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Reflecting On Nigeria’s Unity Under Buhari

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The Independence Day speech of President Muhammadu Buhari last week received ravenous reviews and as expected, Nigerians did not smile at Mr. President’s position on a number of issues. For instances, many people rightly disagreed with the president that the Edo State gubernatorial election is a sufficient yardstick for measuring his government’s democratic credentials as willing and ready to kick-start a genuine credible electoral process in the country.
It is a trite for the present administration to talk about promoting the rule of law when the media and freedom of expressions are being gagged by both overt and covert laws that go against popular demand of citizens. As it now appears, peaceful rallies and protests against obnoxious public policies and programmes are not allowed or tolerated by this government; the only rallies that are allowed and protesters are given maximum police escort and protection are pro-government rallies.
In Lagos and Abuja especially, protesters are harassed and arrested for expressing their fundamental rights of demonstrating how they feel about the way they are being governed.
How can the APC-led Federal Government brazenly blame governments that governed the country between 1999-2015 of destroying Nigeria? How much was Naira to Dollar then and how much is it now? How much was the country’s foreign debt profile then and how much is it now? How much was a bag of rice and other food items then and what are the costs now? Where are all the loots and public assets recovered since 2015 till date?
Of course, space will not permit us to reel out details of sorry and abominable state of the famed anticorruption crusade of the present administration, or to lament the steady rise of poverty, unemployment, infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, failed and failing infrastructures. Yet, that is not the crux of our concern in this intervention.
It is exigent to underscore Mr. President’s tedious sermon on need for reinventing Nigeria through a healing process possible by a “national reflection”. But even so, Mr. President’s interpretation and description of our national problems is quite puerile and shocking.
According to him, “An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester. In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline. We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.

“The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration”, he stated.

“Artificially contrived fault-lines”? “Old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are”? Stereotypical ideas or perceptions?

This speech could have been better read by some one else, because no other government has been accused of promoting these retrogressive factors in Nigeria’s post-Civil War history than the present government. Or is there another time that national security has been so politicised, fully domiciled in one section and religion in the history of Nigeria? Look at the daily rise and tension of ethnic agitations in the country.

If indeed the president has been reflecting, the time to see the positive outcome of his reflection on national tension arising from divisive policies and programmes of his government that make many Nigerians highlight those “artificially contrived fault-lines” and make them prioritise ethnic identity to national identity is now. Unless he is genuine about his intensions and demonstrates his own loyalty first to Nigeria by carrying everybody along, he cannot convince Nigerians that he belongs to all and not to a section of the country.

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How can the APC-led Federal Government brazenly blame governments that governed the country between 1999-2015 of destroying Nigeria? How much was Naira to Dollar then and how much is it now? How much was the country’s foreign debt profile then and how much is it now? How much was a bag of rice and other food items then and what are the costs now? Where are all the loots and public assets recovered since 2015 till date?… Or is there another time that national security has been so politicised, fully domiciled in one section and religion in the history of Nigeria? 

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