By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Final week Thursday President Muhammadu Buhari visited Owerri, some of the troubled cities in Southeastern Nigeria, to fee tasks which the incumbent authorities had embarked upon and ostensibly accomplished. His host, the Supreme-Courtroom-appointed Chief Govt, Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma was available together with different distinguished leaders of the area to obtain him. My Abuja-worshipping and favoured namesake the governor had thumped his chest for having the clout to summon a Presidential go to to Imo State. I learn a report the place speedy previous governor Senator Rochas Okorocha countered that in his days in workplace, the President visited the state 3 times! As an apart, I don’t bear in mind whether or not these visits had been to fee the statues of previous heroes of Nigeria and Africa about which Okorocha was a lot obsessed for some unusual cause! And did he construct his personal effigy as nicely? I would like to search out out what has develop into of these objects of infinite ridicule and absurdity.
So far as presidential visits go, the President made a giant assertion other than the conciliatory tone of his foremost speech. He can go to any a part of the nation that he decides to as soon as the safety officers guarantee him that he will be coated, shielded from malevolent foes and rampaging scoundrels. IPOB’s declaration that the president was not welcome in Imo State was a joke taken too far. Did they’ve anyway of imposing the ‘unwelcome? Judging by the end up of excessive calibre officers on the City Corridor, the go to was successful, although we can’t say so for the hoi polloi whom politicians often wish to see struggling within the blight of the cruel climate ready to catch a glimpse of them. Reviews present that the streets of Owerri had been abandoned in obedience to IPOB stay-at-home order. Apart from, Uzodinma’s tasks had been no tasks certainly. Was that what prompted the President to say to the governor that ‘I can’t thanks sufficient however I will probably be cautious along with your invites sooner or later? That was a technical slap on the Abuja-made Governor Hope Uzodinma. The President and the cabal in Abuja created Hope Uzodinma and they need to ‘take am as dem see am.
The viewers included conventional rulers, (did I sight the revered Obi of Onitsha on stage?) the President-Normal of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Professor George Obiozor and ‘over 200 Igbo leaders drawn from the Southeast states. On the assembly the President paid tribute to the resourcefulness of the Igbo and declared that ‘the elemental factor concerning the Igbo individuals is that there isn’t a city you’ll go to in Nigeria with out seeing the Igbo being in control of both infrastructure or pharmaceutical business’, including that ‘it’s unthinkable for me that any Igbo man would think about himself to not be part of Nigeria’. The true query is: if Igbo are so nicely entrenched within the nation business-wise, why is there groundswell of agitation for secession? Has there been a vigorous interrogation of the contradiction? If I could add, there’s hardly any nation on this planet that Igbo merchants and compatriots can’t be present in, from Russia to South Africa to Australia or Mongolia!
Presidential visits everywhere in the world are sometimes useful to the economic system of the host neighborhood by means of multiplier results. Additionally it is a hazard for the host authorities. When a President visits, completely different actions happen each on the a part of the federal government and personal residents. A presidential go to may lead to improved services earlier than and through the go to. In some circumstances, the advantages outlive the go to. Some state governments get right into a frenzy fixing roads and constructing infrastructure in order that there would tasks to fee. Consequently, the standard of the work could possibly be shoddy, and God save the host if it rains out of the blue to reveal the derriere of the rooster. After all, safety males swarm the state, staying in inns and spending cash on completely different gadgets and individuals. After all, there are sometimes newspaper and radio adverts welcoming the august customer. The teams that are employed to bounce within the solar additionally smile to the financial institution with some naira of their pockets. Psychologically too, the state advantages or ought to learn from such a go to. A presidential go to is sort of a nod of approval from the Quantity One man. Consequently, investments, presidential approvals and different issues which may translate into billions of naira and good will must observe. For instance, throughout such a go to, there could possibly be a presidential directive that the Second Niger Bridge should be accomplished earlier than 2023 or that Nnamdi Kanu the arch defender of the Biafran trigger ought to be launched earlier than Christmas!
In regular circumstances, petty merchants would have a discipline day across the venue of the reception. However we aren’t in regular occasions. The safety state of affairs in Imo State is horrifying, particularly in Owerri. The sheer variety of safety autos which accompanied the president and the helicopter flying overhead confirmed how critically the safety businesses took the implied menace of the outlawed IPOB. To make certain, there should be no errors throughout such a go to. The State of Texas acquired into the incorrect facet of historical past when a preferred president JFK was gunned down throughout a go to. Ibadan nonetheless holds disagreeable reminiscences of the tragedy that adopted Main Normal JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi’s go to to that peaceable metropolis in July 1967. So, each Chief Safety Officer of a state, working with the federal authorities, ensures that nothing humorous occurs throughout a presidential go to.
Professor Obiozor didn’t mince phrases when he stated in his welcome speech that ‘the safety of Ndigbo in Nigeria and past has develop into a compelling main accountability of significant concern for Ndigbo. Regrettably, our Southeast zone has lately develop into a theatre of battle, negating the peace-loving nature of our individuals’. He went on to emphasize a sore level in federal government-Ndigbo relations when he known as for the ‘launch of Igbo youths detained by numerous safety businesses throughout the nation’. How and why did Mr. President skip a public pronouncement on this vexatious matter?
For me, this was the good miss of the visit- the failure to, with a stroke of the pen, finish the agitation within the Southeast. In a democracy a president doesn’t focus on the ability of the army or safety businesses solely. Statesmanship entails negotiations and concessions. The notion that the Buhari administration has not been honest on the Igbo was not obliterated. Or ought to I consider that behind closed doorways, negotiations about IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu came about? Nnamdi Kanu could be an irritant. However he has develop into like a bee that’s perched on the proverbial scrotum that should be shooed off with care and diplomacy. The present state of issues within the nation requires nice diplomacy, conversations, and concessions. It’s only when coping with outright criminality as perpetrated by bandits and terrorists that child gloves shouldn’t be used.
As an apart, it was so ridiculous that the dimensions and elegance of the pants of Mr. President which he wore to indicate cultural affinity with Imo State grew to become the main target of social media ridicule. No matter it was the First Citizen should end up nicely always. The wardrobe didn’t do a great job even with the choice of the footwear. Was the regalia hurriedly made for the event?
Lastly, it was a great factor that coverage makers and cultural icons of Igbo extraction turned out to welcome the Quantity One Citizen to Owerri final Thursday. The impact of the go to should translate into beneficial properties seen in order to carry peace to the beleaguered state and area. Whether or not this can be a risk can solely be seen within the months forward. Tokenism will not be an answer to the severity of the safety disaster which we face in Nigeria at the moment. And since the buck stops on the desk of the Commander-in-Chief, President Buhari should rise to the event and hand over a steady polity to his successor in 2023 after a free and honest election.