By: Phrank Shaibu
But for the misfortune of knowing the existence of this rural bumpkin, courtesy of the ever-generous Nigerian media which elevates charlatans to superstars, I will die believing it’s infinitely impossible for an oaf to be appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Besides believing that life begins and ends with genuflecting for, and licking the smelly asses of rotten politicians, Festus Keyamo is permanently stuck with the rather funny impression that Nigerians who are dignified enough to differ with his paymasters on how the nation should be run, should either shut up or be buried alive.
I have read Festus Keyamo’s response to Dele Momodu’s critique of the manifesto recently released by the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as his rejoinder to Momodu’s reply, and I have nothing to say other than the fact that in its desperation to employ an “attack dog” to spearhead its onslaught on the leading opposition party in the months leading to the 2023 general elections, the APC ended up conceding the crucial position of campaign spokesman to a street boy, who is nothing but a nuisance.
Even by Nigeria’s low standards, no serious political party should allow a loose canon like Keyamo go anywhere near its presidential campaign council, not to talk of allowing him to speak for it. By the way, what did Keyamo say is Dele Momodu’s crime? Is it not true that Keyamo is a certified ass-licker? Don’t we all know how Keyamo was sleeping at the gate of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s residence, lobbying the former Minister of Transportation to appoint him Campaign Spokesman in 2019? Does Keyamo think we all have forgotten?
Of course, we all know that Nigerian politics is a rotten salad. And it’s awful because many of our so-called politicians including gate-crashers like Keyamo are rancid condiments, with shallow consciences but unfortunately, they have been assigned crucial roles. But even at that, I never thought that the situation has degenerated to the extent that we would have a campaign spokesman that will be ill-prepared for the job of responding to constructive criticism with facts and figures.
Rather than respond to the issues that were raised by Momodu, Keyamo quoted from an article he (Momodu) wrote two years ago, which the Tinubu attack dogs have been using to campaign endlessly because they are bereft of fresh ideas. Again, when Momodu challenged him to disprove the salient points that had been raised in the critique of his paymaster’s manifesto of lies, Keyamo descended into the gutter, calling Momodu unprintable names. Such is the way of gutter spines, even if they are dressed in designer wears!
But perhaps the most laughable of the issues raised by Keyamo is the fact that Momodu is a name-dropper. I forgive Keyamo because I know he was only a street urchin roaming the streets of Ughelli at the time Momodu was already a first-rate publisher and had begun wining and dining with the high and mighty in the society.
For the avoidance of doubt, not many people who now knuckle under Tinubu’s orders can claim to know the APC Presidential Candidate more than Dele Momodu. However, what is news is that Dele Momodu has said he will not be part of Tinubu’s desperation to be Nigeria’s president by fire, by force. So, damn what if Keyamo’s life ambition is to be Tinubu’s lap dog, and as far as lip service could carry him! My only hope is that Keyamo does not continue to delude himself that Nigerians like Dele Momodu cannot make their own choices. Whether Keyamo likes it or not Nigerians will ask all the tough questions including questions about Tinubu’s age, his health, his serial gaffes and irritating ‘metaphors’, his certificate, his state of origin, the source of his wealth, Muslim-Muslim ticket and many more; and there is nothing Keyamo can do about it!
Having said that, what’s Keyamo and his gang’s obsession with quoting an article Dele Momodu wrote in 2019 instead of educating Nigerians on how his principal who slurs at every campaign stomp plans to communicate his manifesto to Nigerians. Are we asking for too much from this accidental spokesman if we request him to play down his brashness and combustible temper and at least learn the basic tenets of public relations, which includes making supporters out of enemies and not the other way round? Keyamo’s job is not to create enemies for his Candidate and his political party nor is it to make them despised or seen in a bad light.
So far, Keyamo has been a disaster; reducing political communication to an exercise in reckless self-indulgence, an enterprise governed by shallowness and opportunism. With this state of affairs, he has shot the bar so low, even by Nigeria’s low standards, becoming a babbling child in an adult body.
But I know that politicians are naturally in love with rabble-rousers like Keyamo because loudmouths like him may not have the capacity to rake in the votes but they have nuisance value-they have the capacity to incite, and almost always generate alternative reality. Nuisance is particularly of great importance in Nigerian politics, where politicians lack self-belief and live make-belief.
I will not be surprised that in the event that APC loses next year’s presidential election, Keyamo and his co-travellers could resort to the use of an easier option of manipulating the sentiments of gullible Nigerians to incite them and provoke deadly protests using the volatility of the election period as a convenient tool. The reality is Keyamo should be nowhere near any presidential campaign office given the usually unverifiable pieces of information upon which his press statements and social media posts are based.
All said, it is inconceivable that a Learned Silk, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) could go this low to fabricate and publish for public consumption, malicious statements without minding the likely consequences, all because of bread and butter. Although Keyamo has hinted that he would not want to continue to join issues with Dele Momodu, I am using this medium to let him know that the fire-fight which I have just commenced using this write-up will snowball into massive fires. And as the saying goes, massive fires spring from little triggers. A word is enough for the wise!
* Shaibu, a Publicist is Special Assistant, Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar