As one hand is put on a Holy Book and the other raised up, Femi Adesina, the incoming Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, repeats after the judge, “I promise to discharge my duties to the best of my abilities, ensure the president is thoroughly informed on the portfolio I handle and recommend the best of solutions.”
Tolu Ogunlesi, who is to become the Special Assistant on Digital and New Media to President Buhari, also repeats the same.
Garba Shehu, the official spokesperson for the president, delightfully says the same, then Lauretta Onochie, the personal assistant to the President on social media.
Nasiru Adhama is the last. He smiles all through the procession. He is to be the special assistant on youth and student affairs.
Maybe not the same, but when over a hundred presidential aides were sworn in some years ago, their oath would have been close to the scenario created above. Of course, those ones were specifically mentioned because their portfolios concern media, publicity, youth and digital resources.
However, when you consider the silence of the President over #EndSARS, how he has sparingly addressed protesting young Nigerians, albeit, via a recorded video posted on social media, reading a prepared speech with an aloof disposition for a cause which was born out of inhumanity of police officers, you question the motive of having a legion of aides and advisers swarming the State House.
Then, knowing that the #EndSARS movement started on social media, you are left confused as to why the presidency has not got hold of the situation.
You will recall how music superstar, Ayo ‘Wizkid’ Balogun, called out the president for sending regards to the US president, Donald Trump, while his own nation was boiling, and the reaction from one of his aides was nothing short of an unnecessary pointer to ‘respect your elders’.
Donald trump is not your business!
Old man! Police/Sarz still killing
Nigerian youth on a daily! Do something!
Nothing concern u for America!
Face your country !! https://t.co/thxmoYb7VE
— Wizkid (@wizkidayo) October 4, 2020
Indeed, out of the obvious issues at hand, the one that interested Lauretta Onochie the most was the disrespect to the president with apparent disregard for humanity.
Its not disrespectful to call anyone old. Its the way and manner Ayo Balogun addressed the President that leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
He exhibited crass ignorance, insensitivity and childishness. But hey, he's a #DumbkidNotWhizKid
When he grows up, he might learn respect
— Lauretta Onochie (@Laurestar) October 6, 2020
Apart from the online row with Wizkid, these aides have either pushed propaganda or remained on the fence. The detached posturing from the presidency except to aggressively refute claims and accusations gives us insight as to how at best they have been reduced to presidential fire-fighters with little critical contribution.
There is no denying the brutality of the police typified by the Special Anti-robbery Squad Unit (SARS) nor the justification of the protests but it appears the media, publicity, youth and digital aides are just about vibes and Insha Allah.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.