Pius Adesanmi: This is bad optics, Prof. Osinbajo

by Pius Adesanmi

Happy Presidential Name Mentioning Day in Arrears

I’d be remiss to let this slide without acknowledging such an important day in the life of the country. That was two days ago. I was too busy at the Accra seminars for Nigeriana.

You’d recall my contention that the entire country has been so harassed, so blackmailed, so hounded by the Presidency and her supporters that a consensus of silence has been built over the matter of the President. Mention the President’s name, ask questions about your entitlement to information, query why he should remain in office, having not really been able to be President in any real sense for six months, and the hordes will rush on you, labeling you, hounding you: where is your humanity? where is your sense of empathy? Is it a sin to fall ill? And patati. And patata. So people have sort of moved on, skirting around the topic, giving the intimidators a sense of invincibility.

Then two days ago, the 2017 budget was signed by the Acting President. I noticed that Garba Shehu craftily sneaked in President Buhari and the embargo on mentioning him at all was temporarily lifted to allow for a surfeit of praise and thanks to him. Finally, you could mention the President’s name again! Provided you were thanking him for authorizing the signing of the budget or some language to that effect. That is why I wanted to greet Nigerians happy presidential name mentioning permission day. Thanks are due to the President’s supporter’s for granting the nation that temporary permission to mention his name without too much intimidation.

I also noticed – not many people did – that the Ag. President approved the appointment on the same day of a Senior Special Assistant to the President on social investment programs or some such portfolio. May the blindness to optics of the Presidency and her enablers find healing. This should be one of the focal points of the ongoing #halleluyahchallenge. I am not criticizing the said challenge. I am adding a prayer point to it. The presidency is blind to optics and they need miracle healing at this point.

If not, how on earth does one get off making an appointment to a President who has hardly served a single day this year? We are saying somebody has been unable to serve us, you are appointing a Senior Special Assistant to serve someone who has not served. We are paying for the President’s healthcare in London. We must also now start paying the wages of a redundant aide? And there was not a single person to borrow himself brain in the Villa and say: Mr. Ag. President, should we really be making or approving the appointment of an aide to the President now?

Which eye will people use to look at it (optics)?

With which mouth will we be able to defend it?

Nobody in the Villa reasoned like this?


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Pius Adesanmi, a professor of English, is Director of the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Canada

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