I just had, most humbly, the misfortune, of reading the 27 paragraph national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari. I had guffawed when many Nigerians awaited the speech with great expectations and bated animation, believing erroneously, that, like I had humbly advised president Buhari yesterday, he would roll out drums of empathy for our slain innocent youths and their grieving families.
I told them not to expect any calming or balming speech of reconciliation and empathy. Buhari did not disappoint me. His national address was devoid of sympathy, empathy, fatherly feelings, or even the mere milk of human kindness for a nation on the dangerous precipice and cliff. His speech was unfortunately insensate and insensitivity. It epitomised a sorry and pathetic disconnect between the government and the people Mr President governs, or pretends to govern.
The speech was more of a military dicta, a ferocious barracks riot Act, read to some unruly riotous mutineers and insurrectionists, to bring them to book. He simply talked down on Nigerians, not with Nigerians. I felt quite depressed and saddened. He lost a rare golden, momentous and historic opportunity to unify a profusely hemorrhaging and badly fractured nation.
He spoke more like an Emperor addressing cringing servants, nay, slaves in bondage. Buhari reeled out what he considered to be his government’s presumed economic innovations to tackle the travails of a decaying nation.
He found time to “pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty”; but found no single word, phrase or sentence , to console or condole with the mourning families of the youths that were mauled down in cold blood by the same trigger – happy officers.
He never found a word of empathy, or even sympathy, for the innocent Nigerian flags – waving peaceful protesters who were hacked down in their hundreds across the nation. Who did this to us as a country? He threatened that “under no circumstances” will anything that “amounts to undermining national security and the law and order situation… be tolerated”.
Mr President was not yet done. He blamed the “spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular” as amounting to a “ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour “.
Mr President sir, we all live in Nigeria here, a big prison yard. We do not need social media to educate us about our grinding poverty, mass unemployment, lack of basic social amenities and non-availability of light, educational, medical, water and security environment.
Nigerians do require the social media to tell them about Police brutality, extra- judicial killings, increased corruption, a parlous economy, an inequitable social justice system, non-observance of the rule of law, human rights, obedience to court orders and the general environment of despondency, haplessness and hopelessness.
Mr President agonised over disruption of travel plans, destruction of public and private properties and invasion of the international airport. Yes sir, I agree that these acts are condemnable, and I hereby also firmly condemn them in their entirety. But, Mr President sir, was it so difficult, like rocket science, to at least, acknowledge the lost lives of harmless youths who were unarmed, but brutally cut down in their prime? Just a word sir?
Was it necessary that the very second paragraph of a presidential speech to a nation under tumult, rather than bandaging raw wounds, was threatening fire and brimstone, such as to “warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well – intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country…”?
Who did the hijacking sir? Who were the shadowy persons who prompted fully armed security personnel to open hot lead on flag-waving and unarmed Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll Plaza?
Mr President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, didn’t wonder, like the international community has been doing, how and why fully armed military operatives were involved in a non – violent civilian protest. Who deployed them?
I didn’t read anywhere Mr President indicated that such errant officers will be brought to book, or tried in appropriate military quarters, or before courts of law, so that the ends of justice shall be served. I searched in vain to see any mention about those hoodlums that unleashed mayhem on innocent and peacefully protesting Nigerian youths, or how the entire security apparachick of Nigeria will be accorded a total overhaul and rejuvenation.
No. I never read anywhere Mr President talked about compensation, restitution for, or apology, to the families of youths plucked down in their prime, in cold blood, and those still battling for survival in various hospitals across Nigerians.
Not only did the entire speech fail to inspire Nigerians, or rekindle whatever remains of their dwindling hopes and disappearing faith in Nigeria as a nation, it was rather imperious, provocative and condescending.
Nothing new was said about how to pacify the righteously angry Nigerian youths (whom he once described as “lazy Nigerian youths”), with fresh educational, job and capacity-building opportunities. Was it too much for Mr President, for once, to climb down from his high galloping horse, to cuddle (even if pretentiously), the Nigerian youths, with a warm fatherly embrace? Haba!!!
HOW PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI IGNORED MY PATRIOTIC AND WELLINFORMED ADVICE IN 2015 AND NIGERIANS ARE PAYING DEARLY FOR IT TODAY (PART 1)
There are critics and there are critics. Some Critics criticise for the fun of it. Others do so to be noticed. Yet, some others do so for altruistic reasons. Yours sincerely falls into this last category.
As a Social Critic, Human Rights Activist and pro-democracy Campaigner (leave out the lawyer and writer in me), I criticise and critique governments and their actions, with a view to making our country and society better. I use available and unassailable data, backed with hard cold facts, law, logic and common sense. I do this from a non – blurred set of analytical binoculars; akin to Galileo’s telescope, which totally changed mankind’s view about the entire universe.
