Presidential Fireflies And Tales by Moonlight

Kennedy Emetulu
By Kennedy Emetulu

When you work for President Goodluck Jonathan in the shady underbelly of his presidency as one of the many legs of his money-morphing millipede, you’ve got to grow legs longer than the rest to get noticed. The presidential elections are over and its time for emergency heroes to step forward to take a bow! But there are no heralding trumpets, no jangling cymbals nor serenading ballads, only the thumping sound of bodies of hundreds of Nigerian citizens being felled on the streets of Kaduna, Kano, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Yobe, Kogi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Zamfara, Taraba, Niger, Bauchi and Gombe and for no other reason than that President Jonathan won the election.

But it shouldn’t matter, should it? It shouldn’t matter that the nation is going through a dark period with these unnecessary killings and that a celebratory President is still transfixed in the cacophonous admiration of his shiny electoral medal as his Rome burns. So, step forward, son! Step forward, Reno Omokri! He’s got to do the lizard dance! He’s got to leap down from the top of the Rock in our face and nod his swollen head in self-congratulation a zillion times plus one! He’s got to gloat! The role of social media, something he’s championed for Jonathan, some say as his ghost writer on Facebook and Twitter, has to be celebrated!

Okay, you may not have heard of Reno Omokri before last year. But he’s Jonathan’s kinsman and is also kinsman to Jonathan’s Senior Special Assistant on Research Documentation and Strategy, Oronto Douglas. When the decision was taken to muscle in on the internet, no expense was spared as the Jonathan people went for top of the international range in Joe Trippi, the top Democratic campaign strategist from the United States who took charge of the project. Mr Trippi who’s worked for Edward Kennedy, Gary Hart, Walter Mondale, Dick Gephardt, Tony Blair and Howard Dean needed a Man Friday to set the ball rolling. Mr Omokri, who was no more than a general dogsbody to Nasir El-Rufai, a former Minister under the Olusegun Obasanjo government was wheeled in to work with Trippi’s firm, Trippi & Associates and just so they legitimise his presence there, he was given the fanciful position on paper of Vice President in the firm. When I say on paper, I mean on paper, because you will never see anywhere, not even on the firm’s website, where Omokri is ever mentioned or acknowledged as a staff member of Trippi & Associates. It’s just a convenient arrangement for the ‘Goodluck Project’, it seems. With a President as benefactor and the firm having the freedom of the almighty dollar to popularise Jonathan in the social media, the world was Omokri’s oyster! Indeed, ‘President Jonathan’, the Facebook President spent time on his pages ‘bigging up’ Omokri supposedly for his work with ‘Build Up Nigeria’, which is no more than a few video clips of supposedly progressive Nigeria and a website still under construction. However, with such presidential epaulettes on his tiny shoulders, Omokri felt supremely qualified to spin tales!

So, on Tuesday, 19 April, 2011, Mr Omokri took himself to Washington DC, where he and Nasir El-Rufai were scheduled to give separate talks on the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria at the Atlantic Council. Omokri’s brief, not surprisingly, was to discuss the role of social media in Jonathan’s victory at the polls. His ‘boss’, Mr Trippi rushed in from Nigeria to support him. However, Mr Omokri in his assessment of the role of the social media in Jonathan’s victory only had one purpose – to tell Nigerians and the international community that SaharaReporters, the advocacy journalism website that has been a thorn in their delicate flesh has been the cause of the ferment in the North! In Mr Omokri’s narrative, SaharaReporters is “the opposition party-linked site” that “amplified” the claims by Buhari’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin who, “while rejecting the results alleged that votes in the North were deflated while votes in the South were inflated”. To Omokri, anyone who knows Nigeria “could almost predict that those claims would lead to violence”. He said the day after the election, he and some of his election monitoring partners began to observe on Facebook and Twitter “multitudes of young opposition supporters venting that they had been cheated” and who “pointed not to any observed lapses, not to reports from Election Monitors ( who ALL, including the respected former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, opined that the elections were free, fair and credible) but to reports from” With that, he invited us to “see that opposition supporters (mostly youths) were largely incited by the uncorroborated allegations from an opposition leaning website”.

But what Mr Omokri did in Washington is part of a coordinated strategy conceived by the Jonathan team to counter the growing impression that even though the presidential election has been described as largely peaceful, all may not be as it seems with increasing evidence of obviously inflated poll numbers indicating that the sophisticated rigging programme may have been more widespread than observers are generally admitting. Working from the premise that more of such revelations may give fillip to the protests over the elections in the North, it was resolved to target the uncompromised media. Thus, on the day, while part of the team planted a story in the Nigerian Tribune accusing the BBC Hausa Service of inciting the riots for allegedly broadcasting that General Muhammadu Buhari had won the election in Adamawa State when the results were still being collated, Jonathan’s media chief, Ima Niboro was releasing a statement accusing “some foreign media” of polarizing the country by reporting that the nation is divided along religious lines and that the “Muslim North” voted against President Goodluck Jonathan. Thus, while his partners were taking on the traditional press, Omokri’s brief was to take on the internet media and there is no better target than SaharaReporters.

Ordinarily, it would have been okay to ignore Mr. Omokri’s claims and put it down to the result of overindulgence in a heady mix of celebratory champagne and ogogoro, but knowing that this is part of a wider strategy initiated during the Yar’Adua presidency to muzzle the critical internet-based media, with huge funds dedicated to it, it is crucial that the Nigerian people and free citizens of the world begin to take a harder look at them. It is no rocket science to understand why SaharaReporters is being tagged “opposition-linked” website for publishing the same statements released to the press by politicians and published by other websites and media outlets in an election season. Mr. Omokri and his people never sent stories or releases to SaharaReporters that weren’t published on its pages. The site is as available to them as it is available to other Nigerians, yet they choose to stigmatize the website for the simple reason that it remains uncompromised in a sea of supine media. SaharaReporters’ crime is that discerning citizens, even where they have misgivings about one or two reports, still trust its reports better than those published by the compromised media. They do so, because they know what SaharaReporters represents in the Nigerian public and international space and the information gap it fills for our people.

At this stage, I would advise that Omokri and his band of mercenaries move on. The election is over and we are sure they and their international spinmeisters have received their pay for a job well done. Jonathan is the President of the whole country; there is crisis afoot with citizens being killed by other citizens in a rage over an election he won. The onus is on him to win back the trust of those law-abiding citizens aggrieved and there can be no better way to do this than providing the country with real leadership. Perhaps, a less ambitious and more considerate person wouldn’t have torpedoed the zoning arrangement in his party, an arrangement that ensured his own rise to the top, and risk heating up the polity as he has done; but that is politics the Nigerian way and we just need to be grateful that the easily-led-by-the-nose, uninformed and illiterate mobs going around the North, burning, looting, maiming and killing in the name of electoral protest aren’t in the majority. Indeed, the pattern of the protests indicates that they are more focused on attacking the PDP bigwigs and their own elite they think sold out their people to Jonathan, even though this is supposedly in support of General Buhari’s electoral challenge.

The real tragedy comes to fore when we look beyond these claims. When you consider that those running amok are the very young who have been denied basic education, are poor and uninformed and whose minds are fertile grounds for sowing seeds of mayhem, the buck rightly shifts to the political leadership and its failure to address the socio-economic problems plaguing the country generally and particularly the North. There was so much hope in Jonathan and that was why SaharaReporters put itself in the forefront in the fight against the ‘cabal’ and their agents who were intent on stopping him from rightfully assuming the presidency. It was inconceivable that with his background as a minority, his good education, humble posture, considerable experience of being at the top since 1999 and seemingly less political baggage, he would not make an appreciable difference in the life of Nigerians. Yet, it’s been an all-round disappointment. Not a few believe Jonathan made himself prisoner to special interests and blood-sucking godfathers and became master of the game of political chicanery. But he now has a clean slate. If those who are advising him really love him and Nigeria, they should be telling him not to take for granted this grudging mandate given to him by Nigerians. He must stop the posturing and go for real results. There is so much to do and it would be in his interest and that of Nigeria and Nigerians for him to focus on these, rather than waste his time trying to stigmatise those who ask the hard questions. Nigeria needs honest, visionary and productive leadership and if he begins to provide this now, as true patriots, we shall be there to support him. The ball is in his court, not in the Omokris’ or their type.


Kennedy Emetulu


38 comment(s)
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I was one of those that was

I was one of those that was fooled by Reno, I later discovered from his threads that he was supporting GEJ, and at the same time presenting himself as like someone that is neutral.
So many of us discovered this and started calling him GEJ's consultant. I see no issue with him working for GEJ but do not be presenting yourself as if you are a representative of all and you have the right to speak for all.
Enjoy the ride and swell in the largess at the expense of the people.

Educate. Urself first

Why you hiding your name calling people jackass when you talking out of ur ass fool go get ur fact right first before you open ur big mouth you retarded fuck.spending over 100 billion to campaign where do you think the money pple should not talk abi we just have bunch of robbers in the villa now.

EZENEKWE Emeka, I don't want

EZENEKWE Emeka, I don't want to hear that petrol is still selling for 65 naira per litter.
Which kind DR you be sef. A country that have oil in abundant, importing refine product. There no other country in the world that does that apart from Nigeria. Try and travel to contries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuala, and United Arab Emirates, and you'll see what they have done with their oil money, and also the amount of a litter of petrol. The fact that we are still importing our refine product, waisting our foreign reserve is enough to hang all present and past leaders (looters). By the grace of God it's going to happen one day. They are going to tell us one day were they inherited their money from.

Mr. Jonathan, define your leadership style!

I observe that almost a year to go as President of Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan is yet to define his leadership style. Is he going to continue in this rudderless manner or has he something in the kitty he is yet to unravel?! The TEST of the true leader we seek has already been posed by this unwonted development in the core northern Nigeria. What are his ANSWERS to date? Warnings and more verbal warnings but no action. Phew!

For SR, please, tell Mr. Jonathan and his men, whether they are in Nigeria or in the Diaspora, to leave SR alone. It is because of SR that I have some minimal interest in Nigeria otherwise I had since taken the spiritual solace that I am a Biafran.

Re;Tales by moonlight

I commend SR for this honest and fearless writeup.I also voted for Gen. Buhari because I believe he will not only be firm and assertive, but just. Since President Jonathan has won, all Nigeria will support him if he provides jobs/education for our teeming idle
youths and fixes electricity. In fact if within 4yrs he accomplishes these 3, he'll be ranked among Nigeria's heroes and be voted again for another 4years.
I strongly advise that Pres. Jonathan browses SR in the wee hours of the morning to get a picture of the
true happenings of events in our dear country, when
hopefully, there're less distractions from sycophants.

I totally agree with you,i am

I totally agree with you,i am a Northern Christian and i voted for Buhari.People do not get what is going on in the North,it is a revolt,they are tired of being taken on long meaninless rides by thier so called leaders.It is unfortunate that the lines got blured and religion crept in.I should be mad that christians are being killed and churches burnt,i am.I wish i could tell the rampaging boys that not all christians like GEJ and not all Muslims like Buhari.These boys will not hesitate to kill me if our paths cross,because the assumption is ALL christians like/voted GEJ.

SaharaReporters Has No Alternative

Excellent piece!

Hate SR as you like there is simply no alternative. And you cannot stop their fantastic work.

Tuesday 26th is "litmus test day". The other parties looked the other way in the PDP rigging but will stand up during the governorship and state assembly elections. The violence after that election will not just be in the North. I hope GEJ is ready...



Bros: You've now become a


You've now become a Star writer for SR? LOL

Without doubt, Sahara

Without doubt, Sahara Reporters has established itself as a reliable media outfit giving honest reports and news about Nigeria and Africa. To say the truth while putting aside one´s personal sentiment and prejudice requires character, courage and sound up bringing. While there are few with these qualities in the Nigeria based media outfits, they are either emasculated by the powerful and the greedy or compromised by the biased and the prejudiced. The team at Sahara Reporters has so far proven to us that they posses those qualities. We shall continue to support them with all our might and in all ways that we can. In the struggle to build a great Nigeria, one cannot afford not to speak the truth because in truth lies success of this endeavor. So we congratulate Sahara Reporters for the good work and hope its detractors shall see beyond the blinding force of self delusion they appear to be in and be courageous enough to accept criticism when one is made.

Secret but open agreement of GEJ

1. GEJ with PDP Governors - During the PDP presidential primary, make me your flag bearer and return yourselves. Mission accomplished & all governors returned.
2. Rig the presidential election in my favour(GEJ & PDP), and rig youselves in - Governors.
It is quite unfortunate that the people celebrating with GEJ especially those in the South East & South South will eat their words come this saturday. Because the election had already been rigged in favour of the under performing PDP governors of Imo, Abia & Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa state, etc.
This time, if they have the heart just as my Northern Brothers, the riot will start from South East & South South and then it will become a national issue.
My sympathy goes to the Youth Corpers and other victims of the Northern riot & blame GEJ for all these.


@Tola I totally agree with you,I am not from the north and I voted for Buhari,I am sure one year from now we will all get GEJ's report sheet,it will not be too difficult to know if he is a good student of competent leadership,my first examination question to him is a practical provision of a responsible econimic policies that will reduce poverty in the nation,my hardest question for him will be corruption,so till then I will know what to tell the likes of Omokris that championed his emergence,I will not spare them,that I know for sure.

Is Reno's age the issue sir?

The writer of this article easily shows a typical Nigerian cultural tendency of putting down people who they think are "small boys" or have no name. I don't mean this as an insult, but rather a call to him to deeply reflect on my assertions on his posturing. Trying to demean Reno based on his social stature as a young up-coming chap is not in any way smart.

You live in london, where your 'rulers' the Chancelor Osborne and PM Cameron are between the ages of 38 and 44. Would you also dismiss Zuckerberg's (Facebook) contribution to the global arena because he is in his twenties.

Please think again Kennedy Emetulu, and let's face the issues at stake. Thanks.

Time Will Tell.

Firstly, my heartfelt condolences to my fellow Nigerians that have lost loved ones in the post-election violence plaguing the country at the moment; may the souls of all those that have died so we can have a better Nigeria rest in peace, amen.

Well, GEJ now has the mandate, rigged or not. Despite my being a Buhari supporter through and through, I offer President Jonathan my unreserved congratulations. I now call upon him to rid himself of those "hanger-ons" that he has surrounded himself with and prove to a waiting Nigerian public that he is capable of taking this country forward; I must say that I have my reservations but, time will tell.

Again time will tell, he has four years to prove me wrong.

The following (in case he does not know it yet) need his most urgent and immediate attention, yesterday!

1. Continual power supply.

2. Security.

3. Transport(Roads, Rail, Waterways).

4. Healthcare and last but not least,

5. Education.

I love this article

I wanted Jonathan to be president at first. Thought he was a refreshing change. But I could recognise dishonesty & corruption and felt Buhari was Nigeria's last chance. Now it's too tragic for words. I love Buhari & would like to see him in a leadership position, if not of Nigeria, then an Arewa republic created from the ashes of soon to be dead Nigeria. I wish Buhari were Igbo so he can lead a new Biafra once created.

Is Reno's age or 'small-boyness' the issue here sir?

The writer of this article easily shows a typical Nigerian cultural tendency of putting down people who they think are "small boys" or have no name. I don't mean this as an insult, but rather a call to him to deeply reflect on my assertions on his posturing. Trying to demean Reno based on his social stature as a young up-coming chap is not in anyway smart.

You live in london, where your 'rulers' the Chancelor Osborne and PM Cameron are between the ages of 38 and 44. Would you also dismiss Zuckerberg's (Facebook) contribution to the global arena because he is in his twenties.

Please think again about your line of attack Kennedy Emetulu, and let's face the issues at stake. Thanks.

its SR or nothing

if we cannot appreciate the virtues of sahara reporters in proving us with unprecedented reports, then we can not condemn their reports. because they have proven to be the best among equal.

Jonathan should step aside!

He has lost the legitimacy to rule all of Nigeria and should do us a favor and step aside like IBB did. what he has is a rigged southern mandate and is imposible to govern Nigeria of today with that.

you are a fool. if the moslem

you are a fool. if the moslem terrorists of the north are truly fighting their leaders , why burn churches and destroy ibo properties. fools like you live in a fools paradise. hausa-fulani are only interested in the oil from south. they are not interested in nation building. if they are , they will not falsify census and would fight for regional control of resources. wake up and smell the coffee jackass

SR - Are You Sure?

