I have just read an opinion piece written by Femi Adesina, President Muhamadu Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, published on Saturday, November 18, 2017 in the Sun Newspapers and I am truly traumatized at the insinuation and misrepresentation of facts expressed by the writer in an attempt to mock and scoff at the South East region.
The intention clearly is to smear and impugn the integrity of the region as Mr. Femi made all the frantic moves in the art work to suggest that Ndigbo are getting what they deserved in the Buhari Presidency for voting for former President Goodluck Jonathan in block during the 2015 elections.
Before I continue in my rebuttal and denunciation of Femi’s misinterpreted assertions against Igbo land, I would want to state clearly, I have no personal grouse with the presidential spokesman, but instead, I have been a zealous follower of the writer, dating from his “kulikuli” days at the Sun Newspapers.
Femi, for sure, was the dream of every emerging scribbler; a pen Giant and an inspiration to younger generations which I represent. I had for long idolized this personality for most notably, his writing prowess and ability.
His weekly Column “Kulikuli” was a major source of motivation to me and a must-read every Friday, until his appointment as Special Adviser to President Muhamadu Buhari on Media and Publicity; which I have since the development been bemoaning, as I keep missing his opinions in the Sun Newspapers on weekly basis.
But since taking Buhari’s appointment in 2015, Femi, just like his associate, Garba Shehu has turned ethnic, chauvinistic and parochial, like his boss, Muhamadu Buhari. Since then, Adesina, has turned an attack-Dog, like his predecessors (Abati in view). He now likes what president Buhari considers his hubby and hates whatever the president considers anomalies. That is the Nigerian system though.
“Power” indeed, “corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In reality, the rule remains “don’t talk while eaten,” no matter how wrong your boss is.
Otherwise, how can my well-regarded Femi, with the wide range of views open to him as a media Adviser, condescend as low as he did in his recent Article “Wise men still come from the East” published in the Sun Newspapers of 18th November, 2017, as already stated above, where He denigrated the people of Igbo land and poured unguarded verbiages on them, not minding the Nation is predicated on a tripod and South East sits comfortably on one.
First, Femi had in the course of his seeming self-adulation and praise-singing for his boss, President Muhamadu Buhari accused the Igbo of playing “poor politics” by opting to vote for former president Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 elections, instead of his boss while describing it as a mistake with huge implications for the tribe.
“You know what the mistake of 2015 did to Ndigbo? It consigned them to perpetual opposition politics, playing in the periphery. For such an illustrious and enterprising people, that was unfortunate, if not tragic. If they continued that way, there was no silver lining in the sky for the future” Femi said in his article.
And my queries: who told the Yoruba writer a province cannot vote in block for their preferred candidate in an open contest? Who said a particular candidate cannot win the allure of an entire region? Or is voting not a constitutional right exercised by the citizens of any democratic country without interferences any longer?
Femi must be reminded during the defunct Republic, The NCNC was majorly for the people of South East-Nigeria as led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, while the AG was for the western Nigeria as led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the NPC was strictly for the North as led by Tafawa Balewa. And the voting patterns then, were in block according to regions controlled by the parties. Yet, whoever emerged after elections walked for the entire Nation. Good riddance.
So how does Femi Adesina now think since assuming a media office in the presidency? Could he be the one who had suggested to President Buhari that regions that gave him 95% votes during the last electioneering campaigns deserved 95% attention in infrastructure; while the region with 5% deserved nothing better than same equivalent infrastructure wise, to spite Ndigbo?
“You don’t play the politics that shuts you out of the National grid, lest you get sentenced to perpetual half current or no current at all,” Femi Noted in the piece which actually got me thinking.
I am therefore, convinced President Buhari is punished with bad aids; people who cannot look him in the face and say “Baba, this particular action is wrong” no matter whose ox is gored. No wonder the government is locked in a to-and-fro circular movement with little or no improvement from the troubles holding the country by the jugular.
Bringing it down to 2015, the year under discuss, the North voted in block for the APC, just as the West shared her votes between the two dominant Parties but the East and the South South opted for the PDP without grudges and apologies. So why is Femi deluding the dividends of democracy be apportioned according to voting patterns in his opinion piece?
