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Buhari Should Give No More Interviews; We’ve Had Enough

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NOTES FROM ATLANTA WITH FAROOQ KPEROGI

ONE of the self-care treats I’ve chosen to indulge in, for my own sanity, is never to torment myself by watching a Muhammadu Buhari interview on television, but a good-natured yet “troublesome” friend of mine for whom I have profound respect never ceases to mischievously tyrannize me by forcing me to watch Buhari’s interviews obviously because he knows that seeing Buhari’s trademark parapraxises and unfailingly disastrous rhetorical incompetence would extract a response from me.

It was the friend who first sent me a link to the interview Buhari granted to Channels Television’s Maupe Ogun-Yusuf and Seun Okinbaloye on Thursday. After enduring 45 minutes of merciless self-torture to watch Buhari’s hollow, sadly familiar, and well-rehearsed ramblings, I came away with the same impressions I’ve always had of him.

I’ll taxonomize these impressions into three broad categories.

One, Buhari has a fixed, limited, predictable, and stereotyped repertoire of responses to every question or concern about Nigeria that he never transcends. For example, every response to questions his regime is abidingly prefaced with remarks about how the APC in 2015 ran on a campaign to stamp out insecurity, revamp the economy, and fight corruption. It’s a refrain he must repeat in every damn interview, and it’s immaterial if it is relevant to the question he was asked.

When he is questioned about the endemic insecurity in the country and the deepening oceans of blood that drench the land, like clockwork, he never fails to talk about how some local governments in Borno and Yobe used to be under the control of Boko Haram in 2015 and how his regime has liberated these local governments. He has said this in every public statement or interview since 2015. This is, of course, not true.

Even the Shehu of Borno told Buhari on November 30, 2018, that “the people of Borno State are still under Boko Haram siege,” that “Nobody can dare move out of Maiduguri by 10 kilometres without being confronted/attacked by Boko Haram,” and that “Quite a number of farmers are being killed and kidnapped on a daily basis.”

Boko Haram factions tax citizens in rural Borno and Yobe (a clear indication of their control of the states), and way more soldiers have been murdered by Boko Haram in the time Buhari has been in power than at any time in peacetime Nigeria.

When any question borders on rural and urban banditry in which Fulani outlaws are the perpetrators, his predictably safe, standard, prepackaged response is to regurgitate the nonsense about colonial cattle routes and grazing grounds.

Questions on the economy? Well, he has a ready-made story about how, when he came to power, petroleum production declined, the price of crude oil dwindled, and how “militants” from the Niger Delta were “unleashed” on his regime. The media and Dubawafact-checked his story about oil production and crude oil prices, which the fact-check showed he has repeated several times in the past, and determined that it is entirely false.

How about questions on unemployment—or anything that requires the government to live up to its own side of the social contract by being responsible and nurturant? His formulaic response is, “Go back to the land,” as if we are currently underwater creatures trapped in the seas or particles suspended in space. He’s started spouting this exact phrase since August 2015, a few months after he was sworn in as president.

During a meeting with Dr Kanayo Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on August 7, 2015, Vanguard reported Buhari as saying, “It’s time to go back to the land. We must face the reality that the petroleum we had depended on for so long will no longer suffice.

We campaigned heavily on agriculture, and we are ready to assist as many want to go into agricultural ventures.”

In other words, Buhari is a scripted, robotic, unimaginative talking mannequin who has no capacity to veer off from the limited pool of stereotyped responses to questions he has memorized about seven years ago.

That is why every interview he has granted is characterized by mind-numbingly mechanical sameness.

The second broad category of my impressions of Buhari’s interviews is that his dementia, about which I sincerely feel sorry for him, comes through when he is confronted with questions that are unrehearsed, that require him to think on the spot, and that invite a demonstration of intimate familiarity with recent events.

One of the symptoms of early-stage dementia, which I suspect Buhari suffers, is trouble with short-term memory. Whenever any interaction requires him to use the resources of his old memories, he is often fine and can come across as clear-thinking.

Problems arise when he is faced with recent events, particularly when he is unscripted.

Unlike the softball questions he was asked during the recent Arise TV PR show dignified as a journalistic interview, Channels TV’s reporters went beyond the questions they were required to send to Buhari in advance and asked probing follow-up questions—like all good journalists should. And this was where Buhari’s cognitive and intellectual infirmities were laid bare.

Whenever Buhari is asked a question that requires an answer outside his narrow, well-rehearsed mental collection of ready-made responses that draw from his old memories, he instinctively picks any arbitrary response that comes to his mind, which is often at variance with the question he’s asked.

That was why when Channel TV’s Maupe Ogun-Yusuf challenged him to justify his opposition to direct primaries when he is himself a beneficiary of the process, he looked like a deer in headlights and said he expected to be asked “how did we overthrow the PDP.” And then he went off on a tangent about the 2015 election, which had no connection with the question he was asked but which allowed him the latitude to relapse to his comfort zone: reliving and regurgitating old memories while evading new ones.

A question about his appointment of Dr. Doyin Salami as his economic adviser and the specific role he will play in his new appointment was largely elided and instead yielded an incoherent waffling about agriculture, about how only 2.5 percent of Nigerian arable land is being cultivated, about border closures, rise in rice production in Nigeria, etc.

When Okinbaloye asked him about Nigeria’s rising debt profile, the progressive fall in the value of the naira, and the skyrocketing inflation in the country using the official statistical figures of the government he putatively heads, he was thrown off.

Then he deployed his time-tested strategy: he dug deep into old memories and invoked a ready-made response that had not the remotest relationship with the question asked.

“Well, I am not sure how correct your calculations are, but all I know is that we have to allow people to get access to the farm,” he said. “We just have to go back to the land.

