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ASO ROCK WATCH: As Buhari rides on sentiments. Two other talking points

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EDITORIAL: Nigeria, seek help now in fight against banditry, terrorism

There continues to be a ceaseless bashing by Nigerians of the Muhammadu Buhari administration over its perceived shortcomings and failures.

This barrage of criticisms has almost become a pastime for most people even as the President’s handlers are wont to come to his defence, employing all manner of narratives.

Refusing to be further bashed, President Buhari has argued that his administration fares better on an even scale when compared with his predecessor who handed over power to him in May 2015.

This, and other engaging stories dotted the Aso Rock Villa in the past week.

Riding on sentiments

On January 14, President Buhari urged Nigerians to be fair in their criticism of his administration.

He made the appeal when he received in audience Reverend Yakubu Pam, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission at Aso Rock.

“Those criticising the administration should be fair in terms of reflecting on where we were before we came, where we are now and what resources are available to us and what we have done with the limited resources,” he said.

He added: “We had to struggle paying debts, investing in road repairs and rebuilding, to revamp the rail and try to get power. This is what I hope the elite, when they want to criticise will use to compare notes.”

The President may win sympathies on the strength of his emotional appeals, but it is doubtful, however, if the facts on the ground would sway the majority of Nigerians to his side.

Undeniable is the fact that insecurity remains rife while corruption continues to eat deep into all facets of public life. And, what more can be added to the pangs of poverty that have held the citizens down?

If sentiments were to rule, the Northern Elders’ Forum would not have uttered through its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, on December 2, 2020, a statement that read, “We do not see any evidence of willingness on the part of 
President Muhammadu Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians. In civilised nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign.”

While the President is not expected to sit in the serene confines of Aso Rock and describe himself as having failed, it is, however, arguable that the country is now better than he met it.

Two other talking points

Harping on synergy

President Muhammadu Buhari on January 15 encouraged the nation’s Service Chiefs to ensure synergy in the fight against all forms of insecurity, while promising that Nigeria will witness a significant improvement in security this year.

The President in a series of Tweets on his Twitter handle, @MBuhari, to commemorate the Armed Forces Remembrance Day had said:
“I am reiterating greater synergy and cooperation, and also a more sustained focus on intelligence gathering and interpretation. I am confident that we will see significant improvement in our security situation this year.”

Read also: ASO ROCK WATCH: Deal or be damned! Two other talking points on the Buhari presidency

The President’s pep talks are a morale booster and intended to shore up confidence in the fighting force.

How far this would go to ginger the troops remains suspect in the face of sabotage, poor commitment and lack of battle tools.

And, with a band of wearied Service Chiefs, critics are at a loss on how Buhari would accomplish his year-end goal of defeating the terrorists.

Nevertheless, it is hoped that the military hierarchy would wake up, and show Nigerians why their principal had stuck with them despite public outcries for their dismissal.

Preaching unity

On January 11, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, explained why it was important for Nigerians to live in unity regardless of the nation’s diversity in culture, religion and tongues.

Speaking during an Interdenominational Church Service for the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, the Vice President, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, noted that the unity of the nation would be a mark of honour for the sacrifices of the men and women of the Armed Forces.

“Nigerians must at every opportunity insist that every great multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation has, through thick and thin, fought to realise the great dividends of diversity and pluralism,” he said.

Osinbajo’s submissions strike at the heart of Nigeria’s quest for greatness. While it is true that there is strength in a country’s diversity, there seems to be a general understanding that Nigeria’s political elites have been criminally liable for stoking the embers of ethnicity, tribalism and religion that have created deep fault lines.

Sadly, the same citizens have come to believe less in their leaders and now see the submissions of the likes of Osinbajo as mere political rhetoric.

This ugly trend could be traced to the widely held perception that the Buhari-led administration fans the embers of division among Nigerians, and this finds credence in his nepotistic appointments to key positions in his government.

By John Chukwu…

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