President Buhari, Silence Is Not Always Golden – Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
The quality of leadership in the Senate and House of Representatives has long been considered an intra-party problem, and the budget padding scandal has shown that it is a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. Since we started the present democratic experiment in 1999, the legislative chambers have never been accountable. They have existed as extortion departments to make demands from the executive. Until Buhari was elected, they were the Senate and House of Ghana Must Go Bags. It is these perks and vaunting ambition that prompted Saraki’s hijack of the process and the forgery of standing rules, as being alleged.
This article was written by Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.
Events since the Eighth national Assembly was inaugurated has proven to Nigerians that the Senate President and the Speaker of the House are unqualified to serve in their respective roles; both in character and temperament. Together, they promote graft, theft and a campaign of intimidation and harassment, while they revel in the complete abdication of their statutory roles.
Despite the president’s signature agenda of fighting corruption, a few people in positions of trust and privilege continue to plunder our resources while ordinary Nigerians are not being paid their wages, salaries, and decent living has never been harder. Saraki and Dogara’s infractions have continued to make mockery of the president’s anti-corruption fight. Their intent and actions in their official capacities clearly reveal their contempt for Nigeria’s constitutional norms and preference for judicial subjugation and abuse of procedures.
Along with these orchestrated sabotage is Mamman Daura’s hostile takeover of presidential appointments and the Dambazau debacle. Sadly, the president has remained silent through it all. It feels like it doesn’t matter. What will it take to get the president to talk? What will it take to get the president to feel the pain and anguish of the average Nigerian? President Buhari, at times of national unease like we are in, silence is not golden.
Do not listen to the likes of Adesina who tells you that you cannot afford to be a talkative president. Nigerians elected you and they deserve occasional briefings on major events and developments. You cannot afford the communication strategy of a hermit. It will not serve you nor will it benefit us. Sometimes you need to rally the troops. You need to make the case for patience and sacrifice. Sometimes, you need to give peptalk to boost morale at times of national despondency when there is pervasive hunger and want in the land. At times like this, it is better to say too much than to say too little.
Mr. President, are you going to leave Nigerians to the desecrators and violators to deal with as they deem fit? The majority of Nigerians do not understand your wall of silence. The unusual combination of mindless gratification, unbridled arrogance, disregard for the judicial process and impunity from legislative quarters is galling. Unfortunately, neither Saraki nor Dogara and their clique of saboteurs sees their moral failures as any form of handicap. While Saraki is encouraging bullying and physical fights in the Senate in his desperation for affirmation, he is totally contemptuous of facts and other points of view. While Dogara is accusing another of budget padding, his red ink gives authority and timestamp to grand theft.
Your silence might be political but it is not strategic and it is detrimental to national interest. Even if it conveys a sense of mystery to us, the predictable meaning we read into it are different. With this sort of silence, we feel more passivity, more uncertainty and relinquishment, if not surrender and helplessness. It is true that politics is a game of intrigues but times like this calls for persuasion, clarification and conviction to win public support and sympathy.
Sir, your silence is being interpreted even by core Buharists like me as incompetence, intransigence and a variant of arrogance. From what we see so far, your silence has led to your political encirclement. Effectively, the legislative houses are in the hands of unbelievers of change and seasoned economic saboteurs whose interests are their pockets and ambitions. Your appointments are lopsided in a country with visible fault lines and we are begining to see the manifestations of cronyism and nepotism.
As a battle tested General, I know you will never underestimate an enemy but sir; but the signals are there that the battle lines are drawn and the conflict is going to be a fight to the finish between you and the unbelievers of change. The plot is to prevent your administration from functioning effectively and succeeding in the battle against corruption. As I write this, the battle front is desultory and your men like Mamman Daura, Abba Kyari and Femi Adesina are widening the theatre of conflict to the point that it is appropriate to call it a war. I urge you to break your silence today. Your silence is deafening. Your silence is not strategic. It is certainly not golden!
Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column – “Bamidele Upfront” for the Premium Times.