President Buhari's 60th Independence Anniversary Address to the Nation: 'Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again'
It is a well known fact that Nigeria (celebrated?) marked her 60th Independence Anniversary on the 1st of October, 2020. It is customary that on days like this, the Nigerian President would address the entire nation in a national broadcast. This was exactly what President Muhammadu Buhari did during the said 60th Year Independence Anniversary!
However, at a time when the Nigerian nation is seriously bleeding, one would have expected the Nigerian President to utter words that can reduce the Nation's flow of blood, but unfortunately, the President chose to express himself with piercing words which ended up perforating the stitched wounds of the Country. In a dry-worded speech obviously inspired by Lie, nay, Lai Muhammed in conjunction with Femi Adesina, the President did not only insult our collective intelligence as a nation, but also reaffirmed the fact that he is indeed, a wrong choice for the seat of Nigerian President. Furthermore, the Independence day annivesary speech also showcases the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is not a man of integrity as people are misled to believe. These points shall be substantiated shortly.
In the said speech, President Muhammadu Buhari inter alia, stated as follows:
- No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999–2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.
- In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.
- Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;
b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.
- Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre
48. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia".
When I first read this speech, I couldn't but wonder what manner of man Nigerians have as their President! Does this man think at all? Does he even know what he reads? Does his speech writers think before they write or they write before they think?
Despite being the President of a nation that is fast drifting into the abyss of a failed State under his watch, Muhammadu Buhari and his speech writers still have the boldness to proclaim that: "No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts" ?
With all due respect to Mr. President, the above quoted portion of his speech is an aberration to say the least. It is an insult to reason and a mockery of facts, history and posterity. If indeed those in the previous Governments from 1999-2015 (i.e. Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan) presided over the near destruction of the Country, then President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a completely destroyed Country if at all there is a Country under his watch. If not a completely destroyed Country, how can President Buhari explain the fact that he took over the affairs of a Country with a total debts profile (local and foreign debts) of $63.806 billion as at the June 2015 report of the Nigeria Debts Management Office (DMO) but is now presiding over a Country with a total debts profile of $85.897 billion (N32 trillion)? (See Vaguardngr.com of September 9, 2020). If not a completely destroyed Country, how can President Buhari explain to Nigerians and the whole world that he took over the leadership of a Country with Dollar to Naira exchange rate of 1 USD to 199.05 NGN but is now heading the same Country with Dollar to Naira exchange rate of 1 USD to 465 NGN? (See https://ngn.fxexchangerate.com/usd-2015_05_29-exchange-rates-history.html)
Has President Muhammadu Buhari forgotten that as at the time he took over governance as Nigeria's President, a bag of rice was sold for N8,500 only and a bag of cement was sold for N1,600 only, while PMS (fuel) was sold for N87 per litre, but under his watch the prices of these commodities have skyrocketed to N 30,000, N2,500, and N161 respectively? How much were Nigerians paying as electricity bills before President Muhammadu Buhari took over as President in 2015, and how much are we paying now? Is Buhari and his handlers ignorant of facts and figures? Are they not aware that Nigeria's inflation rate as at 2015 was 9.01% (see Nigeria Inflation Rate 1960-2020. www.macrotrends.net. Retrieved 2020-10-02.), but today under President Muhammadu Buhari's watch, it is now 13.22% as at August, 2020? (See National Bureau of Statistics Report released in August, 2020).
There is no doubt that corruption and scandals have soared higher under President Muhammadu Buhari's government than it did under the previous Governments he alluded to. It is under this Government that snakes and monkeys were said to have consumed or swallowed currencies! It is also under this Government that an Ex-Governor (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) had Bullion Vans conveyed hard currencies to his private residence in Lagos during the 2019 election and no investigation was carried out. Under this government, an ex-Minister was discovered to have forged her NYSC Exemption Certificate but was allowed to resign and fly abroad without any interrogation or investigation. Under this Government, fire was said to have gutted a particular section of CBN office just because call for probe was underway. Under this Government, billions of naira were misappropriated and diverted into private pockets by persons who were appointed to oversee the affairs of NDDC. Under this Government, Abacha loots are re-looted and nothing is done about it. How about the Maina's scandal? The Ikoyi Apartment Billions Scandal? The $25 billion worth of contracts that were awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation under the watch of the supervising Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari? The Magu bombshell? These are just to mention but a few.
President Muhammadu Buhari ought to know that by virtue of his status, silence over certain issues is more noble than multitude of unguided or careless utterances. It would have been more noble if the President did not address the nation at all than to address the entire Country with empty and annoying words. It is a sad commentary that even after about six years of ruling this nation, President Buhari as usual, is still throwing blame game (albeit indirectly this time around) on his predecessors. If at all Buhari's predecessors were the Nigeria's problem, President Buhari has refused to wake up to the reality that he was voted into power so that he can do better than his predecessors. After all, it is a common saying that, "forward ever backward never". Unfortunately, under Buhari's watch, the words of this saying has to be rearranged to read "forward never, backward ever". Yes, it is a case of backward ever if a sitting President like Buhari refuses to accept responsibility for his administration's failures and inefficiencies but is rather quick to cast an unfounded blame on his predecessors. On the other hand, it is a case of forward never, if the citizens of a Country like Nigeria fared better under a previous administration than they do under a subsequent regime.
Crowning the provocative speech of President Muhammadu Buhari on the 1st of October, 2020, is what the President said in paragraph 48 of his speech wherein he stated thus: "Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia".
The question is, what indices did President Buhari use to arrive at the conclusion that it makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than Saudi Arabia? Is the President saying that Citizens of Saudi Arabia are more entitled to better life than Nigerians? If it makes no sense to Buhari that oil is cheaper in Nigeria than it is in Saudi Arabia, will it not make sense to him if the same oil price becomes cheaper in Saudi Arabia than it is in Nigeria? Does President Buhari not know that Saudi Arabia got its independence since 1932 while Nigeria got its own just in 1960? Does Buhari not know that in Saudi Arabia, workers are never owed their wages and salaries? Does Buhari not know that what a worker earns in Saudi Arabia is far, far above what a worker earns in Nigeria? Does Buhari not know that food prices are affordable in Saudi Arabia than it is in Nigeria under his watch? Does Buhari not know that unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia which is currently pegged at 9.% in the second quarter of 2020 is far less compared to that of Nigeria which stands at 27.1% as at 2Q, 2020 under his watch? Does Buhari not know that Nigeria's inflation rate is excessively high under his watch compared to what is obtainable in Saudi Arabia? Does Buhari not know that in Saudi Arabia there is no corruption as it is under his watch? Does Buhari not know that while Nigerian currency (Naira) is depreciating everyday against all foreign currencies including Saudi Arabia SAR, the latter is appreciating against Naira everyday under his (Buhari's) watch? For emphasis, 1 SAR (Saudi Arabia Currency) equals to 101.994 NGN.
I have tried in vain to fathom out why and how it doesn't make sense to Buhari if oil price is cheaper in Nigeria than it is in Saudi Arabia when the same Buhari during his presidential campaign in 2015, promised Nigerians that if voted into power, he would reduce fuel price to N45 per litre. Does President Buhari not know that as at the time he made this solemn promise to Nigerians that oil price was cheaper in Nigeria than it was in Saudi Arabia? What is more, when former President Goodluck Jonathan attempted to remove subsidy in 2012, President Muhammadu Buhari led a-nation-shaking protest (popularly known as #OccupyNigeria protest) with other notable Nigerians including Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and insisted that fuel price be reversed back to N65 per litre or there would be revolution then. The question is, when Buhari did all these even to the extent of threatening Jonathan's government with "revolution", was President Muhammadu Buhari not aware that oil price was cheaper in Nigeria than it was in Saudi Arabia then? Or does it mean that it made sense to Buhari that oil price was cheaper in Nigeria than it was in Saudi Arabia when he was not yet Nigeria's President but having become the President, it does no longer make any sense to him? Ridiculously, it does not make any sense to Buhari that oil price is cheaper in Nigeria than it is in Saudi Arabia but it makes sense to him that he (Buhari) is both the President and at the same time the Minister of Petroleum unlike his Saudi Arabia counterpart who does not occupy such unconstitutional dual position?
Well, as earlier observed, President Muhammadu Buhari's Independence speech is a testimony that he is not a man of integrity. It betrays him as a man who is not only inconsistent but one who cannot be trusted. If not, why not? The same man who promised to reduce fuel price to N45 per litre in 2015 had no shame to proclaim in a nationwide broadcast on the 1st of October, 2020, that "we sell now at N161 per litre"! Indeed, Nigerian politicians have no shame. Adams Oshiomole is another good example of this vice: He called a "Pastor" a Devil in a particular election year but turned around to call the same "Devil" a Pastor in another election year. What a tragedy!
Although independence day commemoration has come and gone, the provocative speech of President Muhammadu Buhari delivered on that day abides. The President owes Nigerians a public apology for indirectly insulting Nigerians through cynical reference to Saudi Arabia. Nigerians are humans and are therefore, entitled to good and affordable cost of living like the citizens of other sovereign States. The comfort of Nigeria and Nigerians are not dependent on what is obtainable in other climes and neither can same be determined by what is prevalent in another sovereign nation like Saudi Arabia.
President Buhari is well known for making careless remarks and utterances. He once said that Nigeria would be ungovernable and that the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood if he didn't win 2015 Presidential election. (See Vaguardngr.com of May 15, 2012). He also once referred to his wife (Aisha Buhari) as someone who belongs to the kitchen and "the other room". In another instance, he referred to Nigerian youths as "Lazy Nigerian Youths". Still in another remark, he said that whoever is not comfortable should leave Nigeria! No one need be told that comments such as these ought not to proceed from the mouth of a responsible President of a nation. The President's speech on the 1st of October, 2020, is another feather to his inglorious cap of making unguided utterances. Well, the simple truth here is that 'our husband has gone mad again'!
S. O. Akobe is a Lawyer, a Poet, and a renowned Writer/Social Commentator)
- In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
- Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre