A post on the Twitter page of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, describing President Goodluck Jonathan as “docile”, has sparked a debate.
El-Rufai, who is the Interim Deputy National Secretary of the opposition All Progressives Congress, had on Saturday quoted a tweet and its accompanying picture of one of his followers, Lauretta Onochie, on his Twitter page, which some people deemed anti-Jonathan.
The picture showed the President on his knees praying to God. However, the message which accompanied his picture stated, “Many prayers of the lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless and useless leader!”
In an apparent move to shrug off initial criticism that he is a religious bigot, El-Rufai, who describes himself as a “certified ruffler of feathers” tweeted that he would have gladly posted such a tweet on his Twitter page if the President were a Muslim praying in the mosque.
“If he (a muslim President) prays instead of honest work, yes!” he tweeted, in response to a query by one Editi Akpan, who was worried about the tweet.
Quoting the words of American born poet, Joybell C, El-Rufai wrote that he has a message for members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and supporters of the President whom he described as “Jonathanians.” He wrote, “No, I am not bitter, I am not hateful, and I am not unforgiving. I just don’t like you.”
But the Presidency has reacted to the Twitter post, describing it as mockery of the office of the President. Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Reno Omokri, in a tweet to el-Rufai, branded him as a “bitter” fellow.
“It is only a sick and bitter fellow like you that would stoop so low to mock a man praying to his God. What type of man mocks a person who is praying to God? Even if you don’t respect your President, at least, respect God!” Omokri stated.
However, the controversial tweet has attracted mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media. While some Nigerians condemned the former minister for the message others argued that the adjectives used in the tweet truly describe Jonathan.
Those who carpeted el-Rufai said they had expected him to have steered clear of such tweets and not amplify such on social media.
According to them the President deserves some respect and putting such a post on his (el-Rufai’s) Twitter page was out of place.
A Twitter user, Ladi Owolabi, said the words used on the President were too heavy. “As an opinion leader and a former minister el-Rufai should know better than retweeting that rubbish? You (el-Rufai) should be totally ashamed of yourself!”
Another Twitter user, Bryan Chaut, described el-Rufai’s actions as a misbehaviour, adding that he needed to turn a new leaf.
“So the accidental Mallam misbehaved again today. We have become too wise in our own eyes that we mock people who pray to God. Mallam’s style is always the same, he asks someone to tweet something and then he retweets.This isn’t the first time. Mallam and his paid goons need to repent,” Chaut wrote on the micro-blogging service.