Reno Omokri, without doubt, played a significant role in creating a very positive image for President Goodluck Jonathan in the run up to the 2011 presidential election in the various new media platforms and was largely responsible in turning that same president into an object of ridicule well before 2015. Omokri has however escaped scrutiny for this monumental damage because he has clothed himself in the robes of a “Christian activist,” waging a frontal war against Muslims and the so-called Fulani hegemonists. So far, the trope has worked, as many of his followers who see their prejudices projected through him easily forget that Omokri entered the political space in Nigeria by seeking to serve politicians from Muslim and Fulani ethno-religious backgrounds, and has in fact continued to do so. Between 2010-11 he wasn’t hired, and he ended up with Jonathan in that period, but in 2019 Atiku Abubakar hired him.
Omokri, as an aide to President Jonathan used the pseudonym, Wendell Simlin, to try to smear Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who had just been suspended as CBN governor, with Muslim extremist links. The article by Omokri which he sent out impersonating Wendell Simlin ([email protected]) read “increased tempo of Boko Haram terrorist activities in the wake of the Sanusi saga” was ostensibly to get the outspoken Sanusi arrested for sponsoring terrorism. But typical of the Jonathan government, Omokri escaped sanctions for his egregious misconduct. But from that point on many Nigerians began to associate Reno Omokri with mockery.
Governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, refused to be Omokri’s ATM as narrated with email evidence by Mohammed Salihu in a July 2011 article. And since then Omokri has made it a mission to attack and traduce El-Rufai. He has taken on a self-appointed mission of ensuring that El-Rufai doesn’t become the president of Nigeria in 2023. This jingoist of region and religion, with a past of forgery and a present of incitement has tried to attribute every failing under the sun to El-Rufai or his family members, in bid to get settled.
Omokri’s latest gambit is to allege that El-Rufai in an email described southern female corpers in the North as whores. He has often hinted at the existence of this email but has never bothered to release it. Yet when Salihu exposed Omokri in 2011, he published the full text of Omokri’s email. If indeed the April 2011 emails exist like Omokri claims, he should make it public rather than keep alluding to it. How can Omokri be waging a war with dane guns, when he has the equivalent of an RPG in his mailbox that can finish off El-Rufai?
Omokri will not take the path of simply publishing the email, because it doesn’t exist, but as part of his antics it is easier to allude to its existence and claim that his possession of it has exposed him to hacking attempts. And very importantly gives him the opportunity of insinuating that El-Rufai is behind attempts to destroy the smoking gun by hacking his account. Anyone who knows Omokri well will be familiar with his tactics. Why show the evidence when he knows that mere allusion is enough to work up the rage of his fellow travellers in ethnic and religious bigotry?
His refusal to release the email is because either it does not exist or the contents of the full text of the email will reveal context not conducive to Omokri’s divisive aims.
Hear the attention seeking Omokri, “I relish the opportunity to be sued by Nasir El-Rufai”. The question that should naturally agitate the minds of his readers is why is Omokri literally begging El-Rufai to sue him, is it that he needs that badge to further convince his fellow evangelicals of his persecution for defending the “children of God “ from Fulani jihadists? Omokri’s seeming eagerness for a lawsuit will not be material if El-Rufai, who has ignored Omokri’s reckless defamation for years, decides to exercise his legal options. Thankfully, Omokri has acknowledged that El-Rufai is a law and order man, who never resorts to self help, which is why Omokri’s claim that there has been a “sophisticated attempt at hacking” his email account is laughable.
The security challenges across much of the north have been in the news. Attacks by bandits in many parts of the Northwest are reported for the criminal actions that they are, but Reno’s circle of bigots will report similar attacks in parts of Kaduna state as an ethno-religious issue, once the victims are not Hausa-Fulani or Muslim. El-Rufai has done everything humanly possible to ensure the security of lives and property, including creating a Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs to coordinate the state government response to the security challenges. If truly Omokri is a man of God, he ought to have acknowledged that the security challenges are not limited to Southern Kaduna, but the entire country, unfortunately. And if Omokri has any conscience, he owes the religious right the duty of educating them, rather than solidifying their hate.
Unlike the populists who pander to the bigotry of the Omokris of this world, El-Rufai proclaims his nationalism by treating every constituent part of Nigeria fairly and justly. His records as a detribalised Nigerian from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and as governor of Kaduna state speak for themselves. The Kaduna State Executive Council boasts of special advisers from Anambra, Delta, Kwara, Kogi, Osun and Ogun states and commissioners from Ogun and Bauchi states. It is in the El-Rufai tradition to seek talents from every part of Nigeria that will help in the development of the country. El-Rufai has proven throughout his professional and public service careers that he is a man that upholds and supports merit, no matter where the bearer hails from.
Nigeria has, definitely, failed herself and the black race that has continuously looked up to her, so 2023 will be critical for her, hence the hatchet job by Omokri on behalf of his client, who has always seen El-Rufai as a threat. If Nigeria in 2023 gets a capable hand then we can begin to sing hosanna, but if we fail, then we will continue to be the mediocre country that the likes of Omokri are apparently comfortable with.
Musa writes from Kaduna