President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday spoke on national TV in his first-ever media interview in the last 5 years.
The interview, which was a pre-recorded video, took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday but was aired on Arise Television Thursday morning.
Across the media, both local and social platforms, are snippets and overviews of the major national matters discussed during the chat as well as reservations and debates among Nigerians over the entire show.
Insecurity, Nigeria’s debt profile, secession, unemployment, poverty, national projects, herders/farmers clash, national character and Twitter ban (sadly brushed aside, flaring up varying assumptions and implications) amongst others were discussed.
It was good to have the president speak and address salient issues at hand. Nobody died as a result of this and in working climes, this is a norm from time to time. At least now, we have heard it all from the horse’s mouth with no special aide by the side to hand over some washed-up script. Nigerians should definitely have more of this.
This being said, here are 6 important things the interview confirms.
1. The constitution is greatly flawed. Buhari just pronounced that governors have to take charge of their states’ security but unfortunately, the president happens to be the one person in command of the nation’s security forces. Recall after the Igangan massacre some days ago, Oyo state governor pleaded for approval from the federal government to allow the Southwest security outfit, Amotekun to take up sophisticated arms to combat the menace.
2. President Muhammadu Buhari is fully aware of the crisis befalling the country and even at full speed. This brings us to the fact that he knows there’s poverty in the land, there’s unemployment and also acknowledges that these factors are threats to Nigeria’s stability.
Make what you will of this fact.
3. The government will continue to blame others rather than itself for the continued crisis. Very evident when he referred to EndSARS replying to a question about improving Foreign Direct Investments.
4. You can take the man out of the military but not the military out of the man, Buhari just proved that in this interview. Although in a democratic setting, Buhari rules like a dictator. Matters of national concern especially if not a breach of national security/intelligence at the time, must be explained to the citizens at request. The very idea of the social contract and the polity doesn’t end at the transfer of power during elections. It continues for the rest of the time. Brushing aside questions regarding Twitter was very undemocratic and demeans the Nigerian people.
5. Going back on the End SARS movement last year, Buhari’s statement goes to show that there’s no trust between the government and the people. Hence, the movement was perceived as an attempted coup. Now, we have your explanation for the Lekki Toll Gate massacre. The people are a threat to the government, which the President made us realize in this interview.
6. Nigeria is going backward each passing day and to whose benefit? Check this out… The President backed open grazing and revealed that he has ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.
This shows two anomalies;
a. a failure of the existing Land Use Act to protect the property rights of Nigerians.
b. a move to protect his interest. Little wonder, when he made mention that he is returning to his farm of cattle upon expiration of his tenure. He literally ordered an Act of the 1st Republic for his interest!
P.S: On one hand, we could say this interview compounded our distorted reality of truth; an entire travesty it was. But, on the other hand, it was a good one for some soul-searching as a Nigerian.
We are in a deep mess, we brought this upon ourselves. However, the question remains; “what are we doing to get out of the ditch?”
2023 is right at the corner. Get your PVCs!!!