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Buhari’s media chat and matters arising

Buhari’s media chat and matters arising
June 16
13:24 2021

Last weekend, Nigerians were treated to two rare interviews by President Muhammadu Buhari. Recall that the president has been accused severally of snubbing the local press in favour of international media anytime he is out of the country.

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Like I expected, most of the social and political commentary this week has been on the president’s media chat.

On one side of the divide are people who no matter the laudable policies or infrastructure the president has executed, will find loopholes and focus on the negative. Similarly, on one side are persons who no matter the security or economic challenges will say the president is the best since sliced bread.

So much of the criticism and kudos were expected. However, while the president may not win another award for elocution or lucid presentations, you can’t deny the fact that he speaks from his heart and doesn’t care whose ox is gored. When it comes to political correctness, the president will score zero as he will say who is on his mind.

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Two major things stood out from his media interview. The dot on the circle analogy. The president had described the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) as “a dot in a circle”, saying the group is isolated in its call for secession. He said IPOB will not have “access to anywhere” even if they eventually secede from the country.

Expectedly, words started going around that this is a confirmation the president indeed hates the people of the south-east and is calling them a dot in the circle. Twisting the president’s words I think is mischievous and not being fair to the president. The president was explicitly referring to IPOB as a dot in the circle and not the whole south-east region. Recall the “I will treat them in a language they understand” saga? The president’s anger was directed at secessionists and people killing policemen, burning police formations and Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) offices.

The proponents conveniently forgot to add that over 30 policemen have been killed in the south-east and south-south this year alone.

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Even the least intelligent person knows there is a clear distinction between IPOB and south-east. While most Igbos dream of a Biafra, not many of them are sympathetic to the modus operandi of IPOB towards achieving Biafra.

Lumping IPOB and the south-east people in order to gain cheap brownie points is taking tomfoolery too far.

How come the same people were silent when the president equally said he will treat bandits in the language they will understand. Most of the bandits are from the north-west and north-east, so going by their logic, the president hates people of the north-west and north-east.

Double standard on steroids.

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I think there are a million reasons to criticise the president but twisting his words to score political points or to fit a narrative is plain stupid.

Unless you are living under the rock, the security situation in the country is worsening by the day. Traveling by road to any part of the country is a suicide mission as you have a 20 percent chance of arriving at your destination. This is bad. Criticise the president on insecurity.

Second, the issue of why the president is building the railway to the Niger Republic. The focus so far has been on the president saying he has relatives in the Niger Republic.

Sadly, the nation is seriously divided along ethnic and religious lines and I think it has come to stay in Nigeria. Like I always tell people, in Nigeria performance doesn’t earn you a second term, but primordial sentiments. If you can play the ethnic and religious card very well, you are good to go.

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