By Olakunle Mohammed
Around afternoon time on Thursday, December 17, President Buhari’s aide on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, tweeted that the Kankara boys had been released. She came under vicious attack for spreading false information.
Mrs. Dabiri never apologised for the tweet, rather she gave Nigerians the flimsy explanation that she was hacked and the tweet should not be attributed to her. When did the life of Nigerians and our security become a subject of politics and blame game?
After the safe return of the Kankara boys, Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, tweeted, apologising for incorrect communication —simply put, misinformation— citing that only ten students were kidnapped in Kankara. He blamed it on wrong intel provided by those on-site. Shehu never apologised for the wrong tally till the boys were released and it became obvious that he was caught lying. When will our lives matter to those within the echelons of power?
And Buhari’s aides on new media, Bashir Ahmad and Lauretta Onochie, told Nigerians to be proud of their history in separate tweets claiming that there was no fuel scarcity in December 2020 and foods produced were cheaper this season. This begs the question, when did the survival or hardship of Nigerians become an achievement scorecard?
President’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina and Information Minister, Lai Mohammed also perform their well-defined acts —like stage theatre actors. Adesina is saddled with the role of writing vitriol opinion pieces about enemies of the country while Mohammed’s booming voice echoes when it comes to addressing the press pool on how Nigerian government does not get fair coverage from international media and that they are peddling fake news about the country. When did our politics become so conscious of its stinking mess that it does coverup at all cost?
In fact, Nigeria’s polity is polluted with multifaceted political spins that when news comes from official government sources, Nigerians are skeptical about it till we see damming evidence that it is true.
Remember how the Nigerian Army went on to tag every report on the Lekki shooting fake news and still went on to cite some of the reports tagged as fake news as sources used to compile the report presented by its personnel to the Lagos End SARS panel. This makes you wonder, is this poli-tricks or politicking?
Cabinet ministers have become typical examples on why the impatient eyes cannot see the nose because they are busy playing to the gallery, forgetting that power is transient. Most state governors have become ambassadors of blame politics, forgetting that they are in power to govern, not trade blames. Opposition parties have jettisoned safe words for the more succinct, ‘everything is fair in love and war,’ forgetting that everyone is not safe when there is a crossfire.
In the face of obvious insecurity, kidnappings and banditry, you hear the deafening silence of so-called elder statesmen and interest groups but they are quick to issue press release statements to celebrate minute policy issues —that benefit them— and birthdays of their political allies.
Nigeria’s polity and governance is muddled in political permutations and zero sum game, even if it translates to stoking the fire of unrest, conflict, ethnic and religious bigotry. And some citizens have become paid pipers that play the tune of choice for anyone —politician or administration— that can fuel their perverted fantasies.
Verily, Nigeria’s unity is negotiable. Maybe that is why we need to look at the mirror that captures the entirety of this country —provided we are not blinded yet— to decide whether working to further its dreams and aspirations will save it from this institutional and socio-political rot or keep playing same chess moves and wait for the natural order to checkmate us.