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Like Reno Omokri, like Reuben Abati; Israeli-Hamas needless war — a dispassionate & eclectic viewpoint

By Godson O. Moneke

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A cursory observer would notice what looks like an absolute lack of character and capricious change of postures by the duo of Reno Omokri and Reuben Abati on political concerns of Nigerians.

Before the presidential election of 25th February, 2023, Reno Omokri was clearly in the Atiku Camp, supporting his political ambitions in every way possible while using every opportunity to lampoon Bola Ahmed Tinubu even calling him a drug baron and other despicable names.

After the results of the presidential election were announced on 1st March, 2023, Reno Omokri immediately switched camps in favor of Tinubu as if he had no prior antecedents. Having seen the ethnic inclination of the Tinubu presidency, Reno Omokri started hyping the Yoruba ethnic group as the best thing to happen to humanity since ‘sliced bread’.

Godson Moneke
The author, Godson O. Moneke

I have seen hypocrisy before but I have never seen shamelessness, hypocrisy, desperation and hero worship of the scale I saw in Reno Omokri. Reno Omokri should be made to know that he cannot eat his cake and still has it.

If President Tinubu decides to reward only those who supported him during his campaign for the presidency, so be it but to fall for the double faced and desperate maneuver of a dishonest person like Reno Omokri is foolishness at its best.

Whipping the Igbo ethnic group suddenly became the past time of this man because having seen Tinubu’s anti-Igbo leadership style, he felt that it is a sure way of ingratiating himself to the President. It goes to show how fickle-minded Reno Omokri is to think that his true intentions would not be found out.

Many Nigerians are living in diaspora and making the country proud by their numerous exploits but what achievements can be attributed or associated with Reno Omokri apart from using all sorts of mendacious behaviors to gain access to public till as a political appointee in the manner of crooks?

That explains why he is running from pillar to post wanting to be noticed by President Tinubu and his orbit. I have not seen a more scruple-less human being as Reno Omokri.

Reuben Abati is just like Reno Omokri although to a lesser degree. He is academically very brilliant but he has no character as a person. He was the gubernatorial running mate to a known drug dealer who was battling extradition to the US on account of drug crimes till he dropped dead from Covid-19 about two years ago.

He studied law but it is obvious he is not grounded in the subject as most of his legal opinions, especially on the Atiku vs CSU matter regarding Privacy and Family Protection, fell flat. Reuben Abati is a good newspaper columnist and I used to enjoy his incisive write-ups in the Guardian Newspaper but since he became a TV anchor, he has become a failure.

I now see him more of a liability to his employers who are yet to see the damage he is doing to their station. If his younger co-anchors are emotional in their presentations, I expect him to exert a moderating and modulating influence on the discussions to bring out salient points.

But here is Reuben Abati jumping into the emotional fray, spinning lies and half-truths to justify the convenient position he has chosen, not minding the need to properly guide and inform the viewers.

He is the typical person the late Bola Ige called “food is ready politician” or “anywhere belle face politician” who is ever ready to change the narrative to suit whoever is winning or paying him in any contest because of his consuming love for filthy lucre. My admiration for Segun Adeniyi of ThisDay Newspapers stems from his dispassionate dissection and analysis of issues to enable readers to form their opinions.

People who are privileged to grace tv screen and newspaper columns should know that the society expects them to be truthful in their postulates and holds them to high standards. People like Reuben Abati do not seem to understand this as can be seen from their many behaviors on air.

Fareed Zakaria of CNN GPS graduated and schooled in the best universities in the world. He is humble and does not throw his weight about. He holds a PhD degree from the best university in the world and you would never know about it unless you read his CV. The same applies to many anchors and correspondents in CNN.

You know how intellectually endowed these people are by listening to them and not by the highfalutin paper certificates that people like Reuben Abati parade in Nigeria. The hood does not make the monk in all cases and the earlier Reuben Abati knew it, the better for him.

I am aware that in journalism, practitioners do not address their colleagues by their titles but I witnessed Reuben Abati go off the handle because a junior colleague of his addressed him as Reuben while hanging up after a report. He probably expected the reporter/ correspondent to address his as Dr. Reuben Abati to suit his bloated ego. In a saner clime what he did on air that day was enough to earn him a sack.

