By the Way, What is SLS doing About Reno Omokri? By Pius Adesanmi
I am not done with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s post-suspension politics yet. I stated last week that he is poorly served by the combination of his advisers and his personal arrogance and this explains why he has been travelling on the dead-end road of justifying and rationalizing the one area of his service in which his judgment collapsed tragically and completely instead of focusing on the areas in which he is the undisputable owner of the moral high ground.
Instead of disturbing us with insulting rationalizations of his reckless and wasteful intervention funds regime, he should go after the masquerades of authority stealing he exposed and provide public leadership in a sustained crusade to keep that issue on the national front burner until specific culprits are identified and punished to the full extent of the law. Thanks to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s patriotic but belated whistleblowing, President Jonathan, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Mrs. Diezani Allison and Madueke, and other as yet unidentified heist facilitators in NNPC stand indicted for supervising the greatest heist in the postcolonial history of this country and SLS should not allow them to continue to sleep easy.
The ill-educated yobs who have been all over our national airwaves saying that the said monumental heist should be rolled under the carpet because Sanusi Lamido Sanusi kept throwing out conflicting figures should be ignored and their Stockholm Syndrome attitude to the missing $20 billion – defend the indicted who stole from them, deny that money is missing – should attract only one reaction from us all: contempt.
While fighting on the missing funds front, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi should also consider coming down from his perch on Mount Olympus to do something about Pastor Wendell Simlin alias Reno Omokri alias Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter. Apart from reiterating the fact that an ethically-challenged and thoroughly dishonest fellow who brought the institution of the Nigerian Presidency to disrepute by committing such a monumental fraud in her name ought to have been fired a long time ago, we need not rehash the details of the Reno Omokri tragedy. If you missed that news cycle, check it out here on BBC: (http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-26481508).
What needs to detain us here is why the principal target and victim of Reno Omokri’s wickedness and fraud, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has done absolutely nothing about it when he has limitless resources to dig further than patriot Feyi Fawehinmi and the BBC, assemble evidence, and sue Mr. Omokri. We know from his antecedents that President Jonathan thrives in the company of such fraudulent characters and moves against them with great reluctance and only after sustained public outcry. His presidential instinct is always to wait out public outcry against any of the fraudulent characters around him, assured that the Nigerian public has no staying power over any issue. He moved against Stella Oduah only because the Nigerian public uncharacteristically sustained the outcry in that one instance.
Like his boss, Mr. Omokri’s crisis strategy has been to quietly retire Pastor Wendell Simlin from active public service and wait out the public outcry. Mr. Omokri knows his people. We have since moved on with our lives to other issues. Knowing all of these, why has SLS not moved against such a fraudulent, devious, and vindictive character who was doctoring documents to link him to mass murder? Is there any difference between trying to assassinate you and trying to link you to terrorism and mass murder? Why would a victim of such unspeakable wickedness not lift a finger against somebody who wished him dead? Besides, does it not stand to reason that anybody who successfully sues any of the fraudulent characters in Aso Rock and hurls the ass of such an offender to jail would have performed an invaluable service to the Nigerian people by fumigating that festering space of fraud and corruption called the Nigerian presidency?
I want to submit that the reason SLS has not moved against Pastor Wendell Simlin is not dissociable from the reason he met the President’s initial call for his resignation with rudeness and condescension: caliphal hubris. In his heavily pro-Sanusi essay this week, my good friend, Segun Adeniyi, regretted Sanusi’s insubordination and rudeness to the President but was careful to avoid going into where that attitude to the President – and by extension to Reno Omokri – was coming from. Also, many Nigerians wondered – and still do wonder – why and how SLS could have been so openly rude to the President, looking down on him, thumbing his nose at him, and boasting that he cannot be sacked, almost elevating the office of CBN Governor into a parallel and superior Presidency within the same Republic.
Those Nigerians wonder because they may be aware of the immense power of the Caliphate in its present political ramifications, they are much less aware of that abstraction that I am calling caliphal hubris and how they feature within it. They are not aware of it because not very many of them would have read Chapter 20 of the collected essays of Professor Adiele Afigbo entitled, “In the Shadow of the Caliphate: Culture and the Politics of Structure and Administration in Nigeria.” The caliphal self, we must note, is not to be reduced to the geographical space of the old Sokoto caliphate. It radiates beyond it.
Let’s just say that in the caliphal mental map of Nigeria, the time shall never come when any political or other institutions of civic and secular essence shall not be deemed inferior to the caliphal self. The only relationship that can exist between this caliphal self and the rest of Nigeria is that of the horse and its rider. It is even more frustrating that these master-servant sentiments between you and the rest of Nigeria can no longer be expressed openly – it used to be possible to express such sentiments in the past – but can now only be discussed in hushed tones behind high fences in Kaduna, Kano, and Sokoto. Sometimes, long repressed caliphal hubris bursts out in the inconsequential public noisemaking of Professor Ango Abdullahi and Dr. Junaid Mohammed and they begin to give orders to the rest of the country about who they have decided can and cannot rule Nigeria in 2015.
When you are a scion of caliphal hubris, it must have seemed to you like the end of the world that somebody from the backwaters of Otuoke could purport to have fired a scion of the throne of Kano! Not even if he is President! At any rate, in your mental map, the Nigerian Presidency is inferior to the throne that sired you. The idea of being sacked must have seemed to you like a huge joke. This is the origin of all that rudeness, all that insubordination that Segun Adeniyi identifies. However, sympathy for and kindness to SLS would not let Segun go beyond mentioning the insubordination. Having placed a patriotic finger on the heist, the logical thing to have done, as Pastor Tunde Bakare opined in his essay, was resign and lead a principled fight from the outside. What stood in the way was caliphal hubris. And if somebody looked down on the President, it is not too difficult to imagine that a junior aide like Reno Omokri is way too low to be reckoned with, too small a fly to swat. He is not even a needle in a haystack. He does not exist. The novelist, Amadou Kourouma, would say that he is not worth the fart of a hyena.
In a funny, ironic way then, Mr. Omokri is benefitting from caliphal hubris because his fraud and wickedness have been completely ignored on account of it. Yet, Sanusi and his strategists are wrong to pass on this opportunity to make an example of a fraudulent Presidential aide in a competent court of law. If nothing, by assembling evidence against Mr. Omokri with a view to suing and prosecuting him, they’d be sending a clear message to the President that every opportunity to fumigate the pestilential environment he has created around himself Aso Rock shall be seized and exploited to the full by the Nigerian people. That is one more way in which SLS could be of service to Nigeria.