DAVID-WEST BLASTS BABATOPE FOR EQUATING JONATHAN WITH AZIKWE, AWO, BELLO
Former oil minister, Professor Tam David-West, has castigated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, for equating President Goodluck Jonathan with Nigeria's foremost nationalists and founding fathers.
Babatope, an ex-minister of transport, had in a recent media interview, described President Jonathan as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and the late Sadauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, all rolled into one. But, David-West faulted this assessment, describing it as the greatest desecration to the memory of these statesmen.
He argued that there was no basis for comparison of the eminent personages and the president in terms of stature and accomplishments and accused Babatope of 'shameful and dirty sycophancy' of which he warned Jonathan to be wary. David-West particularly noted that Babatope, who he described as 'easily the most vocal Awoist,' paid little tribute to Awolowo, who he acknowledged gave him legal training at the University of Westminster, England, with his 'stupid and illogical political equation.'
'It is the greatest shock of my life, especially coming from a man, who had always shouted Awolowo from the rooftops, even when it is not particularly necessary. If I were President Jonathan, I'll be most uncomfortable and suspicious of this sycophancy. I'll suspect the loyalty of Babatope, despite his excessive tribute. It's a shame.
'What he's said is stupid, silly and it's anti history,' David-West said.
The former university don said Jonathan was a midget compared to Awolowo, regarded as one of the greatest African leaders, who introduced universal free education, established the first television station in the continent and made the defunct Western Region, which he governed as premier, as a showcase for others to emulate.
Ditto, he said for Azikwe, who, he said, ranked as the greatest nationalists after Herbert Macaulay.
'He (Azikwe), in fact, reinvigorated the consciousness of nationalism against the colonial masters. His reputation towered beyond Nigeria and that's why he was called Zik of Africa. Zik was the first indigeneous Governor-General. How can you compare him with Jonathan?' David-West asked.
The former minister said the case of Bello was even more awesome. 'Here is a man who is the creator of the northern awareness as we have it now. What the north is today in the equation of Nigerian politics is the product of the Sadauna as a formidable political force. He was the pride of the north.'