Having said these, I would be failing in my duty to the Nigerian public if I do not weigh in on the ongoing Israeli-Hamas war. Holocaust is the most unnerving issue that consciously and unconsciously agitates the memory of every Jew in the world today.

What Hamas did to Israel on 7th October, 2023 was the closest thing to holocaust in recent memory. It readily draws a lot of sympathy for the Jews from almost all the world who see them as ENDANGERED HUMAN SPECIES which should be protected.

Every Jew is a Zionist but not every Zionist is a Jew. Every adherent of any religion which believes in the holiness of Zion is a Zionist and that explains why Christians love Israel despite the many imperfections of the Jews. It was in sympathy for what the Jews suffered under holocaust that the world in 1948 created the State of Israel.

Ever since then, Israel has been in a state of wars, surrounded by hostile neighbors some of which vowed never to give up unless the state of Israel is exterminated. None of these antagonists have recommended any alternative land for Israel in the Middle East.

The two main religions in the world today recognize that there exists a country called Israel because they can adduce that from their holy books of the Bible and Quoran but why are they still having problems with the existence of Israel as a country.

If you look at the map of the Middle East in the Bible, all the countries can be identified by their present location. Iran and Iraq used to be known as Babylon or Mesopotamia. Religion is supposed to be a uniting factor in the world but it is rather being used as an instrument of hate, fractionalization and division among humanity.

Religion is a personal endeavor and the race to enter heaven or paradise is a personal one which has nothing to do with the religion one professes. There are many religions in the world today and it is foolhardy for anyone to write off any religion in favor of another.

So, religion should not divide humanity because there is no sense in it. You can be passionate about your religious beliefs but that does not mean you are to hate somebody who does not share those beliefs. The war between Israel and Hamas is not a religious war as some ideologues are working tirelessly to paint it.

For example, there are more Muslims in Israel than there are Christians and there are more Christians in Gaza than in Israel. There are more Palestinian Christians than Jewish Christians. The general sympathy toward Israel by Christians is also borne out of the general sympathy that it is surrounded by hostile neighbors who seek to exterminate its citizens from the face of the earth.

Christians believe that Israel is a country with geographical boundaries like others and there is no justification for treating her otherwise. What is going on now is simply a war between Hamas, a well-known terrorist organization and Israel, a country recognized by the United Nations.

The event of October 7, 2023 in which Hamas bestially and brutally massacred about 1,400 Israelis in cold blood and abducted about 250 hostages including children, women, elderly, holocaust survivors and infirm was the greatest breach of the territorial integrity of any country by a weaker opponent.

It was the most devastating thing to happen to the Jews after the holocaust and to imagine that it happened on the Israeli soil is heartrending. It is seen as a failure of the Israeli Government on its responsibility to protect its people. To the average Israeli, what happened on that day reminded them of the holocaust, their helplessness and insecurity.

It was worse than what happened to America on September 11, 2001, mindful of the relative populations of the two countries. The protection of the lives and property of the citizens is the primary purpose of government and I want people to empathize with the leadership of Israel and think of how they would have reacted to a similar situation if they were the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu.

It was the event of September 11, 2001 that led US to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. When US invaded Afghanistan, innocent civilians who knew nothing about the antics of Osama bin Laden died in the war. The legitimate government of the country was overthrown in the process of hunting down Osama bin Laden who was seen as the mastermind of 9/11.

Hamas has no rights to massacre and abduct Jews only to run and hide under a network of tunnels in Gaza. The Palestinian civilians have been given notice to evacuate the war zone in Northern Gaza and move to the relatively safer South so those who refuse to leave the war zone are either Hamas fighters or their sympathizers.

Those who willingly allow themselves to be used as human shields by Hamas terrorists are simply complicit in their many atrocities. If they are not comfortable with what Hamas is doing, why are they finding it difficult to identify and expose the terrorists.

The playbook of the Hamas terrorists is to attack Israel and inflict serious harm on the citizens, run back into Gaza where they hide in the network of tunnels protected by the complicit civilian Palestinians and when Israel responds, the compromised Palestinian civilians would shout and claim to be innocent civilians.

Granted that the killing of innocent civilian arising from Israeli bombardment is against the international convention and rules of engagement, it is expected that these civilians should not be obstinate and willingly stay in the line of crossfire.

Consequently, I believe that most of them are not as innocent as they claim. I am not however oblivious of those Palestinians who attempted to evacuate to the southern Gaza as advised by the IDF but were stopped from doing so by the Hamas who wanted to use them as human shields and for propaganda purposes.

Aside those, it is difficult to claim innocence when you refuse to evacuate the war zone as advised by the IDF. Israel is however, under international laws and obligation to avoid civilian casualties especially those who unintentionally find themselves in harm’s way as it conducts its bombardment.

The above notwithstanding, I believe that there should be a Humanitarian Pause to allow for Humanitarian Aids into Gaza and Unconditional Release of the illegally abducted hostages by Hamas. I do not believe in any ceasefire because that will act as a breather for Hamas and enable them to recalibrate, regroup and mount counteroffensives.

It should be clear to all that Israel has the rights to defend itself like every nation under the Sun. There are deaths among Palestinians caused by this war no doubt but the number dished out by the Gaza authorities headed by Hamas is bloated. But human life is human life even if it is one person.

Propaganda is a legitimate tool of war but you must not use the lives of the people you claim to love for propaganda. The other time, a malfunctioned rocket launched by Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group working with Hamas caused some havoc at the car park of a hospital in Gaza but without investigation, the whole world started blaming Israel because Hamas sold a clearly false narrative which shifted the blame wrongly to Israel.

This caused a major uproar around the world with many demonstrations and condemnations of Israel. But when the truth was eventually known, none of those who unjustifiably blamed Israel for the bombing ever retracted their positions on the condemnation of Israel.

People now find it convenient to blame Israel for anything untoward but are afraid to apportion blames to the Palestinians when they should. You cannot achieve lasting peace unless you tackle the problem frontally and without bias.

Addressing the UNSC, the other day, the SG of the UN said that what Hamas did in Israel did not happen in a vacuum, thus justifying the bestialities committed by Hamas against a member country. Although he tried to walk back on this a few days later, it showed the level of insensitivity and duplicity in that organization.

I wonder what that gentleman is still doing on that job! That the whole world is not alarmed by that statement is still a puzzle to me. Today, Israel is buffeted by Hamas, West Bank terrorists, Hezbollah, Houthi rebels from Yemen and other proxies of Iran from Syria and Iraq. Habaaaah, one country! Yet the world blames them for everything without bothering to hear their own side of the story!!

I think the world should call out Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah the same way they call out Israel to be seen as honest and credible. Which country of the world would fare better than Israel under a similar circumstance? Hamas launched an unprovoked, vicious and barbaric attack on them, killing, maiming and abducting their citizens and all they get from the world is verbal condemnation which is like a slap on the wrist.

We now know that what purported to be condemnation of what Hamas did was pure eyeservice and hypocrisy. The UN SG spoke the minds of these hypocrites when he intoned that what Hamas did to Israel on 7th October, 2023 did not happen in a vacuum and therefore justified.

There is a legal principle that you cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time on a particular matter. As far as I am concerned, all these resolutions by the UN which do not hold Hamas accountable for the current war are meaningless.

It is instructive to note that nobody in the UN or elsewhere has given Israel any guarantee that Hamas or any other terrorist organization will not repeat what Hamas did to them on the October 7, 2023.

You cannot just sit down and be passing resolutions upon resolutions without engaging Israel and giving them some security and safety assurances and releasing the hostages abducted by Hamas in their October 7, 2023 terrorist attack on Israel.

Prisoners of war are exchanged by countries at war with each country, also convicted prisoners are exchanged by countries but it is very rare for convicted prisoners to be exchanged with illegally abducted hostages. Doing so would mean that what Hamas did to Israel on October 7, 2023 was a legitimate tool in international relations and diplomacy.

The world must not change the rules because Israel is involved. What Hamas did must be condemned and they must unconditionally release the illegally abducted hostages and apologize for their actions. Hamas must be held accountable for its crimes to serve a deterrent to other terrorists.

