The hitherto hyped visit of President MuhammaduBuhari to Imo State on 9th September, 2021, had finally come and gone. But, with hindsight, this would appear to be the most shameful outing ever embarked upon within the country by MuhammaduBuhari since his ascension to power on May 29, 2015, as acivilian ruler. Apart from the fact that this visit in itself was palpably marred by the ignominy of having substantial population of both the state visited and that of the entire Southeastern region staying completely aloof from Mr. Buhari-like would be done to a person afflicted by Leprosy- in an apparent demonstration of the people’s collective rejection of him over his terrible records of human rights violation, alongside with the unprecedented marginalization of the region in the scheme of things under his watch, the other aspects of show of shame that did expose him to ridicule were also evident in his utterances and appearance during the visit.
But first, on the ignominy of having almost the entire population of Ndigbo of Southeastern region ostracizing and retreating completely from President Buhari during his visit to Imo state, there is no gainsaying that in the annals of the presidency of Nigeria, be it under the military or civilian rule, no Head of state or government had ever been treated with such glaring disdain in the manner recently hurled at the face of Major-General MuhammaduBuhari by the Igbo people of Southeastern region. Of course, many are wont to believe that Mr. Buhari’s obviously soured relations with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) could largely be implicated for the shabby and unpresidential reception he did deservedly receive from the generality of Ndigbo upon his recent visit to Imo State. Though as factual as this point of view is to the overall facts in issue about the ostracism meted out to Mr. Buhari, one other indisputable truth, perhaps even more relevant than the issue of strained relations between Mr. Buhari and the IPOB, is that the five-percent-vote mentality of President Buhari which he did develop on his own in the aftermath of the recent past presidential election contest and which he has since been acting out by allowing it to dictate and guide his thought process and actions toward Ndigbo and their well-being in Nigeria at present, is, more than any other primafacie factor, responsible for the litany of woes and opposition which he keeps encountering in his futile attempt at building and/or improving relations with the Igbo masses. And from all indications, it may no longer seem possible that President Buhari could ever succeed in altering this already badly fractured relations between him and the core Igbo masses, more so having almost always demonstrated a deep-seated animosity against the latter as is manifest in his nepotic, Jingoistic and parochial appointments and allocation of state resources. Also not excluded is his disgusting vindictiveness. Thus, that the vast majority of the Igbo people who deliberately observe the weekly sit-at-home order of the Indigenous People of Biafra, particularly as it relates to the one of 9th September, 2021, meant to be used to shame the person of the president, do often gladly comply with such directive issued by a non-state actor for that matter and at a short notice, only goes to underscore the irredeemable level of Igbo disaffection with the pervading maladministration under the sway of Mr. Buhari.
Another show of shame witnessed during Buhari’s recent visit to Imo State was conspicuous in the sort of paradoxical remarks he blurted out, all in the name of pontificating about issues ostensibly believed to be important. While of course he was busy blabbing that he would want to be remembered as a President whostabilized Nigeria, he seemed at the same time to forget that the same country is now more divided along ethnic and religious lines than ever experienced since 1914 amalgamation. Again, while perhaps trying to register his angst over the weekly sit-at home strategy of civil disobedience recently initiated by the IPOB which, rightly or wrongly, he perceives as evidence of insecurity in Imo state, he pledged to offer a helping hand to his host-Senator Uzodinma- in controlling the emerging security challenge. Unfortunately, the President at the same time appeared to forget that such help is in fact most invaluable in his home state of Kastina, where bandits and terrorist alike are still enjoying a killing spree and wanton destruction of properties with impunity. And as if the shame of these paradoxical realities were not enough, it suddenly dawned on Mr. President that Ndigbo are really in charge of Nigeria’s economy. Hence, it beats his imagination why the Igbo would be agitating for secession from the same country they supposedly control its economy.
Shamefully enough, it would appear to have eluded the mind of the same President that it does seem to matter less to the hardworking Igbo people telling them the plain truth about their God-given talents. Indeed, one would have expected that since the President knows the Igbo people this much and, more importantly, the fact that they wield enormous control over the Nigeria’s economy, he would have been wise enough to appoint his Minister of economy from among Igbo cream of the crop one who will expertly steer the sinking ship of Nigeria’s economy out of its present doldrums- as against his prevailing decision to have put a square peg in a round hole-rather than engaging in his boring indulgence of throwing platitude and reveling in blandishments.
What is more, it might really not matter to people like YulEdochie, the Nollywood actor and son of the famous Chief Pete Edochie, who had in the wake of this issue of the funny Igbo attire worn by President Buhari, during his visit to Imo State, cautioned Nigerians to desist from making fuss about such unpresidential attire. But however this vexed issue might have infuriated Yul and his ilk, the fact of the matter is that the handlers of Mr. President utterly gaffed by allowing him to have appeared in publicwearing such an embarrassing trousers. Like a friend did put it, the “trousers in itself wore the ugly face of the present state of Nigeria’s economy”. And whether this is an apt description of the metaphor of our sinking economy or not, the show of shame which Mr. President’s Igbo apparel epitomized on the day of his visit to Imo state alongside other aspects of that ignominious outing cannot on the whole be de-emphasized.
Onyiorah Paschal writes from Awka, Anambra State.