Prominent Nigerians Knock Buhari Over Speech

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerians on Monday were diverse in their opinions on Buhari’s first broadcast to Nigerians after a 104-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The speech has been described as lacking in matters that affected Nigerians.

An elder statesman and chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, faulted the President’s position that Nigeria’s unity was not open to negotiation.

He said the President’s statement showed that he was unaware of the country’s mood.

Adebanjo stated that since the country’s past presidents and eminent Nigerians also called for restructuring to address the lopsidedness in the country, Buhari’s position only showed that a section of the country was not comfortable with the idea.

He said, “If anyone opposes restructuring, the person is the number one enemy of this country. If Buhari should continue talking this way, he is the number one enemy of Nigeria. He should not confuse us because we are not schoolchildren. Nobody is talking about the unity of Nigeria. We are talking about addressing the condition of our coming together on agreeable terms. The more he talks like this, the more it shows that he is not sincere about Nigeria. We said let us restructure the country; he referred us to the National Council of State and National Assembly. These are the products of the constitution imposed on us by the military which we are complaining about. Can we make progress with the political instability in the country?  The statement does not show that he knows the mood of the country.”

The apex socio-cultural umbrella of Urhobo people, Urhobo Progress Union, also described the broadcast as a mere “thank you address short of concrete plans to address the burning national issues in the country.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the group, Chief Abel Oshevire, said in a statement on Monday that Nigerians had expected Mr. President to address various burning issues in concrete terms, including IPOB, restructuring and the menace of Fulani herdsmen.

He said, “We had expected that the president would have taken his time to address issues of Biafra, restructuring, menace of Fulani cattle rearers, increased Boko Haram insurgence and complaints of marginalisation, among others, to assuage the fears of Nigerians and assure them of the Federal Government’s determination to proffer solutions to them.

“We see the president’s speech as a thank you address to Nigerians for their prayers and good wishes for his recovery. We are waiting for Mr. President to address Nigerians on the real issues agitating their minds.”

The suspended Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, likened Buhari’s broadcast to a coup speech.

Jibrin, in a tweet on Monday, wrote, “Fair for everyone to have ideas and expectations, but I did not expect PMB to read a speech this morning like he was announcing a coup d’état.”

Also, a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, described the broadcast as a “terrible case of missed opportunity”.

“I can give an instant Citizen’s feedback to President Muhammadu Buhari that his speech this morning was a terrible case of missed opportunity,” she wrote in her twitter handle.

The President of the Ijaw Youths Council, Mr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi, said on the telephone that the body was opposed to the President’s position that Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable.

He said, “I disagree with the President’s assertion that Nigeria is not negotiable, I don’t think that is the part we should still be talking about. We must negotiate, we must discuss, if you say we cannot discuss the unity of this country, then you are compounding the problem.”

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