Bedfellows: Reno Omokri (Wendell Simlin) and Lies by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi

renooooYes. Life in Nigeria may not be easy especially for those who have no opportunity to dip their hands in the national treasury, even if it’s for once. It may also not be easy for someone who had that opportunity but who allowed the treasury to slip off his hands. Sometimes, however, personal integrity, which doesn’t get talked about often, is more important than keeping a job. And that is if such a job robs you of your integrity; that’s if you care about the definition of integrity in the dictionaries of the world anyway.

Judging by the antecedents of the Special Assistant to President Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, one can infer that the rapidity of Reno is a wobbling attempt to keep his job and not so much as to keep his boss’ job as some people think. Ultimately, his reputation may cost him and his boss their jobs; what they should have done honourably.

On the 7th of March, 2014 BBC published “#BBCtrending: The mysterious case of Wendell Simlin” in which it was reported that “A team of online sleuths claim to have exposed an attempt to smear the former governor of Nigeria’s central bank”. Lamido Sanusi, who was then freshly suspended from the CBN after accusing the government of corruption, was linked to Boko Haram in an email sent by a previously unknown man (how disingenuous and utterly disgraceful the lows the government of a nation – or its agent if you mind – can descend to achieve mischievous goals that should have been clear from the outset are unachievable) to journalists. One begins to wonder if that is what elected officials are today voted into power to do (by virtue of the activities and statements of assistants, I mean SPECIAL ASSISTANTS).

Lies and more lies. If you are an assistant to the President, a Special one for that matter, Nigerians can overlook you if you choose to be partisan by simply supporting the cause of your boss through and through. That’s what you are being paid for in the first place. However, you will receive the brunt of the hitherto suppressed anger of Nigerians (the product of the first part of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s legendary ‘suffering and smiling’) if rather you choose to lie perpetually against them, the same people your boss, not you, was elected to serve. That action will be at your own peril, either now, soon or much later. Just wait and see.

Sometime ago, Reno said “Under Jonathan, soldiers never flogged innocent Nigerians on the street #canyourcandidatesaysame?” (Mind you, the only comma and questions mark were nobly inserted by this writer to make the statement complete and meaningful). Let’s take a look at your statement because with it, I have certain reservations. With your statement, you tacitly implied that under Jonathan, soldiers only flogged guilty Nigerians on the street but not innocent ones. Who do you adjudge as innocent (or guilty) Nigerians? Who judged them? You, your boss, the soldiers or the court or other legal authorities? Of course, the soldiers! Is that the right thing to do in a properly run democracy as you would have us believe? And soldiers flogging the people that voted your boss into power ON THE STREET for whatever reason without due recourse to the law, I find quite disturbing. I doubt you do too because you seem to be very comfortable with it. Then again, your hashtag #canyourcandidatesaysame portrays you as being employed to be on the trail of the opposition rather than telling us what your boss is doing or has done well. Your assistants, or Special Assistants, are not doing their job well. You must have them in numbers.

According to Vanguard Newspaper of 29th of December, 2014 Reno Omokri also “faulted the popularity of former dictator and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari on the social media. He argued that the popularity of Buhari on social media was bought through sponsored posts, stressing that it is a cheap way of getting followership.” If this were true as Mr. Omokri wants us to believe, it means the majority of Nigerians have been sponsored to make Buhari the popular choice on and off the cyberspace. It means he agrees that Buhari and his campaign team have paid, in cash or kind, all those supporting Buhari’s candidacy. I find this obvious lie rather nauseating. How could the Special Assistant to the President on New Media imagine that the same people who massively supported his boss six years ago on and off the cyberspace would all suddenly turn against him on these platforms just because they have been paid or sponsored. That is an assumption that everyone is dumb, though six years ago when they supported his boss, they weren’t. Is that big lie against the Nigerian electorates even a possibility? Here’s what he had to say, “It shows the level of hypocrisy and deceit. Anybody can grow followership with adverts but a true proof of popularity on social media should be organic (what did Reno mean by this? If by Organic, he means ‘relating to living things’, invariably Oga Jona’s boy is here referring to the ‘majority’ of Nigerians supporting Buhari as being non-humans, robots if we’re slightly lucky. Gaffes upon gaffes)” He continued, “The almost two million followers of President Goodluck Jonathan are organic, a show of the love (how out of touch with reality) of Nigerians for him and his administration,” he said. “Omokri noted that it is wrong to compare the popularity of President Jonathan on social media with that of Buhari. “There is no basis to compare the two because they are miles apart. President Jonathan enjoys the support of Nigerians as evident by the millions of Nigerians that follow his official Facebook account, Goodluck Jonathan. The number of likes, comments and shares of his posts is commendable. I am not sure that Buhari has up to 60,000 likes on Facebook with the money spent so far by his camp to boost his popularity on social media.”


