In my earlier treatise, ‘’Who is afraid of Lai Mohammed’’, I wrote that ‘’those who still believe in Nigeria and the ability of the present government to overcome the huge challenges facing the nation must not cede the space to the naysayers; they must tackle them the same way they did in the run-up to the elections that gave the APC victory; they must join hands with the Minister of Information and Culture to continuously work to bridge the information gap between the government and the citizenry, in the overall interest of the corporate existence of the country’’.
Alas! The ‘pundits’ are at it again. For God sake, who indeed is angry with Lai Mohammed? Who has Lai Mohammed offended? And may I please add; who wants Lai Mohammed out as Nigeria’s Information Minister and why?
I ask these questions against the backdrop of unrelenting plethora of orchestrated attacks against Lai Mohammed by the ‘’wailers’’ and ‘’yam eaters’’ of Nigeria’s dark days. Corruption is obviously fighting back; and fighting so carnivorously.
Those who see Lai Mohammed as a thorn in their flesh have been restless; they have intensified their campaign of calumny against the minister by engaging the service of a group of money-for-hand, back-for-ground hack writers, who have been going from one medium to another to cast aspersion on the integrity of the man they blame for everything averse to their self-centred interests.
For the avoidance of doubt, every democratic dispensation in Nigeria has its peculiar signature trait. The immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, like all others before it, has left in its trail a cacophony of melancholy and depression in a manner that has set Nigeria on a path of an unprecedented economic and security ruin.
The sad reality of the challenges we are passing through today arose out of the irresponsibility of some past administrations and their actors in running the affairs of our nation. And as we continue to take stock of the damage wrought on the nation, it looks as if those who ruled over us in the past six years or so had an eerie agenda to set the nation on fire.
The saving grace or the timely succour was the emergence of the Buhari Administration, elected not out of the nation’s need for the continuity of democratic gains but on the crest of fear that if allowed to continue, the Jonathan administration would take the country under.
All the signs had pointed to a nation on the cliff, irretrievably set on a self-destruct motion and destined for the rocks. Buhari is President today because, even though the cabal that had held this country down had detested and blocked his aspiration, the common people took matters into their hands and, for the first time in the history of democratic governance in the country, voted for change.
The mindboggling revelations and discoveries of grand theft of billions of dollars linked to members of the Jonathan administration have proved to be a justification of the detour to a man of Buhari’s pedigree for salvation. But there is no doubt that corruption is fighting, on a scale unheard of. And who better to target than the man who is the voice of the Federal Government!
Part of the strategy is the deployment of part of the looted billions into the doomed campaign to bring the new government down by all means necessary. A key aspect of the strategy is to cast aspersions on key top level officials of the administration, raise doubts about their integrity, explore the possibility of pitching them against the President, set the machinery of government on a collision course and ultimately sabotage it from within.
An aspect of the strategy has already been set in motion: The surely choreographed media attacks on Alhaji Lai Mohammed. They started with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu whom they vilified and profiled through well funded media attacks, just as they did to candidate Buhari in the run-up to the last elections. Now their target is Lai Mohammed.
It should be noted that just recently, some members of the same cabal which targeted Asiwaju and failed were forced to capitulate and beg Tinubu when it dawned on them that the case of libel and character assassination filed against them was heading for victory.
They have decided to apply the same worn out personal attacks strategy on key elements of the Buhari Administration, starting with our own cerebral Lai Mohammed. If they are not ‘deconstructing’ Lai, they are changing his portfolio on the pages of newspapers or distorting his name to suit their agenda. Not even their failed predictions of who would be ministers, in the run-up to the constitution of the present cabinet, have taught them any lesson that they just cannot force this President to do their bidding!
These obviously-sponsored articles, which are dripping with Naira (or is it dollars, the preferred currency of the ‘yam eaters’), all fit into the myopic and bigoted prejudices of the same enemies of Nigeria whose voracious and ravenous appetite for greed is still echoing and vibrating its shock therapy across the length and breadth of the country, months after they were toppled by the power of the people.
How can a man that is seen by all, including media practitioners themselves, as the ‘’real man’’ for the job, be said to be unfit or incompetent at the same time? It is the same Lai Mohammed that has, over the years, comforted millions of Nigerians with well informed, balanced, refreshing and right-on-point press statements against a bulldozer and on-the-loose political locomotive like the PDP at the peak of its arrogance and perfidy. It is the same Lai Mohammed that has repeatedly worsted all the so-called best brains in media and public relations practice the PDP had hired and oiled for damage control.
By and large, the courage, the patriotism and the sheer determination of people like Lai Mohammed are very rare in a country like ours, where opposition politics is seen as a sentence to a life time of penury and irrelevance. Nigerians, who bought into the change mantra and dealt a fatal blow to the marauding PDP, are not fools. No amount of mudslinging, name calling and imaginary portfolio-changing will deceive Nigerians about the real intentions of the paid authors of these attacks.
Alas, there is bad news for the sponsors of these virulent attacks: Today, Lai ‘The Truth’ Mohammed has prevailed over the lies of the marauders.
Sani Adamu, a journalist, lives in Abuja