To get to the rank of a General in the Nigerian Army, one is expected to have held the following positions; Lieutenant General, Major General, Brigadier General, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, and some others.
As the highest-ranking position in the army, a General must have seen it all on and off the battlefield. He is therefore not expected to chicken out when the chips are down. But we cannot say the same about our President, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
Prior to his emergence as President in 2015, Buhari was vocal in his desire to personally command troops fighting an Islamic insurgency in the Northeast and to totally annihilate the terror group. Six years as president and he has not only failed to defeat Boko Haram but has through his nepotistic and ethnic-motivated biased actions set the country ablaze with agitations for secession roaring heads in the Southeast and Southwest.
A man that is saddled with the responsibility of leading the army (late Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru) died in active service but the General (Buhari) was absent at his burial that held just a few kilometres away from his Aso Rock home. We later learnt that the General was concerned about his security because there was not enough time to make arrangements for him to attend.
We have seen leaders respond immediately by visiting troops when they suffer huge casualties in volatile areas. Former President Goodluck Jonathan visited troops fighting in Baga, Mubi, and many other high-risk zones during his time. The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum has been attacked severally by the insurgents but he kept visiting soldiers and motivating them to keep fighting. These are leaders that have never had any form of military training. Yet our General is so concerned about his own safety inside the nation’s capital.
Generals commanding troops are expected to address their men on a regular basis, discussing tactics and the way forward. But our own General is yet to convene a live press conference where he would entertain questions from his people. The few times he appeared on national TV to address the country aside on Democracy or Independence celebration days, he was called out to do so. Nigerians would have to plead and scream on top of their voices before their General would prerecord and comb through national issues.
Today, Nigerians would have to beg before the president releases a statement to commiserate with families of soldiers that have lost their lives on the battlefield. It is unfortunate but not surprising to some of us that campaigned vigorously against the emergence of Buhari whose body language and track record clearly show a man incapable of leading his state, not to talk of a multi-ethnic Nigerian state with its myriad of economic, religious, and political challenges.
The likes of renowned scholar, Wole Soyinka, and human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore that campaigned for Buhari did so with the hope that the so-called General would employ his supposed military expertise in ending insurgency in the north. However, they were wrong. Aside from the fact that Boko Haram continues to gain ground, banditry has become the new ‘oil’ for miscreants in the north. They kill, maim, kidnap and destroy but the General’s primary concern is the fight with Twitter and its owner, Jack motivated by his egotism and dislike for criticism. Twitter handed even more degrading punishment to the ex-president of the United States, Donald Trump for violating its rules but he neither shut the platform in America nor threatened to ‘illegally’ and ‘unconstitutionally’ prosecute citizens for using the social media platform in a ban that purely violates the basic human rights of those that queued to democratically elect him in 2015 and in 2019.
It may interest you to know that the President turned off the comment section in his Twitter handle months before the ban. The General was obviously afraid of comments from those that supposedly elected him to lead them. A General is supposed to stand firm in the midst of adversities and criticisms but our own ‘Presidential General’ is afraid of what people would say about him on Twitter.
The General indefinitely suspended Twitter, a social media platform that has made and is still making a lot of Nigerians millionaires just because his tweet was flagged to have violated rules. He wasn’t ready for the backlash that would come as a result and decided to ban the platform. He ran, the General ran.
Fulani herders have been marauding in the Middle Belt and Southern states but the president in his usual pro-Fulani stand is yet to condemn these people from his tribe let alone declare them a threat to national peace and unity. They kill in large numbers but the General is nowhere to be found. His soldiers are busy fighting unarmed and peaceful citizens demanding their basic rights and good governance.
General Buhari, Nigerians voted you to protect them but you continue to distant yourself. You continue to shy away from your primary responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of those that put you in power. You continue to put their businesses in harm’s way with your myopic policies and ‘democratic decrees.’ These are small fights but you are nowhere to be found. This is not the General you were called to be.
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