Buhari Needs A Heart, Not A Script, To Address Citizens, by Morak Babajide-Alabi
Blog, Featured, Newspaper Column

Buhari Needs A Heart, Not A Script, To Address Citizens

By Morak Babajide-Alabi

Where are the overzealous citizens who presented Muhammadu Buhari as the messiah? The man sent to save the ‘Giant of Africa’ Where are the individuals who relish in designating people of divergent opinions “Wailers?” Could the die-hard supporters who notified us that Buhari’s body language improved electricity generating capacity step forward, please? And in tow, the ones who swore on whatever was available that there was no better individual to lead Nigeria than Mr Buhari.

They are eerily quiet now. Just like Buhari has been since the start of the ENDSARS protest. They have lost their voices, the same way Buhari has decided to keep mute on events in the country.

Nigeria has never had it so bad as this. Not even in the dark days of the military dictatorship. And I am not talking exclusively about the human rights violation, poverty, lack of infrastructure, but in all facets of the society. Things are terrible. The country is deep in debt, as never experienced before. Up to now, all we hear from Buhari and his myriads of self-centred supporters is that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) destroyed everything before the “messiah” came in. You wonder if they ever carried out an appraisal of the situation before aspiring to lead. The songs have not changed since May 29, 2015, but with different vocal notes – soprano, alto, tenor or bass.

No leader has governed the nation with so much impunity as Buhari. His government cares less for the masses. He came in on a platform to eliminate corruption, but it is on record that no genuine effort at eradicating corruption in government is in place. His administration pursues corruption cases that involve the opposition figures while it protects its own. The government shields notably corrupt individuals, as long as they pledge allegiance to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC.) It is gloomy, but the reality in Nigeria.

It is effortless for Buhari to renege on all his election promises. He, alongside his promoters, promised changes within a few months in government. The electorates believed them. They danced to the music of “change is coming soon.” Four years down the line, the situation in the country did not change. Instead, the citizens wallowed further in poverty as they watched their leaders junket abroad on health tourism. The citizens suffered as public hospitals became death appointments centres. They could not believe it as leaders sent their children abroad for education. The public school systems collapsed, and the leaders cared less. Ordinary citizens admired as leaders post pictures of their children graduating in overseas schools.

They held on to the promise of change. Security was an election promise of the APC-led government. They vowed that when elected into offices, no Nigerian will have to hide behind high walls and fences. The incessant armed robberies that have been the bane of the society, they assured, will be a thing of the past. The citizens swallowed this hook, line and sinker. The residents of the North-East part of Nigeria looked forward to the rapid defeat of the terrorist Boko Haram group. They were tired of their children being abducted and taken to forests. But they realised that soapbox promises were far from reality.

Instead for the Boko Haram operatives to be defeated, they became more daring and ventured further hinterland. There was no let off in their killings, kidnaps and harassment of citizens. Rather than work out a tactical defeat of this group, Buhari and his ministers continually blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan. Years after leaving office, they nevertheless held him to account for not defeating the terrorist group.

The much-touted military background of Buhari did not affect anything. Insecurity continued all over the country. The herdsmen took over the streets and rared their cows wherever they wanted. They migrated south where the grass was green. The few citizens who challenged this migration were either killed, maimed or made to disappear. The Buhari government sat back and watched the herdsmen inflict damages on fellow citizens. The government spokesmen concluded the attacks were overrated and were all handiwork of opposition leaders to embarrass the Buhari administration. Where there were pieces of evidence of attacks, they blamed them on the opposition.

Citizens stayed behind closed doors for fear of losing their lives. They questioned if there would ever be any change, as promised by the APC guys. The “hailers” said the killings were unavoidable as part of reclaiming the country from sixteen years of PDP rule. As far fetched as some justifications of the government, many citizens accepted. They did not want to be tagged “wailers.”

Amid the herdsmen attacks, the SARS operatives moved in and inflicted more pain on the society. It has been a history of attacks since the inauguration of the Buhari government. The SARS operatives saw their opportunity to take control as they moved in. They exploited citizens like no other time. They became the law, rather than the law enforcement agents. They extorted and killed at random while the government looked the other way. Who cared, as long as the operatives only tortured the masses and not the well-protected families of the leaders.

Where is the change? Towards the 2019 general elections, we got another catchy slogan, tagged “Next Level.” The citizens asked: “Next Level to what?” The APC guys answered: “Just vote us in again, so we can take you to the Next Level.” The electorate fell for it. Some of them reasoned: “Well, no credible choice. The opposition candidate Atiku is no better than Buhari. The devil you know is better than the saint you do not know.”

Buhari was back in Aso Rock while the citizens continued their sleepwalking. The Stockholm syndrome stuck with them. They saw no way out. Since the inauguration of the second term, Buhari has taken his contempt for the masses to the next level. His government has ignored the cries of the populace like no other.

The continued silence on the demands of the youths (and other groups) is unbelievable. The news of recent attacks on unarmed peaceful protesters has shocked the world. Amnesty International and prominent individuals have condemned the attack on the citizens. However, the President is quiet. He has been quiet for long, and this is worrisome. His disdain for the people he rules over is palpable.

I think I recognise the reason for this, though. It is because the administration has no credible plan in place for the development of the country. If the President has any masterplan for Nigeria, he will seize the opportunity of the present situation to let the citizenry know.

But this President has no idea. This is the reason why he has never addressed citizens off cue. Could we recall when last Buhari addressed the nation from his heart? He relies on scripts and the teleprompter. If he has a vision, he will passionately share with his fellow citizens feel him. The reason why Buhari has failed to address the citizens is not that he loathes his people. No. It is because he has nothing to say.

How do you condole by reading from a prepared speech? It will give him away. Someone should please throw our President a decent heart.

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ABOUT MORAK

I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.

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