The statement issued by Reuben Abati, the official spokesperson for the Presidency, on August 11, 2013, criticizing the interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande for describing the President Goodluck Jonathan Government as a “kindergarten presidency”, is paltry, whining and falls in the category of world class political tantrums. In a most predictable fashion, the rabid nature of the reaction confirms the truth that Nigeria is being run by little minds and irritants. This kind of rascally mindset displayed by the minders of the Presidency continues to contribute greatly to the unraveling of a government spinning out of control.
Those of us opportune to have read the statement from the Presidency now realize the office of the spokesman has shifted from being the mouthpiece of serious governance to that of the National Crybaby. Their statutory task, that of serious governance, they did not address at all. They insist on telling us what they should tell themselves.
Thus, their eagerness to assume the role of the country’s top complainant is predictable. Instead of trying to minimize opposition criticism by providing the nation with decent governance, their strategy is to complain that the opposition complains too much. The performance of government, upon which the great fate of the nation hangs, is immaterial to them. In fact, the nation and its multitudes be damned as far as they are concerned. After all, the same President on live television told Nigerians he does not give a damn about some of the things that affect them.
They claim that Chairman Akande disrespected the office of the president with his remarks. In truth, Akande was merely exercising his democratic rights to speak about the dire state of this government. Not only was he exercising his democratic rights, he had a moral duty to criticize this government for it is government in ruins, a stumbling, bumbling mash of self-seekers, opportunists and the myopic. What Akande said of them was mild compared to what the average person says of this government on a daily basis. If the office of the president is to respond to every harsh criticism leveled against it, that office shall be a busy one. It will have to issue 150 million press statements aimed at almost every Nigerian, including half the members of the very inner circle of this very government. Nigerians are now used to the countless insulting press statements and reactions from the duo of Abati and the Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe.
They reacted so vehemently to the Akande statement for two reasons. First, the truth hurts. Second, they are afraid of the APC and seek to intimidate it. However, they might as well stop on the second point. With the fate of the nation at stake, the incompetent will not be able to intimidate into silence the committed.
Let us add two other important points. If they want people to honour the office of the president, they should practice what they preach. The people who most dishonor that office are those who currently occupy it. The way this entire government goes about its job embarrasses and burdens the nation. There is nothing important that they do right and nothing they somehow accidentally get right that is important. They are the party and government of partying and flashy public events. When it comes to policies for the people, they grow tired and disappear from view.
Thus, why must the people, who are the bosses in a democracy, respect the elected public servant when it is clear that the person they elected does not respect them? Wisdom says that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. In this instance, what the Presidency feels is fair treatment of the public. The public has every right to say it also deserves fair treatment from the Presidency. Let the hired criers cry on. The average people are in their humble homes crying. Those who cause their suffering might as well join in. When the government starts implementing people-oriented policies and tackle the problems that confront us as a nation, then we will rejoice and the criticism will cease.
Also, they need to understand the function of government. Those now in charge of running government don’t even understand their role and proper limits. They should return to school. The response to the Akande statement should not have come from the Presidency. Akande is the leader of an opposition party, a partisan political figure. If they saw it fit to reply, the response should have come from the Peoples Democratic Party’s over-exercised mouths.
Those who run the highest office of our national government do seem like children who dropped and broke a glass then simply cry when someone points out what they have done. Instead of crying, they should clean the mess they made. Until Abati and the Presidency he fanatically seeks to defend accept they owe Nigerians plenty of performance and explanation, they will continue to languish in immaturity, self-delusion and hence rightly called a kindergarten government. The same right my brother Reuben Abati exercised in telling Akande off is what Akande also exercised in telling the President some bitter truth. Akande has spoken for millions of Nigerians and it is well within his right.