was the cause of their death. He would further add a blatant lie to drive home whatever bogus point he sought to make by alleging that "a celebratory President [was] still transfixed in the cacophonous admiration of his shiny electoral medal as [Nigeria] burns."
Of course Kennedy Emetulu made no reference to the fact that the president-elect has addressed Nigerians on at least two occasions about the outbreak of violence in parts of the country, neither did acknowledge the fact that this same man has since acted by ordering the deployment of security forces to use all "justifiable force" to end the orgy of violence after giving an unusually candid appraisal of the realities surrounding the violence. Any such acknowledgment on the part of Kennedy Emetulu may not fit-in too well in his bid to attribute the killings to Jonathan for winning the presidential election. He prefers, instead, the alternative option of accusing Jonathan and his campaign aides of "gloat[ing]" and "celebrating" their success.
"Step forward, son! Step forward, Reno Omokri!", said Emetulu with all the 'self-respect' that a responsible commentator can muster; "[Omokri's] got to do the lizard dance! He's got to leap down from the top of the Rock in our face and nod his swollen head in self-congratulation a zillion times plus one!", he said.
Emetulu went on to tell a story of intrigues involving Mr. Jonathan, an American called Joe Trippi, Reno Omokri [whom he called a "dogsbody to Nasir el-Rufai"] and a bunch of other names that he could easily have dropped-in for effect. The claim is that the online news outfit Sahara Reporters is a threat of sorts to the interests of Jonathan and his government, and Joe Trippi has been recruited with plenty of money to make things easy for the President by laundering his image and that of his campaign, with Reno Omokri [and this is the part that appears to get Emetulu's goat the most] as some sort of front for the whole deal.
Now, for someone who considers himself important and takes himself as seriously as Kennedy Emedulu wants his audience to believe he is, he often displays an unfortunate lack of seriousness, possibly because he takes himself too seriously.
This is not just a convenient charge against the person of Mr. Emetulu; it is instead a well-sourced charge that one can easily glean from reading his latest article, which by the way is nothing but a mishmash of so-called facts like "Omokri is Jonathan's kinsman", slapped-up with nonsense like "Omokri took himself to DC where he met El-Rufai". [Do I hear someone say "Huh?"]. It is all reminiscent of American Glenn Beck's conspiracy theory theatrics, where the fellow gathers some accurate information and mixes it with a bunch of cockeyed sub-stories which he presents to America on Fox News as some delectable concoction of sorts.
The truth is that everyone is entitled to making a case for himself when others are doing all they can to paint him differently. No keen observer in Nigeria today would miss the fact that Goodluck Jonathan has a battle on his hands against a dislodged but powerful political structure that seeks to undermine him, possibly within and outside of his People's Democratic Party. Between his aides and himself, it is expected that Jonathan would do all he has to do to stay ahead of his detractors. And if part of doing so involves dispatching paid aides and contractors to tell his own story rather than have the Emetulus of this world tell his story for him, what is wrong with that?
If Mr. Emetulu needs a job in Aso Rock, let him apply for it and go join Reno Omokri there. Otherwise he should spare Nigerians his endless petty diatribes and leave others to do their job of freeing Nigeria from the grips of those who are trying to hold the country hostage to their whims.
This article was originally published Friday, April 21 2011.