– 1st October 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari gave a long and wide-ranging speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence anniversary. But what issues relating to Integrity, Democracy, Ethics and Accountability did his speech raise?
In this week’s programme Ayo Obe was in conversation with Aghogho Oboh to examine this question.
Generally, the President should be thinking about his legacy and much of what he touched on in his speech was about things that will come to completion in 2022 – in advance of Nigeria’s 2023 General elections.
But there were some IDEAs issues in the speech. The obvious one was the President’s reference to people who are financing terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, or profiting from them. Since a list of alleged Nigerian sponsors of terrorism was released by the UAE there have been demands that the Federal Government should ‘Name and Shame’ those on the list. But is ‘Name and Shame’ a substitute for Accountability? Or is it simply playing to the gallery as a substitute for taking action to prosecute and fix those involved with criminal liability? Are there issues of Ethics in the President making reference to “a serving member of the National Assembly” and thereby throwing every person there under suspicion, given that we have such crises in every part of the Federation?
There were some issues omitted from the speech – most obviously the President’s silence on the impact of insecurity on food supply. Instead, he claimed that there was now more food than ever in the country, but that prices were high due to middlemen!
The discussion also touched on issues that ought to be apolitical – the rights of persons living with disabilities or attempts to address gender based violence – but which were still at the “we are going to”, “we will” etc.
Let us know what you think. Was the President’s statement that “incremental progress can be mistaken for stagnation” true, or was it an excuse to cover up a lack of progress on many issues after six years in office? Has he given Nigerians a check list against which he can be held to Account next year?