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Misjudge the critics at nation’s peril

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Of late, two things explain why President Muhammadu Buhari’s government no longer seems to be the apple of the people’s eyes. One is that insecurity spreads exponentially across the country without any sign of abating. The other is the profound uncertainty about the nation’s economic direction. So, as it were, critics have let their tongues lose and they seem to cause scare and make the ruling government uncomfortable with the unpleasant truth about the shape of things. What followed, though, has been neither to think outside the box nor emerge with new demand for sacrifices on how to tackle the menace, but for government and its officials to perceive critics as enemies of progress. Without prejudice, critics and government the world over have never been, cannot and will never be on the same page. Although, most critics are constantly seen in the corridors of power, but such privileges cannot stand in the way and prevent them to speak truth to power whenever occasion demands with the keenness of wit and intellect that cannot fail to fascinate the people. However, it is up to a responsive and responsible government to critically study the critic’s point of view and make amends. Rather than immersing itself in needless political brouhaha that may continue to put the country in great danger.

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No doubt, critics and government each had a common obligation that is driven with patriotism. But either as a result of ego or pride, the later does not take criticism in good fate. Since the All Progressives Congress (APC) party took power in 2015, critics and human rights activists have continued to point at the grey areas in government. However, it is impossible to scan the ruling government’s responses to criticism without coming across a few incidents that evoke shame. Of late, the Buhari government’s oratory in fighting corruption, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping name it, is very soothing. But sadly, the ugly reality stares everyone in the face. Yet critics are called unprintable names to say that the country is not safe. What is truly disheartening is that today’s political leaders have been so ideological, so dysfunctional, so weak or so stubborn that they have continued in failure to correct things everyone glaringly sees as wrong. For instance, it took President Muhammadu Buhari his first tenure and now in his second term in office to feel very surprised about the rising insecurity in the country. It did not have to be that way. Perhaps the President has been constantly fed with a diet of lies about the security situation in the country. One can recall that President Buhari had shortly after his inauguration for first tenure promised to end the Boko Haram crisis before the end of December 2015. Regrettably, today the insecurity story from the presidency has been twisted with so many elements, filled with lamentations and above all surprise.Recently, while receiving eminent and respected citizens of Niger state President Buhari through his media aide, Femi Adesina, said. “I was taken aback by what is happening in the North West and other parts of the country. During our campaign we knew about the Boko Haram. What is happening now is surprising”.Again, before his eminent visitors and the entire nation, Mr. President pledged to make live unbearable for the bandits. He said: “…harder times await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians…”.It is undoubtedly true that Buhari has made several of such proclamations against bandits, Boko Haram insurgents, Kidnappers among others in the past, but to no avail. It is important to note that the real decision to flush these elements out of the society has remained woven in poor politics. Consequently, it is wrong for President Buhari to say the other day, that Nigeria will end North East insurgency like it did the civil war. In that sense, is Buhari saying that the Biafran phenomenon and the Boko Haram insurgency are same? Well, Nigerians are therefore waiting for the Boko Haram insurgents to surrender and Buhari to declare “No victor no vanquished”. The ruling government must wake upto its responsibilities and squarely take charge so as to allow peace to reign in the country. The government needs to be clear and decisive about what it is trying to achieve and should stop being sentimental.

Indeed, there can be irony even in the happiest of sentiments. This is a fact that is surely not lost on Nigerians. The Buhari government came to power with a change revolution that swept the country like the Australian wildfire with promise to secure the country and tame corruption among others.Of late, corruption has made Nigeria become one of the world’s most expensive country, where economic inequality is starkly visible, luxury cars are driven and mansions lived by persons of questionable character. Of course, this has reflected in the recent yearly corruption perception index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) in Berlin. The report ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries and fourth most corrupt country in West Africa.

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Instead of studying the report carefully and device new measure to fight the menace called corruption, political jobbers and government propagandists are busy tearing the report into shreds. According to the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, “…In any event, we are not fighting corruption because we want to impress any organization. We are fighting corruption because we believed that without fighting the menace, the much-sought development will not happen and we have results to show for fighting corruption…”Aside the TI’s report, former Defence Minister, T Y Danjuma recently scored Buhari low in governance and anti-corruption war. Danjuma stated that: “We are in a big hole as a nation. And people who put us in this hole have continued today. So, we have to wake up. Only we can save ourselves”. However, a swift reaction from President Buhari through an interview he granted The Interview Magazine, he jettisoned Danjuma’s criticism as a one man opinion and as such meaningless. To buttress why Danjuma’s criticism does not hold water, the President queried: “…what is the vote of confidence of Nigerians in me, as expressed in the polls last year? That is what matters more, not the opinion of one man”.

The ruling government’s response to critics and the security challenges facing country has been notably disappointing from the perspective government and its officials explain criticism away with levity. Itis therefore, reasonable to use this medium and politely so, appeal to President Buhari government to weigh the options properly before fighting back critics. This is because most Nigerians are losing fate with the political system particularly the younger generations. That might explain why so many of them chose to take flight to other countries on whatever means possible.However, for millions of Nigerians, particularly those Buhari claimed that gave him confidence vote. A mountain of evidence reveals that Nigerians voted for Buhari because they saw a benchmark of nobility, of spirit of oneness, love, unity and excellence. Do Nigerians still see these values today?

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