THE ABSENT MINDED PRESIDENT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
“I was taken aback by what is happening in the North-West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion; rather, it is one evil plan against the country.” President Buhari, in Abuja, January 29, 2020.
This article could easily have been titled WHY BLAME THE SERVICE CHIEFS? FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD. And, it would have been just as appropriate. Those asking for the Service Chiefs to be sacked, to me, have missed the essential point. Those poor people, like a football team, have a Team Manager, Commander-In-Condolence, C-I-C, so deficient in the leadership qualities required of a nation under siege, that their individual and collective failure is assured. The Security Chiefs did not fail us. Buhari did.
“The buck stops here.” US President Harry Truman, 1884-1972.
When Truman made that statement, he was not only referring to political leaders – Presidents, Prime Ministers, Governors and even Local Government Chairpersons – he was taking a position which every Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of any organisation should adopt. Irrespective of whether one is the Chairman/Chief Executive of XYZ Plc or Governor of ABC State, the CEO be ready to be held responsible for anything that occurs – good or awful. Unprincipled leaders are frequently ready to accept the awards for the Best Chief Executive Officer when things go well. They turn around and point to subordinates when they go awfully wrong. Buhari is ever ready to claim responsibility when Nigeria is commended by any agency in the international community but disclaims it when the reports are condemnatory.
Buhari’s expression of surprise that North-West of Nigeria had been taken over by bandits and kidnappers have merely exposed our President as someone who is completely out of touch with what is going on in his own state – not to talk of Nigeria. Effective Presidents always ensure they obtain original and independent reports about the situations in their countries. They never rely totally on the briefings and cuttings provided by their staff.
“Like all God’s creatures, enemies have a purpose in the world. They offer criticism of one’s conduct , albeit unsought, that is not always provided by friends.” Rosenblalt, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 48.
Leaders who read are as conversant with what their political opposition and critics say as their subjective press briefings. Anybody following Donald Trump closely would have noticed that he watches television stations, reads newspapers – including those he knows are against him – in order to know better what is going on in America. He regularly sends personal rejoinders to the authors. Granted, Trump had bastardised what was an established tradition among American Presidents and top officials since President Kennedy, 1917-1963. Kennedy in the last century, who like other Presidents before him, read only the press briefings provided by the White House staff and he thought he was fully informed until a surprise occurred in form of a national strike by the United Auto Workers, UAW, a powerful labour union. The press briefings had not prepared Kennedy for this. Thereafter, the young President learnt his lessons. In addition to the summaries provided by his staff, he would request for several national newspapers to be brought and he read for himself the uncensored news of each day. He was shocked to discover that his White House had kept from him all the reports about the developments leading to the strike which might have been averted had he received all the facts he needed for action.
I have recalled the Kennedy experience only to make the point that every President or Governor, sooner or later, becomes a hostage to his Chief of Staff and other top officials in the Presidency or Governor’s office. They lose touch with reality and become enslaved in the wall of propaganda — which their staff always build around them. They are given the impression that they can do no wrong; everything they do or fail to do is a result of divine guidance. Critics are “enemies of progress” or ignorant commentators – until most leave office.
“The rate of change in our time is so swift that an individual of ordinary length of life will be called on to face novel situations which have no parallel in the past. The fixed person for the fixed duties, who in the old society was such a god-send, will in the future be a public danger. “ Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947.
Whitehead had used so many words to tell us that just as it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, it is difficult for older people, especially those who had taken such a long leave from leadership to excel. In many respects, it is not entirely his fault, but, Buhari has become a public danger to us. Modern leaders read volumes of reports and they still find time to read their nation’s newspapers and watch independent television. Most likely all the televisions in Aso Rock are switched to NTA – the propaganda network managed by Lai Mohammed.
Buhari was shocked that his own North-West, which was safe from bandits, when Jonathan was President, had been taken over during his own tenure. At the very least, he could be accused of absent-mindedness (that is being polite); at worst he is guilty of gross dereliction of duty or incompetence. Previous stories from Katsina State, especially the one from Daura, will illustrate the point that we have a President who is completely mentally disengaged from what is happening in his country – even his own home town, Daura.
“Every time you negotiate with terrorists, you become an accomplice. VBQ”.
In May last year, I published on these pages an article titled KATSINA DEY BURN OGAPATAPATA DEY ENJOY FOR LONDON. Governor Masari of Buhari’s own state as well as the Governor of Zamfara state had cried out loud that bandits had taken control of their states. It was front page news for every national paper. Yet, the President apparently was not aware of it. On one of his visits to Daura last year, bandits waited only two days after he left to kidnap the Daura District Head who was eventually released after collecting a hefty ransom. Still, Buhari wants us to believe he was ignorant of it. The mostly irresponsible former Governor of Zamfara State abandoned his state and lived in Abuja or abroad while bandits took over. Buhari’s Security Chiefs either refused to tell him or he could not grasp the ultimate implications of what he was told.
Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduha States have been negotiating with terrorists and bandits for over two years. Buhari was not aware of it. That is the President who had promised to protect us during the elections. Please read what was written in May 2019 and you can easily see why we don’t have the president we need.
KATSINA DEY BURN OGAPATAPATA DEY “ENJOY” IN LONDON
“A leader is best/ When people barely know he exists…/Worst when they despise him…. Lao-tsy, Chinese philosopher 6th century.
VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, P 124.
Long before one Ogapatapata announced he was going to London for a private visit, Katsina State had become the kidnapping capital of Nigeria. Its next door neighbours – Zamfara and Kaduna – pushed Borno State off the top of the murder chat; and it is now a two-way race to capture the gold medal for mayhem between the two North West states. Nigeria, already the world’s leader in poverty, children out of school, maternal deaths, children dying before they reach the age of five, polio, measles and several other miseries afflicting mankind is moving up to claim the dubious gold medal for homicides in a country not at war. And, just as if to prove that the rough-necks have little respect for Nigeria’s Commander-In-Chief, C-I-C, of the Armed Forces, they have taken the battle for control to Katsina. There is a touch of morbid irony in all these. And, former President Jonathan must be mildly amused by what is going on. There were no roughians in Daura in 2015.
In 2013-2015 when it was only Boko Haram, BH, threatening three or four states in the Northeast, the entire country was deafened by the noise of CHANGE. Each time BH struck anywhere, one noisy fellow, the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, one Alhaji Lai Mohammed, fired off a press release to all media houses asking Jonathan to resign if he was incapable of ensuring the security of Nigerians. APC members thought he was clever. I knew they were all very stupid. Even if Jonathan had accepted the advice, his resignation would not have brought Buhari to power immediately. Instead, the former Vice President would have taken over and he would have appointed another VP. A hundred PDP Presidents could have resigned between 2011 and 2015 and APC would still have had to wait until 2015.
“He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his word good.”
Confucius, Chinese Philosopher, 551-479BC. VBQ p 162
The impression they gave “Fellow Nigerians”, including the people of Zamfara and Katsina was that candidate Buhari being a retired General (in how many wars did he take part before becoming General, we might ask?) would step in and wipe BH off the map. CHANGE!! We (including me) were gullible enough to believe all the propaganda of Lai Mohammed and the APC. History would record that as Buhari was finishing his first term in office and about to start his second term, BH is still around. And, whereas BH was the only terrorist group the nation knew under GEJ, several more had been added since 2015.
First, Fulani Herdsmen, a group which had appointed the President as their Life Patron, now kills as many Nigerians all over the country as BH does in the North East. Whereas Buhari had no hesitation going after BH, he started by offering excuses for the herdsmen, blamed state governments for attempting to save their farmers and communities from herdsmen attacks. He all but provided them with immunity from punishment. During all these atrocities, Lai Mohammed, who had transformed to Minister of Information did not once ask Buhari to resign. That should tell you something about the man’s lack of principles.
“Against stupidity [of Nigerian governments] the gods themselves struggle in vain.” Frederick Von Schiller, 1759-1805, German Philosopher.
Second, with one terrorist group virtually granted immunity, others in the North started organising. Cattle Rustlers (that is the elegant name given to vicious and armed livestock thieves) increased in number and ferocity. They also spread to more states from their original base in Zamfara State. Just as they did with the herdsmen, Buhari and his security officers, as well as Ministers ignored the problem – ill-advisedly expecting it to go away by itself. Obviously, none of them has ever heard that “appetite grows with eating”. The more the rustlers succeeded the more of them there were and the more each armed robber wanted. They have seen new mansions springing up in Katsina and Daura now owned by “never-do-wells” since Buhari became President. They recognise “Wealth without work” when they see it; and they want their own share of the national cake – with no more investment than what is needed to procure an AK-47.
It is difficult to determine when they transformed from just rustling to limitless banditry – with kidnapping as a subsidiary business. But, by the time our self-admitted “Baba Go Slow” went about campaigning for the second term, the terrors he had ignored or been too slow to understand had gone out of hand.”
To be continued.
LAST LINE: AKWA IBOM STATE HONOUR THE FATHER OF YOUR STATE.
VANGUARD has done what it can do, its up to Ibomites to honour the Father of Modern Akwa Ibom State. Get in touch with me as soon as possible.