Why Mr. President? – by Frank Ofili29 views
When Chibok school-girls kidnap happened in 2014 and President Jonathan failed to visit the community, I was one of those who lambasted him for not showing enough sensitivity to the faith of the girls and the feeling of their parents.
I was of the view then that the fact that the state of Nigeria failed to protect those innocent schoolgirls made it mandatory on Jonathan to visit their parents and offer assurances that government would do whatever it takes to bring the girls back home safely. I even gave example with US President Barak Obama in 2012 who cut short his schedule in order to visit the families of victims of a college shooting in Oregon. It was my view then that by his failure to visit Chibok community, President Jonathan had shown that he was not only afraid, but also lacked confidence in the ability of our military to protect him – a damning report, in my view, which informed my prayer that may a time not come when our President and Commander-in-Chief, whoever that may be at any point in time, would be afraid to set foot on any part of Nigeria. That was seven years ago.
Fast forward May 2021, an air mishap happened during which our Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen, Ibrahim Attahiru died, and I am reading that President Muhammadu Buhari was not physically at the funeral to pay his last respects to his No. 1 Army officer who died on active duty.
Aside serious illness, I cannot possibly hazard a guess what would make any president absent himself from such serious national tragedy.
If President Buhari could spend four days in France this past week, I cannot possibly understand why he could not go to the late Chief of Army Staff’s funeral even if it was for only 30 minutes. If I did not spare President Jonathan when he failed to show up at Chibok in 2014, I cannot in good conscience spare President Buhari on this one.
Mr. President you goofed sir.
Your presence at that funeral would have made a loud statement. As a military man yourself, you know the values, ethos, and doctrine of the military institution better than me sir. I think your physical presence at the funeral would have been a great morale booster to the officers and men of the Armed Forces in and out of the frontlines.
As a matter of fact, I expected you to make a speech at the funeral; a momentous speech capable of eliciting such service-wide emotion as to galvanize a rededication to the oath of service.
What happened Mr. President? What informed your staying away from the funeral of your No. 1 Army officer who died on active duty? Whatever it is sir, I know it is neither distance nor logistics. If it is Security, then what your absence has simply achieved is to convey the impression that our Commander-in-Chief lacks confidence in the ability of the Armed Forces to protect him and therefore, afraid to step out of his fortress. Aside being a moral dampener, this is a very loud negative statement.
May the soul of Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and all those who died with him rest in peace. Amen.