Memory Lane Of A President’s Memory Losses

By Casmir Igbokwe

He gave us enough signals that he would be an unaware President. But we did not realise it on time. Prior to his inauguration as Nigeria’s President in 2015, Muhammadu Buhari had claimed he was not aware of the temporary ban imposed on Africa Independent Television (AIT) to cover his official functions. He said nobody consulted or informed him about the development. Many of us thought that was just a one-off thing. But little did we know that this “I am not aware” mantra would be elevated to the fundamental objective and cardinal principle of state policy.

Chibuike Amaechi’s recent alleged outbursts against Buhari captured the mood of many Nigerians. In an audio message, which went viral, Amaechi, who is the director-general of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, reportedly said Buhari does not read nor listen to anybody.

“You can write anything you want. The President doesn’t care,” Amaechi allegedly added. Though the Minister of Transportation later denied it, the questions are, does the President read newspapers? Does he have a full grasp of what is happening in the country? Is he really in charge of what goes on in Aso Villa?

Emerging trends suggest he does not. Last Tuesday, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed it at a conference organised by the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN). According to Osinbajo, Buhari was not aware of the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, until penultimate Saturday evening. He expressed sadness that senior members of his profession were being tried.

Similarly, Buhari’s wife, Aisha, had also regretted that her husband was not in charge. According to her, two powerful persons are actually the ones dictating what happens in the country. She said Buhari’s administration would have done better if not for the so-called cabal. She also expressed disappointment in men who, rather than fight these two men, would go to them in the night begging for favours.

The list of events that our President was not aware of is long. He did not know that the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, flouted his order to relocate to Benue last year. That was in the aftermath of the massacre of innocent citizens in that state by suspected herdsmen. The President was not aware that the ex-pension boss, AbdulRasheed Maina, was curiously reinstated into the federal civil service.

Our President is still not aware of the owner of the $42 million cash discovered at an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, some months ago. Remember also that this government demonstrated its incompetence when it announced the appointment of some dead people into the boards of federal agencies and parastatals two years ago. Obviously, Mr. President was not aware and his advisers were also not aware.

Buhari was also not aware of the poor state of Aso Rock clinic. He was not aware of the grass-cutting scandal involving the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, until some months after. He was not aware of the whereabouts of his West African School Certificate.

At a rally in Delta the other day, he introduced the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Delta, Great Ogboru, as the party’s presidential candidate. When someone corrected him from the background, he called him senatorial candidate. At the third correction, he called him governotorial candidate. In his campaign rally in Kogi, he said he assumed office on May 19, 2015.

Moreover, we have a President who wears the garb of alibi and pushes the blame for any infraction on almost everybody but himself. Last Wednesday, he flopped at a live presidential town hall meeting tagged “The Candidates” in Abuja. I waited for the presidential debate last Saturday to hear my President speak and correct the mistakes of the town hall meeting. But he dodged it. Following in his footsteps, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, also shunned the debate. Regrettably, a renowned lawyer, Professor Itsay Sagay, SAN, had shamelessly explained that Buhari would not debate with political dwarfs. What nonsense!

The difference is always clear each time the President is out of the country and Osinbajo has to act. The removal of the erstwhile director-general of the DSS, Lawal Daura, was possible because Osinbajo was in charge. The overdue reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police also became possible because of Osinbajo. Even the appointment of the now embattled Onnoghen was at the instance of the Vice-President.

In all honesty, if Osinbajo were to be the presidential candidate of the APC, a lot of people who have turned against the party today might not do so. He has shown greater presence of mind. He has shown that he reads. He has shown that he listens and takes action whenever occasion calls for it. Unfortunately, our brand of politics does not recognise and push up people like that. We attach a lot of selfish sentiments to our considerations.

It is a disservice to this nation when one turns a blind eye to the problems confronting us because of some selfish gains. In the three key areas that the Buhari presidency hinged its action plans on, things have gone from bad to worse. The fight against corruption is weak and selective. The security situation in the country has worsened. And the economy is not faring any better. I don’t need to bore you with the familiar statistics again. So, why should anybody persuade me to vote the man again? Why should people try to justify the unjustifiable?

Even many of Buhari’s acolytes know that the man has failed. If we search very well, there are many other Amaechis grumbling silently. There are many Osinbajos getting sad that we disregard the rule of law in handling some cases.

The most annoying thing now is the waving of four leprous fingers by Buharists signifying another four-year rule for their man. Personally, I will not wish to go for another four years of misery and hardship, another four years of senseless killings in some parts of the country, and another four years of nepotism and crass incompetence. If it is your wish to continue living in bondage, I wish you luck.

Re: Isuofia and the fun called Igbo mass return

Dear Casmir, apropos “Isuofia and Igbo mass return,” pardon me to say “not yet uhuru”.  The Anambra State government should purge itself of inertia or fear, to grant autonomous status to many communities, such as “Isu Anioma” in Isuofia, “Eziowere” in Owere-Ezukala, “Enuguabo” in Ufuma towns, etc. This was done in sister states of Abia, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi, to stifle bickering and promote community development  through healthy competition. For this reason, the huge millions of naira announced as donations at Isuofia might be mere “sound of fart,” if and when donors fail to pay up, unless the envisaged projects benefit their sections of the town.

– Dr. Chuka Nwosu, Port Harcourt, +2348085914645

Cas, your article was very expository on the events in most parts of Igboland during the month of December each year to the first week of January in the new year. However, there is a very important issue I want Ndigbo to take note of and that is that between the 18th of December each year and the 5th of January in the New Year, Ndigbo outside Igboland in Nigeria bring in and spend in Igboland not less than N3b. None of them goes back to their bases with a kobo out of Igboland at the end of the day. When you add the other activities during the year such as buying of land, building construction, launchings, donations, church events, etc, the sum will get up to N6b that Ndigbo in Diaspora in Nigeria bring or spend every year in Igboland and this has been going on for the past 35 years or more. This has contributed immensely to the development of every part of Igboland. Agitators for self-determination should take note of this and restrategise.

– Anonymous, +2348033072852

Ndigbo travelling for festivity is something that nobody can take away from them in spite of challenges. They must travel home. Every lgbo person must make it a point of duty to travel home for festivities because it is time to see people he has not seen for a very long time and also to hold town hall meetings on how communities will move forward in future. I wish every lgbo person that travels home journey mercy back to cities.

– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

Thank you so much for that masterpiece, “Xenophobia is worse in Nigeria.” But why did you say APC will become the ruling party come May 2019 when election is yet to hold?

– Ekpen Christopher, Uromi, Edo State, +2348054048825

Your write-up on xenophobia is worse in Nigeria, my brother, is indeed a true picture of Nigeria. You are a true son of the land. One Nigeria is a mirage. Nigerians in Nigeria are theoretically and constitutionally united but indeed practically divided in spirit. Igbos in Nigeria, for instance, are doing everything possible to make one Nigeria happen but they are like a bastard child struggling to have an heir from his motherland.

– Hon. Ezeugo Forgive, Lagos, 08097041426

  • First published in The Sun of Monday, January 21, 2019

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