How Buhari’s Divisive Rhetoric is Fuelling Insecurity in Nigeria- Cephas Kadiri

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In May 2012, General Muhammadu Buhari charged before an audience in Kaduna. Recounting his abysmal performance at the 2011 presidential elections, he exclaimed! “…If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would ‘all’ be soaked in blood.’’

While some members of the media conjectured that the septuagenarian ex-general’s submission was a harmless allegory, borne of his repeated defeat at the polls. Many others maintained skepticism, especially considering Buhari’s violent and turbulent political history.

It is no longer news at least in Nigeria, that Buharinomics (the economic ideas of General Buhari) undoubtedly connote instability and unparalleled uncertainty. Despite the untold hardship that has rocked every aspect of Nigerian life since Buhari assumed office in 2015, Nigerians did master the art of endurance, but at this juncture, our socioeconomic fabric is caving in and something else is mostly responsible.

The unprecedented insecurity, secessionist agitation and ultimately, the near-total-collapse of the Nigerian State today, is plausibly a fall out of Buhari’s divisive rhetoric and there are convincing instances to corroborate this submission.

97% Vs ‘5’%

When the mercurial ex-general made the infamous 97 Vs ‘5’ (%) statement at the US institute of Peace in 2015, it was as though an Iron curtain had descended across Nigeria. Buhari’s inflammatory submission immediately heightened tensions between people in the South East (who he claimed gave a meager 5% of the votes) and those in the North (who purportedly gave 97% of votes). The president’s aggressive tone helped set the stage for a bitter cold war between the peoples of both regions, but he appears very uninterested in the consequences of his speeches and actions.

Buhari at the U.S Institute of Peace in 2015. Image credit- france24

The language they understand

In a recent response to the rising spate of violent attacks on police formations and INEC facilities in the South East, Buhari threatened to deal with people he claimed were too young to remember the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. The president’s statement was clearly directed at Biafran agitators instead of armed criminals terrorizing the South East. This statement was immediately followed by widespread indiscriminate arrest and persecution of the civilian populace in Nigeria’s South East region.

Dot in a circle

The president yet again in another horrid ethnic innuendo, described Nigeria’s South East (Where he allegedly got 7% votes) as “dot-in-the-circle”, while commenting on the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Although his latest hate speech has been met by widespread condemnation amongst leaders in the South south and South east geopolitical zones, it is however extremely important that well meaning Nigerians do more to educate the president on the consequences of his speeches, since his handlers are evidently failing in their responsibilities.

By Cephas Kadiri

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