President Buhari made his return to Nigeria over the weekend and in true presidential fashion he made an address to the nation. Although I am overjoyed to have our sovereign leader back, his speech has left me wanting to say the least. To kick it off, our president fails to apologise for his long absence, choosing to go down the generic route of “thanking Nigerians for their prayers”. In fact, one would think his gratitude would extend to the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who has performed his duties in his absence, yet this vote of thanks never comes.
The President then goes on to inform the nation that he has been kept abreast of all happenings in the country in his absence however there’s no evidence of this in his speech. This presidential address is a fluff piece at best. The entire speech more or less focuses on unity in Nigeria, which although a pressing and valid issue, is far from the only obstacle the country has faced in his absence. In my opinion, it would have been nice for the President to demonstrate his awareness of the current state of affairs in Nigeria by addressing pressing issues such as the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Univerities) strike. A statement, especially regarding the he-said/she-said situation of whether or not the strike is continuing, laying out what the government plans to do to remedy the situation, would undoubtedly have brought comfort to the many students and parents affected.
Furthermore, even if the President decided to focus on the ongoing violence in the country, it would not be asking too much to expect him to denounce a particular incident and lay out steps he plans on implementing to ensure we do not have it repeated under his term.
All in all, the presidential address is repetitive, generic and weak. It brings no comfort to a nation that has been left without guidance from its chosen leader for over 3 months. Yes our president is back but he seems as clueless as he would have been if he had remained in the UK. I wonder if he even knows that the National Assembly is currently battling to reduce his budget setting abilities in the ongoing appropriation bill case in the Supreme Court.
President Buhari, we are grateful for your physical return but now we need to see that your mind is here in Nigeria and you are capable of fulfilling all the promises you made to your people in sorting out her affairs.