President Buhari’s Dissonance Problem! By Reno Omokri
How can two walk together except they agree? Now if two people cannot walk together except they agree how much more three, four or a hundred?
For any government, company, family or association to succeed, there must first be unity of purpose. This unity of purpose does not mean that everybody must agree, but it means that behind close doors the groups meets to harmonize.
Now that word, harmonize, is a much misunderstood word. Harmony does not mean that everybody has the same purpose, but it means that everybody’s purposes are brought together and through a process of give and take, a common thread is woven that encapsulates everybody’s agenda and when this is presented it produces an effect that is pleasing to the group and those it wants to serve.
Both Christians and Muslims agree that God created the entire world with His words. It is something we can all agree on and in agreeing to this, we agree that words are creative. They created the atmosphere of the world and they will create the atmosphere of our individual worlds.
This being the case, we have to be careful, very careful, about the words we speak because if we agree that information is power, then the management of information is power and its mismanagement is weakness.
So often, many of us do not realize that the words that emanate from a leader and his surrogates must have credibility because those words affect everything within the domain of that leader. Every word that emanates from a leader is a promise.
Don’t believe me? Try to get the British Currency. On every British Pound note you will find this promise ‘I Promise to Pay the Bearer the sum of’ £5, £10, £20 or £50.
The promise on the British Pound is made by the Queen of England who happens to be the Head of State of the United Kingdom.
There is nothing inherently valuable about the paper the British Pound is printed upon. It has no intrinsic value. If you eat the British Pound you will get sick. If you dye it so that the promise made by Queen Elizabeth II is no longer legible, it will lose its value.
The value of the British Pound is tied to the promise made by The Queen. The reason the British Pound is one of the most valuable currencies in the world is because people trust the promise made by the Queen.
All over the world, currencies are only as valuable as the person of the sovereign or head of state making the promise.
So for instance, if it becomes known today that the Queen says one thing about Britain and the British Prime Minister says something different, that credibility crisis will have an immediate effect on the value of the British Pound and the total capitalization of the London Stock Exchange and the FTSE 100 index.
Now, the current occupants of the seat of power in Nigeria do not seem to understand this dynamic.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as President of Nigeria, there has been a remarkable dissonance within this government. The President says one thing, his spokesmen say another and other high officials give a completely different take. What is going on?
Let us take the issue of Boko Haram. It was not too long ago that a perplexed nation woke up to read headlines which screamed that the President pontificated that Fulani herdsmen came from Libya!
Well, if that is your story, then absurd as it is, you must stick to it. But hardly had we gotten over the statement by the President before we were regaled with another claim, this time by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai,
who said “some of these herdsmen that are attacking communities across the country may have some affiliation with the Boko Haram terrorists.”
That sent shock waves down the length and breadth of the nation. What are we dealing with here? Herdsmen or Boko Haram, we really do not know!
And then, to cap our confusion, the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, amazingly told us “herdsmen move from everywhere, from Mauritius or anywhere. You can’t stop them”!
This all happened within a space of two weeks!
Alhaji Lai Mohammed and current World 100 and 200 meter champion, Usain Bolt, actually make me believe that people’s names actually affect their destiny!
I have been to Mauritius. I was there this past February. This is a tiny Island nation more than 1000 miles from the African coast. A herdsman and his cows would literally have to swim for years before they got to Mozambique from Mauritius. Then from Mozambique, it would take them months by land to get to Nigeria!
But that is not even the point. The point is the inconsistency and dissonance coming from the highest levels of our nation’s government.
And like I said, it is a pattern.
When British Prime Minister, David Cameron flippantly said to the Queen that Nigeria and Pakistan were ‘fantastically corrupt’ nations, Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, rightly issued a statement condemning Cameron’s callousness and the world’s media including Newsweek and Al Jazeera reported his statement stating that Nigeria and President Buhari were ’embarrassed’ and ‘shocked’ by Cameron’s words and denied that we were a fantastically corrupt nation. This was on the 10th of May, 2016.
Now you can imagine the trepidation of Nigerians when Buhari himself who had been reported as being ‘shocked’ by his spokesman recovered from his shock and decided to pass it on to us by agreeing with Prime Minister Cameron on camera that Nigeria was indeed fantastically corrupt!
Perhaps that was the shock Garba Shehu was really talking about.
Even if President Buhari believed we are all fantastically corrupt (I am NOT) then he should have pretended to agree with his own spokesman for credibility’s sake. But he completely made a fool of Shehu to the world and I can assure my readers and Shehu (a specimen of a gentleman and the star in the President’s media team) that both Newsweek and Al-Jazeera would not be quoting him in future, except they have some form of corroboration from President Buhari himself.
And then this confusion affects everything. Like millions of Nigerians, I was so ecstatic about the fact that two of the Chibok girls had been rescued that I tweeted congratulations to the President. But then it turns out that what the State House said was not true. Not only was it not true, but it differed with the news coming out of Borno and reported by the world.
One of the girls was not really a ‘Chibok’ girl and the one who was really a Chibok girl was not rescued as the government had claimed but had escaped from her captors.
And it goes on and on. On the 13th of May, 2016, Vice President Osinbajo tells us that fuel subsidy has not been removed and we believe him because, well because he is a pastor! Then three days later the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, tells us that if subsidy had not been removed we would be paying marketers ₦16.4 billion a month!
What is going on here? Is it or isn’t it subsidy? Has it or hasn’t it been removed? Our heads are spinning with the spin! Who is right between Osinbajo and Kachikwu?
The President goes to China and his spokesmen let slip that he is going there to sign a $2 billion loan agreement. Then he lands in China and we are told that it is no longer $2 billion it is now $6 billion and then we are told that Nigeria has signed a deal to make our economy a clearing house for the Chinese Yuan. No, we are not going to be a clearing house, we are having a currency swap.
I put it to Nigerians that from the President himself to his minister of Finance, no one is actually sure what went on as regards Nigeria’s economy in China!
And it goes on and on. Today the President is going to announce names of looters and then again he is not. It will be published by Lai Mohammed’s ministry of information at some later date.
Doesn’t this administration know that if a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand?
This is the hidden reason why our economy is not standing. Foreign Investors have been waiting to get a concrete sense of the policy direction of this administration and this same tendency of approbation and reprobation has overshadowed the economy where you have the President saying one thing, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria saying another and ministers saying something else.
Is it too much to ask that officials of this administration be on the same page? They are not even on the same book talk less of page.
And unless and until they can get on the same page, Nigeria’s economy will continue waver and falter because words create our atmosphere and the words of this administration are in disarray which is why we currently have an atmosphere of dissonance in Nigeria.