Apparently, there was a breakdown in communication between the Lagos State government and the presidency last Thursday and the result was the shoddy manner the metropolis was shut down when President Muhammadu Buhari came on a two-day visit. SATIRE SATURDAY observes that the haphazard manner the shutdown was carried out is quite unbefitting of the status of Mr. President. It is doubtful if Mr. President was “aware” of this breach in protocol and I think such embarrassing development must be avoided in future.
The shutdown wasn’t properly done in a number of ways and I will highlight a few here.
First, the Lagos government declared a tokenistic one-day public holiday for a WHOLE presidential visit. That’s utterly embarrassing! What I suspect is that the government didn’t get details of the visit from presidential protocol officers until late Wednesday night hence a week or more public holiday would have been most appropriate. And given the respect the Lagos government has for the president as evident in how it hurriedly declared Thursday public holiday despite that the notice perhaps came in very late, coupled with its pace-setting potentials, I am sure it would gladly honour the president with the one-week holiday.
Then there is the rude attitude of owners of our domestic airlines, many of whom had the audacity to schedule flights on the same day the president was visiting. That’s utterly disrespectful. PREMIUM TIMES reported how a few air passengers trekked and ran and jumped, in a desperate bid not to miss their flights which were later delayed anyway. While I sympathize with the passengers, I think the largest chunk of the blame should go to the airlines, who were so disrespectful they couldn’t honour the president and cancel the entire flights for the two days he was in the city. I expect that the president would not say he isn’t “aware” of this gross disrespect and promptly inaugurate a presidential disciplinary committee to look into this as appropriate. I would be utterly disappointed if none of those airlines had its licence revoked.
Then there were banks that had skeletal operations despite the public holiday. Bunch of money-loving capitalists, they could not give the president the full respect he deserves. The newly inaugurated CBN monetary policy committee could kick start its own operations by looking into this and recommending punishment for erring banks as appropriate.
A lacuna was also apparent in the near-absence of newspaper advertorials some days before the president’s visit. This is nothing but poor oversight on the part of the presidential media team because it is unlikely that there would be appropriate communication a week before the visit and there won’t be advertorials.
PREMIUM TIMES reported on Thursday that many Lagosians defied the road block and trekked from Ikeja Along to, well, heaven-knows-where. Of course, there are many Lagosians whose survival depends on their daily hustle but that embarrassing development had little to do with their quest for survival; it was Lagosians’ own way of protesting the late communication. If Lagosians had heard about the visit a week earlier and there had been a week-long public holiday, it is doubtful they won’t troop out to welcome the president at the airport. Lagosians are rule-compliant and they respect constituted authorities and government pronouncements, except when it involves asphyxiating-taxes.
The religious groups were also sidelined in the visit and that’s a clear disrespect to those whose prayers have brought Nigeria this far. But more importantly, it was quite risky a stunt to allow the president travel from Abuja to Lagos without religious bodies offering seven-day prayers and fasting at the airport ahead of the visit. At least, that would have ensured the president’s on-air safety and immunity against associated witches and wizards.
There are numerous other oversight failures that I can’t possibly highlight here due to space constraint. And I believe strongly that if these things had been looked into, folks who, quite rightly, lambasted former president Goodluck Jonathan over a similar shutdown circa 2014 and are defending Thursday’s shutdown would have no reason to advertise their partisan idiocy.
SERIOUSLY SPEAKING: Shittu and that ‘shithole’ allegation
When Nigeria’s communication minister, Barrister Bayo Shittu contested for Oyo state governorship position in 2011, he ran with an intriguing mantra: “The Bayo you can trust”. Of course, not a few Oyo pundits knew it was a way of distancing himself from his namesake, the then incumbent Adebayo Alao-Akala, against whom there were allegations of corruption.
In recent weeks, I have religiously followed details of the allegations against him by his media aide. The jury is still out on the minister’s performance thus far but I think the allegations should not be waived aside by any government that prides itself as anti-graft, especially because there have been similar allegations in the past.
If the government chooses to do otherwise, it would have proven that its anti-graft campaign is, to adopt an American lingo, a ‘shit-hole’ campaign.