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Buhari’s Blunders: The Last Straw ~ By Chijioke Mbaka

We will not take this anymore!


I woke up on Thursday morning as angry as I could ever be. On getting to work, I found out, unsurprisingly, that my colleagues, all of us young people, felt the same way.

Like me they learned of President Muhammadu Buhari’s denigrating remarks about Nigerian youths while attending The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London with the utmost chagrin and dismay.

The remarks were a blunder of the highest order, a cringe and chill inducing blunder that rattled us and left us tottering. We were used to the president committing high profile gaffes.

He has racked up quite a number since he assumed office in 2015:

–              In 2016, he publicly agreed with David Cameron’s insensitive remark that Nigerians are “fantastically corrupt”;

–              Later that same year, with the German Chancellor standing beside him, he disparaged the women folks gleefully saying that his wife “belongs to my kitchen, my living room and the other room.”

While these are extraordinary gaffes, they pale in significance to this statement about the youths of this country while he was addressing a panel discussion of business and global leaders:

“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare, education free,” our president said.

This is shocking! Absolutely shocking! How could a president of a country say this about his own people?

Some unfortunate creature in a dingy corner somewhere could make a remark of that nature about some unfortunate people but not the president of Nigeria before a gathering of world leaders.

This is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the presumed ‘father of the nation’ selling the youths of his country short before the whole world! This is unacceptable to us. It is anathema!

For the young people in this country, the president has committed the greatest blunder imaginable, an unforgivable ‘crime’.

Yes, how could we ever bring ourselves to forgive him this blatant and catastrophic misrepresentation of the industry, enterprise and sacrifice of millions of youths of this country?

The president made the statements on the same day thugs invaded the Senate and stole the mace. That invasion is treason and is punishable by law.

But Buhari’s blunder is more than treason, a transgression that is not even envisaged by the law; it is a misstep no sensible leader anywhere would allow himself to take.

But the president took it because he is moved by a different impulse, he is blinded by the singular obsession to paint himself as the only hero of a beleaguered and problematic country.

Therefore he would not mind putting the blame for Nigeria’s problems on the youths – young men and women who in reality toil away their youthful days under the worst possible conditions.

His action is thus an assassin’s knife on the back of a helpless victim; and we will pull no punches in censuring such an abominable and irresponsible behaviour.

The president’s spokesmen have defended the president. But by doing so they ended up showing that they are as stupid as we thought them to be.

Mr. ‘English’ Adesina dambled into semantics in his desperate attempt to lessen the putrid stench emanating from Mr. President’s elephantine blunder.

For goodness sake, we know the president never meant that every single Nigerian youth was lazy; he would not possibly refer to his ‘Hells Angels’ son, or Adesina and Lai Mohammed’s children as being lazy.

But he surely meant a great number of the youths or majority of them. That is damning enough!

In the same vein, he could not possibly have meant a few of the youths. There is no country in the world, including Britain, where a few of the youths are not lazy; so there is no way he would have made Nigeria’s case a talking point.

If the president deemed it fit to raise the issue of youth laziness in the CHOGM then he practically meant that most of the youths in Nigeria are lazy.

But this cannot be farther from the truth. Or is the president suffering from some sort of senile dementia?

Is he finding it difficult to take cognizance of the happenings around him?

Everywhere in this country, young people struggle to eke out their living under very harsh conditions. They work very hard to excel both at home and abroad.

In Nigeria, they are in the streets and markets, setting up businesses and working tirelessly to keep them afloat.

In a country like the US, data shows they are the most educated, and seventy-seven percent of black doctors there are said to be Nigerians.

Our youths are not lazy and they do not wait for freebies. Their entrepreneurial spirit and creativity do not lack expression.

All they want or ask for is the enabling environment to make the most of their potentials. But Baba in all his ‘diligence’ cannot provide that.

Bloodshed occasioned by a collapse of security has forced the youths into IDP camps (He scores himself high on security).

Young people no longer work in the farms to avoid being killed by AK-47 wielding herdsmen.

Information Technology (IT) savvy youths cannot bring out their laptops because of the brutality of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Only a couple of days ago, health workers in Nigeria embarked on a strike under the ‘watchful’ attention of the president, a situation that would deprive Nigerians even the costly healthcare they have always been forced to pay for.

Meanwhile the president will undergo his medical check-up in London, paid for, of course, from the treasury.

Yet he ventured to say that we want everything free; he is the one who has got everything free. He has been dependent on the Nigerian state right from when I was born.

At present, he lives in a free house; he and his ‘hardworking’ family are feed by the state. He receives medical treatment – he receives them abroad – at great expense to the treasury.

And when his son had an accident, Nigeria shouldered his medical expenses and gave his son back his life. Truly, he is the president and deserves some pay packages, but he has not done enough to justify any of them.

His disastrous and lethargic leadership has rather incurred more cost for the country – in lives and goodwill – than benefits.

He left to frolic in London for a whole week before the CHOGM while wanton killings continued all around the country and Leah Sharibu, a youth who was abducted while seeking education, remained in Boko Haram captivity.

Is this not an apparent abdication of duty? In reality the president looks more like the recipient of freebies, the lazy one, a man paid for work he has not done.

Indeed one is right to ask: has the president led us by example? The answer is negative! Has his education been a paradigm for the youths to follow?

A resounding negative! Since he left his first office in 1985 while he was still in his 40s, he did nothing to add value to his person.

He never bothered to improve on the scanty and inadequate education he received during his military career.

Olusegun Obasanjo went to the National Open University; Buhari on his own added nothing to a doubtful secondary education.

While he derided Nigerian youths abroad, he forgot he could not even present a senior secondary certificate at a ripe old age of ’74 or 75′.

He had all the while been preoccupied by the obsession to become the civilian president of Nigeria, a country that is brimming with youthful talent and intellect, a country that had left him behind a long time ago.

Since he became president, Nigeria has sadly been sliding down to his abysmal level.

Mr. President really rammed into the youths of this country like he has axe to grind with them.

Why would he join issues with them in this manner?

Is it because we criticize him for ineptitude or because many voice their displeasure at the way he handles the affairs of state – the way security has collapsed under his idle watch?

Is it because we did not vote him into power in 2003, 2007 and 2011, like we knew the calamitous time he would usher in?

I cannot tell; but at this moment, we do not care.

This is the last straw! He has crossed the red line and the youths of this country have prepared their verdict: this man is not fit to be our president.

He is a bull in a China shop! We will cast him aside like a child casts aside an unwanted toy.

2019 seems far away now; with his proclivity for blunders, one can only wonder at the number of high profile bloopers he will churn out before his time is up.

But eventually, 2019 will come and we, the ‘lazy and uneducated’ youths of this country will vote this ponderous old man out of power.

Chijioke Mbaka, O. writes from Enugu. Twitter: @Mbaka_Ogonnaya

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