By George Onmonya Daniel
In response to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s criticism that Nigeria is terribly divided under President Buhari, which was supported by elder statesman and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Femi Adesina, the President’s most senior spokesman, said on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme on Wednesday, 16th September, 2020, that Nigeria had always been divided and there was nothing special about the comments made by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Did Buhari inherit a terribly divided Nigeria? I would say ‘no’ from the context of which President Obasanjo and Prof. Wole Soyinka are talking about. A lot of countries are usually divided, especially along party lines, after a contentious election like the 2015 election where an incumbent lost. Nigerian elections are almost always contested along tribal, religious and regional lines. After an election one expects animosity to linger for a short period of time. It is therefore then the duty of the new government to study the mood of the nation and bring everybody together.
After President Buhari was sworn in on May 29th, 2015, he made no effort to address this faultline by bringing the nation together after his “I belong to everyone, I belong to no one speech.” Instead he would go to the United States shortly afterwards to contradict himself when answering question from the press by saying that he would give more attention to areas where he got the highest votes.
When he finally appointed his ministers, he was accused of giving some of the juicy ministries to Northern Muslims. He was also accused of appointing almost all northerners to head almost all security apparatuses. There was lack of diversity in his government. President Obasanjo wrote him a letter a year into his first term accusing him of nepotism.
Despite complain from all over the Middle Belt, South and East, of non-inclusion in the Buhari administration and the damaging perception and accusations of tribalism, sectionalism and nepotism, President Buhari ignored everyone.
This is the administration where Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) were hastily labelled terrorists for protesting mostly peacefully for a state of Biafra, and bandits who have been involved in kidnapping for ransome, raping and mass killings, referred to as common criminals just because they are the tribesmen of the president.
The president and the presidency have continued to fight and defend these group of criminals and make them look like the victim. They wanted a Radio Fulani for them, they tried to muscle state government to give them land to build cattle colony, RUGA, Livestock Transformation Agenda and what have you. These gangs have been so emboldened by lack of proper actions by the federal government that they carry guns around Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and environ in broad day light. They brag to the people that the people have Allah, but they have government.
The federal government’s mishandling of crisis between herders and farmers in the Middle Belt gave the impression that they have taken side. It went so bad that General TY Danjuma (rtd) would tell the people to take up arms and protect themselves.
President Buhari hasn’t shown any sign that he cares about bringing this country together. Since coming to power he has been able to inspire the country or give hope to the nation.
Femi Adesina has also done a terrible job in marketing President Buhari positively. Anyone who tries to point the government to the right direction, critique the government, say anything contrary to what they want to hear is a wailing wailer, an enemy of the government.
One cannot fault President Olusegun Obasanjo and Professor Wole Soyinka on this one. Nigeria is so divided. Femi Adesina of all people who relates with people on social media should know that. It’s not that Nigerians have been always united, but what the duty of a government than to unite a nation? President Buhari hasn’t been able to do that. I don’t think he can do that, it’s not in his agenda, he doesn’t have the capacity. But I advise him and the people around him to listen to the voice of reason and the voice of the people.
Until a government listens to the voices of reason and take note of criticism, theh cannot change much or anything.
By George Onmonya Daniel
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