In the past one week, those who think they own Nigeria, and their cohorts, have been making magisterial pronouncements on the state of the nation. What they couldn’t get through the ballot box in 2019, they are attempting to achieve through misinformation, disinformation, malevolence, false narrative, and outright malediction.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wants us to believe that the country is collapsing, and is now a basket case, with the economy and unity in tatters.
Fine. Nigeria has a lot of challenges. Insecurity. Insularity. Fallen economic fortunes. Rising costs. Huge unemployment. And many more. But are those the only things happening in the country? Not at all. It would be disingenuous, even deceitful to say so. And only the unwary, the undiscerning, would be fooled. And well, including those who choose deliberately to be fooled.
To the applause of ‘sour grapers’ in groups like Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Northern Elders Forum, PANDEF, and some others, Chief Obasanjo spoke, and called his country and its leadership all sorts of names. But am I impressed? No. These were people in the same boat before the 2019 presidential elections. They wanted President Muhammadu Buhari out of office for different personal reasons. But what did they get? A shellacking. Bloody noses, and they went away with their tails between their feet, like a beaten dog. Their boat capsized.
I remember that infamous letter of early 2018, a year before elections, from the professional letter writer. He directed the horse rider (read, President) to dismount, and allow another person to mount. The landlord of the country had spoken, and his word was law.
No sir! President Buhari politely told his former boss in the military. We went to the polls, and the people spoke in a loud voice. The landlord was ejected, thrown out into the cold.
That is why anything Chief Obasanjo says about this government cannot carry weight. It is not a case of accepting the message, and ignoring the messenger, as some people canvass. The jaundice of the messenger can taint and corrode the message, and render it unreliable.
And for the cheerleaders, the different groups Obasanjo spoke to, and who egged him on, they are no better. They all took positions before last year’s elections. They threw in their lots with Buhari’s closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar. They all got beaten together, black and blue. And for all of them, they don’t seem to realize that the elections have been won and lost. Till 2023. They remain in pre-election mode, forgetting that the train had long left the station.
Their strategy is simple. Say so much evil about Buhari and his government, paint him black, confuse and discourage Nigerians, paint the picture of a bleak future, till the people become forlorn and disconsolate. What they lost at the polls, they want to get through some other means, as if Nigerians were fools, incapable of independent reasoning.
The former President says the country is collapsing. I agree. Nigeria is collapsing forward. In diverse ways, under President Muhammadu Buhari, the collapse is in a forward trajectory, despite all the odds.
I love what Temitope Ajayi, a public affairs commentator, posted on Facebook earlier in the week. Under the title ‘When Nigeria Was Not A Failed State,’ he listed atrocious developments that occurred between 1999 and 2007, when Obasanjo was President. His Attorney General and Chief Law Officer of the country, Bola Ige, was murdered in cold blood. A serving Governor, Dr Chris Ngige, of Anambra State, was abducted, and thugs unleashed mayhem on Awka, the state capital, burning and looting for many days. Yet, not a word from the President. Nor any action to restore sanity.
Zaki Biam, in Benue State, and Odi, in Bayelsa, were leveled by soldiers on reprisal missions. Scores were murdered. In Plateau State, which had become killing fields, he called the state chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) a fool, a compound fool, adding, “CAN, my foot!” Today, that same man, Rev Yakubu Pam, has been appointed Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission by Buhari, a Muslim bigot, as they claim.
And more. In his eight years in office, roads collapsed, rail became history, Supreme Court judgments were subject to his personal interpretations, Governors were wantonly removed without due process, yet, Nigeria was not collapsing then.
Temitope Ajayi summed it up this way: “Under the man that is turning Nigeria to a failed state, as at today, work is going on at a frenetic pace on Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Alausa Toll Gate road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Express, Ikorodu-Sagamu, among others.
