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Presidential Spokesman, Reuben Abati gives Goodluck Jonathan Praise in a Special Editorial Piece “The Jonathan They Don’t Know” – A Must Read!



Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity today released an effusive article in praise of the President.

The article which was sent to several newspapers including Guardian, took a jibe at the President’s critics, especially those on social media describing them as “the unrelenting, self-appointed activists, the idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM-pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria”.

Having worked with the President for the last 14 months, he mentioned that President Jonathan is grossly misunderstood and most people criticize him out of ignorance. He also writes about the President’s attitude to work, his food and much more.

It is a long but interesting article. Please read and share your thoughts.


The clear danger to public affairs commentary is that we have a lot of unintelligent people repeating silly clichés and too many intelligent persons wasting their talents lending relevance to thoughtless conclusions.

“THEY” in this piece refers to all the cynics, the pestle-wielding critics, the unrelenting, self-appointed activists, the idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM-pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria, who seem to be in competition among themselves to pull down President Goodluck Jonathan. This army of sponsored and self-appointed anarchists is so diverse; many of them don’t even know why or how they should attack the President.

The clear danger to public affairs commentary is that we have a lot of unintelligent people repeating stupid clichés and too many intelligent persons wasting their talents lending relevance to thoughtless conclusions.  Hold on. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I am not saying nobody should criticize the Nigerian President. I spent some time learning that legal maxim: “volenti non fit injuria”. Public position comes with its own share of risks and exposure. But the twittering, pinging, Facebook crowd of the new age must be guided by facts.

Hold your stone. Don’t haul it yet.  Shhh. Wait, Mr. Alaseju! I have spent the last 14 months working with President Jonathan. I have followed him everywhere. I can write a whole book on his Presidency so far, but you won’t get to read that until much later.  I have heard that some people are protesting that they will not buy the book if it gets written. Well, your choice. What I can report, for now is that he is a grossly misunderstood President. Too many people are unfair to him. They criticise him out of ignorance. They abuse him out of mischief. And the opposition doesn’t make things easy at all. Can we look at a number of issues?

You say he is a clueless President. You are wrong. He is not clueless.  Nobody is more committed to the Nigerian Project than President Jonathan. In spite of unforeseen challenges, which his administration has had to contend with, President Jonathan is doing his utmost best to positively transform Nigeria. Ordinary Nigerians know and appreciate this. Those parading themselves as leaders of the opposition, who claim that the President has lost the support of Nigerians, represent only themselves and their selfish interests.

President Jonathan is a clever, methodical and intelligent man, who is very adept at wrong footing all the persons who make an effort to second-guess or under-estimate him. He understands the complexity of Nigeria. He is acutely conscious of the historicity of his emergence as Nigeria’s No. 1. He knows that he is here as the leader of all Nigerians. He knows that he is a representative of all common persons, particularly the children of all blue collar workers who never wore shoes or got a chance to eat three-square meals, and whose mothers and aunties could never be part of policy-making processes.

When he spoke about not wearing shoes as a child, he meant that as a metaphor for the disparities in the Nigerian system, and the urgent need to redress inequalities. But I have heard some persons responding literally that Nigerians should never vote for a man who never wore shoes. How simplistic. Attention needs to be drawn to the fact that a rooted, people-sourced President, who seeks to transform Nigeria, and who campaigns on a platform of transformation, will necessarily be opposed by those who consider themselves the children of Empire builders, those who think that their ancestors built Nigeria. Wrong.

The Ijaws, the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, have as much right to have their son as President as every other Nigerian group. But Jonathan doesn’t even dwell on this. I have never heard him utter an ethnic statement. He sees himself as the President of all Nigerians. He is at home with every group. He is focused on the challenges of nation-building. He wants to transform Nigeria. He wants to unite the country. He is determined to promote the country. And he is doing so already. He knows Nigerians want regular power supply. He is working at it. That is why we have crossed 4,400 MW.

He knows Nigerians want infrastructure. That is why he is telling Bi-Courtney to fix Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or get out. That is why he is telling a particular Minister to fix the East-West road and get it fixed quickly. That is why he has directed the relevant agencies to get corrupt persons to answer for their misdeeds. That is why he is strengthening Nigeria’s foreign relations. That is why he is transforming the agriculture sector, from a contract-awarding, fertilizer distribution enterprise into big business. And more… The reason President Jonathan does not go into a song and dance routine is because he knows that true rebranding of a nation is a projection of positive things that are already happening.

