BY FREDRICK NWABUFO.
I strained by ears to hear the president mention a single project his government started and completed in three years. But he mentioned none, except for “carry-over projects”. Not even a significant achievement. Can I then say the government spent three years floundering and chasing a will-o-the-wisp?
By the way, when has granting licences for the establishment of private universities become an achievement?
Also, the president’s speech was destitute of exactitude in halting violent crimes. He said more security personnel are being recruited and trained, and that more “modern-day” arms are being procured to help in the fight against terrorism and other violent crimes. Granted that this is a customary government approach to security challenges, I had expected him to address specific cases in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Adamawa with spunk.
The president used the political phrase “herdsmen-farmers” clashes to refer to the killings in the central part of the country. I saw this as skirting around the issue. What is happening in Benue, where Catholic priests and parishioners were killed, is a deliberate massacre not “herdsmen-farmers” clashes. What happened in Taraba on Friday, where a seminary was attacked, is intentioned criminality not “herdsmen-farmers” clashes.
I believe the first approach to solving a security problem is stripping it of all political pretences and trappings. The killings in Benue and other places should be properly tagged and addressed. Nigeria is at present an island of blood. Too many souls have been dispatched to the place yonder untimely.
However, I must commend the president for his decision to sign the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill. But he must understand that he is not doing the youth a favour. That bill encapsulates the rights and not privileges of young Nigerians to vie for any elective office in the country. It is long overdue.
I also get a feeling that the president is trying to pacify the youth after his “LazyNigerianyouth” gaffe. Why wait this long to sign the bill – after youth protests and rallies? The 2019 general election is nigh and the youth are crucial to it.
In all, the speech is yam without oil for me. Drab! I ate the yam like that, and almost choked on it.
Fredrick is a writer, journalist and media entrepreneur
He can be reached on Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo, Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo.