It has now become a frequent ritual that all President Muhammadu Buhari has to offer while Nigerians are murdered in different parts of the country, especially the bandits and Boko-Haram-ravaged parts of the North-East and the North-West, are mournful words.
The president is now something of a professional mourner who sends his condolences to the countless homes of Nigerians that are daily victims of his rudderless presidency.
There is a limit to the extent Nigerians must continue to bear with the Buhari presidency given the sheer unwillingness of the President and the power profiteers around him to listen to any voice other than their own.
It would be a different thing if people are not speaking, offering their own perspectives about how things could be made better.
Critics of this government are not merely arm-chair pundits. People have gone out of their way to hedge, dodge and split hair just in a bid not to appear to be unsympathetic to whatever might have made the Buhari government so prone to failure.
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But what is the government doing to repay Nigerians? It digs further into the hole it has plunged itself and scorns all opposing views, calling them the voice of detractors.
We all can’t be politicians each time we have opinions to offer that are different from what the President and his enablers hear in their echo chamber of the presidency. Theirs is a bunker mentality that has cut them off from the rest of Nigerians.
When was the last time Buhari came out to speak to Nigerians from the heart? On what occasion did he last speak without a script? At what point can Nigerians begin to feel his empathy about their situation, if one could concede without admitting that a huge part of the Nigerian problem doesn’t bear the imprint of his failed leadership? If there is something going on inside the presidency, if something is the matter with the president, Nigerians have a right to know.
The office of the president was not thrust on Buhari. Four times he offered himself before he finally succeeded. And should he leave the office today, the country will not be short of willing and able hands to fill any vacuum that could come from that.
There will still be many more capable Nigerians that will step up. Enough, therefore, of the excuses for a non-performing leader.
All Nigerians, except those in the ruling party, just can’t be partisan critics of the president. They all can’t be peddlers of fake news.
We are all in our different ways patriots that are looking for the best for Nigeria and Nigerians cannot and should not remain silent when they can see the problem plaguing their country as largely one of leadership failure.
It is our desire for a better Nigeria, a country so richly endowed but which nevertheless punches well below its weight- it is the people’s fervent hope that Nigeria rises to its true worth that is motivating them.
Nigeria could do immensely better than it is presently doing under Buhari. He may not be the cause or origin of the problem but he is definitely not doing nearly close to enough to ameliorate it.
He has ceded leadership to some people around him who are simply ruling in his name. This is why no one, as Wole Soyinka recently said, seems to be in charge. Even when the President appears to say something, somebody else rises to countermand it.
In the wake of the mass killing of rice farmers in Borno State, a distraught House leadership in a firefighting gesture got Buhari to agree to address Nigerians on his effort at fighting insurgency.
Femi Gbajabiamila and his cohorts do not necessarily have to be the go-between for Buhari and Nigerians. But since COVID-19 put paid to medical tourism and the President retreated into his Aso-Villa bunker, it has been impossible to get him to speak not to mention meet with Nigerians. He addresses them behind the veil of zoom calls.
In the wake of the Zabarmari massacre, however, Buhari was forced to accept the invitation from the House or National Assembly (before the Senate leadership backed off). Since the bar has been severely lowered for Buhari, Nigerians have learned to expect less and less from him.
And so, they remained expectant that he would speak with them through the protective wall of the National Assembly. It was, however, on the eve of his visit that Abubakar Malami, Buhari’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, issued his release barring Buhari from honouring the invitation he had freely accepted.
Creating a war where none exists, Malami made the President’s visit to the House a security issue. To let Nigerians know who is effectively in charge, the President failed to go to the House and there has been no further explanation from him.
Buhari was made to eat the humble pie by one of the real powers behind the throne. He could not even make the visit even if as a face-saving act given how graceless or lacking in honour he has been made to appear.
On one hand, it may look like nobody is in charge of Nigeria as Wole Soyinka said. On the other hand, some people are in charge and they are the so-called cabal that have created a ring around the president, holding him more or less hostage in Aso-Villa and blurring the line between the president and the presidency. So much for “I belong to nobody; I belong to everybody”!
And so, Buhari, stuck with his tired service chiefs that he has kept in office beyond the constitutional limit, sends out his condolences each week as Nigeria burns. At the beginning of last week, it was rice farmers.
Before the end of the week (even though news of the event broke this week), it was hundreds of schoolboys that were kidnapped in Katsina State. We’ve had Chibok School Girls. We’ve had Dapchi School Girls. Now we are completing the circle with Kankara School Boys, not minding many other cases that have gone unreported.
The President or the presidency will, as usual, send their condolences while disputing the actual figures of people killed or kidnapped. It will be such a big deal and actually make them feel better to report that those they’ve labelled purveyors of fake news have reported hundreds where only eighty Nigerians were either killed or kidnapped.
That is all Buhari and his enablers now do. Nigerians should know that there is nothing the now notorious Abubakar Malami does with Buhari that is new. There was a Michael Aondoakaa, also an Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. He and his goons governed for a while in the name of our hapless Umar Yar’Adua. Where are they now?
Vanguard News Nigeria
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