They say he is “tribalistic”. Not true. How many Ijaws are in President Jonathan’s inner circle? Very few, I can tell you. There are, of course, all kinds of persons who go about telling people that they have the President’s ears and eyes. They would even tell you that they think for the President! I used to have nightmares whenever I heard that, but it no longer bothers me. I have since learnt that some Nigerians consider it fashionable to wear false garments.

The Presidency qua Presidency is staffed by key officials from all parts of the country. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation is from Ebonyi State. The Chief of Staff and the Head of the President’s Secretariat are both from Edo; the Protocol Liaison Officer and Principal Private Secretary are from Adamawa; the Chief Detail is from Borno; the Aide De Camp (ADC) is from Kogi; the Perm Sec, State House is from Benue; the State Chief of Protocol is from Kwara; the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity is from Ogun; the Chief Physician to the President is from Rivers. Only the Chief Security Officer, the Special Assistant, Domestic and the Special Adviser, Research and Strategy are from Bayelsa.

When he is in the office, and he gets there early every day, and works till very late, he is exposed to all categories of Nigerians.  He runs a modern and open Presidency. He is on Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, BB, and he reads. And he writes. This is not a provincial President. The intelligentsia, his immediate community, should support him to do his work.

President Jonathan was the first Nigerian leader to appoint a woman as his Chief Economic Adviser as well as the Nigerian leader who opened up the Nigerian Defence Academy to women. And he took affirmative action in political appointments to a higher level by reserving 35 per cent of all appointive positions in government for our women folk.

The facts in this regard are incontrovertible. Under President Jonathan, women occupy very strategic positions (Petroleum Resources, Education, Co-ordinating Minister/Minister of Finance, Water Resources, Minister of State, FCT, Minister of State, Defence, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs 1, Minister of State, Niger Delta, and the headship of many of the MDAs. The President’s  commitment to Nigeria is total. All his children school in Nigeria. Even his dress code promotes Nigeria.

They say Mr. President drinks. My friend and colleague, Etim Etim, called the other day to say that whatever may be the challenges on this job, he could affirm that I am at least enjoying. “What with all the choice drinks on every trip,” he said. I told him, “No, we don’t drink.” He protested. He thought I was lying. He had heard that kain-kain is a staple fare on presidential flights. I told him No. We are not allowed to touch alcohol. Alcohol is not served during official duties. Yes, when there is an international function, wine is served, but nobody gets drunk around here. That will amount to an act of indiscipline. The President himself does not allow alcohol to be served at his table. But when you go to social media, they tell you something else. Lies. Lies. Lies.

I have even heard that the President spends billions on feeding. Well, I have enjoyed the privilege of eating at the President’s table. What does he eat? Fish pepper soup. Cassava Bread. Slices of yam. Rice. Boiled plantain. Fruits and vegetables. He fasts when he chooses, and fasts all month during Ramadan and Lent. And because he takes his exercises and keep fit regime seriously, he eats very little. Okay, he drinks coffee.  And yet there are people out there who keep claiming that there is a feast in the Villa every day. They say at every meal, the table is decorated with roasted turkey, and every delicacy under the sun. Lies. Lies.  This President is not a glutton. We have a disciplined, hardworking President who enjoys his privacy, and the company of intelligent people.

Here is a man who is an epitome of loyalty and simplicity. The thing about the President’s critics is that they just cannot accept that someone with his simplicity can be their President. This is the Saul Complex. Saul could not accept the fact that somebody as simple as David could be favoured by God. And just like Saul threw the spear at David out of uncontrollable jealousy, these critics are out to throw any kind of spear to see which hits the target, hence all their lies about the President.

Let me end by saying that the President is a simple man but simplicity is not naivety. If simplicity were to be naivety, then the world would not be where it is today because it is simple men like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Kwame Nkrumah, who have shaped the world that we live in by simplifying what others have complicated.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. Usaveone

    August 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Jokes aside, i believe somebody is drinking kain.kain inside flight.


    • Lola

      August 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      lol! this Abati man is gassed, seriously gassed! warraheck……..

