Garlands for our presidency’s pettiness

When  you are walking or working towards a goal that is important to you, you don’t react to every voice you hear in your quest. As a younger person, one of the most enduring suasions I got from mature, accomplished people around me was that a serious person does not consider the noise in the market, he only concentrates on whoever he has business dealing with. This Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has turned its back to us the masses it has business with and has been stomping the entire market in reaction to every imaginary and real voices. That’s how I felt when I noticed that that the presidency had promptly reacted and also responded to the Easter homily of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Mathew Hassan Kukah.

This feeling of disappointment in me was strongly reinforced when I thought about the fact that this same presidency left the myriad of issues blurring its vision to perform to descend into the arena of the hijab controversy in mission schools in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. It was a sad reminder of how low the nation has sunk under Buhari and how petty his presidency has become. I couldn’t come up with another compelling example of how a government of a nation could abandon a festering leprosy and engage in a heated, mad and blind rush to treat mere ringworm!

Statements by the Senior  Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, through which the government he is speaking for danced naked unashamedly in the market, pierced the soul of the remnants of respect many Nigerians had left for the administration. People had to take to the Social Media to ask questions bordering on whether the Buhari government could still muster the ability to hold the country together until 2023 when another general election is expected to take place in Nigeria. And such fears and palpable insecurity by such people are not unfounded when we examine the utter lack of sense of accommodation by this administration. This Federal Government has further proven that it has divided Nigerians more than any other government which could come to memory.

At Christmas last year, Bishop Kukah tried to poke the Buhari government into positive action when he highlighted some of the many areas of its failings, especially security and brazen nepotism. After Bishop Kukah spoke, the Islamic Northern Nigeria bared its fangs as they called for Kukah’s head. Even if we chose to drag the popular cleric to the parochial arena, was he not calling for a better Nigeria for all? He said of the country in December: “Ours has become a house of horror, with fear stalking our homes, highways, cities, hamlets and entire communities…The challenge now is how to deal with the scars inflicted by a derelict nation, which is still unable or unwilling to protect its citizens.” We all know Kukah’s bully pulpit, but among many other issues, the gruesome killing of one of his spiritual sons, Michael Nnadi, was enough for any concerned father to cry in lamentation. The young Nnadi was among the students of a Catholic seminary in Kaduna that were kidnapped by bandits. After several days in captivity, and assurances by the government of his impending freedom, he was still killed. He was shot like a game by his abductors.

Don’t we still have 34 of the 39 kidnapped Kaduna students in captivity? Hasn’t Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State literally surrendered to the superiority of bandits? Are parts of Niger State, especially Shiroro Local Government still not under the firm grip of unforgiving bandits? Have we been rid of the many security woes of this inept government? Before Christmas 2020, how many times had we heard Kukah since the coming of the Buhari administration?

At about the same time Kukah spoke up, after years of hoping that things would improve in the life of this administration, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III also cried out. His Eminence the Sultan did not just lament the height and level of insecurity in the country, especially in the North, he specifically noted that most of the bandits terrorising the people in northern Nigeria were Fulani. The presidency didn’t respond to the Sultan. However, they promptly picked on Kukah, who, apart from being personally bereaved, is also a native of the killing field called Kaduna State. Besides, since the cleric spoke up, first in December and at Easter, what are the fundamental differences in the issues he wants addressed?

Our tactless presidency doesn’t seem to know or has chosen tactlessly to ignore that Nigerians have turned its queer ways, talks and silence to sources of jokes. On Twitter recently, Nigerians made a sequence that got discerning people thinking: “Ortom was attacked, a group said ‘we did it’, the police ignored the group but still sent ‘a crack team’ to Benue to investigate the attack. Air Force plane went missing with two pilots after we were warned by Sheikh Gumi that bandits were planning to acquire anti-aircraft guns. Boko Haram said ‘we shot it down’ and made a video; the Air Force said ‘na lie, no mind’ Boko Haram and told Nigerians to ‘ignore them, it was an accident’. Gunmen attacked a police command headquarters in a ‘secure’ area of the Imo State capital’, tore open jail doors and freed inmates. IPOB and ESN said ‘we didn’t do it’ but the police said ‘IPOB did it!’

Our president as represented by the nebulous presidency is obviously petty. If the things oozing from Garba Shehu as statements, denigrating people offering sound advice and proffering ways of making the country is anything to go by, then we are indeed in a deep mess!

This presidency easily descends into the arena and ignores every available rule of decency in a bid to tackle those who are not in the same pit with them. We have bundles of examples. Otherwise, what did Bishop Kukah say that the presiding pastor of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly) and President Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential election, Pastor Tunde Bakare, did not say in his broadcast entitled: “The conspicuous handwriting on the wall.” The presidency has not responded in like manner to Pastor Bakare and some are hinging that on their contention that the CPC political fraternity is still potent and active. Questions have also been asked regarding why the presidency could not react to the Sultan when he raised the alarm on insecurity and called names? Is it because he stands on a different pedestal from the local ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto?

Our presidency deserves garlands to decorate its neck which is currently adorned by the country’s albatross.



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