From Nigeria’s seat of power, one of the talking points last week was President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement on the country’s ability to end the insurgency war in the North-East.
Buhari, who spoke when Janez Lenarcic, the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Crisis Management paid him a visit at the State House, Abuja, had said:
“If we were capable to fight a 30-month civil war and reorganised our country, I wonder why people are thinking that Nigeria cannot do it (overcome Boko Haram).
Buhari went further to tell his visitor, “We have the experience of the civil war. I could recall the role of the military, the army and each commander had in his pocket how to behave himself and how to allow international bodies like yourself to go round and see for themselves that people are treated in the most humane way. We have this experience and I assure you that we also have this confidence in your organisation.
“That is why I feel that Nigeria is capable of handling this crisis, it may take longer but we are capable of handling it.”
It is of concern how many Nigerians still share President Buhari’s optimism. The disposition of many towards the current security situation is understandable. The killings are unabating, and no region of the country is spared. Nothing explains the deterioration better than the self-help initiatives by most federating units hiding under vigilance groups to attempt protecting lives and properties within their States.
The reports of notable global observers further begs the issue of claims that the Boko Haram war may be won not too far from now. Add that to recent threats by the United States, under Donald Trump, to place Nigeria on the list of countries too dangerous to visit because of terrorist attacks.
Buhari himself had set the tone for his administration to be measured by promising to contend with the challenge of insecurity by dealing with the issues in months. Sadly, the insurgency war, rather than abate has escalated, rubbishing whatever promises the ruling party, led by Buhari, had made.
Indeed, nothing in the horizon seems to give citizens succour even with the Nigerian military claims that what is being experienced by way of insurgency attacks in the Northeast are the last kicks of a dying man.
So, when President Buhari says ‘it may take longer but we are capable of handling it’, it leaves many wondering how long more it would take to bring the war to an end.
2 other things
1. That Osinbajo confession
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, past week made a statement many now label a true confession.
At an Airtel event in Lagos State, Osinbajo was quoted as saying that the government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and himself “are still very far from touching the majority of those who need help.”
Osinbajo had added that aside from the fact the administration currently feeds “about 9.5 million children” and has about “500,000 young men and women” employed in N-Power program, that it still needed “far more resources – to put far more resources behind that programme.”
Beyond the confession, the scary question borders on how the government would pull the country out of its present unenviable tag of being the world’s poverty capital.
2. And, Adesina paints picture of hell and heaven
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina past week threw himself up for national discourse with his position on how Nigerians should respond to government’s efforts at battling challenges of insecurity.
Adesina had allegedly said Nigerians ought to be thankful that the spate of bombings by terrorists had reduced in the country.
Comparing insecurity during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and now, Adesina had argued that about six bombs were going off daily under Jonathan.
He added that North East was like “hell” then, compared to the “heaven” it had become under Buhari.
“It is not as bad as you make it seem …because we know what the situation was as of 2015 and we know what it is today despite the reversals in security, it is still not as bad as it used to be in this country
“Yes, there was a bomb or two today (Sunday). There was a time that there were five, six, 10 bombings in a day in this country”, Adesina claimed.
Ardent critics would argue that Adesina is simply doing the job for which he is being paid for. An undeniable fact, however, is that his position is highly debatable as his shared view may not suffice as yardstick to measure the level of insecurity in Nigeria before and during President Buhari’s regime.
It bears repetition to state that the nation is largely engulfed in a major security crisis with wanton killings all over the country. The citizens know better because there is hardly any state at the moment, without one security challenge or the other.
Meanwhile, it is possible Adesina spoke for himself and not for his principal.