    • Lue

      August 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

    • jacqueline

      August 29, 2012 at 5:34 am


      WELL, THE ‘TWITS’ IN AFRICA HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT OUR CULTURE IS NOT THE SAME AS THE CULTURE OF THE WEST:: if you abuse an African politician, he will abuse you back 10 fold, and even curse you on top!!


  2. mila

    August 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Hmmmmmmmmm shebi there is a new spokesman mrAbati?Dr Doyin O,if I got d name right!ha ha ha ha ha abeg my bros u need to secure ur job oooooo!as for nigerians like me,nt speaking for everyone though,no media papparazi can fool me,we dnt want to knw who d president is in his private life!all we want pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase is a greater Nigeria.

  3. hotchick

    August 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    With apologies to Mr. Abati – I failed to have the “lightbulb of enlightenment” go off in my head, after this writeup.

    Perhaps, Mr. Abati should focus more on the “WORK” of the President and not try to school us in his eating habits. I sometimes think that running a country is akin to justice not only being done, but also seen to be done.

    Fight this war of words elsewhere, and apply more of your intellect to issues that actually matter.

  4. Mssexy

    August 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Abati shd just go and sit down, he’s makng it look like ts a competition btw himself and Okupe contesting for d loyalty of d president

  5. kunle

    August 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I want to see results!

  6. Gloria

    August 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t seem to understand anything he just said. This is more like a child’s speech. Pls we need jobs not eating habit of the president

  7. lol

    August 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    i think he was trying to make a point and correct all d rumors, his just trying 2 say u shouldn’t all luk at it dat way, his basically telling u guys to look at ur president from d da angles..but as nigerians nah u guys ve failed 2 understand him again, see u ppl saying his trying 2 keep his job, u think nigeria can change in d twinkle of an eye, d president is obviously not trying 2 please ppl, his is trying 2 change d situation from d root, u guys should act educated smtimes not a fan of d president nd his government either but he is probably doing smtin rite 2 be this hated by ppl, even obama is facing dis on health care atm

  8. urbanshe®

    August 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Brilliantly written! Gej may the Good lord strengthen you.

  9. Miss Natural

    August 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Ha! These sound like the words of a man on his way out, trying to hold on tenaciously to his job.

  10. richard

    August 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    reuben abati just messed up.he deliberatly(to him intelligently) avoided d all imprtant but sensitive issue as insecurity in d land.dat ws a good opprtunity for him to tell (lie) to nigerians wat his boss hs done abt insecurity.

  11. Remi

    August 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    The things (and lies) men tell in the course of 30 days make one pay; SMH.

  12. niyi

    August 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    “Ordinary Nigerians know and appreciate this. Those parading themselves as leaders of the opposition, who claim that the President has lost the support of Nigerians, represent only themselves and their selfish interests”. Mr. Abati, i dont understand which nigerians you are talking about. What a feeble attempt at defending the president. The president has two major problems. he doesnt know how to use his power as the prsident of this country and he doesnt have any influence. He should learn from OBJ and Obama.

  13. lazioman

    August 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Is it just me or did I not see anything about boko Haram removal??

  14. Soraya

    August 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    This is a rather long article, so I am not sure I really understood it

  15. omada

    August 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    hahahahaha…. someone is trying so hard to hold on to his job. poor man. nothing left for him outside Aso Rock, destroyed his reputation with his own hands.

  16. banshee

    August 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Now, that write-up sounds very desperate! Too many wrong statements. You can never win us over by creating ‘us versus them’ scenarios. Especially not when there’s a clear disconnection between the rulers and the ruled. At best, the write-up just confirmed what we’ve known: The government is out of touch. *smh*

  17. Prinz Charles

    August 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    The President might be an epitome of simplicity but he is also from all reasonable doubt very very very……………. naive

  18. Hahaha

    August 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Nigerians will always condemn stuff!
    haba, plixx that was a very well written piece, and I do not see anything wrong with praising someone deserving of praise….

  19. ola

    August 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    great nation..more news and gist here at

  20. Love

    August 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    nicely written. I like

  21. Nigeria Speaks

    August 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    In soothe, I know not why I’m so sad. It bothers me…you say it bothers you… I am to learn.

