President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in an interview, last week, lashed out at those beating the drums of secession across the country.
He described them as charlatans who were on the payroll of those working tirelessly to exploit the security challenge the country is facing.
This was among other issues that gained currency at the seat of power, Aso Rock Villa, past week.
Dealing with ‘wailers’
On March 26, Mallam Garba Shehu, apparently speaking on behalf of the presidency, called on those with a strong dislike for the Buhari administration to await 2023 general elections to test their popularity or pocket their agitations for secession.
Speaking in an interview on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, he, among other things, said: “We accept that dissent is allowed. This is a democracy and people have a right to tell truth to government.
“But we must be careful in doing that. Nobody can bring down the government because this is a government elected democratically.”
The irritation expressed by the presidency to discomforts created by opposition elements best describes its impatience with critics, especially those coming from constructive quarters.
In the performance of his duty, however, Shehu must understand that the sound of secession drums are borne out of the perceived failings of the Buhari-led administration. These glaring minuses, many agree, have fuelled the heated frustrations and dissatisfactions expressed across the country.
More worrisome is the fact that the President seems to be laid back, and without a sense of urgency, in his management of the burgeoning crisis that have enveloped the country.
A practice of bullying critics is long regarded as worn out and the Buhari administration may do well to appreciate that its verbal assaults will yield little in the face of a hungry and angry populace.
Two other talking points
Fighting global challenges
President Buhari, on March 25, charged the international community to work together in order to root out rising global challenges such as terrorism, human trafficking, displacement of persons, corruption, among others.
“I would like to lay emphasis on the need for us to come together to address and overcome our common challenges. Terrorism, insurgency, displacement of persons, climate change, population explosion, human trafficking, corruption, poverty and proliferation of small arms and light weapons are all either the sources of conflict or results of it,” he said at a ceremony for receiving Letters of Credence from diplomats at the Aso Rock Villa.
He added: “These challenges, though on a diverse scale, threaten the existence of humanity and human relations. These challenges underscore the need for the international community to work together to collectively identify appropriate measures to globally overcome them.”
It is no-brainer to affirm that the challenges Buhari outlined are the very ones presently weighing the country down. Coincidentally, they form a large part of the challenges he promised to address during his 2015 campaigns. Rather than diminish, these issues have instead multiplied or grown into monsters.
While Buhari is right to seek the collaboration of the international community in tackling these challenges – even as they are obtainable in some other countries of the world – he must be seen to lead from the front in his own country.
The Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, farmers-herders’ conflict, corruption and poverty, among others, remain big huddles to overcome.
Only an inspired leadership can be most convincing for the international community to see the specific areas where the country needs assistance, and thus, do the needful.
His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the President as saying:
“In the last four years, we have worked hard to bridge some…economic imbalances through our various agricultural and financial policies to attract employment opportunities to rural areas. As we continue to expand our security operations to bring an end to these challenges, it is important to note that peace and prosperity can only be sustained if we collectively and actively support investments that take opportunities to our rural citizens.”
Though brilliantly articulated, Buhari’s hopes and desires on what needs to be accomplished rests squarely on his laps.
As the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and the farmers-herders’ clashes persist in rural and urban Nigeria, so will the vicious cycle of insecurity deepen.
How soon he is able to build the right synergies to secure the country will determine how quickly his hopes and dreams for shortening the employment queues manifest.
By John Chukwu
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