The presidential Aid should again, be reminded power is ever transient. And the authority he exercises today is temporal. If in doubt, he should consult Reuben Abati and others who had occupied similar offices before him, who today are prowling the streets as “yesterday men;” thereby, leaving the central message recklessness on the job will only build enemies for him.
Another major point Femi raised as well as missed prettily in his outlandish mockery of Ndigbo was his misinterpretation of the Dancing, Chieftaincy titles conferred on Principal, warmth reception by both the Governors of Enugu and Ebonyi States and other fanfares that greeted Buhari’s two days working visit to Igbo land as a direct translation of the peoples love and acceptance of the president.
“The reception at Enugu Airport, and indeed, in all the places we visited, Abakaliki and Awka, would make you relish and savor the aroma of brotherhood and national cohesion” he affirmed.
This is not only a fantasy but all lies. Even president Buhari knows the aura that brought him to power has since deserted him. He knows a second shot at the presidency in 2019 will produce a double effect of both rejection and condemnation. Bet me.
His wife’s outburst over Buhari’s poor performance early in the year was a testament to this fact; Chief Bisi Akande’s memo, APC chieftain and Governor Elrufai’s timely eighteen Page open later, condemning his boss’ abysmal showing is enough to keep Buhari in check, if in doubt.
So Mr. Femi, Buhari was only accorded presidential respect, not love advances in the East. The reverence in quote is everlastingly attached to his office, as whatever pride accorded the president of a Nation internally, is directly traceable to his international recognition. With that in mind, the people of Igbo land welcomed the president elected into power against their preferred runner, Jonathan.
So Mr. President must be guided accordingly in his bid to aspire for similar office in 2019. He must be told in plain language how Nigerians feel over his poor handling of the economic mess the country was plunged into. He must be reminded his health has been taking a toll on our governance without mincing words.
Buhari must be reminded his handling of IPOB agitation fell short of international standards as avoidable lives were lost with impunity. He must be reminded killing Shiites members in their hundreds for Buratai’s passage in Kaduna was insensitivity and senselessness, never imagined.
Let us, therefore, do our own great favor by telling him the truth and nothing but the truth, instead of living in deceit and denial.
Finally, Femi went forth to select a few individuals he described and decorated as “wise men,” for merely coming out to receive the president irrespective of their party coloration. Chief among them were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu; Governor Dave Umahi, Ebonyi; Emeka Ojukwu Jr., Former ministers etc.
My dear Femi, Ndigbo are generally, a wise people. They don’t need scorners in your ilk to remind them of their wisdom, industry and strength in a country where they have been reduced to play a second fiddle by a combination of Yoruba nation and the North.
We are well conscious of the fact that we are grossly despised here. The projects and policies of your government define this better, just as your actions and inactions in times of need in the region epitomize and embody same.
The North East development commission, recently accented to by Mr. President is an example of such abhorrence, as no one has ever planned rehabilitating our region after the destruction of human lives and property in the country’s civil war, even though we were told the then government of Gowon rolled out a policy plan of reconstruction, rehabilitation and redemption of the region, immediately after the damage . That on its own was a paper work, never ever implemented.
On the other hand, the region’s criminal omission from the rail projects linking the East to other urban markets is yet, another injustice. Thanks to Senator Abaribe who blew the lead. And yet, the lopsided appointments of your boss against the igbo, is another pointer we have genuine claims any day; your government’s immoral negligence of the second Niger bridge, abandonment of Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu that is long due for upgrading and neglect of roads in the East are well, your footprints here.
But suffix it to say, we are not losing a sleep over the pervading marginalization, as weeping may endure for the night. The region will keep soaring no matter how neglected. We will keep the flag of industry higher without losing a sleep any day because we all believe, one day, politically, our own day will come.
Meanwhile, many thanks to the apostles of economic integration in the region to enable us have a common front economically and set a pace for others to emulate; many more thanks to chief Nwodo-led-Ohaneze for streamlining Igbo opinion in the face of clear-cut unfairness.