President Muhammadu Buhari was elected on the promises to fight corruption, end Boko Haram insurgency and revive Nigeria’s economy. During the presidential campaign the All Progressives Congress (APC) made a lot of promises. However, now many Nigerians believe that failed to fulfill his electoral promises and even call him a liar.
Ochereome Nnann in this piece for the Vanguard explains why President Buhari cannot lie to Nigerians.
Can a president lie? If a president says something that is obviously untrue, can he be called a liar? I ask these questions bearing two things in mind. We Africans have our own ideas of things that we consider culturally correct to do or say, even if they do not represent the true situation of things.
For instance, it is believed that one should not speak ill of the dead. Why, because the dead is gone and no longer in a position to defend himself. Though people know that when this chap was alive, he was the Devil’s incarnate, the fact that he is dead says it all for him: the river has taken the tattered basket downstream and away from sight.
It becomes petty and small for anyone to mount the magisterial podium to pronounce judgment, which is an assignment for God alone. Another reason is that the president is like the head of a household.
It is unseemly to look the head of the family in the face and call him a liar, even if he is inveterately such. In Nigeria as in many parts of the world, the president is the living symbol of the nation’s sovereignty; the Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic. It is a position of enormous symbolic proportions, the import of which is often lost on those who occupy that exalted office.
A president who understands the importance of the office he is privileged to occupy cannot just talk or behave anyhow. That is why every little nuance of his words or actions, even as a candidate for that office, is minutely analysed in the public arena, and rated to see how “presidential” he is, or whether he is “qualified” to be President. President Buhari When President Muhammadu Buhari visited his hometown, Daura, to celebrate the Muslim festival of Id el Kabir, he made a statement that was obviously and scandalously untrue.
He said to his people: “I want Nigerians to realise that what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP government was no savings, no infrastructure, no power, no rail, no road and no security”.
Even the most brainless moron knows this is an impossible statement. You can talk about little savings, poor infrastructure, epileptic power supply, serious infrastructure deficit, a rail system that was just being revived after its total collapse during the years of military rule, bad road network nationwide and grave security challenges.
The word: “no” has no place in the speech of anyone who sat on a classroom bench and broke a chalk, let alone the president of a country like Nigeria. It calls into serious question the mental capacity of the user or his motive.
It is either he does not know what he is saying or he is saying it to deceive the common people and continue to blame the past governments for his failure to grapple with the challenges of leading a country like Nigeria, unaware that the whole world is listening.
That the world was listening was evident shortly after that preposterous speech. It trended like a hurricane over the Internet and made the front pages of newspapers the following day. It did so, not because President Buhari broke earth-shaking news, but because he said something that should never come from a serious president.