Reuben Abati, the former spokesman for ex-president Goodluck Jonathan seems to have remained loyal, in terms of spinning for his former boss.
Abati claimed in a radio interview that, contrary to widely held beliefs, Jonathan was not drunk out of his head most times when he was president.
Jonathan was rumoured to host all-night boozing sessions in the presidential villa and was said to fall asleep at meetings the next day.
Abati’s denial did not seem to suggest that Jonathan was teetotal: “President Jonathan does not drink. You see, that’s one of the myths about that administration and you must understand how this thing is, it’s all about perception, communication, it’s all about what goes out and it’s about stereotyping. People just stereotype people from a particular part of the country as drunkards, and they look for justification for one type of behaviour or the other. But I can tell you that in my four years of working for President Jonathan, I never found him in a bibulous situation. If he ever tasted any drink, maybe a glass of wine during special occasions. All those stories about him drinking, about President Jonathan always being berated, about bibulous situations inside the Villa, those things did not exist.”
Abati may have had a drink when he spoke. He claimed his former boss does not drink, but had “maybe a glass of wine during special occasions”. It is either the man drinks or he doesn’t. Abati was only a spin-doctor. He was not with the president at all times and unlikely to have been around burning the midnight oil at Aso Rock with Jonathan. Abati also didn’t define what those “special occasions” were in which the president raised a glass and how frequent they were.
His spirited defence also seems to have been about addiction (“bibulous”). But his qualifications as a spin-doctor do not make him fit to comment on addiction, which is a sickness.
Abati didn’t sound convincing. But listeners who had a few drinks may have bought what Abati was selling, including a certain zoologist now with a lot of time on his hands in a mansion in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.