By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
NARRATIVES about President Muhammadu Buhari are becoming at best confusing. It has taken almost six years of his sterling performances for leaders across the North to voice their disapproval of the President’s ways.
What others have been shouting for years is just getting to the North. Nigeria is really a big country in the divisions it harbours and hoists. Is the difference or indifference clear?
The narratives are still nuanced, drenched in excuses and blame-sharing that shield the President from direct responsibility for what is generally seen as the worsening security situation. The importance of security is trite knowledge.
A sudden discovery that people in the North can’t farm, can’t trade, can’t find peace at home or elsewhere is driving concerns about how the President acts. The situation is dreary. Those on the frontlines feel it,they know it.
Insecurity no longer understands tongues, regions, religions, and relations. The rich are becoming victims; the poor have been victims from bandits, kidnappers, as well as governments that consider them mere statistics mainly useful for bragging rights – the most populous country in Africa, by far. It has not stopped our pouring poverty.
Nigerians are concerned about insecurity. Some felt that words from the President could be a soothing balm.
The President had agreed to address a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday at the request of the House of Representatives until Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami knocked the arrangement. He ruled it unconstitutional. It was also capable of compromising the strategies of the President on the war against terror, Malami said.
“As the Commander-in-Chief, the President has exclusivity on security and has confidentiality over security. These powers and rights he does not share.
“So, by summoning the President on national security operational matters, the House of Representatives operated outside constitutional bounds.
“President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the Constitution remains sacrosanct,” Malami said. He must be happy with himself for harping on the Constitution as if it was the air Nigerians breathe.
Nigeria has been in trouble for years. There are still debates on whether things got worse since President Buhari rode to power on promises that were mere words. Ask Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed about Nigeria and he will paint pictures as if his party was still campaigning.
He speaks of the President’s triumphs over insecurity in manners that generate doubts. Are we discussing the same North or the same country? Leaders and their leaders who live in those places (not Abuja) present their worries, Mohammed and company dismiss them.
Of course, they speak for the President. Does it take people who are outside government to appreciate the security situation?
“Before Mr President assumed office, Boko Haram could stroll into any city, especially in the north, to carry out deadly attacks Motor parks, churches, mosques, shopping complexes were not spared,” Mohammed said.
“Today, that is a thing of the past. These changes are part of the successes recorded by the military, under this President.”
It is obvious Mohammed’s definition of insecurity has been restricted to North East. He is unaware of situations in the North West – Kaduna, Katsina (the President’s State), Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara. Nobody has drawn his attention to the perennial insecurity in Benue, Kogi, Niger, Plateau.
The simmering attacks by herdsmen on farmers in the South East, South West, and South South are not among security issues?
North’s leaders agreeing that insecurity was worsening, and inadequately attended under Buhari is a departure from the chummy relationship the North permitted to becloud its assessment of the President.
What should we expect from the President? Nothing, almost nothing.
Since it is unconstitutional for the President to address our National Assembly, since the President’s remarkable strategies are succeeding in the North East, it is a matter of time for the successes to be recorded all over Nigeria.
After five years of Buhari – and counting – anyone expecting the President, and Commander-in-Chief, to abandon his patriotic schedule to address legislators who delight in playing to the gallery, should forget it.
The President is racing against time to leave indelible marks by 2023. Neither the North nor insecurity can deter or distract his dedicated determination.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues