President-Elect Buhari has since his election taken two false steps; the first being to address a group of mainly Hausa audience in his own native language, which is also Hausa. Ordinarily, this would be no gaffe, but the matter being addressed offered a plausible call for a political dissatisfaction among many Nigerians. To some, speaking Hausa to a Hausa audience about prosecuting oil theft, when it was crystal clear that those who shall be brought before the law shall include Niger Deltans, is high-handed. Many wished the president-elect start seeing himself as who he is, namely Nigeria’s Number One Citizen, thus he must use the lingua franca of the majority at all times no matter the audience.
Hardly had the hulabaloo around this lingua franca controversy died out, came yet another faux step: AIT is barred from Buhari’s compound. Actually, there are many colorations to what happened, words like “ban”, “bar”, “disallow”, “forbid” among many others litter the social media to describe the latest action of The People’s General, what is thus clearly portrayed is unmistaken: Mr. Buhari, citing security grounds, wanted no media outfit that is compromised in his immediate domot.
We need not cover mouth with leaf when talking about AIT; we are well aware the owner Mr. Dokpesi is a thoroughly compromised man through and through. He left nobody in doubt of his romance with late dictator Sani Abacha. Most recently, his media house broadcast terrible lies prior to 2015 General Election, thereby wanting to better the winning chance of the incumbent, President Jonathan, who conceded defeat in a historical election in Nigeria. Once again, Mr. Dokpesi confirmed his allegiance would be unwaivering as long as the highest bidder is the person in power.
Returning to the torrent being generated from both camps, i.e. the pro- and anti-Buhari in response to Buhari’s action, a very close reminder of Mr. Buhari’s dictatorship in the 1980s, the camps could not be more divided than they have always been. A new addition to the divided camps is the division in the pro-Buhari camp itself. There are those who stated in no uncertain terms that Mr. Buhari’s action is condemnable. On the other side within the same camp are those who consider Mr. Buhari should have gone beyond “barring” AIT, they wanted something stronger. Apparently, this group within the pro-Buhari camp are the ultra wing, leaning towards Right elements of any political association. A reasonable opinion would ignore calls from such people.
Considering weighted opinion among supporters of President-Elect Buhari, Mr. Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, pointedly condemned this action by fiat from the media team of the incoming president. Professor Adesanmi went beyond condemning the action, he suggested intelligent ways to “suppress” unfriendly media outfits, which will cause close-to-no uproar from either camps. Hear both of them:
“Buhari bans AIT from covering his programs- I strongly condemn this action on the part of President-Elect’s team. No media platform(s) should be persecuted for refusing to support his candidature for the 2015 election.” Sowore, Publisher Sahara Reporters.
“…No, you cannot ban or prohibit or prevent a media group from covering your activities. In a democracy, the worst you can do is to “freeze out” journalists and media groups making you uncomfortable…” Professor Pius Adesanmi
A government of vendetta is the least desirable for Nigeria starting May 29, 2015. At no time in our history is it more paramount to focus on national building than now, putting in place structures that shall outlive thevincoming government. There is of course nothing that so far suggest President-Elect Buhari would do less than he had promised, it is but pertinent he is reminded by those managing his public statement/personality that he might be in for a rougher presidency if he would not be less careless as to what he says and how he says it. From reactions from all ends, one is safe to conclude that actions like this second misstep is good food for roforofo fighters, so much so that if care is not taken, the presidency is only left with covering up for Buhari’s dictatorial yansh every now and then due to, yeah, well-intended actions/statements, but packaged in wrong words. We must remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Returning to Professor Adesanmi’s injunction to the president-elect and supporters in an attempt to discard overzealous anti-Buhari element who will want to make capital gain from this unfortunate development, they are to ignore the noise in the market, failure to do so would result in distraction. Distraction, one could deduce from his submission, is not good for the atmosphere of the national work on ground. I agree.
In the same spirit, Mr. Buhari need be ready to act statemanly and as democracy demands, ignoring AIT’s irresponsible journalism of recent past as one noise in the bigger Nigerian space would have been a wiser approach. Actions and statements that remind of his dictatorship past must be avoided by all means, and he should remain focused on putting together a formidable team which we patiently await to lead us out of a traumatic (recent) past as a country into a change we voted him to lead.
Editor’s note: I read just now that APC, party of President-Elect Buhari has lifted coverage ban on AIT.