By Casmir Igbokwe
President Muhammadu Buhari’s acolytes and image-makers may have failed in many areas, but they have succeeded in one thing: packaging Buhari as a sincere, forthright man. Unfortunately, this forthrightness goes on vacation during some political and security upheavals in the country. The President either feigns ignorance, keeps mute or transfers blame somewhere else.
The most recent example is the raging war between the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari. Monguno had accused Kyari of acting beyond his brief by directly intervening in security issues. In a leaked memo to President Buhari, dated December 9, 2019, Monguno, a retired army general, said Kyari’s undue meddlesomeness threatened efforts to address rising insecurity in the country. Part of the allegations against the Chief of Staff was that he summoned security chiefs to meetings and gave certain directives on issues that border on security, without the input of the NSA.
It is a well known fact that Kyari is close to the President. Hence, he is feared and revered. His word is law. Recall that Buhari had ordered ministers and heads of agencies to get to him through the office of the Chief of Staff. Besides, the continued stay in office of service chiefs despite glaring poor performance is said to be at the instance of Kyari. Apparently, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, appreciates this fact well. And so, it is not surprising that he is reported to have sided with Kyari in his power game with Monguno. It is in his enlightened self-interest to do so.
Ordinarily, the service chiefs should meet with Monguno regularly, not the Chief of Staff. Judging from the spate of killings, abductions and terrorist attacks on communities, especially in the North, the natural question would be, what is the NSA doing? What are the service chiefs doing? Nobody will ever direct his query to Kyari. He is not a military man and does not understand security language. Why then has the President not called him to order for meddling in security matters?
For a country that is almost in a state of war, this is disheartening. To add insult to injury, Buratai and Monguno reportedly test their powers on their subordinates. One would give order for something to be done. The other would counter it. Soldiers are confused as to whom to obey. Little wonder, our security architecture has almost collapsed. And our Commander-in-Chief has remained silent. This is disturbing!
For many Nigerians, confusion is the name of this dangerous game. They have demanded the sacking of the service chiefs who are overdue for retirement. They have asked the President to rescue them from the traumatic insecurity in the land. Most times, the President has maintained an uncomfortable silence.
The President also failed to take serious action on the occasional outburst of his wife, Aisha, on this Aso Rock power game. Last December, for instance, the First Lady had cause to throw some jabs at the so-called Villa cabal. Mrs. Buhari had accused the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, of taking instructions from the cabal rather than the President who appointed him. Shehu, she regretted, was working against the First Family.
The same Aisha had an altercation with Fatima, the daughter of the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura, in October last year. Fatima released a video showing Mrs. Buhari shouting and lamenting how the Dauras had hijacked the Villa, and even locked her out of a room. Again, the man who brought in Daura to the Villa said nothing. I am not sure if he did anything privately.
Tragically, Buhari presents a facade of ignorance of major happenings around him. Earlier this year, our President said he was surprised at the current spate of insecurity in the country. He also expressed surprise and shock that the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, did not relocate to Benue as he instructed him to do in the heat of the killings in that state in 2018.
Last week, someone called me to react to my piece entitled, “Buhari has failed northern Nigeria,” published on this page last Monday. According to the man, Buhari is not to blame for the spate of insecurity in the country. The blame, he says, goes directly to the foreigners from Niger and some other neighbouring countries who invade the country at will and unleash mayhem on our citizens.
So, how did these foreigners with sophisticated arms enter our country unchallenged? Don’t we have security teams patrolling our borders anymore? What has the President done to checkmate the influx of illegal migrants into the country?
Our President should realise that, in a Presidential system of government, he takes the glory or blame for whatever happens in the country. After all, he is the one Nigerians voted for, not Kyari, not Monguno. Or is he no longer the no-nonsense leader his followers presented him to be?
As it is now, his silence is no longer golden. Those who say he is not in charge have a point. But I believe he knows what he is doing. For the sake of millions of traumatised Nigerians who feel the pangs of insecurity every day, he should assert his authority and put his house in order.
