The dominating news wave in the last 72 hours must have been the Festus Adedayo’s hitherto appointment as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the new senate president, Lawan Ahmed. Its generated sensations and cyber fisticuffs -with pro and anti-armies of proportionate arsenal- can only be rivaled by the famous Tonto Dikeh’s 40 seconds challenge. I have followed the debate with utmost interest and attention. I have trolled and sympathized with Buharists for such insult. I have blamed the new senate president for what is glaringly lack of due diligence, poor judgement, or access to competent hands. But in all, our man, Dr. Festus Adedayo, must be told some home truths. Rather than the last self-laundering piece, “The Festus Adedayo That They Thought They Could Pull Down”, he should go on a soul-searching journey in view of harmonizing his writings with his much-touted principles, and let his actions attest to the essential content of his writing. He should be “The Festus Adedayo That Should Hold Himself High”.
Before going too far, let us put things into their rightful perspectives and contexts: First, it is not wrong for a professional journalist whose qualification, experience and intellect fit into a job description to pick a job with the government, or be appointed as aide to a politician. Second, it is not wrong to be a critic of a government and decide to serve the same government, especially if the role avails you the opportunity of proffering solutions to issues you had once condemned. Having served the former governors of Enugu and Oyo states, Festus comes readily as a professional journalist who takes “secondment” and spends such on political appointments. I doubt if his traducers are up in arms because of this, but it could be alluded, rightly or wrongly, they are angry because he is a critic of the government. And this is where deeper probe is required.
Festus Adedayo comes to me -and he admitted this in his last piece- as a venomous critic, a caustic and acerbic writer, who often veer off the plane of criticism to one of jester, mocker of anyone found in the unfortunate side of his pen. He has all rights to the content of his writing. He owes no one any apology by being violently critical of the Buhari government. He once described Buhari, as I have done in similar words, as one of “a receding memory and acts like one being propelled like the cartoon character, Fido Dido.” If there is a government that I believe deservedly needed to be whipped regularly in market square, it is Buhari government, and anyone who has made such extreme position about a government should not be found dining and wining with the same government if he had held himself high. You cannot discard persuasive writing but adopt militant creative arts, and still expect your audience not to take umbrage in what is convincingly a double-faced Janus.
In adding the proverbial salt to his injurious case, Festus lampooned the electoral process that birthed Lawan Ahmed in his “Walking the path of another dawn coup and its martial song” essay. In its material sense, if his writing is reconciled with his thought process, Festus believed that Lawan is a product of “legislative coup” bankrolled by Buhari presidency. He, with reverence to extrapolation, alleged that Lawan will be an executive puppet. Permit me to bother you with copious re-collection of his words, which are, in true sense, the truth, but sadly of a priest who wants his followers to “do as I say, not as I do”.
“Even though largely muted, the Buhari government’s meddlesomeness in the choice of the National Assembly Principal Officers is very loud. The government is conducting the interloping in a manner that is strange to democratic politics. The principles of separation of power and checks and balances are the fulcrum upon which participatory democracy hangs. The way the APC government is defecating on democratic practice by unabashedly poke-nosing into the affairs of another arm of government, the legislature, is an affront on the practice worldwide. There can be no check, nor balance if the executive is the closet elector of the leadership of the legislature. Not even the Greek who gave democracy to the whole world did what Buhari and his leg men in the APC are doing to the legislature at the moment.
“The rat race of the party and its parliament rats may not only backfire, it may return the APC to its debilitating and unenviable status quo where a party in government is engaged in a Babelian rancor with its party-dominated parliament in the passage of bills favourable to the government. Yes, a Saraki/Dogara-kind National Assembly may be deleterious to the APC, but the truth is that, it was necessary to keep Buhari on his toes and stop him from becoming an emperor. Foisting a rubber stamp, groveling and yes-men principal officers on the parliament may, in the short run, be productive for an APC-led government, but it will surely be inimical to the teething democratic practice that Nigeria is fiddling with.
“Come to think of it, who says this frenetic rush to foist principalities on the National Assembly is in the interest of Nigeria or the electorate that voted the politicians into office? It is an elite maneuver with the intention of perpetuating cronies, allies and stooges in powerful positions, the ultimate ambition of which is to extract prebends from Nigerian coffers into the purses of the political godfathers.”
It is, therefore, morally-questionable for a man to be proud of good-for-democracy-but-deleterious-for-APC Saraki/Dogara National Assembly and in the same breath wants to be media go-to person for a foisted, rubber-stamp, and yes-men principal officers of the parliament who are, as he rightly posited, “inimical to the teething democratic practice that Nigeria is fiddling with”.
I sincerely wonder if truly Festus does not see the obvious contradictions in his public writing and secondary professional calling as a public relation of not just a process he has condemned, but also of its product. Festus cannot wish the higher moral standard of his audience away. He induces that with his combative writing style and the specific event he had earlier reprimanded. He should be the Festus that holds himself high!