President Muhammadu Buhari has defended the efforts of his government after a statement by the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Stephen Mamza, accused him of failing to accomplish anything tangible in combating insurgency and insecurity.
Backstory: Bishop Mamza had on Easter Sunday given a statement, saying that the President was “sleeping on duty”.
- “The killings are too many. And if the strategies they have in place do not work why can’t he (Buhari) change and overhaul the entire security architecture? People have been asking him to overhaul his security chiefs but he doesn’t listen. He doesn’t care.”
Presidency pushes back: In a response issued by the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency described Mamza’s comments as unfair and false.
“There is so much that has changed in the past three to four years in and around Yola, and the Catholic Church in particular that a true assessment would show that but for the Change Administration of President Buhari, things would have continued the way they were, or even get worse. These could not have happened if a Commander-in- Chief was asleep.”
- The presidency also accused Bishop Mamza of breaking the old tradition of “staying above politics.”
- “Without an iota of doubt, the Northeast is better off with President Buhari than it was under the previous administration. That should explain the massive turnout of voters in the region, in spite of threats to life and property, to vote for the return of the president for a second term of four years.”
Community Leaders are in on it: The Presidency also called out community leaders as a major hindrance to the fight against insecurity, saying it was easier to blame the president, as opposed to blaming the warlords and sponsors of the killings.
- “What is happening in several communities racked by inter-ethnic and religious violence is arising from the refusal of community leaders to point at known criminals in their midst for the law enforcement agencies to act against them. They rather blame President Buhari for their woes.”
Bottomline: There is no tradition that says clerics should stay above politics. If there was, President Buhari would not have poached a pastor to run as his vice presidential candidate in 2015 and 2019. The presidency did not complain when Father Mbaka used his pulpit to endorse him twice.
- Also, it is strange that the presidency is accusing leaders of blaming the president for their “woes” instead of the “warlords.” In all the years that the president and other members of the APC were in opposition, there was not a single time they blamed warlords instead of the former ruling government.