One Igbo proverb has it that the bird grieves not so much about the hunter that shot it dead but the onlooker that made its carcass an object of spectacle. The Igbo proverb fits the parlous condition of Nigeria that Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser of President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity has turned to a preoccupation to trivialise and made object of ridicule. Nigeria’s parlous condition is of grave concern to Nigerians and the world but to jesters and political buccaneers Nigeria’s troubles are mere trifling colds and headache.
No man of good sense and goodwill will choose as a preoccupation to trivialise or made an object of ridicule his country’s multifarious problems that have reduced it to the sorry status of the Sick-man of Africa, if not the world, and lying helplessly and writhing in its death throes.
Femi Adesina remains one of the best journalists Nigeria has produced. He has paid his dues to the journalism profession and rose to the pinnacle of that noble profession as the editor of the Sun Newspaper for several years from where, due to his fanatical support for President Buhari during the troubling years of President Goodluck Jonathan whom he used his editorial suite to lampoon consequent upon which he was appointed as presidential media and publicity adviser in 2015 when General Buhari assumed office as president having the presidential election. He has retained that office till date.
A presidential adviser is the media and publicity guard, so to speak for the president and his duty is to explain the presidential activities and personal problems surrounding the presidency in a very truthful and sincere manner that the public will understand and will not be offended thereby. However, many Nigerians are not happy with Mr Adesina’s tour de force in the discharge of that office as he has made the office appear as a ribaldry show and a circus company. Each time I read or encounter Mr. Adesina’s press releases or essays on presidential activities they appear more like a joke, taunts or tales by moon lights.
I doubt if Mr. Adesina knows that majority of Nigerians do not take his offerings on behalf of the President serious. They consider him a man whose sense of reasoning is overcome with the luxurious of power and its trappings. On October 1, 2021, as a routine, President Buhari addressed Nigerians in a presidential speech broadcast in diverse media.
Nigerians heard him loud and clear and appreciated the man’s concerns for the country and its problems and how his government has been grappling with them for the past six years, but Mr Adesina who may have contributed to the writing of the speech counted it his bounden duty to address the ‘ignorant’ Nigerians on what President Buhari said and meant. To Mr Adesina, it is his office to interpret and explain presidential speeches to the ‘less educated’ Nigerians.
So, in an essay, ‘Weighty Matters About our Country’s published in The crest, an online media outfit by his former colleague in the Sun Newspaper, he weighed in with his explanations of the presidential speech. To Mr Adesina, the admission by President Buhari that the past 18 months, not even the whole six years he has been occupying Aso Rock as President, have been the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria – a period that surpassed the challenges experienced during the Biafra War shows the essential Buhari, the man of integrity, ever ready to the people the truth unlike his predecessor who lied.
To Adesina, Buhari who is a sincere man has always been “factual”, “straight” and “dead pan.” To better explain the Buhari declaration, Mr Adesina weighed in with his conclusion which the president did not sufficiently express and that is that life in Nigeria has “descended into the Hobbessian state of nature, nasty, brutish and short.”
Then Mr Adesina clutched to the usual Nigerian’ leaders’ pastime of fatalistic predisposition regarding Nigerians that have survived the past 18 months deadly onslaughts by insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, robbers, and so on as he prayed that “God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy…” He concluded with a prayer that “better days will come, and are, indeed, coming.” Mr Adesina as usual came well prepared to show Nigerians that President Buhari is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria since 1999, as he gave security report when he pronounced that the “military and security agencies have made tremendous progress in addressing these new security challenges.” Mr Adesina did not forget to tell ‘ignorant’ Nigerians that “we are taking the fight to our enemies from ll angles, and we are winning and concluded what “when Muhammadu Buhari tells you something, you can take it to the bank.
Believe.” The whole correspondence or conversation appears infantile and puerile. Where on earth do presidential spokesman descend to the arena of conflicts and take a personal stand by abusing a principal officer of state such as a senator even if by insinuations or by innuendoes? Mr Adesina does this effortlessly as he took on one unnamed senator who he described as “funny” who “uses foul language against those in leadership.” Chinua Achebe might have had this type of leaders in mind when he concluded in his pamphlet ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’ that the trouble with Nigeria is its leaders. And he is right.
But then that trouble is not about the leaders as persons but rather their incurable ignorance which is asphyxiating the country. President Buhari, like all members of the class 66 militico- political establishment that fought the civil war and won Nigeria as their estate regards the unity of Nigeria as the absolute value and each and everyone of them except for the new knowledge that made General Obasanjo and few others to now reason that Nigeria’s unity must depend and be founded on justice and freedom.
For the former represented by General Buhari, Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable and according to him, their resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.” The new thinking represented by the latter school of thought led by General Obasanjo is that Nigeria’s unity must be founded on Nigerians’ freedom and agreement to live together failing which that unity must not be at all cost. Leaders and acolytes whose battle-cry is that Nigeria’s unity is “not negotiable” reason that the troubles besetting Nigeria are the handiwork of enemies or the “critics misdiagnose incremental progress as stagnation” and that “since coming to power,” this Administration has tackled our problems head on inspite of the meagre resources” and he declared ex-cathedral that “no government since 1999 has done what we have done in six years to put Nigeria back on track.”
He challenged their opponents to prove their assertion wrong. PDP or any of the opposition parties are too lame and incoherent to take Mr. Adesina on his challenge and puncture it but let him know that Nigeria of a truth is sick, terribly sick and lies prostate and on its death throes and except honest effort (consisting of truth and justice) is deployed to heal her the grave yard of failed states may likely be its final destination.