Buhari, the World’s most powerful and “kind bully” President


“Who is the Presidency?”, an obviously irritated Babachir Lawal asked the excited journalists, who crowded him after emerging from the Federal Executive Council meeting sometimes in 2016, to inquire whether it was true he had been suspended from office by the Presidency.
The journalists’ enquiry resulted from the allegation against Lawal that he cut the grass of the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp with over N200 million. This controversy had dominated the media, both traditional and social media for almost three weeks prior.
One could not blame Lawal for questioning the temerity of the journalists in suggesting to him such an irritating scenario. After all, he was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. And in that vantage position, his table was the last clearing desk for all the files and memos, needing and awaiting the approval or disapproval of the President. So, how could he have sanctioned his own suspension to the President.
But as Reuben Abati said, and he should know, he was Presidential spokesman for four years to former President Goodluck Jonathan: “the President is the Presidency and the Presidency is the President”. Babachir Lawal learnt to his chagrin the truism of Abati’s gospel. Lawal was first suspended by Buhari and eventually dismissed from his exalted position.
Since he became President six years ago in 2015, Buhari had held Presidential media chat only once. The practice started by President Obasanjo in 1999 in which he held monthly Presidential media chat and was rigidly continued by Presidents Musa Yar’Adua in 2007 (until he left for medical treatments in Saudi Arabia, which unfortunately culminated in his death in May 2010). Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, until he left office in 2015, continued the practice.
Only one episode has taken place in the  72 months Buhari has been in office!. Nigerians don’t have, access or direct feedbacks, from the man they elected twice as President. And no reaction from Nigerians. The President just continued as if it’s 1984 all over again.
President Joe Biden may presently be reputed to be the strongest man in the world. That is perhaps related to the military capabilities of the United States, certainly not in terms of audacity to take on the people who elected him. That accolades should be reserved for President Buhari.
In the campaign leading up to the 2019 Presidential election, President Buhari as the sitting President, refused to appear for television debate with the oppositions.
This was contrary to his stance in his previous campaigns of 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, during which times, he attended the debates. But having the powers of Nigerian incumbency in 2019, Buhari dared the Nigerian people and nothing happened. He not only got away with it, he was compensated with his reelection.
Meanwhile his US counterpart, Donald Trump, who also has disdain for debate as a sitting President, dare not try Buhari’s impudence with the American people. Despite his cocky and arrogant attitude, Trump grudgingly appeared for the 2020 Presidential debate, not once but twice, because he knows the consequences of taking the American people for granted.
Also the so-called most powerful President in the world has his ego badly bruised and battered by Twitter, which is currently having a running battle with our own President Buhari.
Because of his vituperative tweets as a fallout of his refusal to accept defeat in the November 2020 Presidential election that eventually led to violence and deaths on Capitol Hill on 6th January 2021, Twitter first suspended Trump and eventually permanently deleted his account.
This is a company licensed and given permission to operate by the same government, whose head, who also happens to be the President of the country, that company has now sanctioned!
And what did the sitting President Trump, whose entire life depended and revolved round tweeting, do? As Dele Momodu put it, “Trump went to one corner of the White House to sulk and whine”.
He did not threaten not to talk of contemplating suspending Twitter, a company that is operating at the pleasure of government. Not our own President Buhari.
One of his tweets that conveyed threats of violence, which obviously contravened rules of engagement with Twitter, was deleted by the social media giants on Thursday, 3rd June. In response, the government came out like a charging bull.
Information Minister, Lai Mohammed held a press conference to denounce and condemn Twitter’s effrontery to delete the offensive tweet. Not satisfied enough, the government went on to wield the hammer by banning Twitter from Nigeria’s social media space.
Guess what? Government seemed to have had its way.
Initially, after the announcement on Friday, Twitter was still working.
But I woke up Saturday morning to discover that government has lived up to its threat – Twitter is no more working. And there seemed nothing the masses can do about it, because Nigeria’s democracy is practiced in the tenet that the majority (the masses) will have its say, but the minority (the government) will have its way.
And if the say of the majority is too deafening and irritating despite the minority having its way, then President Buhari, according to his spokesman, Femi Adesina, will “kindly bully” all of us into submission.


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