By Prince Kassim Afegbua
*A Nation On A Wheelchair can understand the pains and agonies of President Buhari’s spokesmen that they often go beyond the cliff to pour insults on Nigerians who, they feel, are criticising the President’s feeble effort at providing leadership.
*Reading through one of Garba Shehu’s statements on Sunday, 19th July, one could see his frustrations and that of the presidency, as they vacillate from one incoherent policy to another incoherent action plan in its fight against corruption.
*Garba’s position that Nigerians should not see the taciturn approach of President Buhari as a sign of weakness, also reminded columnists, editors, analysts and their commentators to be conversant with the “implications” of saying the president was not in charge of the affairs in the nation.
*If there are no rationales, one would have taken Garba’s position as apposite, but in a country that is almost literally overtaken by grand corruption, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and insurgency, there is little left to be appreciated about the Buhari presidency.
*The leadership is rudderless, short of initiatives, driven by rhetoric, taciturn in response, reactive rather than proactive, agitated in response to constructive criticisms, deep in nepotism, embellished in cronyism and rich in selective amnesia in its crusade against corruption.
*In a government that preaches anti-corruption as one of its cardinal principles of engagement, it is utterly nauseating to witness a growing incidence of corruption to pooh-pooh the crusade in the first place. In a government that talks so much about buying combat equipment, it is disheartening to see growing cases of insecurity, armed banditry and the like.
*In a government that promised to create three million jobs per annum, and take away 100 million out of poverty, it is a sad commentary to observe increase in unemployment, kidnapping activities and armed banditry.
*When people criticise, it is not to hurt the sensibilities of the president, but to tell him, using public platforms, stories that he may not be conversant with from pliant aides who hardly tell the full story.
*In the Magu case, a government that desires to maintain a positive perception in the crusade against corruption, ought not to politicise the interrogations of Magu and made it a celebrated media trial. The presidential panel, in a saner society, would have finished its questioning quietly, get a report having explored all the issues, before talking of public prosecution.
*The moment the trial or interrogation became public knowledge, the entire exercise became an orchestra.
*When the FBI swooped on Hushpuppi in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), noises were not heard, drumbeats were silent. They did their investigation before they descended on him with hard facts.
*Even when Magu had not been given opportunity to respond to the weighty allegations against him, he was already condemned to “firing squad” of the media.
*If the EFCC czar is later absolved of the allegations, some members of the public would advance a cover-up theory, and the man will carry such stigma till the rest of history.
*For the likes of Garba Shehu, what we desire to see is a presidency that is less noisy, diligent in approach and conduct, but proactive in most cases, in dispensing its leadership interventions. Insecurity in the country, for example, requires proactive approach to dealing with crimes and criminalities.
*Insurgency requires tact, diplomacy and combativeness. Banditry requires a studied approach to underpin the reason for the growing cases and the use of tactical methods in confronting this monster.
*When Nigerians die every day, rivers of blood are flowing ceaselessly, the people would naturally look unto their leader, their president, their god on earth for prompt action.
*Only last week Tuesday, I lost a brother, Abdulrasaq Afegbua to kidnappers along the notorious Okene-Lokoja road. He was looking forward to arriving Abuja on that day, when kidnappers rammed bullets on his vehicle and got him killed on his steering, while taking away two occupants of his vehicle into the forest.
*The death has left us in awe, as we battle to raise ransom for the two that are still in captivity. A day later, another incident happened at the same spot, this time about nine persons were said to have been kidnapped.
*On Saturday, we lost another great son of Afemai, a patriotic Nigerian who served as Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Zakawanu Garuba. Mrs. Hassana Garuba, on her way to Auchi where her husband’s body was to be lowered to mother earth, was kidnapped alongside her driver.
*A mourning wife who was caught in grief and shock, seeing her husband’s ambulance in front of her, was taken into the forest almost at the same spot.
*Garba Shehu, what would be your response to those who were supposed to provide security to lives and properties as enshrined in the Constitution?
*We should smile at the president or clap for him for such dereliction of duty?
*When you are unable to coordinate all the departments and agencies of government to get optimum impact in all spheres of life, attention will be focused on the president as the head of government.
*As at the time of writing this, Mrs. Zakawanu is still being held in captivity while her husband has since been buried according to Islamic rites. What manner of mental torture could that be? What manner of agony and psychological trauma could she possibly be going through?
*How do you explain such? Visit embassies across Nigeria and see the deluge of applications by Nigerians trying to relocate to other countries.
*Carry out a survey and see for yourself the agonies people go through in trying to use the Sahara Desert to escape Nigeria’s almost intolerable realities and vicissitudes of life. What has been the response of a Buhari presidency that is holed up in the inner sanctuary of Aso Villa, threatening Nigerians to be wary of the implications of criticisms?
*What insolence! If, in the fullness of our present economic doldrums occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians are still being made to pay ransom to kidnappers for the failures and frailties of government, should the victims continue to extend pleasant hugs to the president?
*What are the security operatives doing? Are they well motivated? Are they well kitted with superior gadgets to withstand the daring posture of these criminals?
*Travelling on Nigerian roads these days is as frightening as the harrowing experiences people encounter on the highways.
*Should we now celebrate the president as performing when indeed he has shown manifest traits of a laissez faire leadership that comes with low productivity?
*Just as the kidnapping horrors were going on down South, up North was replete with our usual dirge.
*Boko Haram insurgents had laid ambush against our fighters, our patriotic soldiers, who have been helping to respond to the unwholesome activities of the insurgents in very difficult terrains and circumstances.
*They were mauled down in multiple numbers and the nation went numb, because such bestiality has become a familiar drudgery. In such reality, Garba Shehu wants us to clap for his master, our President.
*We have repeatedly raised alarm that our present crop of Service Chiefs are expired and tired.
*We need to inject new blood into our military that is constitutionally empowered to protect our territorial integrity. It is not about wearing the military uniform that matters, it is how much of creativity and initiative you bring to the table that matters.
*When we are pushed to a level where lives no longer matter, it kills the very soul of the nation.
*What is the big deal for President Buhari to overhaul the military, weed out those who have overstayed their welcome, inject new thinking into it, generate new ideas and test new techniques to confront this hydra-headed monster called Boko Haram?
*If the president decides otherwise, and the end result appears not suitable, should we clap for him?
*It is not in doubt that there is so much anger in the land, from the North to the South because President Buhari has not lived up to the expectations of Nigerians, especially that of his itinerant followers.
*There is nothing motivating about the present leadership in the country from the cocoon of Aso Villa to elsewhere.
*If the president’s aides and family are not quarrelling, his appointees are at each other’s throat. If his ministers are not walking out on the parliamentarians, his party’s chieftains are at daggers drawn.
*Just look at the drama of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC, and those who were appointed to run the affairs. Just imagine how corruption has been so embellished and garnished in rhetoric, yet no corresponding response and action from our leadership, yet Garba Shehu wants us to be careful of how we draw our references about a leadership that is not in charge of our affairs.
*Nigeria has become a huge joke under President Buhari and it must be unambiguously stated that the bulk stops on his table.
*The earlier the president shows leadership and capacity, the better for a country that is presently showing visible signs of implosion.
*We cannot dress President Buhari in borrowed robes. He needs to wake up and preside!