The presidency issued a statement this morning concerning the impeachment saga in Benue state which Nigerians have uniformly condemned due to its illegality.
The statement, which was signed by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, stated that the president has no hand in the developments in Benue. It described insinuations linking Buhari with the illegality as “paranoia at its worst.”
“President Buhari will never be part of any unconstitutional act, and any attempt to link him with the inglorious past, when minority number of lawmakers impeached governors, will not stick. It will simply be like water off the duck’s back. Those with open minds know this, but those who cavil would rather source everything untoward to the President. It is murky ground in which they are now marooned, as fallout of their resistance to change in the country,” the statement said.
But it makes no sense
First, the statement omits a key point: The president is the only one who the Inspector-General of Police answers to. So whenever the police is involved in perpetrating an illegality anywhere in the country – as was the case in Benue – the buck must stop at the president’s table. Simply protesting his innocence while failing to take responsibility for the shameless conduct by the police won’t work.
Second, no where in the statement did the presidency condemn the illegality or ask the police to do the right thing. The statement – whether deliberately or not – sent an uncertain signal about where the president stands on the matter. For the record, Buhari does not have the luxury of choosing to be neutral on this.
Third, the president missed yet another opportunity to showcase himself as a statesman through actions and not just words. He turned inwards and focused on himself again rather than making this a teachable moment to show that he would not condone illegality even when the victim is a political opponent. The statement said Buhari will “reject attempts to drag him into infamy. People who stoke fires by deliberate acts of omission or commission, and then summon the President to come and put it out will find that this President will be guided by the Constitution at all times, no matter the attempt to entangle him in unwarranted controversies.”
It’s all about him, meanwhile the illegality goes on without hindrance, supported by a partisan police which reports to him. Yet, he does not want people to drag his name into the matter.