In the past week, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, released a statement in response to the alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Adesina had highlighted the intention of some powerful people to forcibly terminate the Buhari presidency.
This – including two other stories from the Presidency – had formed the fulcrum of most national discourse lately.
That coup scare
On May 4, Adesina alerted the nation that available evidence showed that some aggrieved religious, and past political leaders were in cahoots to remove President Buhari from office.
“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.
“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil,” he stated.
For ardent followers of the Buhari Presidency, this sort of alarm is not new. On several occasions, in the past, Adesina had dished the citizenry with news of one evil reportedly planned or orchestrated against the Presidency.
For instance, on December 23, 2020, he alerted the country of a plot by some political elements to paint the President “as not being in charge of the country…” Also, on January 29, this year, he claimed an orchestrated smear campaign against Mr. President designed to portray him as one pandering to ethnic and other primordial tendencies, using some online newspapers and blogs.
This trend had always come and gone without any palpable evidence to authenticate the claims of the Presidency. Hence, insinuations and/or thoughts that these are nothing, but mere ploy to divert the attention of Nigerians from the many socio-economic and political challenges the country is bedevilled with.
On a more critical note, however, it has been argued that if the Presidency had “unimpeachable evidence” about disgruntled elements plotting to wreak havoc on the Buhari government, the right thing to do would be to name and shame them.
At a time when the polity is heating up with security issues, spiced with secession calls across several geopolitical zones, a desired course of action is not to raise the alarm that breaths no fresh air to Nigeria’s awful situation.
Two other talking points
On responsible journalism
President Muhammadu Buhari on May 2 charged media practitioners to be responsible in carrying out their duties and avoid reports capable of worsening the situation the country is passing through.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the President as making the call in his message to mark the World Press Freedom Day.
Buhari had said: “That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged like ours now. The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country, and anything that would exacerbate the situation, and further inflame passions and emotions, should be avoided.
“The media needs to ensure that while informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda for public discourse, it does not encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt our unity in diversity.”
No doubt, a call for responsible journalism finds meaning in the midst of an unregulated industry where almost everyone has become a journalist, with fake news ruling the media space.
In spite of this, however, the Buhari administration must appreciate that the onerous task of the media is to help society set the agenda for good governance and hold leaders accountable for their deeds or misdeeds.
The key poser, therefore, is: what measure of responsible leadership has been bequeathed to Nigerians in the past years? Indeed, has the leadership itself not been guilty of making incendiary claims that tend to deepen the country’s fault lines and stoke the embers of disunity?
Would the media then be pronounced guilty for discharging its responsibility of keeping society credibly informed? The answer is most, probably, no.
The place of the media as the watchdog of society remains, and this is what Mr. President must admit, as well as seek to encourage by offering responsible leadership.
NIN key to security
On May 6, President Buhari declared that registration for the National Identification Number (NIN) by Nigerians is key to winning the ongoing war against insecurity in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecoms Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM cards registration in Abuja, the President said: “The NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure. We will be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians. We will identify people easily, including the crooks.”
The place of NIN registration, and linkage to SIM cards in the fight against insecurity cannot be over-emphasised.
While acting right, and not withstanding several observed impediments to the exercise, the President must also consider other strategic moves to have the country’s various data base systems integrated in a seamless manner.
At the moment, the required linkages are clearly missing and it would seem that the government is operating in uncoordinated manner, dumping several billions at these ventures without commensurate returns.
Synergy is required to get the job efficiently and effectively executed.
By John Chukwu…
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