Bashir Ahmad, personal assistant on new media to President Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed shock over the backlash that followed a picture showing the president picking what could be remnants of food from his teeth, which was posted on his Snapchat page five months ago.
The picture coincidentally resurfaced when a flurry of issues like the killing of three policemen by soldiers in Taraba, the detention of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Yele Sowore over his call for a revolution among others were making headlines.
The picture immediately sparked backlash from many Nigerians on social media, who said that the president’s relaxed mood is a reflection of his nonchalant attitude to the challenges plaguing the country.
Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, described it as a ‘Fiddling-Nero-type-picture’, making reference to when Emperor Nero, the leader of Rome in 64 A.D, allegedly played music on his fiddle while a great fire ravaged the country for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city.
On her official twitter handle, @obyzeks, she said: “That a Presidency and their allies found this unflattering “Fiddling-Nero-type-picture” of the Nigerian President worthy of public view really does take their celebration of deadly Incompetence to a stratospheric realm. But then, it really is governance of tooth-picking.”
One of the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners, Aisha Yesufu said : “Muhammadu Buhari is capable of picking his teeth. He is extremely good doing it and we call on the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, etc, to stop abducting maiming and killing citizens and dare Buhari on teeth picking duel. That’s his level of competence.”
A human rights lawyer, Abdul Mahmud said: “I love Buhari for his simplicity. Look at him picking his teeth by himself. All by himself; picking his teeth. Simplicity.”
But some argued that the president was simply being human while some simply made jokes out of the picture. While the backlash continued, Ahmad took to Twitter to express surprise over the reaction to the picture, saying that he “innocently” took the shot on February 27 and that he did not expect that it could elicit such reactions.
“It’s hard to understand why some people are genuinely angry because of this innocent pic. When I innocently snapped it on Feb 27 and posted on my Snapchat, it didn’t occur to me that it’s going to give wailers that strong hit,” Bashir wrote.