I have noticed that almost all the countries in the Middle East are posturing that they stand with the Palestinians but none of them is willing to accept any distraught Palestinian refugee. They are simply playing to the gallery. This is because Palestinians in Gaza are seen by these countries as ideologically indoctrinated and radicalized.

When a few years back, the Muslim Brotherhoods rode to power in Egypt just the same way that Hamas rode to power in Gaza, it did not take time for the government of the Muslim Brotherhoods to be overthrown in a military coup d’etat led by General Sisi, the current president of Egypt. The government of Egypt is conscious and wary not to allow such fundamentalists into Egypt.

This explains their reluctance in opening the Raffar Crossing on the boundary with Gaza. It is generally known that what the leadership of countries in the Middle East say in public is different from what they say in private because they are afraid of Iran and how that country can radicalize their citizens and instigate an Iranian like revolution within the Middle East.

Jordan has more Palestinians than any other country in the world yet it is not willing to accept any Palestinian refugees from Gaza. What does that tell you?

Hamas leadership and military infrastructure in Gaza must be destroyed by Israel and after that Israel should give way to a multi-national peacekeeping force under the auspices of the UN to help in stabilizing Gaza and enable Palestinians living in Gaza to elect their leaders without the infiltration of Hamas terrorists.

Palestinians and Israelis must live peacefully as neighbors. All lands belonging to Palestinians according to international laws must be given to them. The two-state solution to the problem between the two parties is non-negotiable.

Current Resolutions in the UN are full of insincerity and akin to treating the symptoms rather than the diseases. They are worn out theatrics at best. It befuddles me that with the bright and accomplished diplomats in the UN, they are still unable to find a solution to the nagging Israel/Palestine problem.

Any call for ceasefire which does not involve a negotiation with Israel and the demand for the unconditional release of the hostages being held by Hamas is a nonstarter. Impression must not be given that the lives of the innocent citizens of Israel who were taken unawares do not matter to world but the lives of Palestinians who die in war matters.

All lives should matter to an organization like the UN. Hamas is solely responsible for the war and should be held accountable for it without any equivocation. Wars should always be avoided because they often are very expensive and attract collateral damages as we are seeing with the losses of lives and property in Gaza but we must not lose sight of the fact that Hamas started it all.

Iran is known to be the sponsor of all the terrorist groups that fester the Middle East and beyond. One major objective of these terrorist groups is the wiping out of the state of Israel from the face of the earth.

There is no evidence on the ground that they support a TWO-STATE SOLUTION to resolving the dispute between Israel and Palestine which is a categorical imperative. To them, it must be a zero-sum game. That Iran is overtly sponsoring terrorists to attack a member state of the UN while the body keeps mute is a cause for worry.

Iran wants the Islamic Revolution which happened in Iran to sweep across the entire Middle East. All the countries in the Middle East are sitting on edge because of the fear of the backlashes and consequences of provoking the almighty Iran. Iran is actually the cause of the crisis, volatilities and instability in the Middle East.

It is intriguing and surprising that all this while, the UN has not deemed it necessary to at least condemn the errant actions of Iran. Instead, it is always in a haste to condemn Israel calling for ceasefires without addressing the root cause of the problems.

A former president of the US once referred to Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the axis of evil. Unfortunately, Iran is living up to that notorious billing but the UN is keeping quiet waiting for Israel to respond to an unprovoked attack and for them to pass shameless resolutions that have no binding effects.

The perception is that the UN has turned itself into a talk-shop where countries go to just talk and pass cosmetic resolutions in the end. Israel cannot occupy the land recognized under international laws as belonging to the Palestinians.

Even Israel’s biggest backers, the US knows that occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel is a no-go area. A multinational peacekeeping force to ensure that everybody gets his due between Israel and Palestine should be put in place.

Israel must not share a border with Hamas anymore! But they can coexist with Palestinians as neighbors sharing the same boundaries under a two-state solution. The principle should be “live and let live”! Say no to antisemitism!

Godson O. Moneke, a registered quantity surveyor, economist, sociologist, administrator and sociopolitical advocate wrote from Abuja. Readers are permitted to share.

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