WHAT is the fuss about President Muhammadu Buhari addressing Nigerians in Hausa? The most important thing is that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, spoke for the first time in more than 50 days, to Nigerians, in a Nigerian language. Why are we not celebrating?
We should learn patience in our daily journey through Nigeria. What do we want? Are we even sure about what we demand from Nigeria? What do we give to get it? Are we willing to give it?
Our President, of a fact, has been ill. He admitted it. Several foreign trips on this score further confirmed it. Many have speculated that he was either gone or incapable of executing the duties of his office. These are mere speculations which the speech, though audio, has confounded.
I had thought that after almost two months of silence from PMB, hearing his voice, listening to his message, knowing that he cared enough to wish celebrating Nigerians well, could have commenced a round of celebrations among his supporters, and there are millions of them. The reactions have been startling.
The choice of language has over taken an important presidential function that PMB, at great sacrifice, made from his hospital bed. We should be more gracious in our assessment of situations. If we had no immediate access to the message, while we listened, a transcribed version cured whatever defect the earlier message had.
PMB did nothing wrong. As you would have observed in the past two years, he is incapable of doing anything wrong. Where critics thrive on picking holes in pieces of his sacrifices for Nigerians, his determination to change the country, and his imprecations about how bad Nigeria has become, they have been told that Nigeria would have disappeared about now if PMB’s messianic mission had not succeeded.
He has rescued Nigeria. He has fought doggedly for the redemption of Nigeria. Corruption has fled the country. The corrupt tried to fight back when whistle blowers unveiled suspicious money in pits, towers, water tankers, cesspits, and in more unimaginable places. We have done with the fight against corruption, even judges know this.
Now without anything to criticise PMB about, a man who unlike them has integrity, they have decided to attack him on an unexpected issue – language, language use. What offence did PMB commit in speaking in his mother tongue? Why would we not acknowledge that the PMB move could promote Nigerian languages? Must everything be campaign promises?
There are two years left in the first term of the PMB presidency. Wth suggestions that he was doing so well that a second term was in the bag, there are another six years during which different occasions would present themselves for him to address Nigerians. In those years, there will be times and places for PMB to redeem his national image. I imagine that none of these concerns may matter to PMB, our wise leader, the great one.
I must warn that equity means that from now hence, whichever language PMB chooses for national addresses has to be used from London, it is still attainable. Our country in the past two years has enthroned equity, it goes round. Unknown to many the circle has been completed, for PMB does not believe in noise. I remember that one of his reasons for not appointing Ministers, according to him, “Ministers are noise makers”.
Nigerian languages are in their hundreds. It was inconceivable that the President would have used all of them in a speech of a few hundred words, depending on the version you heard, or read. He made his choice. We should support him so that corruption does use this opportunity to fight back.
When things are important to the President, he says them importantly and through an important medium, in this instance, language. If you felt excluded, in case you voted for PMB, which makes you a member of the 90 something per cent, who he has promised to treat preferentially, you must be disappointed, rightly so.
Yet you have to be patient. The calculations of the preferred 90 something per cent had no consideration for the language complications of Nigerians when they gather across regions, religions and relationships. PMB knows what he did. He made no mistakes. He has always been in capable of mistakes. So what changed?
We have to accept a new chapter has opened in national addresses. I stand against anyone out to deny PMB accolades for the achievement. He is an inventive President. He dares. He does. Only PMB could have addressed Nigerians in Hausa. Who else could?
There is a lot Nigerians have to learn from this great patriot, the father of the new Nigeria, the man at the mention of whose name, Nigeria’s problems are solved. He cannot do everything, though he presents a superman’s image. We should support him.
While the debates rage, I am off to learn a couple of Nigerian languages. I do not know in which language the next broadcast would be, but I am determined to give myself a fair chance of listening to the original message. A transcription would not be adequate in my race to access what the President says.
PS: I hope nobody is suggesting the President should have made the address in Arabic.