By Fredrick Nwabufo
I have watched the video of the verbal duel between Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, and Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, five times now.
I spent every second watching that recording in a theatre of pain and depression. Nigeria’s funeral is near with the ilk of Shittu in government.
I have followed Sowore’s town-hall meetings across the country with gusto, purely because of the novelty of the idea. I believe this is the first time an aspirant to the office of the president is actually holding intellectual discourses with citizens across the country. Even if he does not win, he has set a standard on which presidential candidates will be assessed in the future.
I may not like Sowore’s brand of journalism, but I will give it to him when it comes to being tenacious and daring. This is the reason I salute his quest to run for the highest office in the country against all odds. It is obvious he is ready to go the whole hog.
I expected Sowore to be combative, virulent and caustic in speech during the radio interview in which he squared off against Shittu. Perhaps, he betrayed his antecedents as a ruthless anti-establishment marshal. All through the interview, he addressed the minister as “Sir”, and even showed the “omoluwabi courtesy” by lowering his head each time he responded to Shittu’s insults.
But the minister, who ought to have shown a modicum of decorum and restraint expected of a public officer, belched poison from his flatulent bowels. He called Sowore, “inconsequential, minion”. He put up an acute display of arrogant power and delusive invincibility.
He called a 47-year-old man, “boy”. If Nigeria was a sane country, Shittu would be at a native madrasa breaking the chalk. That he is a critical part of this administration, says much of this government. Omobola Johnson, his predecessor, brought poise, finesse and technicality to the ministry of communications. But what can be said of Shittu’s stewardship? He is simply a product of catchment politics.
In all, Shittu’s outburst is just a window into the minds of the bastions of the old order. These owners of Nigeria will not let go without a fight. The Nigerian youth owe it a duty to themselves and the country to wrest power from this kraken.
Fredrick is a writer, journalist and media entrepreneur.
He can be reached on Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo, Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo