The Upper Crust

When do we stand up for everyday people?


With Uche Nnadozie

Last weekend brought together the families of the Governors of Kano and Oyo states. Their children found love and decided to create something special out of it. Nothing can be so special than seeing your kids grow up to become what you have been. Marriage is a good thing, and in our part of the world it is sacred. That is why most times, most families pull out all the stops to make it a grand event. It is not surprising therefore, see the best of Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani cultures come together in blissful embrace. To be sure, there is no best time to get married as long as the couple are of age.
In the same vein, we run a country. And we do not run this country in vain. We have ambitions, we also have values. They tell us to respect African traditions everywhere we turn. Part of that tradition is captured in a figurative expression which says: a goat is not allowed to bear an offspring at the throne of the community. Specifically, the saying points to ”old men” or elders who must not watch in resignation as the community’s sacredness is desecrated in utter carelessness. The watchwords are: desecration and sacredness! However, there something that should not happen no matter what we feel about it. Who better to lead in such circumstances than the leader. For me, with the intensity which Boko Haram has unleashed its fangs on us, this is not the time for a president to go merry making.
Honouring the couple with his presence is a good thing for the newly weds; but how about honouring the Dapchi girls who are in such a distress wherever they may be. 110 kids were adopted from a secondary school in Yobe state a fortnight ago, yet the president with his entourage prefer to go enjoy a wedding party than going to Dapchi to commiserate with the grieving. Like it or not, President Muhammadu Buhari is the chief mourner of the nation. He is also the chief motivator and chief celebrant where there are instances to so do. This thing, this Dapchi kidnap tastes, smells and looks like Chibok, the tragedy of 2014. if we were scandalised in 2014 as a result of the conduct of the leaders of the time, truth be said, there is hardly a difference between the two.
This event and the reactions to it by government is all the more painful because it has happened before. Now with benefit of experience, it is regrettable that we are still stuck to 2014. we learnt nothing and as such got everything wrong. This is the work of lack of strategy. The presidency again as I have hitherto stated lack credible strategists. They just go by the day. This is not the best way to run a 21st century human community. Before Dapchi, there was Taraba, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Kaduna, etc. The president hasn’t connected with the people in those states who have come under one attack or the other. Nearly 1000 people killed within a very short period of time. The president and his handlers find it difficult to connect with their own citizens. Had Dapchi children been the kids of big men, everything would have been done to ensure prompt rescue of the victims.
Goodluck Jonathan left a grieving nation after a car bomb went off killing over 100 people in Nyanya near Abuja to go to the same Kano to receive defectors to his struggling party at the time. Jonathan was pictured on stage dancing away as music pierced through loud speakers. This time, the president was not dancing but going by official photos published after the wedding, crowds of people gathered to welcome Buhari in Kano. It then begs the question what does the president want most? Just going around waving at supporters or reaching out to the grieving to comfort them? We may never know what motivates the presidency to act in this selfish manner but it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
“I will lead from the front”, declared the then candidate of APC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, retd. This was in response to the continued indifference by Jonathan. Who all but had capitulated to Boko Haram. Today, we know that the statement was vacuous. The president hasn’t led from the front. Sometimes I wonder whether he thinks he’s doing us a favour by being our president. No sir! And when you leave some of these occurrences unattended to, it becomes the norm. It will become difficult to attend to any future incident. The guilt of having to explain why it is “this” one and not the other one will become the real issue for discussion. If the president can travel to Kano, he can equally travel to Dapchi. Seeing that this sort of behaviour persists means we haven’t learn’t anything. We are still steeped in our crass ways.
I have heard the argument that going to Dapchi is not going to bring the kidnapped girls back; but we should have sold the same thing to Jonathan. Going to Dapchi will restore confidence in the populace. The people who are grieving will be relieved a bit when they see and hear the president appeal to them to have patience and trust him that their wards will be back. In Nigeria, sometimes, the people do not believe the thoughts of delegated representatives. It is Buhari they elected, it is Buhari they want to see. If he can send a delegation to Dapchi, why didn’t he send same delegation to Kano? Or is this all about 2019 votes?

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