Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nigerian Politics: Reuben Abati bought at a Price?

Nigerian Politics: Reuben Abati bought at a Price?
The question remains on how much the Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati was paid to keep silent, retract his own critics as he became part of the GEJ administration.

Recently in a full depth interview, Abati was faced with the same virus again: Nigerian saying he has changed from being critical of the government before his appointment to being bought at a price.

''This is an old question. I have responded to this question so many times. I don’t owe anybody an apology. It was my decision to take, to work for government, and in particular to work for President Goodluck Jonathan because I believe in him and I admire him. And having taken that decision, I am not going to spend my time apologising to people because as an individual, I have the right to make a choice.''

''It was my choice to work for President Jonathan and to accept the position of his spokesperson and media adviser and I have absolutely no apology and I have seen that for me, it is a positive move because today, I consider myself much better informed, because I have been on both sides. I have lived the life of the outsider looking at government, governance and society from one observatory and I have also been inside and I can see how government functions.''

''I don’t think any form of apprenticeship in terms of exposure to public life can be higher than working with the president of a democratic country, working at the highest level of authority. It puts you in a vantage position to learn so much. If this was a course of study in which a certificate is awarded, I think I should be getting close to getting one, having taken so many course units and learning so much.''

''I am talking about apprenticeship in a serious sense, and the opportunity also to serve one’s country. I don’t think anybody can put that down by saying “you were once a social critic, you shouldn’t be here.” No. In fact, I will encourage so many other journalists and persons in other capacities to come into government and work for government.''

'' Why is it an issue that when a journalist works for government, people complain? There are doctors in government. There are engineers working for government, their colleagues have not carried placards. We all have a duty to play a role in the making of our country.''

''But of course, since I came here, I have seen many of those who criticised me ferociously - our own colleagues - hanging around and hustling for appointments and many of them have taken this or that position in government, much excitedly too. And when they land on this side, I say to them: ‘Ha, I thought you wrote an article the other day and published articles criticising Reuben Abati. You are on this side now too.’ I welcome them and I congratulate them. So, you see, I have no apologies whatsoever. I have no regrets also.''


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