This bitter presidency

IF Nigerians failed to learn any substantial lesson from recent season, they must never forget never to hand power to any bitter man in the future.

Common sense should dictate to them that it is better to look for a Nelson Mandela to lead them, a kind of man who will rise above personal hurts and put rebuilding of society above seeking vengeance in office.

Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years on a lonely Island and when he was released from prison to lead South Africa, he was expected to even settle scores with all those who did him evil.

But he never chose that path. He came out singularly committed to turning South Africa into the non-racist society he spoke of in his statement to court in 1964.

He lived by the credo. He personified the power of forgiveness and the best values in humanity. His steely will was combined with a kindly heart and a passionate desire for people to respect each other and get on together as brothers and sisters. These facets of his character already became evident from the speech he made when he faced a possible death sentence in the 1964 inquisition. He told the court:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

It was this declaration that set him apart and identified his special brand of leadership of the resistance to the evil apartheid. Much of his legacy can be related back to those remarks that was followed by rejoicing by black South Africans that he and his comrades were spared the death sentence. Instead, they were shackled and carted off to the island prison in an inhuman way still.

And when it was possible for him to die in office, he chose to step down after a term in office fulfilled that he already laid a solid foundation for a new spirit of relationship in post-apartheid South Africa.

We have not been that lucky around here in the last five years, as power has been used mainly as an object of revenge and score-settling. There is a bitter spirit in the air and the best radiators of that bile has been our presidential spokesmen who have always been bellicose and conduct themselves as war propagandists against the people .

The latest demonstration of this bile was the statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu on behalf of Mr President on the ravaging coronavirus causing deaths and panic globally.

In the midst of the pandemic, leaders across the world have been speaking words of comfort and reassurance to their people. It was so uplifting listening to Presidents of Ghana and South Africa, for instance, making state of the nation broadcasts and showing leadership in the midst of a global health crisis.

We heard nothing from our own leader. Joke even started on the internet that our president was still learning how to pronounce coronavirus before addressing the country. It reached a point that the Senate, that many have dubbed a rubber-stamp, had to call out the president to address us on this pandemic.

It was a test for leadership which the Presidency failed woefully. The president would not yield. It instead asked Mallam Garba Shehu to issue a statement. It would have been manageable if he had restricted himself to what the government was doing about coronavirus.

But he turned it into a PR disaster by making it the usual war of attrition the spokesmen of Mr President have engaged in for the past five years which shows clearly that it is not that the guys are just disasters on their own, but are reflecting certain bitterness in the seat of power.

“We also plead with Nigerians not to see this most peculiar of times as one to be politicised or seen as an opportunity to regurgitate grudges against the government or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). North, South, East, and West – all Nigerians must unite to fight this plague, irrespective of religious or ideological affiliation.

“In this regard, populist advocacies, such as the one accusing the President of “complacency” simply because he has not made a television address, by ranking members of our respected parliament are cheap and sensational. These are not the times for populism and cheap politics.”

It is saddening that these words could be flowing from our Presidency as anxiety fills the land in this season of uncertainty. Should Nigerians be calling on the president of another country to address them in this season? If you cannot stand the heat, why venture into the kitchen?

It seems Garba Shehu is in some unhealthy competition with his colleague, Mr Femi Adesina, who started this verbal coronavirus against citizens who may not agree with this administration by borrowing the title of the debut album of the Wailers “Wailing Wailers” against them. He later called them “Descendants of shame”.

There is no engagement in the dictionary of these gentlemen and their  co-workers. Even a lady who should embody some virtues among them and whose name is too toxic to put on this  page is the most foul-mouthed.

There is no doubt that serving in the propaganda unit of this administration is all about the capacity to abuse, insult and rail against people. It cannot be a coincidence but a deliberate recruitment of vile as media arm.

Where is Mr Olusegun Adeniyi who spoke for a president professionally without crude syntax in a season like this?

ALSO READ: Man With Coronavirus Stayed In Ibadan For Two Weeks Undetected ― Ekiti Govt

FEEDBACK

Re: Kanovirus devours SLS

KUDOS to you for your piece at the back of last Sunday Tribune, with above title. I want to bring out the following highlights in the write-up:

  1. “Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a unique BUNDLE OF CONTRADICTIONS” (capital letters are mine).
  2. “On the other hand, he presents himself as a negation of feudal North and someone who wants a progressive Arewaland, I HAVE NOT SEEN ANYTHING TO SHOW HE WANTS A PROGRESSIVE NIGERIA” (capital letters are not).
  3. “They had the backing of a chunk of the media who appeared to be carried away by SANUSI’S SENSATIONAL DRAMAS, blissfully oblivious of the damage to the economy in particular and society in general” (capital letters are mine).
  4. He became the emir and continued his DUALITY” (capital letters are mine).

Therefore, the Yoruba leaders and elites, and the media in general should be very careful and cautious in dealings on the man’s issue! Specifically, we should be careful of “ota to n se bi ore”, “ejo ti a ko ge lori.” Because leopard (amotekun) cannot change its black spots!! In the same sense, “A gbodo sora fun ki a fi ejo si ori orule (roof) ki a sun”! And like the Yoruba would say, “Isora ni oogun agba”!!

—Olaitan Makanju

 

Well crafted piece. The southern press is supportive of Sanusi out of sheer sentiment and ignorance of who the true Sanusi is.

El-Rufai and Sanusi are birds of a feather. Intellect sans character. People do make mistakes but with time and facts they will correct. Buhari was a saint up to his election in 2015. See how he has been revealed. So it’s with Sanusi. Articles like yours will expose him.

Thanks.

—A Umar, Bauchi.

 

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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