Unlike what obtained in 2015, there were no mammoth crowds lining the streets to receive President Muhammadu Buhari as he visited Benue State this week to commiserate with the people and government over the loss of 73 lives in the New Year Day massacre by suspected herdsmen. Instead, the President met mammoth silence from a distraught people angry over his belated visit and his handling of the security challenge bedeviling the state.
What sent tongues wagging was the President’s response to a complaint made by one of the Benue leaders, during an interactive session in the Government House. The complaint was that when the President told the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, to relocate to Benue in order to get firsthand information about the Farmers/Herders crisis, he only visited and in less than 24hours departed for neighbouring Nassarrawa State. He (PMB) replied saying he was unaware of the conduct of his appointee and explained that the meeting was not the right venue to expose the inefficiency of the police boss.
Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesperson, is obviously a born again christian. The only defence he had for his boss is that “Mr President is not omniscient”. Meaning the President is not all-knowing. I find it strange that PMB is attempting a cover up for a subordinate who clearly flouted his instructions. In military parlance, Idris disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer, and nothing should stop him from facing the music. But i am cocksure that nothing will happen to him and this matter will eventually be swept under the carpet.
Appointments into public offices in Nigeria are usually based on the recommendation of godfathers and not on merit. Which means those appointed are loyal to their godfathers rather than their principal or the country. In the event that they run into trouble with their principal for an infraction of the law, the godfather steps in and no punitive measure is taken against the appointee. That pattern remains unchanged even after PMB assumed office in 2015. Does anyone remember the EFCC/DSS feud which resulted in the non confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman by the Senate?
This revelation portrays the President as weak and not in control of the country. Also, his response highlights his bias and his insensitivity to the serial killings in Benue. Furthermore, it lends credence to conspiracy theories about the existence of a cabal in the Presidency. Come to think of it, If Idris can openly disobey his boss, then what stops junior officers under him (Idris) from also disobeying him? Definitely, we have a huge dysfunctional bureaucracy on our hands.
Mr President missed a great opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the Benue people, through some of his actions during the visit. One, the banning of journalists from 23 media houses from covering the visit. Two, the cancellation of the proposed visit to the Tor Tiv and Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, Professor James Ayatse. Finally, the cancellation of the proposed visit to the Internally Displaced Persons camp at Gbamjiba in Guma local government area. PDP’s assertion that the President’s visit was because of 2019 might be true after all. But one thing i know is that the APC will not win the Presidential election in Benue come 2019.