That is why I always proffer solutions after raising the problems and challenges. I always ask the questions about our challenges. I then answer the questions. Occasionally, I also question the answers. As a Pan – Nigerian, non – partisan and non – card – carrying member of any of the existing Nigerian political parties, I discuss and analyse events and issues most dispassionately, with uncommon candour. I then proceed ahead to proffer the panacea.
Most humbly, that is the difference between me and other social Critics. You can always disagree with me. It is your Constitutional right to so do. You may even dislike, loathe, insult or abuse me for my strong views. That is also your right. I cannot force anyone to like me. In any event, I am not in any popularity contest. But, one thing you may not be able to do is to fault my hard, cold facts and data.
As Uthman Dan Fodio once put it, “conscience is an open would; only the truth can heal it”. This position signposts my today’s discourse which takes us back to 2015, where my views and suggestions, wholly ignored by this government, have today resonated from their cold graves and are today hunting us, like a phoenix from its ashes.
The following two pieces which I wrote, respectively, on 21ST OF APRIL, 2015, and 3RD OF MAY, 2015 (ever before Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigerian PRESIDENT), will demonstrate how I tackled the then President Goodluck Jonathan and the then presidentelect, Muhammadu Buhari.
These views and suggestions were contained in my series, titled, “THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE WINNERS AND LOSERS”, published in my weekly Sunday Telegraph column, “THE NIGERIAN PROJECT”. Had President Buhari hearkened to my patriotic pieces of advice and humble intervention, Nigerians would not today literally be on fire.
And President Buhari would not today be holed up in Aso Villa, contending with nearly two weeks of “#ENDSARS” protests. By the way, #ENDSARS, in its full nakedness, is nothing but an euphemism for Nigerians’ deep – seated anger, exasperation, despondency, provocation and disappointment, about Buhari’s clueless, lack – lustre, but dictatorial iron – fist rule. Read both articles carefully and judge for yourselves, those who are the genuine patriots, and those who are the corridors – of – power – hypocrites, bootlickers, fawners and emergency contractors. Now, read this first part. Part 2 follows immediately. I humbly urge you to also read and digest it carefully.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE WINNERS AND LOSERS (PART 3) SUNDAY TELEGRAPH OF 21st APRIL, 2015.
“This week, we shall conclude our analysis of the pattern of voting in the last presidential election that denied GMB a Pan-Nigerian mandate, and thereafter, set an agenda of action and success for him. NORTH WEST GMB’s strongest base as expected was the North West, where he hails from.
A predominantly Muslim, Hausa-Fulani region, these geopolitical zones clearly underlined the politics of religion and ethnicity that bedeviled the last election, in the same measure that South- South and South-East exemplified these in favour of GEJ. GMB walked away with victory in all six states of the zone, leaving Jonathan to pick 25% in only one, Kaduna.
GMB made his largest haul of votes here, which firmly put a seal to the coffin of GEJ’s ambition to retain his seat.
Let’s do some mathematics: Jigawa – GMB (85.3%), GEJ (13.7%); Kaduna – GMB (64.5%), GEJ (27.7%); Katsina – GMB (92.8%), GEJ (6.8%); Kebbi – GMB (83.8%), GEJ (14.9%); Sokoto – GMB (80.5%), GEJ (18.2%); Zamfara – GMB (80.4%), GEJ (19%). In the 2011 election, GMB had hauled 6,453,437, a figure he upped in 2015 to 7,115,199.
This figure is about half his total votes across the entire country! From only one out of six geopolitical zones! GEJ, on the other hand garnered 3,395,724 in 2011, a figure which abysmally depleted to 1,333,709 in 2015.
From the above results, GEJ, more than in any other geopolitical zone, actually lost the election in GMB’s South West home turf, a clear indication that religion and ethnicity played a major role in the election. But, can GMB afford to be president of North West and parts of North East geopolitical zones alone? I think not.
He dares not. With all these results added, we are faced with the grim picture of a gravely fractured country, wearing the hideous visage of a sorry country yearning for nationhood. It means that absolutely more than half of Nigerian voters rejected GMB in the just concluded election.
The margin of 2,571,759 votes with which GMB defeated GEJ, pales into infinitesimal insignificance when compared with the humungous 10,280,334 votes with which Jonathan beat Buhari in 2011.
THE PROVERBIAL BANANA PEEL
Nigerians are very impatient people, having been short-changed again and again, by successive governments, whether civilian or military.
Ask GEJ how he frittered away the overwhelmingly massive love, goodwill and support that Nigerians bestowed on him in the 2011 election, with just one stroke of an ill-advised action – removal of oil subsidy in January 2012, barely seven months after he was sworn in as president.
He was never thereafter allowed any breathing space, or honeymoon period to romanticise his victory. Many Nigerians never forgave him. That same proverbial banana peel is still there, in Aso Villa, lurking around GMB. Can he avoid it? Only time and his actions will tell. Nigerians shout “hossana” today and “crucify” him tomorrow.
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