CredoWriters: Wakdok, Samuel Stephen.
I can't imagine how the Revered Reuben Abati decided to trade his place in the people's paradise for a seat with the parasite sorry presidency. To us Abati was not just a Doctor but a Reverend. He was the minister of our faith. We had installed him as our own Bishop, the people's bishop and not necessarily the bishop of a church. We saw Dr. Reuben Abati as one of the fewest men who stood their grounds and took sides with the people. He was not like the other clergy who chose to stand on the pulpit distancing themselves from the people; rather he sat with the congregation and dined with the people. To others he was a journalist but to us the masses he was our clergy. He preached against the corrupt leaders, he preached against his kinsman General Obasanjo's tenure extension, infact Rev. Abati was among the Elijahs who called down fire from heaven to consume the third term agenda.
Rev. Abati wrote long sermons about government's failures in improving the living conditions of our people. He was among those who talked so much about the absentee late President that culminated in the appointment of the President as an Acting President. Rev. Reuben Abati talked about the First lady as a co president in the early days of her husband's occupation of that office. Our own dear Rev Reuben Abati presided over various masses, benedictions and congresses. I remembered how from his people's pulpit he castigated the calibre of ministerial nominees when the President became the Acting President and how he laughed at Dame Patience who said she was a fellow widow while her husband is still alive.
Dr. Reuben's pen was a hot coal in the throat of the disappointment of a political class we called politicians in Nigeria . For many people the Guardian newspaper became the choice paper not just because of Tuesday and Thursdays adverts; but because Dr. Abati came to symbolize a light for a people in darkness. Dr. Abati's genre of journalism is a rare and unique blend. He is a theater artist, an academic and a Journalist. That is why reading his works was like reading a drama and at the same time so logical and apt. He made serious issues laughable and decodes complex messages to be simple and understandable.
We woke up one morning to hear that our Bishop has traded places. Our Revered columnist and king of dramatic Journalism has changed to the pulpit above the people. Who will now put the politicians in check? Who will tell our first lady to watch her English but above all who will listen to the people's confession? Should the sales of Guardian plummet please do not ask me. Should the voice of the people count less please do not ask me. What of his colleagues in writing? Those who wrote columns along side him and those who write on the Nigerian Village Square where we all bustled to make our voice heard, to make our thoughts read. Once upon a time we wrote on the same side of the fence with Dr Reuben Abati and that is on the side on truth. Now we will write on opposite sides?
Today, the President has not hit the ground running and there is no Abati to trumpet it. The masses can't find kerosene and Rev. Abati has left his flock to fallow in the woods. Organized labour is threatening strikes because a government that passed the minimum wage into law will not implement it and our very Rev Abati is not on our side. Even ASUU is talking of another round of strike and Rev Abati's silence is so loud that it deafens the sounds of bombings which have become our daily bread in Nigeria . It is only in Nigeria that a self proclaimed radical will jump boat with the light of speed into the camp of conservatives. How can a revolutionary become the mouth piece of reactionaries without looking back?
Do not tell me the Revered gentleman of the pen is now mainstreaming. First he took up the offer without consulting his constituency; the people. He apostates and leaves the people without a preacher. Then he withdraws in silence to create the lag between we the people and joins them the rulers. Is this an attempt by the President to buy our Bishop's mouth or to make his pen write for the powers rather than the people? Is the centre so seducing that no sane man would resist the tempting offer? After writing for several years for the first time he is being sued for libel at a cost of one billion naira even before he earns his first salary. Will some people try to kidnap his family and ask for mind blowing ransom?
We the synod of the people's assembly has convened a special session and asks Rt. Rev Dr. Reuben Abati to choose this day whom he will serve. Will he come back to his calling and represent the people or will he remain where he recently crossed to. If he decides to choose the former he should be assured that his sins are forgiven and will be blurted out without trace. But if he decides to remain with his new principals he should know that he must bring his character and principles to bear on that office. He must continue with the truth and say the truth no matter the shade and shape. If he dares to fail then he must be told in clear terms that his excommunication by the people is already signed and sealed only waiting to be delivered.
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