Buhari cools off in Daura as Nigeria burns

Nigeria is stuck with a president who sees nothing wrong with borrowing time to cool off in the heat of battle.

Nigerians are going through a lot at the moment but the man they elected president cannot be bothered, it seems.

On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari was flown to Daura, Katsina State for a “week-long private visit”.

According to Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu, “the aircraft carrying the president from Abuja landed at 4:45pm at the Umaru Yar’Adua International Airport in Katsina”. After nightfall, bandits stormed the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara and abducted hundreds of students.

Kankara is a local government area in Buhari’s home state of Katsina. Reports say at least 333 schoolboys are still unaccounted for.

Buhari condemned the attack but refused to visit Katsina parents who feared for the safety of their children. An average driver can get to Kankara from Daura by car in about three hours. Buhari can make it there in minutes by air. But the president snubbed the parents and sent a “high-powered” delegation to visit the state instead.

This was the same thing Buhari did after Boko Haram terrorists slaughtered and beheaded at least 78 rice farmers in Borno. The president, who was in Abuja at the time, even agreed to appear before lawmakers to take questions regarding his handling of Nigeria’s national security.

But Buhari, who is said to be a man of integrity, broke the agreement and chose to take seven days off in Daura. Attorney-general Abubakar Malami defended his boss by saying no one had the constitutional right to summon the president over security matters.

The lawmakers had invited the president to face the people he swore an oath to protect following waves of kidnappings and killings. The country is, even according to the Sultan of Sokoto, so unsafe that bandits now tax Nigeria farmers before they are allowed to harvest their crops. The most revered Muslim leader in the country is not the only one raising alarm over the present state of insecurity.

Whenever Nigerians are maimed, abducted or decapitated, President Buhari would express shock and dish out orders to the military to secure the country. But nothing changes. Following the massacre in Borno, Buhari, the man elected into office to safeguard Nigerian lives, practically passed the buck to the military which he said he had given every tool needed to keep the country safe. The soldiers on the battlefield beg to differ.

The military hierarchy unfortunately now battles a demon of its own, and apparently on its own.

The Nation reported that at least 26 officers of the Nigerian Army have tested positive for the coronavirus. According to Punch, about 20 of them are generals. They are all in isolation at a time the country is locking horns with bandits and Boko Haram.

The chief of army staff Tukur Buratai, who is self-isolating following waves of positive coronavirus tests which reportedly contributed to the death of John Irefin, a major-general, wrote troops at the battlefront to soldier on and not be demoralised by the unavailability of several members of the military hierarchy.

But little or no leadership is seen from President Buhari, the commander-in-chief of Nigeria’s armed forces.

The economy is suffering from a myriad of afflictions. The naira is getting clobbered across the globe. Inflation is high. Nigeria is eating its future cake by borrowing heavily from China to fund Buhari’s budget. Pandemic lockdowns played a huge part in all of this but so did the president’s ridiculous economic policies.

Nigeria may well be at the threshold of a second wave of cornavirus infections. Tech billionaire and vaccine philanthropist Bill Gates said the next four to six months could be brutal across the world. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says cases are spiking in Lagos and Abuja. Governments around the world are planning to roll out mass vaccinations in 2021. The Nigerian economy, and the state, does not look like it can withstand another round of lockdowns.

Nobody knows what the new year holds. The fate of the world has never been so uncertain. The need for reliable leadership has never been so dire. But Nigeria is stuck with a president who sees nothing wrong with borrowing time to cool off in the heat of battle.

Rotimi Akinola

Rotimi is a multimedia journalist and editor of The Realm News.

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