Buhari’s inauguration silence, insensitive


It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari, vice president
Yemi Osinbajo and the 29 state governors plus their deputies have been
sworn in. But, it is painful that the president did not make any
speech. Meanwhile, the state chief executives were sworn in their
various states, except for some states, most others did the
inauguration with some gusto, some pomp and pageantry. It has to be,
for it is not easy to be the chosen one out of millions to superintend
a state or the federal republic. In our case, May 29th of every four
years starting with 1999 has become our date with democratic history.
And coming in the year of our democracy’s 20th anniversary it has
become critical that we take the date serious until it changes.
The change may become necessary following the renaming of our
Democracy Day. The inauguration day is one thing, Democracy Day is
another. However, the government of Olusegun Obasanjo it was who
declared May 29 as democracy day and a national public holiday to
celebrate democracy following the terrible history we passed to attain
democratic status. It was not easy and a lot of Nigerians laid down
their lives so that we can be free and preach freedom to citizens. The
day comes with a lot of activities both at the presidential and state
levels. The event in Abuja used to take the whole day. From Eagle
Square events to Aso Rock banquet events. The activities were usually
many and involved a lot of people.
Having declared June 12 as democracy day last year and promised that
the date will begin to be celebrated from 2019, it was not surprising
therefore that many of the programmes of the former democracy day were
muted. As a matter of fact, the government announced earlier last
month that all activities earmarked for the former democracy day had
been moved to June 12. The government reasoned that that was the best
thing to do in the circumstance in order to give importance to the new
date of celebration. June 12 is significant in many ways. It was on
June 12, 1993 that the real journey to purge our country of successive
military regimes took off.
The Babangida regime had conducted what is said to be the freest,
fairest and credible election Nigeria had ever known.
The election produced a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket. A thing of
maturity that raises concern today more than two decades later as we
battle even meaner bigotry in our body polity. The election won by
Abiola was so free that a lot of myths were broken. One, the hitherto
lie that a southerner cannot defeat a northerner in a presidential
election was seen to be false. Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic
Party, SDP defeated Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention,
NRC to win the aborted election. The military will not have that so
they deployed all manner of tactics to puncture the unanimity of the
voice of Nigerians.
Graciously Buhari decided to honour ABiola last year. The governments
before Buhari had refused or rationalised why the right thing must be
done. They stuck to May 29. Now in honour of Abiola’s sacrifice and
the significance of his win and the importance attached to that
election which triggered all sorts of discussions, Nigeria honoured
Abiola and the sacred democratic date. We agree with the Nigerian
state for finally deciding to do something in memory of the man and
the date that democracy day has been shifted. But, what we don’t
understand is why the president refused to make a statement no matter
how short on the day of his inauguration. This should not be
We decry the action by the president not to speak to Nigerians on May
29. No matter how his handlers came about not making a statement on
the day of inauguration rankles, it is condescending and looks very
arrogant. The handlers of the president did not handle this well. They
were carried away by the proposed June 12 celebrations that they
forgot that it is consequential to make some inaugural speech. The
idea that June 12 stopped the president from issuing a statement is
childish. How do you get sworn in today, then make Nigerians wait
another two weeks to hear from the newly minted leader? It doesn’t
just make sense. The strategists of the president are so bland that
they need resigning or the sack.

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