THE ALTERNATIVE WITH RENO OMOKRI
On the 23rd of December 2020, Garba Shehu falsely accused me of making money from my #FreeLeahSharibu campaign. That is a lie. And I went on television to announce that if any individual, nation, foundation, institution, or church has given me even one penny to pursue the Free Leah Sharibu campaign that has taken me to 35 countries, they should speak out and up.
I also repeated that challenge on social media, and I am now making it again on the print media.
Garba not only falsely accused me, he also insulted Leah, calling her an “unfortunate Christian girl”. It is sad that a Presidential spokesperson can show such obvious odium on a major religion. If Nigeria were a country founded on the rule of law and decency, Garba Shehu would have been forced to apologise and resign. But not so.
I have been the foremost campaigner for the release of Leah Sharibu, for which I have received awards in Hollywood and elsewhere for humanitarianism, yet, the government of Nigeria has sponsored many of their conscienceless minions to attack me.
The thing is that Garba Shehu is someone I know very, very well. I know him better than President Buhari does.
Garba’s office was two doors from mine when we worked at the Presidential Villa under then-President Obasanjo’s Peoples Democratic Party government. He was a Special Assistant on Media, while I was Personal Assistant on Special Duties. I still have the paperwork in case Garba wants to deny it. I am a meticulous record keeper.
Garba was so paranoid when he wrote anti-Buhari propaganda that he would stand by his typist lest anyone read what he wrote before publication. I had one or two run-ins with him on that score.
In my opinion, Garba Shehu can sell his own father to secure a government post! And not just that, he is willing to tell any lie to maintain any position he is given. In my opinion, the man has no honour, and if you are locked in a room with a snake and Garba Shehu, leave the snake and face Garba.
It is impossible for me to respect men like Garba Shehu. They represent all that is wrong in Nigerian politics. Men without principles serving unprincipled principals. How can Nigeria ever make progress when we have men with such low morals at the helm? No wonder we are now the world headquarters for extreme poverty. Why would we not be, when we have such poverty of morals in Aso Rock?
Not surprisingly, those who knew him before he sold his soul to satan, like Professor Farook Kperogi, who was once his student at Bayero University, Kano, have written about their disappointment at his transformation from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde.
Why has Garba done this to himself? With his pedigree, it is not as if he needs that job. I have been there before. And I make by far more money after being a Presidential spokesman, than when I was spox.
If it is about influence, how much influence does Garba Shehu have? From what I gather, he has become a glorified errand boy of Sabiu Tunde Yusuf, Buhari’s nephew who is old enough to be Garba Shehu’s son (Garba will be 59 this year).
It is almost as if Garba lost his worth because he never knew his worth in the first place.
Garba should have learnt the wisdom of not going back to less, just because you are too impatient to wait for more.
It may be that Garba does not know how well I know him. Let me give him a clue. My late father, Justice Jean Omokri, was the Director of Public Prosecution in Sokoto in 1982, and the entire family used to watch a brilliant young broadcaster on TV. I was just 8.
You can imagine the huge sense of disappointment I feel at the age of 47 to now watch that same broadcaster transform to a broad liar. Do you doubt me? Okay, find below a list of Garba Shehu’s more shame-inspiring lies:
1. Only 10 #KankaraStudents were abducted (over 330 were abducted)
2. Rats drove Buhari from his office (actually, Buhari was sick)
3. Buhari has created 12 million jobs (even the NBS refuted this)
4. Nigeria is now the second-largest rice grower in the world (we are not even in the top 10)
5. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Oby Ezekwesili influenced Transparency International to rate Nigeria low on corruption (TI refuted this lie)
6. Buhari has defeated Boko Haram (you be the judge of this statement)
7. Pastor Yemi Osinbajo’s aides were sacked to cut government costs (the aides were being paid by international donor agencies and not by the government)
I mean, Nigerian editors should be embarrassed that this fellow was once the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. Look at his infantile lies, some of which can be busted by a primary one pupil.
All of this just because you want to be a Presidential spokesman to a President whose wife is so ashamed of him that she voted with her feet and went to Dubai for six months, rather than be in the same house as a President who inherited an unemployment rate of 9% and has improved it to 33.2%?
The saddest part of the Garba Shehu tragicomedy, is that Garba Shehu thinks he has climbed up in life. Oh Garba! Who has bewitched you? Even your children may have to change their last names to avoid any connection with you when this regime from hell finally burns itself out.
Garba has allowed greed for money and power eats away at his integrity. I will give a perfect example. Garba is working for Buhari, yet Buhari’s wife and children regard him as a lap dog of the unelected cabal around Buhari.
Not able to hide her disdain for Garba, Mrs. Buhari said, “In saner climes, Garba Shehu would have resigned immediately.”
That is how little the First Family think of you, and they got to see you everyday, until they voted with their feet.
I worked for President Jonathan for four years, and I am held in high esteem by my former boss, his wife and children. Can Garba say the same?
He is held in so little regard at Aso Rock that he was once bounced at the Villa gate (Garba am I lying?). Let me assure people like Garba that I may not be able to say with confidence what they think in their minds, but I am able to know who they meet, and their schedule. I worked at the Presidential Villa for a total of six years (two years under President Obasanjo, and four years under President Jonathan, and I am very generous by nature. That combination wins you friends).
The pedestrian level to which Garba has fallen is really a cautionary tale to people who think that power is a be-all and end-all. No it is not! Power is just a platform. It is visibility. It does not give you influence per se. Rather, it gives you the pedestal to either expand whatever influence you already have, or to lose it entirely. And it would appear that the latter has been the case for Garba Shehu.
Like Icarus, the Janus faced Garba has flown too close to the sun that is Buhari’s fake integrity, and his wings of wax have melted, and now he is pelted with insults and disgrace wherever he goes.
I rather liken him to Laolu Akande, Osinbajo spokesman, who liked a tweet of mine where I called Buhari a ‘semiliterate’, and when the photographic proof of his like came to light, blamed it on “touch error”. For Mr. Akande, it is touch error, for Garba Shehu, it is mouth error. Every time he is caught in a lie, his ‘mouth error’ becomes more and more apparent.
When I wrote that Garba has lost his soul without gaining the whole world, some people wondered what I meant. What is Garba’s gain for all his many fibs? Whatever he might have squirrelled away will never be enough compensation for the name he has lost.
Even Baba Adam, a notorious US-based sycophant who used to send out unsolicited emails praising Buhari and Garba, turned on Garba after his outlandish lie that the 76 farmers killed by Boko Haram during the Zabarmari massacre only had themselves to blame because they did not have permission to be in their farms.
If Buhari had any iota of shame, Garba should have lost his job the day after making such an insensitive, wicked and callous statement. Alas, he is still there because the cabal needs him to do the dirty jobs that Femi Adesina absolutely refuses to do.
Yoruba say O ma se o!