President Muhammadu Buhari has once again raised eyebrows across the country for recent comments which he made on residents of the FCT.
The President had on Tuesday, 4th of June 2019, while receiving some of the residents of the nation’s capital, stated that he would carry on in his task of protecting the seat of power as if anything in the negative happened, it was going to affect him as well as the entire residents of the FCT, even if they had not voted for him.
He went on to call the FCT residents a necessary evil, making the headlines of major news platforms across the country.
“I have just spoken to the senator on my left (Philip Aduda) and I told him that his constituency did not vote for me. So, I was very pleased that when they made the arrangement, they put him very far away from me. I have all the results of all constituencies.
“I am not threatening FCT because to make FCT secure is to make myself secure and the Vice President. I think they are necessary evil and that was why they decided to vote for PDP,” the President said.
It will be recalled that the President had lost out to the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in the FCT during the 2019 Presidential elections.
This speech by the President although seemingly lighthearted leaves much to be desired as Nigerians have reacted to it.
One such prominent citizen of the country who has come out to condemn the President for uttering such a statement is Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, who is a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Odinkalu had lashed out at the President for recounting the fact that he was not voted for by residents of the Federal Capital Territory.
Odinkalu said the following in a tweet on Wednesday, “A president who continues to count who voted for or against him is incapable of being president for everybody. Sad!,”
A president who continues to count who voted for or against him is incapable of being president for everybody. Sad! https://t.co/7tMOJFSpBt
— Chidi Odinkalu (@ChidiOdinkalu) June 5, 2019
This backlash on the President for making such a statement, should not be coming as a surprise because this will not be his first time of making such a statement. Let’s go down memory lane.
It was July 2015, and it was President Buhari’s final appointment in an official visit to the United States, to give an address at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), on issues of counterterrorism and security relating to Nigeria and West Africa.
He gave a brief speech after which those seated in the audience were invited to ask him questions, with the session being moderated by Johnnie Carson, who had served as the Undersecretary of State for African Affairs.
It was a charged atmosphere as the members of the audience began to field their questions. Dr Pauline Barker, who was the President Emeritus of The Fund for Peace, made an inquiry of President Buhari on the security situation in the Niger Delta, with her exact words being:
“My question relates to another area of Nigeria that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention during this trip and that is the Niger Delta. It’s a challenge that you are going to face. I wonder if you would tell us how you intend to approach it with particular reference to the amnesty, bunkering, and inclusive development?”
For a moment, it seemed like it was a bit of a struggle for the President to effectively tackle the question as Mr Carson had to come to his aid explaining that an inclusive government was referring to a government with women and the youth playing a major role.
The President had then faced Dr Barker and said the following,
“I hope you have a copy of the election results. The constituents, for example, gave me 97% [of the vote] cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5%.”
He further added, “I think these are political reality.”
Watch the video below:
Dr Baker would go on to tell Sahara Reporters that she didn’t feel like the President had adequately addressed her question as his answers were “unclear, and not very audible” but that he did wrap up “by saying their [the Delta residents’] interests would be protected.”
Dr Baker, in addition, said, “I didn’t feel like he addressed amnesty or the oil bunkering I asked about.”
This was the first time that the President was making a reference to who voted and who did not vote for him and it resulted in a serious backlash from different quarters saying that he was not poised to be a fair President.
Some even went on to say that this speech of the President was the cause of a division that has seemed to have rocked the entire nation since he came into power in 2015.
With the negative comments that such comments seem to bring, it will be wise if the President refrained from making such statements as it may seem to portray him as a man who holds a grudge with those who do not support him or his government, even if that may not be the case.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comment section below.