You immediately know there is problem in the camp of the incumbent (who has been President for six years; let’s ignore his years as vice President) when they begin to condescend by comparing their boss with a Nigerian, who is not in power.


For clarification however, Reno said “The number of likes, comments and shares of his posts is commendable” but he didn’t mention that many of such comments are not in favour of his man-in-power and that if the “DisLike” button had been introduced to Facebook, the President’s page would have witnessed more of “DisLikes” than “Likes”.


At the end of the article are snapshots of the comments on the most recent post on that page. No wonder Mr. Reno humbly said without elaborating “likes, comments and shares…”

Also find below it snapshots of Reno’s recent tweets


If the President really wants to see a female President in his life time, as tweeted by Reno, I guess that’s pretty easy, let him withdraw from the race and fully support the candidacy of the only female contestant and standard-bearer of the Kowa Party in Februari’s presidential election, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya. It’s that simple except of course if there’s no sincerity of purpose in the statement or he never said it.


“Our priority is to build schools not prisons”. That may be very correct if by building schools, he means aiding and abetting the building of private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and neglecting almost wholesale the public ones. That is truly a priority. One would think building prisons to house corrupt officials who won’t allow the public schools to run efficiently is a better idea.


“PDP is the only party that has shown commitment to develop the youths”. Well, if these people were from the Yoruba-speaking part of the country, they will appreciate that adage, “A kii fa ori olori l’eyin olori” (Literally, you don’t shave a man’s head in his absence). The youths themselves should here be called upon to react to how well they have been purportedly developed by the ruling party, the PDP. That statement may be correct if by ‘developing’, they mean negative development, the creation of a battalion of ready-to-go political thugs out of the ‘hitherto’ unemployed Nigerian youths.


“A good leader takes more than his share of blame and less than his share of credit. #GEJinMaiduguri” Thank goodness for the Maiduguri visit less than a month to the elections. However, with the recent political activities in the Presidency, one should think the reverse is the case, “A good leader takes more than his share of credit and less than his share of blame. #GEJinMaiduguri”


“Buhari’s campaign message has been ‘have confidence in me’. The President’s message is ‘Nigerians have confidence in yourselves’”. This is rather wholly ridiculous and naïve coming from the top; even the most uneducated Nigerian will see through the loopholes if translated into a language he or she understands. One will expect that the people (not clueless ones) who run the government of any nation will always apply themselves in very practical terms. Not the overused and irrelevant statements that was originally targeted at manipulating the electorates. They do not work anymore as Nigerian electorates have become more sophisticated than these people can comprehend and adapt themselves to. Why do we go to the polling units to vote a particular candidate? That’s because we ‘have confidence in him’ and not because we ‘have confidence in ourselves’. Really, we need a leader we can have confidence in because he will lead us rightly, ensure our security, create jobs, make life comfortable for Nigerians with the resources that we want him to help us manage. That’s what we want and not someone, who has personally admitted tacitly that we should not have confidence in him but in ourselves.


“Nigerians, have confidence in yourselves” (NHCIY!) is the evasive response to many questions.

“Will you as President help us solve the problem of insecurity?” (NHCIY!) “In other words, when Boko Haram insurgents come to your neighbourhood, Nigerians, protect yourselves because I won’t do anything about it. I’ve told you ahead to have confidence in yourselves and not in me.” When robbers, assassins, thugs unleash their arsenals on you, Nigerians, protect yourselves because I won’t do anything about it. I’ve told you ahead to have confidence in yourselves and not in me.”


“Will you as President provide employment, food and shelter for us?” NHCIY! “In order words, fend for yourselves; I am certain you can because I won’t do anything about it. I’ve told you ahead to have confidence in yourselves and not in me. Besides, the resources you gave me to manage on your behalf are not sufficient for my people and I. You heard me say stealing is different from corruption. What I care about is ‘don’t steal’ and if you must steal, don’t steal as much to be able to buy a Peugeot vehicle and you will not be touched (I assure you, Jim Nwobodo was wronged when he was jailed for stealing that small).”


He would continue, “’I tell you, there is no limit to the applicability of my statement “Nigerians, have confidence in yourselves” and you can always think up what to do when the situation arises. You don’t have to expect me to do anything for you; I’ve warned you not to ‘have confidence in me’ but in yourselves. That’s what I call development and freedom (autonomy, if you like). But just vote for me.” An lol should follow that.


“In case you vote for me and I expectedly do nothing about your cause, you have no right to accuse me because I’ve forewarned you. But if you insist on accusing me, I’ll make my Reno change from lying against you to indicting you all.”

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