“A rail line from Lagos-Ibadan is at final stage of completion. Now that Nigeria is failing, it should be noted that all these projects are in South-West, the same place where the ‘savior’ who couldn’t save himself came from.
“I still struggle to understand the logic of this so-called failed country narrative under the leadership of a man who is doing what his predecessors failed to do, across the entire country, under the most challenging circumstances of low revenue since he took office.”
Thanks Temitope Ajayi, for being so succinct. You nailed it.
And Kurtis Adigba, lawyer, and another good Nigerian, who loves his country dearly, drove the nail further in. Also on Facebook, he posted this week: “For some people, Nigeria is good and doing well only when they are in control of things. They go about sowing seeds of discord and division, and turn round to talk about unity as if unity happens through division and not by coming together.”
Chief Obasanjo talked about the mismanagement of our diversity, saying it is leading to collapse. True? False. Nigeria, since 1914, had been an uneasy Federation. There is hate, mistrust, unkind thoughts, ill will, among the Federating units. If you meet him, kill him. If you can’t catch up with him, poison his footsteps. That had always been the relationship. One government after the other had always done its best to promote cohesion and amity, but hateful things Obasanjo and his collaborators have been saying for months and years divide the country further. They can’t sow the wind, and not expect to reap the whirlwind. When things suddenly go bust, and there’s murder and mayhem all over the place, they are often results of evil seeds of division and hate already sown.
I have concluded that unless Nigerians want this country to work, we would just continue to labor and labor. Government after government would do their bit, but as long as divisive, vitriolic comments continue, there would be no nation in the true sense of the word. Not even after President Buhari leaves office. Adigba puts it this way:
“The next President of Nigeria will face the same problem as President Buhari, if we don’t choose to do things differently and treat the country better. Right now, we see Nigeria as an opportunity, not a country to be nourished.”
Home truth. Nigerians are the greatest problem of Nigeria. We continue to harp on the negative, deliberately closing our eyes to positives. Nigeria is collapsing. Yes it is collapsing forward. Revolution in infrastructure. Roads, rail, bridges, airports, and many others. Corruption is being fought, with verifiable results, insurgency and criminality tackled robustly. The economy is being diversified, agriculture is working, we can feed ourselves. But for the enemies, the country is collapsing. Yes, collapsing forward.
Those who claim to love this country, and pretend to be the landlords, actually may love just themselves, and not the country. Otherwise, they would mind their language, knowing that things they say build up tension and animosity, which eventually boil over, leading to sorrow, tears and blood (dem regular trademark).
We must test and examine our ways, and decide whether we want our country to work or not. There are challenges, stiff ones. But they will be overcome, if we all team up, and eschew evil thoughts and words. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122, verse 6).
May they prosper that love Nigeria, our own dear native land.
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity
It’s In The Interest Of Our Youths To Keep The Peace – President Buhari
Nigerian youths would do well to keep the peace, as it is in their own interest ultimately, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
The President spoke Monday at State House, Abuja, while receiving in audience the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment.
“Our own generation is on the last lap, we are exiting,” President Buhari said in response to the recent EndSARS protest, and the mayhem and destruction of public and private property that came in its wake.
“It is in the interest of the youths to keep the peace. They want jobs, infrastructure and development. I have sent a team led by the Chief of Staff (Professor Ibrahim Gambari) to go round the country, talk to traditional rulers, who will then talk to the youths. The views of the youths have been heard,” the President added.
He said that the current administration inherited severe infrastructural deficits, “and that is what we are fighting to correct. We can’t just sit, fold our hands, and do nothing. We are doing our best within the limits of resources.”
President Buhari rued the fact that COVID-19 has shrunk the global economy, noting that “this is something you can’t see, smell, or hear,” but which has wrought devastation on lives and livelihoods round the world.
On climate change, he said Nigeria was concerned about the recharge of the Lake Chad, which has great implications on security, irregular migration, and livelihoods.
