The public outcry by Nigerians, following the ‘Civil War’ comments made by President Muhammadu Buhari on the escalating insecurity situation in the South-East region of the country, once again, portrayed him as a leader whose statements, rather than soothe the frayed nerves of the nation, have a propensity for divisiveness.
In the tweet on Wednesday, May 2, on Buhari’s verified handle, the President had said:
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Twitter’s decision to delete the post for violating its community rules has drawn some applause while the Nigerian Government, on its part, has wielded the big hammer by suspending the operations of the micro-blogging site in the country.
As argued by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Twitter’s operations and “influence in Nigeria was suspicious.”
Mohammed also frowned at the fact that tweets by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, were never flagged and as such, Twitter was subtly endorsing Kanu’s secessionists tweets aimed at dividing Nigeria.
Buhari, until lately, had been perceived as one of Nigeria’s most charismatic leaders. But buffeted by serious socio-economic and political challenges, citizens are increasingly weaving different tales around the once popular military dictator who evolved to become a civilian president after a fourth attempt in 2015.
Buhari’s emergence on the scene held very high hopes but six years down the road, his administration has gone ahead to wobble and fumble on a number of issues, with a sizable percentage of Nigerians no longer taking his promises seriously.
Quotes attributed to Buhari which, ordinarily, would have given hope to Nigerians, have inevitably, turned out to portray him as a leader who no longer instills confidence in his people.
We go down memory lane to unearth a dozen statements credited to the once-loved Buhari but which have become sad reminders of failed promises.
1. “I assure you, if I become president, the world will not have to worry about Nigeria as it is now.” – March 10, 2014.
2. “The corporate existence of Nigeria as a single entity is not a subject of debate and will not be compromised.” – February 26, 2015
3. “I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody… I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection.” – May 29, 2015.
4. “We shall send corrupt politicians to Kirikiri.” – March 15, 2016
5. “This generation of Nigerians and indeed the future generation have no country other than Nigeria; we shall stay and salvage it together.” – October 1, 2016.
6. “More than 60 percent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free.” – April 18, 2018
7. “We inherited so many problems. Actually, I have said I will not complain because I asked for it. I tried to become president three times and I lost, but I was lucky the fourth time, l became one, so I can’t complain.” – December 3, 2018.
8. “As far as the constitution allows me, I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.” – April 17, 2019.
9. “I assure you that Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror and to bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas, we shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism.” – May 29, 2019.
10. “We face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head-on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.” – October 1, 2019.
11. “I will kill corruption before it kills Nigeria. We will stop corruption and make an ordinary people, the weak and the vulnerable our top priority.” – September 28, 2020.
12. “Boosting education will be a direct counterbalance to Boko Haram’s appeal. In particular we must educate more young girls, ensuring they will grow up to be empowered through learning to play their full part as citizens of Nigeria and pull themselves up and out of poverty.” – December 24, 2020.
No doubt, a sampling of Nigeria’s political and economic landscapes provide sufficient grounds for a critical review of how far the President has walked his talk on some select issues.
Has he kept those promises? Let’s have your take.
By Isaac Dachen
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