With Mr Reno lowering his criticism of Mr Tinubu, the tribe of influential critics seems to be thinning out.
President Bola Tinubu has rolled out the drum to celebrate a former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, who turns 50 today (Monday).
In a statement Sunday night, President Tinubu congratulated the author and influencer and commended him “for his dutifulness in providing constructive opinions on national issues, regardless of his political disposition”.
“Mr. Omokri, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, was the Special Assistant on Digital Media to former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2015,” the statement by Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, said.
“President Tinubu wishes Mr. Omokri many more years in good health as he continues to contribute his quota to national development.”
Mr Omokri, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was one of the staunchest critics of President Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the 2023 elections.
But in the past months, the political posturing of the former special assistant on digital media to President Goodluck Jonathan has been intriguing.
While remaining a member of the PDP and supporter of Atiku Abubakar, one of Nigeria’s leading opposition figures, Mr Omokri appears to have warmed up to President Tinubu and his government and has become one of their most vociferous and effective defenders.
For instance, in response to the criticism of the Tinubu government over the growing insecurity in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, where there have been horrendous cases of abductions and killings, Mr Reno posted on X (formally Twitter):
“This idea that Tinubu has failed because kidnappers have killed 87 Nigerians in the FCT, Abuja since May 29, 2023, is silly. Please fact check me. 617 people were murdered in Chicago city alone in 2023. In New York City, 386 people were killed. In the first three weeks of 2024, there have been 70 murders in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Yet, you are saying Tinubu is a failure over 86 deaths in 7 months in the FCT, which is larger in land mass and population than Chicago, New York City, and St Louis combined? Put things into proper perspective.
“God willing, my party and candidate will defeat Tinubu and the APC in 2027. But until then, let us be patriotic and not push Nigeria to the brink because we laboured in vain!”
The post angered some of Mr Omokri’s 2.5 million followers on X, with Arinze John, who described himself as a serial entrepreneur and business coach, responding, “You are only giving this analysis, and you trivialised the death of innocent 87 people simply because none of your family members were among. Of course, you wouldn’t understand the pain of a mother or father losing their child or children.
“You couldn’t imagine how shattered life could be for such families. At least, let’s apply conscience a little if we still have any atom of humanity left in us.”
With Mr Reno lowering his criticism of the president and his party, the tribe of influential critics in the country seems to be thinning out.
On January 10, Mr Tinubu hosted Daniel Bwala, another opposition politician and erstwhile critic, at Aso Rock.
After meeting with the president behind closed-doors, the lawyer told journalists that he had experienced a different Mr Tinubu and that he would henceforth support him and his government.