By: Faridat Ibrahim
The past four days have been trying times. The country has been visibly shaken by the deliberate shooting of peaceful protesters in Lekki. This calculated malevolence has brought tears to many eyes, birthed fear, and squeezed sympathy from more foreigners. Even Beyonce finally donated food, what we needed the most. A silver lining may have been the discovery of a CA-COVID warehouse and the distribution of the hoarded resources on behalf of the government. But amidst the ruckus, one thing was noticeable: presidential silence.
So noticeable, presidents, embassies, international organizations began pleading on behalf of the people with the presidency to at least calm the violence upturning major cities in the country. Every corner on Twitter, there was someone begging the president to announce something related to the Lekki massacre. Since forces beyond Sanwo-Olu’s control orchestrated the attack and subsequent sporadic shooting on the streets of Lagos, we were eager and clamouring to hear from the dictator-in-chief. However underwhelming his speech would be, the world was looking forward to it.
Our very shy supreme leader finally succumbed to the pressure by releasing a pre-recorded video. Half a bread is better than none. This pressure was evident in his speech which began with, “It has become necessary for me to address you.” After registering his displeasure at being bullied into speaking, he quickly threatened the miscreants whose action necessitated his coming out.
He lightly brushed the use of excessive force to repel protesters who were exercising their constitutional rights. Make no assumptions; he didn’t express remorse over bastardizing protesters. He is not that charitable. However, he paid generous respect to police officers, corrupt or less-corrupt, whose lives were tragically lost in line of duty.
Futhermore, he used the medium to express profound regret over his swift response to our agitation. Classic Buhari would have rolled out war tanks to finish off protesters right from day one. He instead decided to take the high road because he was not that man anymore. The rebranded man he is today consented to the replacement of SARS with SWAT (Special Weapon and Tactics Squad) which could pose more severe threats to the security of youths for all we know. That benevolent gesture, he insinuates, should be lauded.
With a dismissive undertone, he advised people to move on with their lives and not request justice for people who were intentionally killed for breaking no laws. He warned people to keep off the streets — else more forces would be employed to keep them indoors.
He went on to implore us to go about their daily business like nothing ever happened. Then, he mentioned in detail his regime’s masterplan that is projected to lessen poverty statistics by 100 million in the next 10 years. This came as shocking news to many because his tyrannical hold over the country should come to end in less than three years. Setting that misunderstanding –from his end – aside a little, he highlighted Tradermoni, Farmermoni, Marketmoni, and other monis as the pathways to the proposed achievement, and then enjoined more youths to enroll and keep off the streets to maintain his nascent democracy.
With what sounded like a crafty but stern dismissal of concern, General Buhari silenced “our neighbours in particular”, enjoining them to do their research before hastily commiserating with the people’s plight. The perfect Nigerian expression for that would be: “No be your business. Dey your dey, make I dey my dey.”
Nothing meaningful ever yields from his lackluster speeches but, for the tiny fraction of a second, Nigerians hoped for bare minimum. In all the merry-go-rounding, he adamantly evaded the issue of the coordinated Lekki massacre and the question still bugging the minds of many is: who ordered the massacre of 20th October 2020?
Intel reaching us confirms that the address was given by Jubril, the dictator. In light of the aforementioned, we wait to hear from Buhari, the democrat.
Musa Faridat Ibrahim is a medical student who swears by one thing only: Japa-ing from Nigeria. She tweets @faireedah.