President Buharis Media Chat
Exactly seven months of being in office, President Muhammadu Buhari held his first Presidential Media Chat on December 30, 2015. The chat which usually gives insight into the policy direction of previous administrations was at once hopeful and depressing.
The significant take away of the president’s interaction with the country through the selected journalists is that it once again brought to fore his deep passion and commitment to Nigeria; to pull it out of the present morass and set it on the path of transparency and accountability.
The media engagement afforded the president the opportunity to reiterate his avowed fight against corruption, win the war against Boko Haram insurgents and cut the cost of governance.
While all these intentions are noble and have attracted applause from Nigerians, there were troubling signs from the whimsical and too blunt answers by the president.
It is a given that Nigerians want to see corruption uprooted and trouble makers dealt with, there is little doubt that they want to see those done in line with constitutional provisions and not by any individual’s moral compass.
During the media chat, the president could not hide his angst against the Shiites, ex-National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and secessionist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Director of Radio Biafra.
In response to the continued incarceration of Sambo and Kanu despite court orders for their bail and having satisfied same, the president showed that he is yet to grasp the full import that despite his misgivings with the system, he has to put up with the seeming inconveniences of the constitution.
His answer for instance, “that one you call Kanu,” and asking the judiciary to support his regime in this regard does not ring well. The enduring legacy of democracy is allowing the institutions of state to mature and work within the existing legal framework. If the president feels strongly that the present statutes have poor buffers to realize his vision of a less prone corrupt country, what he needs to do is give rein to his Attorney General to draw up amendments to the laws and present same to the National Assembly for enactment.
It is heart-warming to note that the Administration of Justice was firmed up by the last administration which bars undue delay of criminal cases. Buhari can exploit this and urge the courts to accelerate hearings in the many corruption cases his government is pursuing.