Round 3! “You think you’re clever?!” – SaharaReporters’ Sowore Omoyele responds to Reuben Abati

by Chi Ibe

We published, earlier today, an official response by the president’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati on a contentious story. The publisher of the website has made available to YNaija his response to Dr. Abati’s claims. See full text below:


Dear Reuben Abati,

I read your cleverly written letter to me regarding our latest report on President Goodluck Jonathan’s junket to Ethiopia. In writing what purports to be a rejoinder, you deliberately left out details of our sms exchanges on the same issue. That omission, I suggest, was an attempt to evade the central issue raised in our report. Instead of confronting that issue – the list of delegates invited and sponsored by the Jonathan administration and his wife to Ethiopia – you chose to play a semantic game over what is a straight forward issue. I’ll respond to your rejoinder pointedly.

1. You sent me a text message on Friday claiming that our report on the Ethiopia trip was false and malicious because, according to you, there was a “mix up” somewhere. I quickly responded, telling you that a truthful report could never be malicious. Thereafter, you sent another text saying you didn’t mean to criticize the report, but wanted to put matters straight. You proceeded to explain that there was only “one delegation” led by the president to Addis Ababa and that the number of people on the list was far lower than we reported. I quickly requested for the list. You responded by claiming that it was in your bag at your hotel room. However, you curiously sent another text claiming you couldn’t reach some people involved in getting the list as it was “past midnight” in Addis Ababa. My last text to you was a reminder that I would be waiting for your response regarding the list and size of the delegation. That response never came; instead, you released this letter that pretends to be a refutation, but is rather an attempt at obfuscation.

2. You claimed that there was a single list of delegates to Ethiopia. That claim amounts to a puerile effort to conceal the fact that Mrs. Patience Jonathan was attending a program of African First Ladies which was different from the AU summit being attended by President Jonathan. This meant that the “First Lady” was traveling with a retinue of staff, associates and hangers-on to aid or support her “official” activities at a separate event from that of President Jonathan.

3. As the president’s chief spokesman, you ought to have the delegate list. I challenge you then to provide the public with a breakdown of Mr. Jonathan’s “one delegation entourage” to Addis Ababa, categorized in order of designation of officials, their date of travel, mode of travel, and explanation of whether they were part of the advance party or arrived in Addis Ababa in the same aircraft as the President – or in an extra aircraft that was deployed.

4. From your letter, it is clear that you concede that some “Nigerians” may have traveled with the delegation “unofficially.” Does this technical admission not defeat your initial insistence that there was only “one delegation”?

5. SaharaReporters has a history of documenting the culture of waste occasioned by the profligate junkets by the Presidency. We are glad that your principal appears to have realized that wasteful trips need to be eliminated and the size of delegations cut – especially after the president’s scandalous outing in Perth, Australia where an out-of-control delegation engaged in waste, corruption and even broke Australian laws.

6. We maintain that “First Lady” Patience Jonathan traveled with a retinue of aides, friends and associates to the tune of 32 people. Their travels and accommodation were arranged and paid for by the Nigerian government. What you owe the public is an obligation to be transparent. In this event, that entails releasing your official delegates’ list as well as  names of associates, contractors, friends and “other Nigerians” the government gave a nod to visit along with the president and his wife on this trip to Addis Ababa. In other words, we await the release of that list that you claimed was in your bag in the hotel room in Addis Ababa.
Thank you

Comments (12)

  1. You're an idiot! The government obviously engages because they know they have something to hide. Open your eyes silly!

  2. Every right thinking nigerian knows that the president n his Dame are jst acting a comedy film.I recommend that the office of the firstlady is scrapped,its amount to wastage of the nations resources on frivolities.

  3. Ijeoma,

    Reuben said the first lady had no delegation. Which list, therefore, are you asking Reuben to produce. A blank list? Why doesn't the street champion Sowore, who says there is a first lady delegation produce evidence to prove his smear?

    It's worrisome the way Nigerians think!

  4. So because Sowore is a street champion, that's why Mrs President went to Addis Ababa with 32 people abi? And why wouldn't a list like that enter Sowore's hands? Is it a classified list, hidden for national security? I begi! Everyone has agreed this government needs to be held more accountable. Sowore is doing just that. If Reuben Abati says the first lady's list did not contain 32 people, then he should show us the list.

    And what's wrong with Sowore talking about their private conversation? If Abati decided to act clever by half and pretend that it never happened, then he should have expected that Sowore would call him out on it. Not everyone adheres to the rules of political correctness rooted in corruption that Nigerians so clearly enjoy.

    There are times I've cringed at Sowore's methods but in this case, I don't see where he has erred. Over to you, Reuben!

  5. Interesting!!! Fire me! I fire you! Talk your own! I talk my own! *smh*

  6. Wouldn't it be a shame if a highly powered list of who is on the presidential delegation lands in the hands of a street champion like Sowore – a man known for nothing but his lack of integrity and unprofessionalism?

    Sowore is an embittered Buharist, he should move away jor!!!!

  7. Correction: If Sowore is so sure of his story, why doesn't he back it up with facts like the '32 aides' list? Why is he waiting on Abati, who made no allegations, for proof of his own shambolic story? It's time for SaharaReporters to review its methods.

  8. If Sowore is so sure of his story, why doesn't he back it up with facts like the '32 aides' list? Why is he waiting on Abati, who made no allegations, for proof of his own shambolic story? It's time for SH to review its methods.

  9. I still don't understand why people in government engage these hooligans one-on-one. People like Sowore Omoyele who are not journalists nor professionals in any recognised field of work adhere to zero standards. Who in this world makes mention of a private conversation between what we believe should be professionals? Only a hooligan who runs a website that depends on page views for survival. Abati should not reply this Sowore thug. He stands by his fake stories, let it be. He's obviously enjoying the idea of being in a 'fight' with a seriousminded press man.

  10. So mr Reuben Abati…we are waiting for the list and your reply.

  11. I like!!!!!

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