Arise TV, a Television broadcasting arm of ThisDay Newspaper, went all out of its way to conduct an interview with President Buhari over the weekend, despite all of the stringent conditions and spurious demands imposed by the presidential media advisers.
It is no news that the President is local media shy, or perhaps his aides have made him appear so. Ever since he was sworn in, he has only engaged in a presidential media chat. Albeit even more controversial that most of the time when the President decides to speak about issues concerning the country or himself, he prefers to do so with international media while on his frequent foreign visits. So it was a shocking relief that ThisDay eventually got to speak to the President.
Issues bordering on security, job creation, economy and corruption were discussed and questions received satisfactory answers; these answers seem to disprove the argument purported by members of the PDP regarding the senility of the President Buhari. In fact, the President seems prepared enough for questioning and this may be to the surprise of those who believe he may not show up at the presidential debates slated for Saturday, 19th January.
However, in an egregious remark to Ijeoma Nwogwugwu of Arise TV, the President stated, “You work with figures, I work with facts.” This makes one wonder if at all the presidential team make use of the data and economic reports which comes from government agencies such as the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for economic planning. If it is true that the President does not believe in anything the agency reports, then how are we ever going to progress with policies? Would this mean that such schemes championed by the Ministry of Agriculture to improve farmer output were not based on any useful data? Would this also mean that the popular TraderMoni scheme which the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, vigourously champions around the country in wasteful taxpayer spending is actually not based on any measurements, economic calibration or empirical data?
Would it be true to say that the recent unemployment figures of 23.1% and the spiking double digit inflation figures released by the NBS are all lies too, according to the President? What is the fate of the country whose president believes rather in ‘factual’ lies than thoroughly examined and reviewed figures?
In the same interview, President Buhari made a comparing of the mode of fatalities of the pre-2015 era to the pattern with which ISWAP/Boko Haram, herdsmen, and bandits continue to wreck the country. Would it be right to compare patterns of violence if one form of violence is not different in the view of the victims of these fatalities? When the President mentioned that he knew the military service and security chiefs have performed abysmally with respect to all these attacks, yet had left them on seat for fear that sacking them might cause chaos across the ranks, one is again tickled to call into question the sanity of those at the helm of affairs.
It is no longer a rumour in political circles that the President surrounds himself with a cabal who continues to lie to him and cheer him on sycophantly. Even the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has confirmed this fact with bursts of alarm from time to time. Now we know what the President believes in.
It would be rather damning on the part of citizens to allow these cogent lapses by the number one citizen to slide and not call for further questioning on these controversial utterances which culminated from this interview.
What is however strange in the whole interview is the fact that the President did not mince words despite the fact that a lot of what he calls facts were half-truths which himself and his confidants have continually fed one another in a cycle which threatens to throw the country into disarray.
As Election Day draws near, in less than 5 weeks, the ball is in the court of the citizenry to separate the seed from the chaff, the real facts and figures from the illusion and cast the decisive vote that will set the nation rolling again on the path of progress.
Featured image source: icirnigeria.org