Wednesday, April 4, 2018

President Buhari And The Irresistible Allures Of Lagos!

By Olugbenga David
On Thursday, after commissioning a bus stop - Ghana will in May, commission their new and futuristic Kotoka International Airport - in paralysed Lagos, President Buhari went to the main event that brought him to Lagos, the Bola Tinubu Day, which has now been surreptitiously made into a national holiday.
*President Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Oluremi
Tinubu, during Buhari's visit to Lagos
And while Mr. President was attending events to mark this birthday, the Army was burying 11 soldiers in a very lowkey funeral in Kaduna. The soldiers were killed at Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, several days earlier, reportedly by late Buharin Daji’s murderous bandit group.

This was the same day also, that dozens were killed, for the umpteenth time, in Zamfara, said to be by the same Buharin Daji’s murderous group. But the President did not care to even ask for a minute’s silence in honour of the murdered soldiers. Nor silence in honour of the poor peasants killed. He only had time and words of praise for the Jagaban Borgu, whose electoral value is suddenly attractive, valuable and desirable to the President. After all, 2019 elections are here, and John Odigie-Oyegun has no electoral value in the new turn of events and scheme of things. So the Jagaban must be vigorously courted, and be properly romanced.
Sadly, as the President elected to ignore the burial of those 11 soldiers and be in Lagos attending to one man’s ego trip, so did El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, where the soldiers were killed. The governor inexplicably stayed away from the funeral.

Apart from attending the Tinubu Colloquial, the President visited Atlantic City, the pet project of the Chagouris, once business partners of Abacha, but now Asiwaju Tinubu’s partners in many schemes. Again, while there on this island errand, the President skipped to ask for a minute’s silence for the dead soldiers. But he had plenty of time to chat and take pictures with gas-guzzling supermodel Naomi Campbell, fugitive Kola Aluko’s squeeze. All this while Lagos was in complete lockdown, on the orders of Mr. President. To appease one soul.

Eleven soldiers killed by armed bandits, buried without appropriate honour or ceremony, and without any state figure in attendance. The Minister of Defence stayed away, too, while the Chief of Army Staff was only represented by a GOC. Bola Tinubu’s birthday had pulled away from Aso Rock Villa, our reluctant-to-travel President and the Vice President, plus sundry tag-along ministers and high FGN functionaries. Both President and VP liberally praised and pandered to the Jagaban, seeking to pacify him for the three years of neglect, indignity and political sabotage he suffered in their hands.

And yes, the President also found plenty of time to pose for pictures, smiling broadly, with the aged supermodel Naomi, and with the infamous Chagouri.

Who invited Naomi Campbell and why? She is not a head of state, and she is not the head of any international organisation, or of an international investor firm linked with the Atlantic City project, to be so invited and so prominently featured. She is just an ageing bimbo who shows up alongside any nouveau riche rogue dumb enough to desire her company. She has adorned the arms of Charles Taylor and many other characters. She was last seen by Forbes to be escorting Kola Aluko. Shouldn’t our security agencies be having a nice chat with her, instead of letting her loose upon our President?

And so the President locked down Lagos, declared a holiday, courted Tinubu, and hobnobbed with a floozy and a carpetbagger, leaving our troubled and ailing nation on automatic pilot, for two days running.

What about the morale of Nigeria’s armed forces? And what about the morale of other security and law enforcement agents, when the funeral of their murdered colleagues is shunned by their C-in-C, without even the courtesy of representation at the lowest level? How can these noble professions be anymore attractive to young people, when they see the President attending the weddings of the daughters of governors and of the super rich, but not bothering to attend the funeral of 11 service men, killed by violent, organised criminals?

11 young soldiers murdered, yet not a single senior FG official, and not a single  state governor in attendance at their quiet funeral. Every big man, elected or appointed, is, most of this season, scrambled around the country, attending the affairs of one big man or another. Eleven dead soldiers can wait. What a country!

And where was El-Rufai, the governor in whose state the lives of these eleven young soldiers were brutally taken? What business of such earthly importance kept him away from their funeral?

Nigeria, do we really care? Do we have any conscience left in us? Does the common man matter and count in anything in this country, anymore?

Eleven young soldiers killed by organised bandits, buried unmourned, in Kaduna, their C-in-C owambeing in Eko, and the Chief of Army Staff not anywhere in sight. Where is the press, both traditional and social media? Are they no more the conscience of the society? Are they no longer the voice of the voiceless?

And where are the human rights and other civil society organisations? Where are the icons of social activism? They were not at the funeral, either. They have all gone silent on the murder of 11 young military officers, killed while defending us, we the people. Not one of them is protesting that eleven young soldiers have been buried unmourned, while our elders and leaders were frolicking in Eko, and sunning themselves on the silvery sands of a controversial new city for the super rich.

Where is our conscience, individual and collective? Where is governmental responsibility? Where is leadership? Where are justice and fairness? Where is Nigeria?

And who owns this Atlantic City, which has taken away the President from his national duty and responsibility of attending the funeral of our fallen heroes?

*Olugbenga David,
VGC, Lagos, 31/03/18

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