Of Buhari and irascible critics  

President Muhammadu Buhari

It is an established fact that there is hardly any human being or institution that is bereft of errors. All humans are fallible including presidents, as experiences have shown.

It is, however, surprising that some unrepentant critics of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration are usually quick to ascribe some measure of infallibility to the President, a reason they get incensed each time human errors occur in the management of the nation’s affairs.

The recent appointments into federal boards of government parastatals and agencies, where a few names of the dead were published in error, are a case in point. With the candid explanations by the Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, it was expected that the matter should have been laid to rest.

Yet, some mischief-makers latched onto the issue and exercised no restraint in denigrating the President, pouring invectives on his person all through. It is more regrettable when critics of the President went crass and resorted to uncouth language to vent their disagreement with the President.

One of the President’s most implacable critics, Reno Omokri, took his vile against the President too far, describing him as working dead President. This is more reprehensible, smirking of irresponsibility, rudeness, incivility and lack of respect for an elder.

The use of such rude language to describe the President of a country is most unacceptable and tantamount to the abuse of media space and abuse of freedom of expression. It also amounts to hate speech, which the government of the day has been preaching against. This act of disrespect for the institution of presidency, indeed, calls for sanction.
 
At any rate, that President Muhammadu Buhari is a democrat who upholds the principles of freedom of expression should not be a reason for rude behaviour by persons with access to the media. It is indeed expected that the media should self-regulate itself and dissuade those with penchant for use of foul language, in their self-imposed task to criticize the government at the snap of a finger. 

On the face value, there is no correlation between the use of the intemperate language against the President and the already acknowledged mistake of publishing a few names of dead persons as beneficiaries of board appointments. Conversely, credit ought to have been given to the Presidency for having the courage and sincerity of purpose to admit the error with intent to review the entire list, to correcting the observed omission. 

Errors also occur with governments in other climes. In the most advanced democracies like the United States and the United Kingdom, there have been instances where Presidents or Prime Ministers committed glaring errors in appointments and other state matters, yet such infractions did not elicit the kind of hostile write-ups or outright use of abusive language by critics against their leaders.

It, therefore, goes without saying that the critic or critics who chose to use uncivilised language against Buhari on the issue of errors on board appointments were on a mischief mission with a deliberate intent to malign his person and put his high office in disrepute and public opprobrium.

This approach is to say the least, unpatriotic, disrespectful and unwarranted. In our quest for nation building, it is expected that as a people, we appreciate the efforts and sacrifices being made by the president to reposition the country.

So far, his achievements are glaring for all to see as he has relentlessly continues to address the numerous challenges that tend to stunt the growth and development of the country. Have we stopped for a moment to imagine where Nigeria would have been with the senseless terrorists’ attacks of Boko Haram if the President did not take up the challenge of using the military to decimate them? Again, Buhari is the only president in recent times who has demonstrated genuine commitment to eradicating corruption which is another cankerworm militating against Nigeria’s development.

It is, therefore, the onerous duty of all patriots to lend the present government the necessary support towards rescuing the country from the stranglehold of corruption and maladministration into which the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations plunged her.

It may appear as a daunting task for President Buhari, yet there is light at the end of the tunnel as the administration remains focused and determined towards rebuilding the country for the good of all Nigerians.

As public commentators, we owe it as an obligation to be circumspect in the way and manner we invent words regarding the person of the President as his office symbolises the prestige and values of the country. It does not confer any special reward when we deliberately choose to denigrate the person of the president or the high office he occupies. 

On his part, Buhari has continued to demonstrate unalloyed commitment to his contract with Nigerians as reflected in the various developmental projects he has relentlessly pursued. On his watch, Nigeria is witnessing a revolution in agriculture; rejuvenation of dormant industries and massive infrastructural upgrade across the six geo-political zones of the country and for once, we have an administration that is deploying public funds to the areas that will benefit all citizens.

Against this background, it is irresponsible for some armchair critics to resort to unprintable words to describe a President who is working day and night to clear the mess left by the successive PDP administrations.

Enekwechi is an Abuja-based public affairs analyst.

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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