Growing up in the ancient city of Kano, one of the lessons I learnt in my formative years was the wisdom in the adage that says, if you cannot bear the heat, get out of the kitchen. It teaches us to quit when the ovation is still loud, and not end up getting out of situations ignominiously. About 30 years down the line, the adage is making meaning to me.
Whenever I remember this adage, I remember Hajia Naja’atu Mohammed, who is always attacking the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
I am not a politician. I am a Nigerian who shares the same state of birth as Hajia Naja’atu. I am indeed amazed that the woman is a vocal critic of President Buhari. There is nothing wrong in criticising a man you do not support, However, we should know that nobody is above mistakes. And mistakes are made to be corrected. It is God’s way of showing how imperfect we all are. But if you mean well, the best way to go about it is to seek the person in private audience, rather than seeking to reduce him in esteem, as Naja’atu always does.
To those who may not know, Hajia Naja’atu is a leading woman politician in northern Nigeria, who many of us hold as a mother figure, but who also confuses some of us as to what the future holds for us when our leaders behave in a non-salutary manner. She currently holds a big office in the Police Service Commission, given to her by President Buhari, the man she relentlessly takes pleasure in bashing. If she does not like what Buhari is doing, one expects that she resigns her appointment.
Recently, Naja’atu, in a television interview, said the Buhari administration had been taken over by vested interests. She said Buhari was not the one governing Nigeria and sensationally went on to name some people she claimed were the real presidents of this country.
Naja’atu also condemned the selflessness of the Nigerian Army in the war it has been waging against terrorists and other criminal elements in virtually all the states of Nigeria. She singled out the Chief of Army Staff, General T.Y. Buratai, for mention, making all sorts of spurious claims.
A friend, with whom I monitored the radio programme, wondered whether Naja’atu’s education had taken leave of her at the time she was making those terribly-spurious claims; something even a small child, in this digital age, could discern to be false with the touch of a button.
It is unfair, for instance, to say that Buratai did not hold any combat position before being appointed to head the Nigerian Army as its 20th helmsman. It is obvious that President Buhari clearly selected the best, at the time he appointed Buratai as the 20th Chief of Army Staff. The Army chief served as the commander of the 2 Brigade in Port Harcourt, which he combined with another very sensitive position of commander of Sector 2 of the Joint Task Force’s Operation Pullo Shield. Buratai acquitted himself excellently in that assignment.
You cannot, as a civilian, teach a man who acquitted himself very well as a respected general of the Nigerian Army and its commander-in-chief how to wage a guerrilla war or any other warfare. It is because President Buhari deeply knows what he is doing that he has taken the decision to retain the current service chiefs, especially Buratai. Naja’atu can never claim to be more patriotic than Buhari.
Whereas the Naja’atus of this world are always quick to condemn anything around the President, the fact remains that, if not for the sacrifice and complete professionalism of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria could by now have been totally overwhelmed by Boko Haram and other criminal elements, and Naja’atu would not have found the free and peaceful atmosphere to grant interview.
The Nigerian Army has succeeded in wiping out an overwhelming majority of the insurgents, and may have totally done so if not being over-stretched in fighting bandits, kidnappers, settling the Fulani herdsmen disputes and all sorts of criminalities in most corners of the federation.
President Buhari recently applauded the military for “demonstrating high sense of commitment in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities.” The President was emphatic that the “contributions of the Nigerian Army, under the leadership of General Buratai, had made it possible for majority of the people of the Northeastern region to return to their ancestral homes, farmlands and to embark on fishing as well as other economic activities, which were not possible due to the activities of the insurgents in the past years.”
During the recent Armed Forces Remembrance Day, the Minister of Defence, General Mansur Dan-Ali, also saluted what he rightly called “the courage and resilience of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in various operations across the country, despite attempts by some disgruntled elements to drag the army leadership’s reputation into the mud.”
Now, if the President of Nigeria, as well as the Minister of Defence, who are well-acquitted nationalists and tested war heroes, could bear testimony to the unprecedented strides of the Nigerian Army, that institution should never, not even for a moment, allow for itself the liberty of getting distracted by a woman who feels it is right to have one’s cake and still eat it.
• Suleiman wrote from Maigatari, Jigawa State