    Abati… Abati… Abati. How many times I call you? Of a truth, I am convinced now that the infamous Aso Rock Bug has taken a bite off you. The erstwhile mouthpiece of the people! Anyway, they say you don’t talk while you’re eating. So Abati, when you”re done feasting, come and tell us exactly what you heard along those notorious corridors of power.

    I also eat cassava bread. Very tasty. Abakaliki rice is my fave. Please, tell me something else.

    PS: do you want to build your skills in public speaking and presentation? See to register for upcoming workshop in Lekki.

  22. Tim

    August 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    What the is this Abati talking about, that is what you are fucking paid for imaging making right, who gives the ..about who GEJ but the things he can do to better the life of common citizen of Nigeria. He needs to prove himself to the nation, corruption, favourism and nepotism has become taking over our dear nation, and your are here blabbing your mouth about who Jonathan is. Who gives a …

  23. Thelma

    August 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    So…it was too long so i didn’t bother to read but as far as i’m concerned, He doesn’t deserve any praise right now.

  24. konnie

    August 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I guess he is singing for his supper.

  25. Jess

    August 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Is this part of his job description doe? Crap. Unnecessary.

  26. Sweetness

    August 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    That old camp song “How low can you go” comes to mind easily after reading this… Well, Mr Abati made a choice, and good or bad, it seems he’s decided to stick with it till the end.

  27. faith

    August 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I didn’t waste my time To read it!

  28. Iris

    August 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    *sigh* This may have been better NOT coming from the president’s public spokesman. Now we’ll just say he should have spent the time doing something else.

  29. cynthy_amadi

    August 26, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Mr abati, stop dcivin ursef bcuz u want ur salary 2 go up, gud news, it wud. I kip saying,u cant read a book wen its too close to ur eyes, u see it better wen its a lil bit afar, dats y we are the better judge of GEJ. U jus spoke about him what about dame, does she eat a slice of yam too n fast. We are not fools, GEJ is clueless, what abati shud be doing is seeking help to help d president not writting a book of him not eating or drinking

  30. sealed lips

    August 27, 2012 at 12:11 am

    This is crap……Abati stop trying to make yourself feel important.Wetin concern me with Kain Kain, where the president’s kids school orhow he dressess? You were one of those we used to look up to before you joined the band wagon of liars …..

  31. Tosin

    August 27, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I like the write-up except for the suggestion that the (over-)critics are predominantly young and alien. I can name some who have been ranting since nineteen ninety something. Criticism is very important work, but there are many useless forms of it that folks have adapted. I think some people hate their country or themselves or something.

  32. dolo

    August 27, 2012 at 4:12 am

    this essay oh i mean acticle sounded childish. REUBEN ABATI wake-up and see the hand writing on the WALL….We’re not stupid

  33. Brandon Tor

    August 27, 2012 at 4:38 am

    This is clearly a low low for Reuben Abati. A once great man of the pen has been reduced to writing trash. Not a single substance in the write up. What a waste. He should tell the President to take a cue from Fashola, Akpabio and Oshiomole, governor’s whose performances speak for them. Nigerians are not fools. If Jonathan performs nobody needs to sell him. For now Abati is wasting effort trying to sell a bad product. Methinks he is fighting to save his job. I sympathize with him. What a pity for a once great writer. A man of ideas, now reduced to this.

  34. babe

    August 27, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Gej is a failure, d major problem ds country has is him.

  35. mila

    August 27, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Ha ha ha just read d article again mr Abati,wats d bullshit abt cassava bread and turkey!shuooooo,u guys can take turkey everyday,moet s/don,eat most expnsve food u can lay ur hands on,u deserve it cos u r in d villa I guess,all we need as common citizens is just a better life for ourselves and children pls,nawao !

  36. purplepearl

    August 27, 2012 at 6:59 am

    The descriptions got me wowed. Criticisms will take us nowhere, we need to constantly pray for our President and leaders

  37. ...just saying

    August 27, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Errrr…. Abati, I expected that you would address more cogent issues such as Boko Haram, NEPA, the billions being spent on Asari Dokubo to keep the militants at bay to name a few.

    Very trivial article in my opinion

  38. Dela

    August 27, 2012 at 8:16 am

    better still the Jonathan we don’t want to know

  39. nomad

    August 27, 2012 at 8:55 am

    False modesty is extremely irritating. I know that his young children attend the American School in Abuja, which is one of the (if not the) most expensive private school in Nigeria and it doesn’t offer the Nigerian curriculum. Why doesn’t he go and check out the public and Nigerian private schools. Wait, our educational system is clearly rotten and not good enough for their excellencies. Isn’t there pictures of Dame Patience hijacking a commonwealth meeting in Australia to celebrate her birthday with expensive bottles of Veuve being popped. You can’t fool us with this man of the people bullshit, oya clap for yourself Jonathan doesn’t drink Veuve everyday and eat caviar and fresh imported salmon flown in from Norway everyday. He does take bullshit trips and fund his wife’s ridiculous projects (African Peace First Ladies, wtf) and expend Nigeria’s money (inherited surplus turning into major deficit) on stupidity.

  40. faith

    August 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I chAnged my miND n finally deciDed to read it…d only thing I got from. D whole childish rant is dat the president is confused and not fucos..he fast during ramadam and lent???

  41. Seun Balogun

    August 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Abati has made a 360 degree turn about. From this piece, i get a firm conviction that the disconnect between Abuja and the people is quite huge and grave. Sad… is an understatement.

  42. Seun Balogun

    August 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Cool. Fish Pepper Soup!

  43. Nne Somebody

    August 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Mr. Abati continues to show disdain for the generation that he ought to celebrate as the vanguards of change. If there is anything wrong with this facebooking, twittering generation, it is that we have learnt some of the bad habits of Mr. Abati’s generation. We can only pray that they don’t infect us further before they leave office. So, Mr. President likes fish peppersoup, well done! Does he also like the sound of bombs going off or the smell of cool currency hastily stuffed into raffia bags? Mr. Abati, I am not impressed and I doubt anyone of my generation is. Enough talk-talk, biko.

  44. brandigest

    August 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Please is this the same Reuben Abati we use to know in the Guardian Newspaper who had great integrity? I am so not impressed

  45. sunshine

    August 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Bob marley said ‘you can fool some people sometimes but you cant fool all the people all the time”,most importantly you can never lie to yourself! It saddens me to remember that i once devoured Reuben Abatis’ forthright articles in the guardian, its so hard to find people who will hold on tenaciously to the truth these days. He has become another shining example of how easy it is to be lured and consumed by corruption! Guess we seeing the real Dr Reuben Abati now
    *that’s all imma say*

  46. failedgovernment

    August 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    THIS IS RUBBISH. You know why? because these people think they are fooling anyone but they are only fooling themselves. This is another confirmation that the older generation of Nigerians are simply lost. In that long speech, nothing about how Nigeria can improve and become better. How they will deal with CRUCIAL ISSUES in Nigeria. No, he wants us to be praising Jonathan for being a dummy, someone that is clueless. The only way we can look Jonathan from another angle is by him ACTIVELY doing something to fix that corrupted country. Ever since he’s been in office, can someone tell me one or two things he’s done to benefit the country? He’s not doing anything about Boko Haram, nothing about security, no infrastrature improvement, job opportunities, education, NOTHING, NOTHING. So, Abati, you and your speech can go to the trash can.

  47. lawrence

    August 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Abati Reuben u just wasted ur time in write all dat trash.GEJ.want praise den let take action.stop boko aram,give gud rd,stable ligt,infastrutur&stop curruption if u ar not currupt.U wil see dat d ppl wil praisin u n ur name wil reach d world.wake up GEJ.we ar wachin U

  48. tomeloma

    August 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    To think I used to have so much respect for Reuben Abati and read every sentence he wrote in The Guardian as gospel!!! I am so disappointed that you are now a mere propaganda machine..mchew!

  49. ijeoma

    August 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    This was a really long winding and simply boring article. In a sentence, what was this article written to prove?

  50. jay

    September 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    if body dey bite una, make una find one of una relatives to become president. people will always say something negative… have u ever thought about Nigeria for once? ruling the people in Nigeria is a problem on its own..

  51. affordable dental

    September 13, 2012 at 12:09 am

    What’s up, all is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s actually fine, keep up writing.

  52. awoawo

    December 31, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    ruben, you are only doing your job but it shows from all indications that you are shortsighted to the events in the country. I really symphatise with your posterity bcos ur presents position relegates your natural endowments as a person and makes you sound like a mediocre. You need to redeem your image from the public on this article because you are a misfit to this.

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