The Deputy Secretary-General said she was on a courtesy call with her team to flag interest on challenges that concern the UN, particularly COVID-19, climate change, security, and humanitarian responses to the diverse challenges.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
November 9, 2020
President Buhari Calls For Support Of Traditional Elders In Addressing Demands Of Nigerian Youths
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja emphasized the imperative of support of traditional rulers in the administration’s determination to address the demands of the country’s youths.
At a meeting in the State House with a delegation of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, the President told the royal fathers that “we have heard the loud cries of our youth and children, and we are attending to their concerns.”
He, however, stressed that “To succeed in all of this, we would require your support and voice to help amplify the message. Your proximity to the people places you in a unique position to communicate and ensure that our response is targeted and impactful.”
Describing their “role as guardians of our traditional values and culture” as most critical, the President urged them not to compromise their neutrality “because this is what significantly confers on you, your moral authority and legitimacy.”
According to President Buhari, his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, would lead senior government officials to various parts of the country “and directly engage with you as part of this process. He will be reporting back to me on your various perspectives.
“I want to once again thank you for the role you all have played to calm down our youth with wisdom and authority. By instilling hope and keeping the peace, you have rendered the country great service.”
While warning that “we cannot allow anybody or group to threaten the peace or sabotage these efforts,” the President restated that “strong, transparent efforts are underway to address those rogue elements of the Nigerian Police Force. Simultaneously, the Nigerian Police Force will also undergo much needed reform that covers welfare, working conditions, and code of conduct. That will usher in a more professional workforce.”
Recognizing the primary and important role of the monarchs in helping maintain peace and security in the country, the President expressed delight at their visit “given all that has happened recently in our country.”
While receiving the recommendations of the traditional rulers, he promised to study them and take appropriate action.
President Buhari had earlier drawn the attention of the eminent delegation to the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic on the world.
“We find ourselves in very turbulent times, with a global health pandemic that has been incredibly challenging. Economies have been crippled as the response to the pandemic has forced businesses to shut down or devise new means of transacting. For a country like ours, with a large informal economy, our citizens have been particularly hit.”
He noted, however, that his administration has “designed various schemes and taken many measures to soften the impact, despite our own revenue struggles as government,” while recognizing that “more needs to be done to cater to our fellow citizens, not just those in the urban areas but also those in rural areas.”
According to President Buhari, “I am also fully aware that our strong farming belts have been impacted by floods. While we have seen record levels of farm outputs and increased level of fertilizer utilization, government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and its agencies is working on how to help bring these farmers some relief.”
Admitting the enormity of these challenges and “our growing youth population,” the President declared:
“There is no hiding place regarding how we should address insecurity concerns, youth unemployment, job creation, boosting industrialization and preparing for a transition into a digital economy.”
Remarks were made by the Sultan of Sokoto and the Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, while two foremost traditional rulers representing each geo-political zone also attended the meeting.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
November 5, 2020
President Buhari Urges Nigerians To Desist From Decisive Actions , Says Nigeria’s Unity Won At Great Cost – Femi Adesina
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja appealed to Nigerians to desist from actions and comments that could jeopardise the unity and progress of the nation.
Launching the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD) Emblem and Appeal Fund, President Buhari said this year’s occasion reminds Nigerians of the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at great cost.
The President, who stressed that ‘‘Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity’’, honoured the memory of the nation’s fallen heroes and veterans, recounting their sacrifices during the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War and Peace Support Operations around the world.
President Buhari also paid tribute to men and women currently engaged in internal security operations, particularly the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in some parts of the country, praising them for remaining steadfast in the difficult task of restoring peace and security despite the coronavirus pandemic.
”We honour the memory of our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order to keep the country united as one entity.
”The nation remains grateful for the efforts and sacrifice of the Armed Forces especially in the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.
”The Armed Forces Remembrance Day or Veterans Day as it is known in some parts of the world is an important event observed in commemoration of the end of the Second World War.
