Festus Adedayo: Criticism Is Not Cynicism!

Olawale Olaleye

One of the natural traits of the mob mentality is that it is overly emotional – devoid of rationality in all sense of the word. This is not a function of choice. It is what it is! The moment you hop on that bus, everything rational takes flight and you start to deal with the unfortunate effects of tagging along with the mob.

Since Dr. Festus Adedayo was announced as the senior media aide to Senator Ahmed Lawan, President of the 9th Senate, the floodgate of attacks had been left open and its keys thrown miles away. From the traditional journalists to the supposed influential media activists and the media-wanna-be, the attacks have been typical – spontaneous – the mob style.

But, hey, this is about merit and professionalism. Yes, Dr. Adedayo has been a critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration but not a cynic to the best of my knowledge. The fact that he refused for the man in him to die in the face of obvious lack of leadership does not make him an enemy of state. Besides, he is to work for Lawan and not Buhari.

Interestingly, however, I have learnt that in politics, it is the more you see, the less you know hence I always tell a few ‘decent hailers’, who daily howl at wailers that often, “when the good of the land is being shared”, you are less likely to be considered, because right in the hearts of those you hail, you guys pass more for sycophants especially, for those leaders, who regularly do the “talking to oneself” therapy.

If you care to know, I was aware of the selection process for Senator Lawan’s media aide and guess what? Practically everyone on the list was a decent critic of the president. These guys are not stupid. Do you think they live in the outside world? They see all that is happening and can decipher the truth.

That they can’t speak honestly openly and publicly doesn’t mean they don’t do so privately. I don’t know of anyone truly close to the president, who does not have reservations about his style and choices except you are sincerely evil. So?

And guess what would shock you the most? The man in charge of the selection process was a major actor in the 8th senate and in fact, a very close ally of the immediate past senate president, Bukola Saraki. So, where were you in all of these, Mr. Hailer? Maybe you should reappraise yourself and ponder what impression those you “carry in your head” in the name of support have about you.

The choice of a media aide has always been by merit and not emotion, at least for those who know it, because it is a serious job.

Mr. Segun Adeniyi never had a relationship with the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua before he was picked. He got the job on merit. Dr. Reuben Abati had always come down hard on former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, before his appointment. It was a job landed on merit.

Garba Shehu is generally known as an Atiku Abubakar ‘boy’. Today, he defends Buhari with all that is in him. He didn’t resign with Atiku like many others would have done to their benefactors and may keep his job in the new cabinet. In fact, he has always drawn the line between these two principals.

Let’s leave the media and try a few others. Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode once pilloried former President Olusegun Obasanjo but landed good appointments with him, because he knew his onions. Mama Taraba, former Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan openly declared support for Atiku as a cabinet member and still kept her job.

Yet, there were people who spoke ill of the president behind him and feigned to be one of his greatest supporters, whenever they showed up. Who would you rather? ‘Friends’ who lie to you or ‘enemies’ who tell you the truth as it is?

Critics are not cynics and cannot swap roles. I wrote about my counter with Senator Lawan on the plane a few days ago and concluded that he deserved his chance to prove himself wrong or right, because of who I saw. This was long before the elections. The office of the Senate President is not a party thing; it is a Nigerian affair.

Please, stop running down Dr. Adedayo and seek your chances if any is looking in your direction. I knew of people, who attacked and dismissed me when I started my “Ambode Is Going” series and even threatened that Tinubu would lick his wounds if he tried it.

But immediately, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was handed the APC ticket, they switched immediately and became major actors in his campaign. We didn’t come down hard on such fellows but viewed their choice differently as rationally as we could at the time.

Let those who make their choices be. Stop the entitlement mentality – it is a major but destructive factor at the root of our problems as a people and country.

Many congratulations, Dr. Adedayo, that’s if they let you keep the job.

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