BY JUDE OBUSEH
Last week Friday, President Muhamadu Buhari, while addressing world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76), harped on the need for a comprehensive reformation of the global body, noting that without this, its legitimacy would be called to question. He proceeded to also call for dialogue between the states of Israel and Palestine to resolve their age-long conflict, adding that their differences was due to the absence of “justice, fairness and equity”.
PMB, also in the same speech, buttressed the commitment of his administration to respecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerian citizens, alongside claiming that the country was winning the war on terrorism and other forces of violence. Watching the president lecture the world on the beauty of justice, equity, fair play, equality and human rights was as disgusting as it was infuriating. It was to say the least comical and absurd, as it was coming from a maximum ruler who regularly contradicts the ethos of the principles he espoused on the floor of the UN in his daily conduct as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. President’s autocratic dispositions towards the observance of the principles he glowingly pontificated about at the UN, in his chief constituency, portrays him as an impassive hypocrite; a serial, callous liar in every sense of the word. It is hypocritical that Mr. President recognizes the need for dialogue between Israel and Palestine, but ignores the peaceful, legitimate calls by the country’s principal ethnic nationalities for a national dialogue to address the union’s several “Questions”, choosing to rather label them terrorists, rebels, separatists, hate speech makers and subversive elements for daring to call for such a conversation.
Israel and Palestine are foreign political authorities that have been making genuine efforts towards resolving the lingering differences between them for ages. Despite the challenges that have bogged their peace efforts, which have resulted in pockets of violence along the line, they have continued to seek amicable solutions to their quite mammoth differences, via bilateral and multilateral means. These civilized countries don’t need the advice of a PMB, who is averse to peaceful negotiations, to counsel them on how to dialogue for peace.
Again, the President’s claim that the state of insecurity in the country was being adequately tackled by his administration consequent to the massive capitulation of insurgents and other violent elements in the North-East, contradicts the facts on ground. His failure to tell the world the whole truth about the dire security situation in the country, which has witnessed an escalation in the activities of violent groups of different hues, portrays him as an insensitive ruler who does not give a hoot about the safety of Nigerians. The president’s claim is further contradicted by his Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, who revealed at an interface that armed insurgency and banditry in the North-East and North-West had driven over 330, 000 Nigerian refugees into nieghbouring countries. This coupled with the rising cases of kidnappings for ransom by itinerant armed bandits, political assassinations, herdsmen attacks on communities, attacks on security formations by insurgents and unknown gunmen across the country, exposes the president as a pathological liar.
It is sad that this administration has continued to handle the worsening security situation across the country with levity, choosing to play the proverbial Ostrich, despite the early warning signs of an incoming catalytic deluge. PMB’s continued refusal to declare armed herdsmen “terrorists”, alongside the reluctance to clamp down on their violent activities, the same way he has done to peaceful agitators in other parts of the country, has inadvertently emboldened these merchants of death, leaving Nigerians at their mercy.
It is highly comical, the brazen manner our leaders preach the values of peace and democracy to their counterparts in other countries, but forbid their observance at home. It is amusing the manner our political chief executives and greenhorn diplomats junket round the world lecturing others on the principles of good governance, based on our supposed “experiences”, when they contradict the tenets of these doctrines in their conduct at home. Across the globe, Nigerian leaders have become squeamish squealers who shamelessly preach what they do not practice; loquacious Goebbels who can’t control their slack tongues; loose cannons in full flight.
Rather than making a mockery of himself before the international community next time, Mr. President should, first and foremost, give room for a national dialogue to discuss and address Nigeria’s several existential problems before attempting to preach to other countries the need to do likewise. He should also take steps to check the burgeoning security challenges in the country and stop shirking his core responsibilities as the Commander-in-Chief. Oga, Nigeria is at war, time to gird your loins and lead from the front! That was what you were elected to do!
Mr. President should look in the mirror, change his ways, and start practicing what he preaches. Charity, they say, begins at home!
Jude Obuseh, a peace practitioner and public affairs commentator, writes in from Benin City. Email-Syncado2006@gmail.com