What we have done so far, we have achieved some successes and people ought to measure our successes viz-a-viz the problems when we started.’’

Buhari is clearly the victim of recognizably diminished sentience and cognitive presence, and everyone around him knows it.

Everyone in the upper reaches of governance in Nigeria knows it. Even directors of a security agency reportedly politely admitted in a secret memo to Buhari, which Peoples Gazette of December 23, 2021, uncovered, that Buhari’s aides make him sign documents he doesn’t understand.

Culled from the Tribune News Nigeria

Nigeria

Gani Adams Berates Police, DSS Operatives For Rejecting Joint Patrol Initiative To Secure Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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He noted that collaborative efforts with South-West security stakeholders would have reduced incessant attacks unleashed on innocent travellers by assailants on the road.

Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has slammed the police and Department of State Services for thwarting an initiative aimed at securing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

He noted that collaborative efforts with South-West security stakeholders would have reduced incessant attacks unleashed on innocent travellers by assailants on the road.

In a statement on Thursday, Adams said, “The reason for the request is to use our strength and network to secure the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which has remained porous.

“The idea came up after a series of meetings with leaders and members of the South-West Security Stakeholders Group.

“The letter dated September 22, 2021, was addressed to security advisers, Commissioners of Police, Directors of State Security Services, and other agencies in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo.”

Adams said being the Aare, many people had requested his mediation, reminding the government that its security operatives alone cannot secure lives and property.

He added, “It’s time to tell the world of our efforts in securing the region. The road has become volatile for travellers, there is a need for urgent intervention.

“The SSSG, with about 10 security groups, have the strength to support the police in making sure that the spate of insecurity is curbed.”

The organisation comprises Oodua People’s Congress, Agbekoya, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Agbekoya Peace Movement.

Others are Vigilante Yahun, Professional Hunters of Nigeria, Agbekoya Farmers Society, Hunters Association of Nigeria, Isokan Oodua and COMSAIC.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Nigeria

Boko Haram Mounts Checkpoints On Borno Highways, Now Collects ‘Taxes’ From Travellers

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Defaulters were forced by the insurgents to pay while the mobile phones of those who didn’t have money were seized.

Travellers in some communities in Borno State are now being forced by militants of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of the Boko Haram, to pay what they call, taxes.

Military sources told the media that the terrorists mounted roadblocks in the Gubio Local Government Area on Wednesday, issuing tax receipts to travellers.

The media had in several reports in 2021 reported how the insurgents had been taxing residents of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe State.

Sources said failure of the residents to comply with the directive attracts the death penalty.

The media also reported how ISWAP established two Wilaya’s (Caliphates) at Lake Chad and Sambisa forest to sustain its war against countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to sources, the terrorist group lifted the ban imposed on fishing and farming activities in the Lake Chad area, three years after chasing people out of for allegedly spying for Nigerian troops.

It, nevertheless, imposed new taxes and levies in the areas controlled by ISWAP-Boko Haram, to regulate trades and agricultural activities.

Several fishermen, farmers and merchants had returned to the Lake-Chad area to engage in socio-economic activities, under the arrangement of the new ISWAP-Boko Haram leadership.

Since the death of JAS leader, Abubakar Shekau, ISWAP has been consolidating its grip in locations around Lake Chad.

Just recently, it appointed Wali Sani Shuwaram, a 45-year-old as the new Leader (Wali) of ISWAP in Lake Chad.

The sect’s membership has swollen with the defection of hundreds of Boko Haram fighters under Shekau.

The Nigerian Army has repeatedly claimed that insurgency had been largely defeated and the military frequently underplays any losses.

The terror group has caused over 100,000 deaths and displaced millions of individuals mainly in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Nigeria

Pictures Of Northern Governors Posing With Associate Of Bandits’ Leader, Turji Raise Suspicion

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Kamarawa was arrested in September 2021 but the video of his questioning by the police only appeared online a few weeks ago.

Some photographs taken in the recent past showing two governors and an associate of notorious bandits’ kingpin, Bello Turji, standing together have raised dusts.

In the picture with the suspect, Musa Kamarawa, who has confessed to working with Turji, are the governors of Zamfara and Sokoto, Bello Matawalle and Aminu Tambuwal, and the deputy governor of Sokoto, Mannir Dan Iyya.

Zamfara and Sokoto are two of the North-west states under attacks by bandits in which hundreds of people have been killed and thousands displaced.

The media last week Friday reported that Kamarawa, nephew to former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, was arrested by the police and detained in Abuja over links to bandits and their leaders.

Kamarawa was arrested in September 2021 but the video of his questioning by the police only appeared online a few weeks ago.

Under interrogation, Kamarawa said he had known Turji for long.

“Turji is my bosom friend, we are always in touch and we seek each other’s advice on our operations most of the time,” the suspect said.

He said the notorious bandits’ kingpin had over 100 armed guards around him and named those supplying Turji with shoes, military camouflage uniforms, drugs and other materials.

Kamarawa, who is from Isa local government area of Sokoto State, has extensive knowledge of communities and forests in Sokoto East and Zamfara North, especially villages bordering Shinkafi (in Zamfara) and Isa (in Sokoto).

Kamarawa was among those first contacted by Mr Matawalle after he was declared governor in 2019, to facilitate a peace accord with bandits, Premium Times reports.

A source at the Zamfara Government House, who is also a Special Adviser to the governor, said Kamarawa was referred to by the governor when the peace accord was being initiated.

“Though Bello Turji didn’t accept the peace accord, there were a lot of bandits who turned in their guns and ammunition through Musa (Kamarawa).

“We didn’t know he had interest in them and was working for them because he was always advising us to expand our peace talks. You can attest to the fact that several weapons and bandits were here (Gusau) and we witnessed peace for some time,” said the official who requested not to be named because he did not have permission to speak to journalists.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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