How To Criticize #Buhari Without Pissing People Off #ofilispeaks

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About a month ago on May 29th, Buhari delivered his inauguration speech. I was so moved by the speech that I declared on twitter that that was the best speech I had ever heard from a Nigerian President in my life (I meant it).

And it was definitely a BIG step-up from GEJ’s November 2014 Declaration to run for Presidency speech. Which I criticized on my blog for being grossly out of touch! Not only did I criticize the speech, I criticized the Newspapers who made GEJ’s declaration announcement to run their front page news story behind the then recent Yobe BokoHaram massacre that killed over 60 people in Potiskum. And the first comment/response on the former article was that I was biased!

And that response reminds me about my past 2 weeks on Facebook…

I have been called an anti-Buhari critique, anti-APC, biased, not-objective. And I don’t get it. Anyone who has really followed my writings and rants, will know that I have been consistent with my criticisms of the Nigerian government regardless of who is in power.

In 2011, GEJ had just won the Presidential election and amidst the celebrations that a “revolution” was about to happen in Nigeria I kept on questioning why everyone was excited about a President that ran away from a Debate. I even entered a heated argument with my Dad who is very Pro-GEJ who said debates don’t matter. I disagreed because I believe in debates. So in 2015 when Buhari decided not to debate … I said the same exact thing.

In 2013 when Rotimi Amaechi won the Governor’s Forum election only for a GEJ/PDP backed Jang declared himself winner against all logic…I protested, I said it was wrong and undemocratic. So in 2015 when an APC/Tinubu backed Lawan attempted to hijack democracy by forcing himself into Senate Presidency only to be thwarted by an equally deceptive politician in Saraki, I said the same exact thing I said in 2013 … let democracy work.

Buhari 11And then in May 2014 after watching another disappointing GEJ Presidential Media chat where the Journalists seemed to be more excited with being in the presence of the President than asking hard questions, I wrote a stinging satirical article. An article that mocked our artificial Government-Journalist relationship … in fact the article was so pertinent and well received, that I got a call from Ikenna Azuike to write for the Whats Up Africa show on BBC (then RNW). And thus in 2015 after I learned that AIT was escorted out of a Buhari Media conference, I spoke like I did in 2014 against government interference with the media. Same consistent criticism.

I have not even done a sketch to the level the one I did on GEJ where I showed him without a brain and people are getting pissed-off already? =/

So back to the original question “How do you criticize Buhari without pissing people off?” The answer is null, because it is impossible. People will always get pissed off! My job as a writer and citizen of Nigeria is not whether or not people get pissed off. My job is that truth is being told.

And the truth is this, the first 3 weeks for APC has been embarrassing and it has been poor from one issue to another. But this is expected, they are a party created from several parties thrust into the position of “ruling party” for the first time in 16 years.

But they will get better, Buhari has the potential to change Nigeria. I heard and saw it in his speech, but he and APC will not get better because of excess praise like “O look Buhari took picture with Obama” or delusional praise like “Light has already improved in my area” They will only get better because of honest and sharp criticism from you and me.

Remember change does not happens in the ballot box but outside the ballot box.

Buhari 1

Pictures by Bayo Omoboriowo

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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Ofilispeaks

Okechukwu Ofili is the author of 3.5 books and writes political satire for the BBC/RNW What's Up Africa show. He is also the founder of okadabooks.com and blogs daily at ofilispeaks.com.

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