Senator representing Ekiti North senatorial district, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, has expressed concern over excitement that trailed trending news perceived to be negative to the image of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He recalled that President Buhari was booed by residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital during his recent visit to the North-East state ravaged by the terror group, Boko Haram.
He also said last week, a resident of Kebbi State, Mohammed Gunddare who attempted to embrace President Buhari was halted by Buhari’s security detail.
The Chairman Senate Committee on National Planning & Economic Affairs in a statement he personally signed and issued to newsmen at the weekend asked the leadership of the ruling party to take more than passing interest in the absence of empathy for President Buhari by the general public as he noted that it could be revealing of the disdain the electorate hold for the present administration.
His statement read in part: “Nigerians are animated by the alleged attack of President Mohammad Buhari (PMB) by one Mohammed Gunddare (MG) at a public event in Kebbi on Thursday, March 12. It was widely reported and the video footage of the incident went viral, with preponderant views believing that the man had the intention of attacking President Mohammad Buhari (PMB). Mohammad Gunddare was perceived and presented as a frustrated and angry youth that wanted to attack and hurt PMB at a public function in Kebbi.
“On the contrary, Gunddare said his action was as a result of emotional ‘love for Buhari’s honesty and integrity’. Though Mohammed Gunddare confessed his worshipful awe of PMB, this graduate of public administration agreed that he took an enormous risk in an attempt to get the attention of Mr President. Why would a young graduate seek the personal attention of the President in public in such a dramatic manner? The answer to this rhetorical question will be varied depending on where one stands on and concerning the scale of social inequity in the country.
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“In my view, though useful, it’s not the material facts of the drama that matters, but the spontaneity of lack of concern, sympathy or empathy for PMB. I found intriguing the malicious celebration of the encounter by several people as evidenced in the way the footage went viral and the toxic comments it generated from the general public. It is particularly worrying given the recent similar experience during PMB’s visit to Maiduguri, though said to have been organised by some disgruntled partisan interest groups in Maiduguri.
“Regardless of the source of the infraction, the glee with which the random general public turned the footages into a mass or viral public jest of the President and APC speaks volume about the public perception of our party and the President.
“I personally took the Maiduguri and Kebbi incidents as a straw poll of some sort, and we all can see that the result is worrisome, to say the least. A few enquiries kept coming to me, could this be proxy evidence of anger, resentment and expression of a bad wish for the President and APC? Otherwise, why would Nigerians so happily gloat over unfortunate incidents affecting their President? Or, could the recent oil price shocks, exchange rate slide, inflation, youth unemployment and schisms within APC have contributed to these overwhelming negative emotions directed at PMB and APC? Finally, how do we stem a growing tide of what appears to be a burst of accumulated social discontent that could envelop the country? In a strategic and research-driven environment, this type of questions should be interrogated and analysed to find out if there are deeper underlying reasons for the Maiduguri and Kebbi encounters.
“These are the issues that we need to debate and attain a proper understanding of their root causes and find lasting solutions to. The lack of depth in the pursuit of unravelling these makes one to agree with those who challenge the capacity of APC current leadership to provide the direction and grit that it’s mission of change requires.”
“In conclusion, Nigerians should be grateful to Governor Atiku Bagudu for thinking it fit to identify and bring out Mohammed Gunddare to give a public account of the incident that happened in Kebbi. This is good news for promoting voice, accountability and deeper discussion on the social consequences of public policy in Nigeria. Governor Atiku Bagudu deserves commendation for giving us more to think about by the simple act of bringing Mohammed Gunddare to face the media.”