I worry about the editorial direction that SR has recently taken. There is seemingly no real thought given to the veracity of articles before they are published. All manner of crackpot puts together a form of words, provided it describes anyone, everyone in or around government as a larcenous rogue then it is good to publish!

Agreed, a lot of rogues abound in govts yesterday, today and no doubt, tomorrow but haba, take it easy, don't the revered SR into a crackpot website where only people who only think of govt in terms of conspiracy theories operate. Moderation should be your watchword, in the fine traditions of early day SR editions.

@tola adenle Yes, you support

@tola adenle

Yes, you support a murderer because you are just a daft buffoon. Do u think Yorubas were morons to vote GEJ? They saw the signs coming and voted wisely. Keep living in your mugu world, until u no what it is to lose a loved one because of some people's DIVINE RIGHT TO RULE. MONKEY!!!


MR Keenedy Emetulu ,do ou know Reno at all or you are seeking for undue attention ? This is an inaccurate concoction of false facts and street hearsay, you are not correct on a single point, Reno Omokri must be having a good laugh at your wanna be stark ignorance

Can Jonathan solve this polito-religious crisis in Nigeria /

In Nigeria, religion and politics are inseparable.
Since 1960, Nigeria has been having the same polito-religious crisis. Riots, violence, killings, election riggings, data manipulations,every time, everywhere.What is the solution to this recurrent political crisis that has taken millions of lives?
Unitary federalism ? ( Gowan,Buhari, OBJ-imposed )
Fiscal federalism? ( Zik, Awo and Bello-agreed)
Confederation ? ( Ojukwu & Gowan agreed-at Aburi)
Separation into smaller nations ? (Youth's option)
Which do U favour?
Is Jonathan elected to solve this endemic crisis?
Umu Oke,-Germany.

SR are the People's Eyes & Ears!

The author's words: " discerning citizens". This classification is most important. We have discerned who the looters are, who the riggers are, and thus who the treasonous enemies of the Republic are. Our time is obviously NOT NOW!. But it will come. And when it does, IT WILL BE TIME FOR ALL LOOTERS & THEIR FAMILIES to PAY THE PIPER.(ther will be no BEGGING for forgiveness) mark my words. God continue to watch over our Republic

sahara reporters, u are

sahara reporters, u are becoming as disgusting as daily trust, u make inciting captions n stories.


Because your vote for Buhari, doesn't mean he must win.
Pls be reasonable.

Mr. Emetulu, Please leave

Mr. Emetulu, Please leave London and settle down in kano with your family and go to Church there regularly and see how long you would last! People like you should have advised General Buhari to campaign in the south where ne needed to get votes but all he did was hold rallies in the north where he already had the votes! People like you need to understand the new dynamics on the Nigerian political terrain: What ever makes a candidate highly popular in the Core North (kano, katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, Bornu, Zamfara, Kebbi)would make the same candidate highly unpopular across the south and part of the middle belt (benue, plateau, taraba, kogi, and kwara). Think about this in devising your strategy for your next candidate.


Saharareporters, I used to trust you completely, until I discovered that you don't see anything wrong with Buhari and his party, even if, all the christian in the north are killed by his insinuation. I also discovered that Jonathan is always on the receiving side of your reports, even if Jonathan takes step that will make Nigeria more than USA, I believe SR will push the credit to Buhari or others. This is hallmark of partisan reporting.
Did you see those children that were involved in the riots? Why didn't you ask, if the voted, and then tell us more about underage voting suggested by the so call USA.
Nigerians are becoming aware of some hidden agendas.

Presidential Fireflies And Tales by Moonlight

Kennedy Emetulu
This is certainly a beautiful piece, but such facts are often ignored or labelled counter productive. Truth is always bitter.
Another thing i think JEG needs to query on the type of representation those northern PDP stalwarts expresses to him during most of their deliberations, because the way in which they were treated during the post election skirmishes left behind lots of questions unanswered.

We will Know by next week

if it was free and fair, we will know by Tuesday. I am sure GEJ will have to start work and deliver on promises otherwise it will be too bad for those who thought a vote for him was not a vote for PDP. I am praying that they will be right. We all need the lights to stay on dont we?