By Emmanuel Aziken
In the euphoria to get President Muhammadu Buhari to speak to the nation on the #EndSARS protest, it was bemusing seeing hardened critics of the president ardently and subtly pushing that he should not read from a prepared address.
The intention was purely an act of mischief by the critics to ridicule the president on account of his well-known poor articulation.
Many Nigerians would recall that some of the most noted gaffes of the Buhari presidency were committed in unscripted sessions mostly outside the country.
It was in Germany that the president made the gaffe about his wife and women belonging to the other room. It was also abroad at the Commonwealth Summit of 2018 in the United Kingdom that the president made the reference to ‘lazy Nigerian youths.’
So, when the National Security Adviser, NSA, Brig-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.) finally let out the big secret last Thursday that the president would address the nation, there was an excitement in the air even if it was going to be a recorded broadcast.
The eagerness was further heightened by Monguno’s bold assertion that the speech would be impactful as he averred that the president would address the root of the #EndSARS unrest.
Given the fact that Monguno’s former adversary, that is the late chief of staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, was no longer in control of the villa, nay the country, only few would have doubted the NSA’s assertions.
Remember that in the last days of their public feud, that a show was made by Kyari in convening a meeting of security chiefs where the NSA, the apex security confidant of the president was conspicuously shown in pictures to be absent!
However, when the presidential speech finally came that Thursday, not a few were shocked by the lack of initiatives and proactiveness as had been promised by Monguno.
The 12-minute broadcast has now been generally dismissed as lacking impact and for many, a waste of time.
The resort to trader moni and other irrelevances simply betrayed expectations of proactive declarations to numb the greatest threat to the nation’s existence in recent times.
Not only the president, the response of many governors has also been on the same latitude.
If the president was out of depth in his response, many of the governors have also been out of sequence in their response to the issues at hand.
This is easily demonstrated by the quick fix formula that has now been adopted of constituting judicial panels to investigate past cases of police brutality.
That recipe came from the National Economic Council, NEC. Also being adopted hook, line and sinker the lazy resort to the imposition of curfews in the states by the governors.
That appears for many governors the recipe to check the seeming resort to bedlam around the country!
It was a welcome relief that the governors were called out by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the immediate past deputy president of the Senate who on Wednesday opined that curfews do not have a place in the country’s constitution.
Remarkably, none of the governors who imposed a curfew gave the legal or constitutional basis for the action.
The restriction of movement is a constitutional issue that can only be effected by the president upon the declaration of a state of emergency either on the whole country or part thereof. No governor under the law can restrict movement.
The constitutional approach is for the governor to approach the president to declare a state of emergency in a state upon a resolution of the state House of Assembly.
It is a pity that more than 20 years after the emergence of constitutional rule that military languages such as curfews are being signposted as symbols in a democracy.
But the foibles are compounded by the seeming disconnects that the last few days have shown.
It was a shock that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of the nation’s commercial heartland where the Lekki carnage happened was not able to reach or discuss with the president almost 48 hours after the incident.
Where was the president?
Another disconnect that is equally disconcerting are the attacks that have been levelled against the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
In a state that has been described as his political foothold, it is shocking that such anger has been directed at him to the extent of burning down his properties in Lagos.
His handlers have been quick to reference the attackers as misguided youths and jobbers.
It is, however, suffice to say that he is the national leader of the party that is power and as such holds the responsibility of guiding the government unto good policies that should have removed the laziness of the youths.
It is a pity and one can only console with the national leader seeing prized media assets upon which he has also built a national reputation consumed in the fury of the ‘lazy youths’.
Our prayer is that God grants Asiwaju grace to direct the government at the federal and state levels of laziness as he considers his next move.