Omoluabi: Lifting the veil behind the name

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By Joseph Johnson

François Rabelais, a famous French satirist, concluded that time is a revealer of all things. “Time ripens all things; with Time all things are revealed; Time is the father of truth,” he said.

While not much is known about Rabelais’s early life, it is on record that at various times, he was a monk, a doctor, a clergyman, and an expert in languages. Some say his perspective was shaped by the vastness of his experience across the aforementioned fields.

But this essayist did not intend to do a review of the French writer’s profile or a literary appreciation of his art. However, the quotes referenced earlier resonate somewhere in North-Central Nigeria, over 4000 miles away from France, where Rabelais lived.

On Thursday, a former Commissioner of Education in Kwara state and a cabinet member under Goodluck Jonathan, Bolaji Abdullahi, appeared on Arise TV for an interview focusing on his bid to represent Kwara Central Senatorial District in the red chamber.

Abdullahi, after failing to secure the governorship ticket of the opposing Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara state, settled for the Senatorial ticket. In the Nigerian parlance, half bread, they say, is better than none. Suffice to say that he got the ticket to represent the people of Kwara Central as a consolation prize. While it is not wrong to be ambitious or aspire for political offices, building such a quest on falsehood and deceit is the greatest clownery of all times.

During the thirty minutes interview, an electorate would have anticipated that Abdullahi would enumerate his contributions to the senatorial district without mincing words.

Curiously, the former minister, although mentioning all the public offices he had occupied in the last two decades, could not lay claim to a single contribution to his immediate community or even the senatorial district he seeks to represent.

The truth is that there has been nothing significant other than politics, which his ambition is solely built on. For some public office holders, politics is a means to an end — development. It is different for politicians across the divide where Abdullahi stands. To them, politics is merely a tool for personal gain and class identity.

In an Interview Abdullahi granted in January, he admitted that his political future was blurry after he realised that the governorship ticket he had been eyeing was not coming through.

“My plan was to contest the governorship election but my party has taken a decision to zone it elsewhere. At this moment my political future is not clear. I have left everything in the hands of God,” he said

It is laughable that in less than six months after the viral interview, Abdullahi, the apostle of big ideas, had a master plan on how to give the people of Kwara Central the best representation they deserve. Only a toddler will fall for something that cheap.

Also, during the media engagement, Abdullahi tried so hard to disassociate himself from the failures of the All Progressives Congress government which he was part of at inception. The bemused anchor repeatedly pointed out Abdullahi’s part as a former spokesperson of the party.

Abdullahi claimed that the reality of the country today was not what they envisaged when they drew up the manifesto that would take Nigeria to the promised land in 2015.

To absolve himself of the not-so-good records of the APC and drive home his points, the former minister went on to say that immediately the president was sworn in, all the work (drafting the campaign promises) they did prior to the election, “were dismissed as promises of some overzealous party members”.

This further exposes one of the many hypocritical stances of the former minister. Any student of history, would remember that the Buhari administration was sworn in on May 29, 2015. Bolaji Abdullahi, on his own, was appointed the spokesperson of the APC in 2016.

It is worthy of note that the same Abdullahi, who stated categorically that the campaign promises were dismissed by the President, served in that capacity until August, 2018.

In fact, in January 2018, seven months prior to Abdullahi’s resignation as APC spokesman, when President Muhammadu Buhari came under intense criticism for rejecting calls for restructuring in his new year speech, he was the one who defended the President in the media, dispelling such insinuations.

Perhaps, it was one of the hatchet jobs he had to do as APC spokesman. According to him during the Thursday interview, “there’s no way you will do that assignment (as APC spokesperson) and not tell lies”.

This implies that he admitted on air that, like every other person that has held the post, he lied. Bolaji Abdullahi might have blamed his previous role for his penchant for falsehood but there is this belief that if someone has done something, there is a higher probability that they have done it before and would continue to do such.

This casts mind back to 2017, when the former minister gave an insider account of how Former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 election in his book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’.

A former aide of Jonathan, Reno Omokri, described Abdullahi’s account as a tissue of lies.

“Two months ago when I got details of the contents of the book by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, Bolaji Abdullahi, I described him as a liar and his lies meant to defame former President Jonathan as the 2019 elections draw near,” Omokri stated in 2017.

It is worrisome that Abdullahi’s love for hypocrisy and penchant for falsehood are inconsistent with his posture as an “Omoluabi”.

At the recent inaugural ‘Omoluabi Summit’ held to commemorate the international youth day which coincidentally falls on Abdullahi’s birthday, the Chairman of the ThisDay board,Olusegun Adeniyi, gave an insight into who an ‘Omoluabi’ is.

Adeniyi, a decorated journalist and editor, said, “Omoluabi’ is a cultural construct of the Yoruba people which is used to describe a person who exhibits the right values or, if you like, good character.”

He went further to state that If there is any virtue that is needed in the Nigerian public space today, it is that of ‘Omoluabi’.

“We need such people in politics, in the economy, in the security forces, in academia, in the media, in civil society, etc,” he added.

He went further to state the opposite of an ‘Omoluabi’, which is to be described as ‘Eeyan k’eyan’ – a caricature of a human being. A worthless person. A charlatan.

Like Rabelias profoundly posited that time will purge out all falsehood, it is this essayist’s hope that one day, Abdullahi would come out to reveal to the people, who he truly is — an ‘Omoluabi’ or ‘Eeyan k’ eyan’.

Joseph Johnson is a public affairs analyst and book publisher. He can be reached on [email protected]

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