IT is said that if a candidate is allowed to mark his own examination papers, he will give himself straight “A’s”. Politicians are fond of giving themselves pass marks no matter how abysmal their performance is.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is fond of making sweeping promises is also very adept at giving himself unmerited praise while at the same time blaming others for problems that he is expected to fix as the incumbent leader.
The Presidency is perhaps the only entity in Nigeria that continues to trumpet “improvement” in the insecurity woes of the country. Everybody else, including his All Progressives Congress, APC, governors drum the declining security in their respective domains at the rooftops.
The President went beyond the ordinary in his Eid el Maulud message on Tuesday last week when he told journalists to stop reporting that insecurity is increasing but that it is reducing.
According to him: “The reality of declining insecurity should replace the inaccurate narrative of rising insecurity in the country”.
The President seemed to portray the increased level of military and security mobilisations against the Boko Haram terrorists, the unfolding terrorism in the North-West and violence in the South East as automatic decline in insecurity.
While Nigerians are aware of the uptick in government’s efforts to rein-in insecurity, the killings, abductions of school pupils, kidnappings, armed herdmen’s attacks and jihadist insurgencies have continued to surge.
Barely a day after Buhari claimed the decline in insecurity, there were reports that terrorists had resorted to attacking the Abuja-Kaduna train services.
Photos and videos of a shot-out train driver’s cabin, with rail tracks wrecked, possibly with explosives, flooded the social and mainstream media.
People had sought protection in the perceived safety of travels by train when attempting to travel on the Abuja-Kaduna highway became a suicide mission due to activities of the kidnappers. The President’s idea of telling the media how to do their work is totally misplaced and a waste of time.
The constitution has given the media the power and responsibility to hold government to account. We stress it once again that the media will not be cajoled or coerced to abdicate its sacred constitutional mandate to report and inform the public factually, professionally and responsibly, even in matters of security.
We urge Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief, to lead a new approach of appraising our security challenges accurately and without bias. When this happens, we are certain that, with the support of the public, the armed forces are capable of restoring peace throughout Nigeria.
Once our insecurity truly begins to decline, the media will be the first to say so, since we report things as they happen.
But if we continue to fight our insecurity with a biased and questionable mindset, the situation will continue to deteriorate.