The last time President Muhammadu Buhari probably addressed Nigerians directly was on January 1, 2021 despite several issues bedevilling the nation. His silence has become a serious concern to millions of Nigerians.
Dr. Dele Omojuyigbe, Deputy Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, Lagos:
“The President’s loud silence on burning national issues couldn’t have, in the least, been satisfactory to anyone. ‘The President said’ is quite different from ‘the Presidency said’.
“People voted for the President as their leader. They need to hear his voice when it matters. Buhari’s silence has prompted different interpretations. If he speaks, it will help to dispel conjectures and rumours. People will have a better understanding of how his mind is working. The silence of a president usually confuses a state.
“For the President to be sending representatives to important places where he ought to appear in person is a good reason for guesses. If you should hear the President’s voice but you hear the voice of his special assistant instead, you are free to assume anything. But sincerely, his continued silence is an insult to Nigerians.”
Prof. Pat Utomi, founder, Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL):
“I do not have enough information to make a definitive assessment but four or five scenarios may be plausible. It could be that his state of health does not make such an engagement feasible. It could also be that he considers distance a tool in the exercise of power. Unusual in modern democratic governance, some courts in medieval times found such valuable. Or it could also be that the Villa believes they have enough spokespersons not to bother a busy Commander-in-Chief with such chores. Whichever the reason, it boils down to poor leadership. Imperial leadership styles are not sustainable in this age.”
Ogbuevi Patrick Okeke, social commentator and public affairs analyst:
Ogbuevi Patrick Okeke, social commentator and public affairs analyst: “We are living in a very trying time in the country called Nigeria. It’s the height of absurdity and negates every democratic ethos known to mankind before and even in the 21st digital century for a sitting President to be ‘sleeping on duty.’
“What we are witnessing is absconding by President Buhari. This ugly and unfortunate trend started with the laying of the budget instead of presentation by addressing the National Assembly in December, 2018.
The failure of the President to address the nation, face the press or attend public functions have continued unabated and point to one direction…all is not well with our President though his spin-doctors have always hoodwinked and bamboozled us to believe otherwise.
“All indices of a healthy and viable leader on the part of the President have failed beyond reasonable doubt. The press (both local and international) is fully aware of this but is waiting for Nigerians to pick up the gauntlet, demand that the President perform the functions of his office or resign honorably. “The rubber-stamp/compliant National Assembly has failed Nigerians through its abdication of its role as watch dog by not carrying out the oversight functions as it should be. The President and the Presidency are two sides of the coin…the sycophants in the presidency who defend and issue press statements on behalf of the President were not elected and have no right to usurp the constitutional roles of the president who canvassed and was elected by the citizens.The President remains accountable to the electorates and the oath of office he swore to on assumption of office. The political appointees are not known to the electorates and the Nigeria constitution.”
Prof. Jaja Nwanegbo, Department of Political Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka:
“Clearly something is wrong and that can either be the health, conspiracy of silence or disorganization in the government. Things that should make a president speak happen every day in Nigeria.
“Agreed, our president has not been very popular with words but the depth of silence in the face of the threatening collapse of the state is unacceptable. I also said conspiracy of silence because even the spokesperson speaks on things that make sense for them. The confusion part also appears obvious, especially when the government had to come out to refute what the spokesperson of the president said about Rev. Fr. Mbaka.”
Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC):
“Everything points to the fact that Buhari lacks the intellectual capacity and physical wellness to lead this country. That’s why, even on serious national issues threatening the corporate existence and survival of this country, Buhari’s aides talk condescendingly on Nigerians. The president is the chief executive and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The buck stops on his table. He has to lead from the front. You can’t equate the presidency with the President or his aides.”
Chief Simon Onuora Public Affairs Analyst:
“President Muhammadu Buhari has become more or less an absentee president. Nigerians are beginning to feel his absence even while he is still around, and this is a tragedy. “This ‘present but absent’ attitude of the president suggests clearly that all is not well with him. It lends credence to insinuations in some quarters that the man in Aso Rock is not the same person Nigerians elected in 2015. Again, it tends to confirm the allegation that he is being shielded away from the public to avoid embarrassing moments.
“Like other Nigerians, I am not comfortable that the president of the largest country in Africa opted to remain silent at a period the country is undergoing her greatest security challenges. In war times, such as we have now, (no matter how you look at it) a sensitive president is expected to address the nation on a regular basis to douse tension and instill confidence in the citizenry. If he could go round the country during his electioneering, what is stopping him from coming out once in a while to address the same people that elected him?”