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‘President’s new year message to Nigerians an embarrassment’

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: Reuters

Constitutionally lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has described yesterday’s new year address by President Mohammadu Buhari, as an embarrassment.  

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, he said the remarks were not only embarrassingly banal, uninspiring, empty, but also myopic, unrealistic and bereft of any benefit of historical dynamics.  

He pointed out that the speech was a confirmation of the fact that the President had lost touch with the people, saying: “It is an unfortunate metaphor for one who has lost total touch with the people and their aching pulse.”  

Ozekhome added that the address emanated from the Stone Age and showed no sincerity of purpose.

The senior lawyer continued: “It was an honest admission of abysmal failure, total directionless and cluelessness in the current opaque governance of the country.  

“It never talked about or told Nigerians what he is doing about the putrefying corruption in his government with overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence of fat untouchable cows left unprosecuted.  

“The President, in his speech dismissed the genuine and shrill cries of Nigerians for immediate restructuring of our fundamentally flawed federal system of government, which is actually unitary in nature and operation.

“I couldn’t believe Buhari could muster the courage to blame helpless and hapless Nigerians for being inpatient in their expectation of good governance after two years and nine months of his becoming President, with only one more year to another general elections.”   

Ozekhome reminded the number one citizen and the All Progressives Congress (APC) that they voluntarily entered into a written contract with Nigerians in their manifesto of about 41 mouth-watering ‘Eldorado promises’ that completely hoodwinked Nigerians to queue behind him.         

“When he was accused of not possessing school certificate or its equivalent, Nigerians fired back that it didn’t matter and that they were satisfied if all he had was a mere Agege bread or NEPA bill tag.  

“Such was the ululation and sheer passion that when he was pronounced winner, one Nigerian actually walked from Lagos to Abuja in solidarity, while another rode a bicycle from Kaduna to Lagos.
 
“Unfortunately, all the promises and hopes of a better tomorrow have since become a mirage, reminding one of Julius Caesar’s tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”   

He condemned the fact that the President even blamed ‘imaginary heartless Nigerians’ for the unexpected shortage of fuel and gas that grounded the country for weeks and forced them to spend the festive period at filling stations.

The lawyer went on:“He surprisingly exonerated a colourless, rudderless and corruption-laden NNPC that is not accountable to the Nigerian people.  

“PMB failed to do an honest self introspection to discover that he, as the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources (since he could not trust any other Nigerian honest enough to head the ministry) had woefully failed Nigerians.  
 
“Nearly half of the speech was wasted on discussion of railway projects, which do not add value to immediate issues of hunger, mass unemployment and Nigerians’ desire to survive.  

“The more I read the speech, the more I am convinced that Nigeria is in real trouble.”


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