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03 Mar Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

Wendell Simlin: When Silence is not Golden

Nigerians have come to expect the worst from most of their politicians, but very few wouldn’t have been shocked by the Wendell Simlin saga. This does point out to many things but one of the most telling is the fact that the capacity for evil of the Nigerian presidency is unlimited. Except the presidency comes out to deny it was part of the conspiracy.

In case you haven’t been updated about Wendell Simlin, he sent an email with an attached Microsoft Word document on Wednesday, the 26th of February 2014. The recipients of the email were selectively picked newspaper houses and bloggers. In the email, Simlin tried to create a logical link of events between the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the increased spate of terror attacks in the northeast.

The intent was clear: pass out the suspended CBN governor as a major financier of Boko Haram and a veteran terrorist himself. It did not matter that Alhaji Umaru Abdul-Mutallab was the first person to report his son to the American authorities about his son’s tendencies, Wendell Simlin still desperately portrayed Alhaji Abdul- Mutallab as a terrorist himself hoping that the elder Abdul-Mutallab’s previous relationship with Sanusi would make his argument more believable. (You can read up on it here Presidency Under Fire For Cooking Document Linking Sanusi to Boko Haram - Premium Times.)

Unfortunately for Wendell Simlin, curiousity got the better of one of the recipients of the email. Feyi Fawehinmi (@DoubleEph) checked the properties of the document sent by Wendell Simlin. The revelation was staggering: author-- Reno Omokri. This indicated that the computer on which the document was prepared was registered with the name “Reno Omokri.”

For those who may not know, Reno Omokri is not a private citizen. He works in the media team of the presidency as Special Assistant to the President on New Media. Dr. Reuben Abati has since made his role superfluous, but Reno Omokri remains officially a staff of the presidency and the presidency must take absolute responsibility for his indiscretions. This is not just your everyday indiscretion; this is something off the pages of the worst of propaganda. Something definitely has to give.

If the allegations are true – the facts stare at you they make the ‘if’ in the previous sentence invisible - did Reno Omokri act alone? Or did he act on instruction from a boss? One cannot expect the president himself to stoop so low but is there a chance some members of his kitchen cabinet are throwing everything they can at perceived political enemies?

The silence from the presidency on this issue screams “guilty” but one must at least give them the benefit of the doubt. There is the possibility of Reno Omokri acting alone. If he did act alone, why hasn’t he been sacked or suspended till the truth is established? As long as the presidency continues to allow impunities as these go unpunished, it would always be a tough task to argue against those who say this government has taken impunity to a new level.

This episode of Wendell Simlin is embarrassing indeed. It is sad and unfortunate. It says everything about the current desperation for power in our country. It is even more saddening when the person in question continues to portray himself as a pastor. Like my brother, Gimba Kakanda often says, may God save us from us!