The business of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, (in this case 180 million people) on the principles of freedom, equality and justice and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people as enshrined in the constitution is not just a serious one but a sacred one that must be treated with utmost solemnity and attention devoid of joke, jest and comical gestures. Unfortunately, this has not just been lacking in our political firmament in most recent times but seems to have been Afghanitised and totally banished to a strange land.
The Tuesday announcement by Garba Shehu that president Buhari will be working from home came to Nigerians as a surprise. The reason however is not that the president needs a home rest to have his health fully stabilised having come in from UK on Saturday in a prolonged medi-tourism or that he wants to engage his beautiful wife in a horsy activity of the other room having arguably missed her for a whooping three months; Shehu’s reason was a capsule of caricature, an insult and an expression of humour smacks of hyper insensitivity and unseriousness. Rodents and rat have destroyed the furniture and air conditioning fittings in the president’s office. Someone should tell me that the garrulous Shehu did not actually say this but it came out from his mouth. Someone should tell me that he is not implying that rat, yes you heard me well, rat is now chasing the lion king out of his palatial office but he is “technically” taking a rest.
Before the president fully resumed in Aso villa in 2015, it took about three weeks after he was officially sworn in as the number one citizen of our great country. Within this period, the president worked from the Defence House in Maitama and his private residence in Asokoro while his office embarked in ostentatious renovation of villa and to cast the demons therein which Dr. Reuben Abati once told us about. The cost of that renovation is till today shrouded in secrecy and suspicious shenanigans. For a government that came to power on the crest of change and mouthed to cut the excessive waste in governance to engage in a rat-induced renovation competition against itself is a sheer show of undiluted hypocrisy especially at a time when recession is biting hard. It shows the disdain and laxity at which the office and by extension Nigerians are held.
According to Chief Mike Ozekhome, a human right lawyer, there is another mini office at the villa quite different from the official residence and main office of the president. He is of the opinion that the president should work from there. This aptly captures the mind of the majority of our people. In saner world, a president who has been away from his office for over a hundred days should be broiled with zeal, enthusiasm and eagerness to resume work, the way any committed workman anywhere in the world should do. A bad workman blames everyone and everything but himself. He blames the size of his hoe, the colour of the cutlass, the location of the land and the people he passed on his way to farm. What the president inadvertently is saying is that, if there was any zeal to take Nigeria out of the doldrums which it’s been mired into, such has fizzled into the thin air while in UK.
A lot of Nigerians waited with a bated breath to devour with keen interest the message of hope which the president was expected to deliver in his nationwide address on Monday 21 August, 2017. Alas, like an opportunity to press the country on its reset button, it was missed and blown away. The goal was scored in a strange post. The status quo gained momentum and despondency and hopelessness remain. One would have taught that having relegated his duty to a second fiddle, the president would have started his speech with an expression of gratitude to prof. Yemi Osinbajo for piloting the affairs of the country while he was away, even much better than himself. One would have imagined that the president whose medical bill was 100% footed with taxpayers’ money would have doused the suspicion as to what kind of ailment that has kept him out of office for over 150 days this year alone. One would have expected that the president will highlight his achievements and what he intends accomplishing before his tenure ends. He didn’t do all that. He started with a threat on social media users, a platform that greased his journey to the presidency. A conduit through which his party, the APC peddled and sold all their malicious propaganda to Nigerians. The only piece of meat that would have come from his less than five minutes speech, the shortest presidential speech we have seen in recent times was the issue of security. However, it seems the president is fixated with the use of brute force to quell the security challenges facing us. This has never yielded any positive result and therefore calls for a visit to the drawing board (if any exists).
Our country has never been polarised along ethnic and religious lines since the Independence like under Buhari. How comes the secessionist tones have been ingloriously amplified under a Buhari presidency? How comes the rope binding us as a people has continued to grow thinner under Buhari watch? How comes the Northern/Southern, Muslim/Christian dichotomy is now more visible than ever? The ruling party must do a soul search and pose itself the salient question as to why the country has been driven to near a Pariah state under its watch. A country that constitutionally ought to be a Federal Republic is now a sectional state, visibly manifested in the grossly lopsided appointments of key government functionaries.
The economy is in an epic recession. People losing their means of livelihood. Families starve. Hunger bites and peoples’ human dignity being stripped. Our youths roam the streets unemployed. Insecurity assuming a deadlier dimension. Our people have never witnessed the kind of hardship and difficulty that have dehumanised and humiliated them like it is under APC government. The hope with which Nigerians welcomed them into power has fatally been dashed with bad leadership and misgovernance. The situation appears to be sliding to worse case scenario as days go buy, just as hopes keep evaporating. Where there is frustration and hunger, anger becomes inevitable.
The Buhari presidency and its landmark achievements exist only in the figment of the imagination of its chief propagandist, Alh. Lai Mohammed. A man whose lips spew nothing but specious lies, a man from whose mouth truth has taken a flight, a man who cannot be a model for anyone nursing the intention of being the government’s spokesperson. It’s on record that the APC has squandered the last two years of its administration blaming Jonathan and the PDP, as if they are still in opposition. They have seemed utterly helpless and clueless on how power can be used to transform a state. No fair spot has been achieved in the area of infrastructure. The power sector has not received any boost since this government came into power. Rather, is has continued to slide to comatose. The generation has continued to drop on daily basis with our people spending so much to generate their own power while at the same time paying humongous amount to discos for distributing darkness.
The roads are death traps. Our people have continually embarked on journey of no return on such roads. Food insecurity is threatening. Our people go to bed hungry in a country of plenty. Farmers have had it rough attracting incentives from government while the minister of agriculture Chief Audu Ogbeh is looking for bags to package rice, wherever it exists to the market. Our education is groaning under the weight of poorly thought-out policies. The end to ASUU strike that has sent children out of classrooms, distorted their timetable and make them prone to all forms of criminal activities seems not to be in sight.
Free speech and civil liberty are being criminalised under a Buhari government. The recent police intimidation and harassment of “Resume or Resign” protesters is an indication that a fascistic dictatorship is looming. The police that should be in the vanguard of protecting the rights of our citizens to speak and be heard are being used to oppress, suppress and gag them.
To think that this administration has failed in its myriad of milk and honey promises to Nigerians is akin to inviting a heart attack. A “technically” defeated boko haram has become fiercer and dangerous than ever. They kill with unbridled impunity, kidnap and hold territories. Three lecturers of University of Maiduguri who are still guests to the dreadly terrorist group is still an eloquent testimony to how much alive they are. Kidnap is on the rampage. No one is spared. Everyone and anyone is a target including our school children. The police that wield their might on innocent and hapless citizens who are on the street to demand accountability from the government have shown absolute powerlessness on common criminals.
This government has become a mere comic relief to the citizens. The disappointment is mind-boggling and overwhelming. Leadership is not a game of caricature but an important deal. The social media went agog when this rat story filtered in with citizens expressing their weary over this government. Propaganda can help bring a government to power but does not sustain such government. Truth and nothing but the truth remains the bastion to gain the confidence and the trust of the people. This government can still use the remaining two years it has to show the people it means business by restoring their human dignity and rekindling their hope. If this is not done, come 2019, Nigerians cannot be fooled for a second time.
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