President Muhammadu Buhari and Fr. Ejike Mbaka are, were, two great friends. A Christian cleric and an ascetic Muslim, Igbo and Fulani, South East and North West, having one another’s backs and epitomising the unity in diversity which Nigerians yearn for across their land. Mbaka was Buhari’s Justin Welby at home, his sturdy oak in the vast Christian landscape of Africa’s largest democracy.
Now it seems that outlying friendship has suffered tragedy, murdered on the altar of irreconcilable differences traceable to the rampaging insecurity in Nigeria.
Mbaka has called Buhari a failure, and Buhari, via his spokesman Garba Shehu, who is becoming notoriously deficient in emotional intelligence going by his recent press outings, has called Mbaka a hypocrite and a grifter. #gbasgbos versus #gbasgbasgbosgbos you might say.
The sad thing about the dirty fighting between the Presidency and her former voluble supporter, Father Mbaka, is not that great friends have parted ways, or that dirty linen is flying, but that a citizen has reached a point where he found that friendship with Mr. President himself was not enough to protect him and his life’s work from street gangs and enemies made on behalf of the President.
It becomes easier to imagine the impotent fury of ordinary citizens who, unlike Mbaka, have no access to or reference with the President they elected twice with so much great expectations. Mbaka is the lite version of citizens who feel so powerless and so angry with a Commander-in-Chief who is virtually MIA in the midst of their battle with the horrendous conflagration of insecurity eating up their land.
If Baba cannot protect his bosom friends, men like Mbaka, who have taken and continue to take bullets for him, what hope lies for the distant denizens encircled by murderous bands of the heartless and godless in his grassroots outposts?
It is too demeaning for words, and not to Fr. Mbaka, that the popular, if garrulous, cleric who, knowing deep down in himself, perhaps, that God has not asked him to ask Buhari to resign or be impeached still went on to read a script as ordered, practically or metaphorically, at gunpoint.
Garba Shehu should be ashamed – not for defending his boss, for that is his job after all, but that his boss, by omission or commission on the job, ever needed such defending.
All I can say to my President and the leader of my party is, do the job we the people elected you to do and you will be adored as you used to be. Insecurity is dimming the light of your massive strides in infrastructure and other areas, and if you fail to tame it soon, it will be both the end of your legacy and the hallmark of your legacy.
The choice is yours. As the Bible says,
“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!” Genesis 4:7A.
– Moses Okezie-Okafor, ESQ.
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