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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Moses Ochonu: Buhari’s deception is worse than corruption

Here’s what’s on my mind this morning. Buharists are always asking us to applaud the president for every little tokenist and symbolic gesture even when such a gesture is late, ineffectual, and compelled by public pressure. It’s a form of emotional blackmail of course, but no matter.

Because of its track record of deception, lies, silly propaganda, hypocrisy, and duplicity, many thoughtful citizens are now not so quick to praise the Buhari administration even when it appears to have done something praiseworthy. Why is that? They don’t want to look stupid days or hours later when the leaks and revelations start occurring, implicating the do-gooders themselves as the culprits of the very problem they were pretending to solve.




On several occasions, folks have praised the president prematurely for doing something only to look foolish a few days or even hours later when it emerged that the wrong that the president was being praised for righting was caused by the president in the first place. They realized that they had been manipulated by the president and his propagandists.

What could be more sinister than that? You create a problem. When the problem comes to the public’s attention, you feign ignorance, hoping that it would blow over. Then there’s public outrage and demands for ameliorative action. You duplicitously pretend to be shocked and outraged at the very problem you caused. Then you take reluctant, half-hearted action in response to the public outcry. And then you and your fanatical supporters demand praise for your incomplete and largely cosmetic action on the problem you caused.

The pattern is now familiar and has repeated itself once again in the Maina recall scandal. It turns out, thanks to the latest leaks, that the Head of Service not only wrote a memo to President Buhari to advise against the reinstatement of Maina but that she had also briefed him verbally at an FEC meeting about the wide-ranging negative implications of the recall.

Buhari obviously ignored her written and verbal counsel and signed off on Maina’s recall.

Fast forward a few months and the proverbial shit hit the fan of public anger.

Did Mr Integrity fess up to his knowledge of and role in Maina’s recall? No. He pretended that he had just found out about it, made a show of firing Maina, and ordered a “probe” into the circumstances of the recall. Then his handlers and supporters said we should clap for the Great Leader for saving the republic from the cabal and, for good measure, the PDP, which Garba Shehu comically blamed for Maina’s recall.

This is worse than corruption. It is corruption compounded by presidential deception, duplicity, cover-up, and manipulation.

And Buharists wonder why Nigerians are increasingly reluctant to praise the Great Leader for his few contrived positive actions.

No sensible, self-valuing Nigerian should risk their reputation and honour to praise anything this administration does because every “positive” action has proven to be a lame attempt to cover up an egregious act of corruption on the part of the same characters pretending to take corrective action.

In some cases, the “positive” action was a cynical ploy to manipulate, deceive, and distract from ongoing scandals, or to simply quieten a growing storm of public anger. There is no underlying sincerity of purpose or integrity.

A government that coyly but unabashedly seeks to reap public relations dividends from covering up its own corruption through pretend action and feigned ignorance is beyond corrupt. It is fundamentally disrespectful of the citizens on whose behalf it exists and acts.




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