By Oluwakemi Iyiola
One way to know a struggling publication or one seeking relevance is the tendency to feature one Timi Frank, presently posturing as an activists but prior to was roaming the media landscape with the expired designation of “former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC)”until it became apparent that this particular designation no longer sell. One fair disclosure that must be made is that the designation did not at any time amount to much since Frank got the job chiefly because the people of the south-south eschewed joining the APC as it will run contrary to the interest of their own, Goodluck Jonathan, who was then president and seeking re-election. In the words of some youths then, only an outcast, a scum of the south-south, will take up position in the APC against Jonathan’s interest – that was Timi Frank. His inclusion in the party was known to be because the political group, as it was then constituted, required the services of refuse disposal boys and it got one for a song and even less.
With this background knowledge, it is comical to read about Frank asking Nigerians, particularly those that worked against his return to office, to apologise to Jonathan. Whatever it is that Frank has been consuming, he has grown bloated in recent week hopefully not from kidney or liver damage, is messing with his head big time. He feigned ignorance that the reason Jonathan was roundly defeated at the polls was because even his handlers knew that another term of him in office will be catastrophic for the country. It was the reason they collected billions from him in naira and dollars but refused to lift their fingers to work for his victory. Those who were passionate about Jonathan winning in 2015 consisted mostly of ethnic jingoists, who laid the foundation for whatever ethnic intolerance that the country is grappling with.
It borders on disgusting that a Timi Frank can be talking about insecurity in the land when his hero, Jonathan, who failed to be presidential in visiting the wrath of the state on those that were fuelling the security breaches in the land. It is also disingenuous persons that rose to prominence on the wing of cultism and strong arm politicking can be lecturing the country about insecurity when the activities that promoted them to social relevance directly correlate with the rise of insecurity. By the way, is Frank so challenged that he does not see a relationship between the disinformation campaign that the Jonathan government commissioned Cambridge Analytica to run in Nigeria and the misconception of Islamic supremacy among the not too educate people from a part of the country. Cambridge Analytica ran such effective lie about a phantom Islamization agenda that some people thought it was real, keyed into it and are now tormenting other Nigerians with it. In its home country, the company was disgraced to close shop and that was the company that Jonathan diverted public resources to fund.
When advisories urge people to stay off hard drugs and illicit substances it is for good reasons. It must take a yet to be classified hallucinogen for someone to claim that insecurity, a la terrorist attacks, was limited to just one zone of the country in the Jonathan years. Or it could be that Frank did not notice the barricades all over Abuja at time when he was commuting to receive the stipends that kept him from starving or finance a lifestyle of debauchery. In the period that our latter day activist experienced terrorism in only one zone, it was on record that Boko Haram cells were thriving as far south as Okene in Kogi state – they even attacked a military convoy and killed troops. Perhaps he used a different map for his permutation.
He also suggested that there is no rule of law under the present government and one begins to wonder if Frank is so far gone that he expects the state to be indifferent to crimes simply because the perpetrators identify as opposition members. With this kind of thinking it becomes easier to grasp the series of the protests at the instance of an opposition that has remained bitter over its inability to win fair and square. Their concept of rule of law is a freedom to incite others to violence in the name of freedom of expression while their notion of democratic participation is misconception that they can rise as a mob to sack a democratically elected government without recourse to the procedures enshrined in the constitution. If making rabble-rousers like this have a taste of the law is what Franks considers as the absence of the rule of law then the law should unleashed on his kind with its full force.
To think that a hatchet job master like Frank does not know the difference between treasury looters taking flight to escape their crimes and those who genuinely migrated as a matter of choice. In reality, the armchair activist is aware only of his circle of friends, who incidentally are treasury looters so they naturally fled abroad to evade justice. This is what made it appear to him that most of Nigeria’s population is on the lam, but the rest of us are not criminals like his pals. He should also pay attention and he would be educated to the reality of the Nigerians that have returned from the diaspora to set up businesses, perhaps he few minutes of interaction with Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission will illuminate the darkened corners of his mind.
One thing that Frank possibly got right is the claim that hunger and poverty were not so bad under Jonathan but it is important that he puts this aspect in the correct context. He along with his types were spending the handouts they got from the slush funds stolen by their senior associates in the Jonathan government to live lavishly on smoked salmon, champagne, cigars and other things that would be classified as luxury when measured against his total lack of identifiable means of income. Fast-forward to the Buhari era when there is no stolen funds to make the rounds then one will be compelled to agree that there is hunger in Frank’s land. Conversely, creative and hardworking Nigerians that were short-changed by that government can report improvement in their quality of life at the moment, albeit they have to work for every naira they spend.
That Nigeria was forced to endure the Jonathan years with this depth of misery and groping is something that no nation should ever have to endure; it is him and his associates that owe Nigerians apologies. To the extent that Frank misled himself to demand apology on behalf of Jonathan, he should be the one that should get the former President to apologise for his years of misrule and to apologise a second time for attempting to extend that misrule with his participation in the 2015 elections. Perhaps Frank ran his own personal errand in the hope of getting a few crumbs to reboot that lifestyle that he lost with Jonathan’s election loss.
But Frank must know that there are limits to the relevance he can get – his confession about fabricating lies against Jonathan is instructive as it is consistent with someone that was never higher than a refuse disposal guy for his party. Such trait as a betrayal explains why Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate never fully sign him up in spite of his vociferous pro-Atiku rants.
It is because sell-outs cannot be trusted, which is why Omoyele Sowore was the one who got the RevolutionNow brief and he has a 45 days free stay in detention even before the court reaches a verdict on whether to jail him. Frank put on the pretext of being smart because even in this his latest pitch for Sowore’s job he was careful to his incitement as “peaceful revolution”, which does not say much because his attempt at engaging in revisionism to mislead Nigerians is simply ineffectual.
Iyiola is a social crusader based in Abuja.