BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESIDENCY
BY DONS EZE
The President is dumb, but the Presidency is loquacious. The President is mute, but the Presidency is vociferous. The President is deaf, but the Presidency hears very well. The President is absent-minded, but the Presidency is active. The President is weak, but the Presidency is strong. The President is senile, but the Presidency is alive. The President is a lamb, but the Presidency is an attack dog.
Such are the distinctions between the President of our dear country, and a group of people who go by the name, “the Presidency”. Nigeria is a bundle of contradictions, full of confusion and oddities. It is a country of anything goes, where the tail always wags the head.
In 2015 and 2019, Nigerians went to the polls and voted for a President. After the election, somebody was sworn in as President and handed the baton of power. But later, the man went on sabbatical. As a result, a close knit of people took over, and began to dictate the affairs of government, and run the country the way they like.
At present, the Nigerian seat of power is divided between a frail-looking, seemingly unconcerned, and completely detached President, who was voted at the polls, and an unelected group of power mongers, called the Cabal, who wields governmental authority at the highest seat of the administration. They decide and determine what goes on in government.
The President, as far as we know, is old and sickly. He does not want to stress himself with the problem of running a government. He usually travels overseas to manage his health. At the last count, since coming to power in 2015, he had spent over half a year cumulatively, outside the shores of the country on medical vacation. Even when he is in Nigeria, the President tries not to bother himself too much, because of his age, and his health.
On account of these, the power mongers, or the Cabal, appropriated governmental powers, but are clever enough not to use the name of the President in whatever they do. Rather, they chose the word, “the Presidency”, which is different from the word, “the President”, and attribute everything they do to that name.
The Cabal has a very powerful spokesperson, called Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity. Garba Shehu is a war-monger and a propagandist, who always beats the drum of war and sells bullshit to the public, using the name, “the Presidency”. He derides and castigates every other interest group not in consonance with that of his Fulani ethnic group interest.
Thus, while Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, would be concerned with issuing press releases on behalf of the President, either to condole those who lost their loved ones on account of Boko Haram insurgency or bandit attacks, or to congratulate those celebrating their birthdays, Garba Shehu would be busy defending the interest of the Cabal, and the Fulanis, while attacking the perceived enemies of these groups. He would be speaking authoritatively, using the name of the Presidency.
Even if the President is outside the country on medical vacation, or is inside the”oza room”, Garba Shehu would still be crediting his speeches to the Presidency, which would be either denigrating the IPOB and other freedom fighters across the country, or defending the murderous Fulani herdsmen and Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers.
As far as we know, President Muhammadu Buhari, is never in the know of most of the things being attributed to him in the name of “the Presidency”. They only use the word, “the Presidency”, to push in any agenda favourable to them, or to defend one of their own. Since Buhari came to office in 2015, how many times did he speak to the press, or engaged even in a five-minute talk? He always keeps mum, completely detached from what is happening in the country.
Look at how Garba Shehu was defending Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, who is being pummeled over his extremist religious views, using the name, “the Presidency”.
In a statement, Garba claimed that “the Presidency is standing” behind the Minister in what it claimed, was a “cancel campaign” instigated by those who seek his removal.
Reeling out the achievements of Pantami as Minister, Garba said: “In two short years, Pantami has driven the contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP to more than 18 percent, making it one of the top two playing a critical role in the emergence of the economy from the COVID 19-induced recession”.
But he regretted “an unfortunate fashion in public discourse that makes leaders in politics, religion, and civil society liable in the present for every statement they have ever made in the past – no matter how long ago, and even after they have later rejected them.
“This insidious phenomenon”, he said, “seeks to cancel the careers of others on the basis of a thing they have said, regardless of when they said it”.
Because of what Garba Shehu claimed Pantami achieved in government, he would want us to close our eyes to the man’s inglorious past. Rubbish! That was why they allegedly had been absorbing “repentant terrorists” into our Armed Forces, a time-bomb that may explode at any time!
But looking closely at the statement issued by Garba Shehu defending Isa Pantami, there was nowhere he mentioned President Buhari by name, only “the Presidency”. We then went to town, claiming that President Buhari is backing Isa Pantami.
In other words, it was the Cabal, using “the Presidency” as cover, that is defending Pantami, one of their own. Because they are the people running the government, they will continue to keep him, no matter how despicable his past was.
Dr. Dons Eze, KSJI