Re: Buhari has failed northern Nigeria
Dear Casy, the problem of PMB is his media aides (Shehu and Adesina), even the so-called BMO. Hence they don’t allow him hear the bitter truth. Hoohaa, PMB has failed us, not only the North.
– Iyke, Okigwe, +2349011930799
Senior brother, are you surprised? You don’t have to be because the evil that men do live with them nowadays. This is an introduction! It shows that the people are frustrated, disenchanted and tired of the whole system. Revolution is imminent, if government does not listen to the clarion call.
– Smart, Abakaliki, 08134774884
Dear Casmir, the first agent of socialisation is the family. Because the woman is the most influential instrument, there should be free education for all northern women from cradle to first degree for the next 50 years. At this, their children will see who to look onto to accept education. This will end terrorism in the long run.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu, 09095385215
For the sake of truth, northern Nigerians owe PMB a show of profound gratitude for his sincerity and courage to transform their region from wreckage of the magnitude perpetrated by the past military and civilian dealers, not leaders.
– Comrade Femi Dada, Ibadan, Oyo State, +2347084569682
Let’s assume that resignation is in our dictionary, many of our leaders should have resigned from their appointment because of their inability to find a lasting solution to these killings. Nigerians don’t really understand why the presidency is still keeping the military chiefs in spite of their poor performance. There must be a hidden agenda.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348115368466
Casmir, a President’s second term is a period of consolidation. PMB should be progressive in all areas of our lives rather than being retrogressive, especially on security and welfare of Nigerians.
– Mike Mushin, Lagos, +2348161114572
Dear Casy, Buhari hasn’t failed the North. The North has taken over the nation: the Presidency, National Assembly, the judiciary as they have taken over our farmlands. All the hues and cries about insecurity and insurgency is their plot to crush the South. Check the states where the Boko Haram and bandits hold sway. Most of their governors frolic with the Aso Rock landlord except states like Benue, Taraba, Sokoto, Zamfara. All their evil plot to Fulanise and Islamise us must fail. You could recall Gowon’s police action during the war of genocide in the past. Buhari code-named his own, farmers/herders clashes. He collects money from members of the international community to fight the terrorism war only to release the terrorists that kill law-abiding Nigerians and their security personnel. He is working to actualise their hegemonic system that has ruined not only the North but the country.
– Eze Chima C. Lagos, +2347036225495
Good morning. God bless you. He has not only failed his people but Nigeria generally. He should go, please.
– Anonymous, +2348144447373
Re: Fighting corruption with machete
It is now beyond doubt that our civil service, the judiciary, legislative and executive arms of government are where unbridled corruption is brewed. The daily extortion on our roads by the so-called security agents, admission racketeering, certificate forgery and exam malpractices in our academic institutions have since assumed the level of an epidemic. What an agonising and crying shame! There is the recurring rot that now sweeps across the electoral space and its players. The Nigerian voters have been systematically ‘robbed’ through our corrupt electoral process. Their votes don’t count, it’s the courts that now determine who should assume the gubernatorial or presidential seat. Or haven’t we observed with delayed shock how the Supreme Court has turned a ‘man’ into a ‘woman’ in Zamfara and Imo states? What about the very fresh and shocking infection of David Lyon by the coronavirus emitted by Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo’s name-juggling drama? Corruption war is difficult, especially in Nigeria where it’s multifaceted and clothed with double standards, politics, tribalism, class exemption and the like. There are repeated graft allegations against some of our past Heads of State/Presidents, yet none has been tried let alone any conviction in this regard as it’s the case in some countries where the corruption fight is total and not discriminatory. In spite of EFCC’s much-touted convictions, its dragnet carefully avoids these privileged persons. There’s a certain pseudo-transparency group whose job it appears was just to go after Onnoghen and no other person even at the background of worse cases of corruption. Our corruption level is high, the fight also lacks sincerity. Our embarrassing low grading by TI is in order.
– Edet Essien Esq, +2348037952470
- First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, February 24, 2020