”In Commonwealth member countries, the Remembrance Day is observed on 11th November yearly. However, for us the date was changed to 15th January annually to accommodate the commemoration of the end of the Nigerian Civil War,’’ he said.
On security operations in the North West and North Central zones in the country, President Buhari expressed delight at the return of normalcy in some of the areas that previously witnessed security challenges.
”Our dear nation has witnessed numerous security challenges since independence.
”These security threats have undermined Nigeria in the areas of trade, investment and economy, education, health as well as agriculture and frequently denied Nigerians the freedom of movement.
”I am however pleased to state that a lot has been achieved in the Internal Security operations in the North West and North Central zones where in addition to Operations LAFIYA DOLE, HADARIN DAJI, HARBIN KUNAMA, WHIRL STROKE, other operations such as ACCORD, SAHEL SANITY and KATSINA were successfully launched.
”This has led to the return of normalcy in some of the affected areas. However, all hands must be on deck to check attacks on soft targets, ” he said.
The President, who restated that his administration will continue to forge useful alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the security threats affecting the sub-region, promised to ensure timely provision of adequate resources and necessary logistics support for the Armed Forces.
President Buhari further pledged that under his watch the Nigeria Armed Forces will operate with the best modern warfare equipment, with welfare issues receiving utmost attention.
”We are quite aware that it is our responsibility to provide a conducive environment that is devoid of security threats.
”I want to re-assure Nigerians that security being one of the pillars of this administration will continue to be at the forefront until peace and security are restored in the country,’’ he said.
The President also used the occasion to reassure Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to creating an environment in which all citizens and foreigners are guaranteed freedom and returns on investments.
He, therefore, urged business enterprises to render discounts and rebates to men and women in uniform as a symbol of appreciation for their sacrifices, saying ‘‘this kind gesture will make life easier for them and deepen their patriotism’’.
On support for families of members of the Armed Forces who died in active service, President Buhari acknowledged that the unfortunate cost of the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges was the unavoidable loss of lives of some gallant compatriots.
”The reality is that the spouses and defendants of these bread-winners in most cases experience trauma and deprivation. However, we can be of support to them to lighten their burdens especially in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
”I therefore call on all to spare a thought for them and take positive steps to come to their aid,” he said, commending charity organisations engaged in the noble cause of bringing succour to the families of fallen heroes and veterans.
Speaking as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Legion, the President expressed delighted that the Nigerian legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans, doing a lot in catering for the welfare of ailing members
”To ensure that our veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and that their welfare is adequately catered for, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion as well as fully paid all pension arrears of veterans,” he said.
He urged State Governors, who are patrons of Legions in their respective States, as well as Nigerians, to continue to support and participate in the Legion’s initiatives in the areas of transportation, agriculture and housing development.
The President called on Nigerians and other residents in the country to procure and wear the emblems with pride in order to identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of the county.
”I encourage all to donate generously in support of our veterans and dependents of our fallen heroes,” he said.
President Buhari announced a donation of N10 million to the Nigerian Legion.
In his address of welcome, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) called on members of the civil society, religious and political leaders, the academia as well as the media to educate and enlighten Nigerians on the need to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices of gallant compatriots in uniform.
He also encouraged Nigerians to procure and wear the emblem to boost the morale of serving personnel.
In his remarks, the Chairman Nigerian Legion, Brigadier General Adakole Jones Akpa (Rtd), thanked President Buahri for his unrelenting support to the ex-servicemen, particularly in ensuring the prompt payment of pensions.
Akpa, who also recognized the presence and support of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, members of the Diplomatic Corps and the Service Chiefs, to the Nigerian Legion, said despite the challenges facing the country:
”God is with Nigeria. We should sing the Nigerian song as nobody will sing it for us. ”
During the emblem launch ceremony, the Chairman Nigerian Legion decorated President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo with the 2021 AFRD emblem.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 28, 2020↵
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