In Ozubulu, Osinbajo has shown leadership

By Sunny Igboanugo on 19/08/2017

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Five ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, were in Anambra State, last Saturday, exactly a week today. They were, at the instance of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. Their mission was to convey the commiserations of the Federal Government to the people and government of the state on the callous and ungodly killing of worshippers by an unknown gunman on Sunday, August 3 at the St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government of the state.

It appears, from the treatment given to this development, many Nigerians did not grasp the import, at least not fully. At best, it elicited just a mere passing glance and scant commentary from the public, as if it was a normal.

Of course, it is a natural reaction of a government to embark on such a mission, in times of such monumental tragedies and not out of place for citizens to expect it.

Not only are such government reactions expected, the public and those at the receiving end, go further to analyse and situate the quality and extent of such reactions. That is why, today, the world is still talking about President Donald Trump’s reaction the Charlottesville, Virginia attacks.

At 1:42pm local time, on Saturday, August 12, a speeding car rammed into anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others.

In a quick reaction, Trump had tried to blame both the anti-racist campaigners and the white supremacists for the incident instead of the latter solely, for the ugly development. That was where he ignited the fire of discontent and outright outrage.

He has since beat the retreat and addressed the issue properly.

It is against this backdrop that the import of Osinbajo’s action register in a profound manner. Indeed, nobody who has been in Nigeria in the past two years, or followed events therefrom since the advent of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, would miss the significance of this particular outing.

Even though some event watchers may argue that the Acting President was not prompt enough, as he ought to have done so much earlier, it is a complete departure from the method of his boss.


Image result for ozubulu massacre

In fact, were Buhari still in charge at the time, the best that would have flowed from the Aso Rock Villa, over the Ozubulu matter, perhaps, would have been a deafening silence, which would naturally have stoked more debates between the pro and anti-Buhari groups within and outside Nigeria.

Indeed, tragedies of far more colossal proportions and far-reaching impacts have occurred in this country within the period in question that elicited this strange, unnatural and totally outlandish silence from Buhari’s Aso Rock.

What could have been more atrocious and far-reaching than the various massacres by herdsmen or the killing of that innocent 70-year-old woman, who had her throat slashed by irate youths in Kano and the woman preacher in Abuja, who was clobbered to death over religious issues?

From Agatu in Benue to Ukpabi Nimbo in Enugu, Jalingo in Taraba to Southern Kaduna, where citizens have been massacred in their numbers, Nigerians virtually begged for the President’s reaction(s), which either did not come, or came too little too late, in rare cases with very trite impacts, not to talk about visiting the scenes to ease the pains of the injured or comfort the bereaved.

Surely, none of those in the morgue today as a result of the Ozubulu attack, would be brought back to life by Osinbajo’s gesture. Yet, it is one of the little, but significant steps that mean so much at times like this and in such circumstances.

Apart from establishing in the minds of the public that there is a government in power, it emphasised the impression that, that government is not only listening, but caring. Nobody can tell how far it could go in terms of healing the wounds. There is a local parlance that sorry does not cure sickness, but makes it more endurable.

What is more? Ozubulu is located somewhere in the heart of the South East, an enclave that feels so alienated from the central government of today’s Nigeria. It is part of the area, the government is believed to have mapped out for marginalisation, going by the now much-advertised 97-5 per cent analogy of the President.

Certainly, it is impossible to expect two people to act in the same manner ceteris paribus, but there is a minimum standard that is expected by an individual, especially where such an individual is in a position of authority.

The mantra may not be too loud for now. But not a few Nigerians believe that Osinbajo has succeeded where Buhari failed. Surely, this particular gesture is part of the reason such people are likely to cite.  

Yes, Buhari may believe creating a society of purity and properness is all there is to governance, hence his rabid onslaught against the anti-corruption war. But the failure that war has become in the last two years it began, underscores the fact that the most precious and priceless things come in small sizes, like diamond.

Now the President is returning to the country and perhaps to his job, he may do well to also consider the little gestures alongside his big dreams, to make his package for Nigeria complete.




Posted on August, 19 2017

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