February 7, 2020

Percentage assertions in Buhari’s speeches

Nigerian debt

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari and his speech writers must moderate their unguarded use of percentages to address issues at the core of Nigeria’s unity.

Shortly after assuming power in 2015, the President in a media briefing in the United States, said he would not accord those who gave him five per cent of his votes the same level of favour as he would those who gave him 97 per cent.

Despite the uproar this created, Buhari has kept his word by ignoring the Federal Character principle in our Constitution and heavily favouring the North in political appointments, while virtually freezing the South East.

We consider his recent allegation that: “It is a reality that some 90 per cent of all Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims”, in a recent article in US-based Christianity Today as another unfortunate and avoidable gaffe.

The article was ostensibly a tribute to the late Chairman of the Michika Local Government chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Lawan Andimi, who was recently beheaded by Boko Haram.

More worrisome was his assertion that these atrocities “include a copycat abduction of over 100 Muslim schoolgirls, along with their single Christian classmate…”.

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He did not add the bizarre manner in which Boko Haram later returned all the 100 Muslim girls with fanfare after three weeks following alleged payment of ransom,while the Christian girl, Leah Sharibu, remains in their captivity.

Statistics can be a clever way of hiding the truth from the unwary. The President did not indicate how he arrived at this 90 per cent “reality”, just as he could not prove the mathematical and political justification for using the queer 97%//5% formula to override the constitutional demand for equity in appointments in his government.

What other purpose was it deployed for this time if not to divert attention from the main issue which is that this government has failed to provide adequate security for Nigerians. There is no need to look far for evidence to buttress this.

Penultimate Sunday, Christian groups all over the country protested the sweeping insecurity threatening our country. The Nigerian Supreme  Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, aon Tuesday, February 4, 2020 asked the President to declare a state of emergency on security. Also, the Senate and House of Reps leaders, after angry sessions in the Federal Legislature, went to meet the President over the same insecurity.

We affirm that these percentage claims do little to unite Nigerians or reassure them of their safety. Instead, they stoke further divisions along religious, political, ethnic and regional lines.

The insecurity is affecting all Nigerians no doubt, but because of the religious motives attached to groups perpetrating them, certain groups are specially targeted.

The Federal Government must wake up and stamp out insecurity in Nigeria. Enough of statistical red-herrings!