President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent remark that he “can’t wait to go home to Daura” and “if they make any noise to disturb me in Daura, I will leave for the Niger Republic” has sparked a flurry of reactions from Nigerians.
The comment, which was made during a Sallah homage to him by FCT residents led by the Minister, Mohammed Bello, has been interpreted by many as evidence of the President’s disinterest in the country’s current state of insecurity, economic decline, and widespread corruption.
In recent years, insecurity has continued to ravage different parts of the country, with banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism spreading rampantly. The economy has been in a state of decline for years, with high inflation rates, high unemployment numbers, and lack of basic amenities badly affecting lives and increasing the numbers of those desperate to leave the country for survival and no greener pastures. Corruption, which has been a longstanding problem in the country, shows no signs of abating.
It appears that the Niger Republic has received a disproportionate amount of attention and a closer relationship with Nigeria than other African nations during the Buhari administration, going by recent developments.
This is evidenced by the fact that Nigeria, under Buhari’s leadership, launched a $2 billion railway project from Kano State to Maradi in Niger Republic, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Niger Republic for the importation of petroleum products, and expressed a willingness to collaborate on the construction of an oil pipeline and refinery. What with the 12 SUVs gifted to the Niger Republic at the cost of $1.14 billion which the minister of Finance confirmed and said it was for security? So many goodies to Niger Republic from Nigeria under Buhari.
Nigerian major cities, not even the commercial cities are linked by rail network, yet the Buhari administration borrowed $2 billion for the rail line to Maradi in Niger Republic.
Reactions to the President’s comment on relocation to the Niger Republic, if he’s disturbed in Daura, have been varied, with many prominent Nigerians weighing in on the matter. Here are some of the diverse reactions:
No hiding place for the wicked —Sowore
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, in the 2023 general election, Omoyole Sowore, in his reaction, said there is no hiding place for Buhari.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, sorry, there will be no hiding place for the wicked. You must pay for your crimes against humanity.
“Till the end of time, your atrocities will fish you out. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it won’t matter where you hide, you will answer for your crimes.”
Buhari’s comment quite unfortunate —Sheikh Nuru Khalid
Similarly, the former Chief Imam of National Assembly Quarters Legislative Mosque, Shiekh Nuru Khalid, said to Saturday Vanguard: ”The President’s comment is disappointing and disheartening. It sends the message that he deliberately did not show enough interest in addressing the problems facing the country. It is unfortunate that the President seems more concerned with his personal comfort than the welfare of the Nigerian people. He has shown Nigerians he has a ‘Plan B’ of sort. One of his media aides made attempts to defend him by saying the President was merely cracking a joke. You don’t joke with your citizens like that.
Buhari seems to live in a bubble —Adeyanju
Human rights activist and solicitor, Deji Adeyanju, also weighed in on the matter, stating that the President’s comment is a clear indication that he is disconnected from the realities of the Nigerian people.
According to him, the President had better woken up to the fact that he must take responsibility for the dire situation in the country even after he leaves office
“President Buhari seems to exude a general sense of distance from reality. He seems to be always living in a bubble. He doesn’t yet realise the extent of damage, he has done to the country.
“I can’t understand why someone with so much goodwill of the masses in the build-up to the 2015 elections will squander it in so short a time and his government now
a colossal failure.
“If Nigeria is still a sane nation, Buhari will never be celebrated after he leaves office no matter where he may run to. He destroyed the nation on many fronts except catapulting his immediate family to a state of stupendous wealth,” he told Saturday Vanguard
However, there are some who have defended the President’s remark, stating that it was taken out of context.
According to them, the President was simply expressing his desire to spend time with his family in his hometown or anywhere else he so desires.
President’s comment not a reflection of his leadership —Gimba
Idris Gimba, a public affairs analyst and columnist, joined in defending President Buhari’s comment, saying, “The President was simply expressing his desire for peace and quiet in his hometown (Daura) as well as with his kinsmen in Niger republic. It is not a reflection of his leadership.”
Buhari no longer an issue —Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
In a similar vein, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the Spokesperson, Coalition of 52 Northern Groups (CNG), said Nigerians must resist the temptation to live in perpetual blame of leaders after they leave office.
He said, “I really don’t see any relation between his saying he would relocate to the Niger Republic after leaving office and his apparent non-performance as President.