Editorial: Are Our Presidential Spokesmen Turning Sociopaths?

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Mr. Femi Adesina (left) and Malam Garba Shehu (right)

The mounting flippant dismissal of mass killings, kidnapping and other unsettling criminalities by presidential spokesmen, Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu is a serious concern for all horrified citizens and true, honest friends of Nigeria globally.

 From such remarks as pointedly telling Nigerians to give up their ancestral lands or risked being killed by marauding pastoralists to the attempt to normalize on-going daily killings, kidnappings, etc as  a priori to the Buhari Administration which the ‘unpatriotic’ media is only highlighting more than ever before in a ‘conspiracy’ against their principal, both Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu appear locked in a warp, us-against-the-world mode in which to mock mass murder and jest jarringly about genocidal slaughter is fair game within the call of duty to “the Leader”. 

  Have Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu now put their principal and current, transient occupier of the Presidency above the wellbeing of the Nigerian People as they aim to deflect criticisms from President Muhammadu Buhari?

We are obliged to observe that Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu are daring to cross the line of decency in the core of their expressed thoughts about recent and current criminal, extra-judicial killings going on in the country attributed to “bandits, “Fulani herdsmen”, “insurgents”, “kidnappers” and “terrorists” as have been reported in the media, which none of them has neither denied nor apologized for.        

 Nothing is useful that is not honest, goes an ancient saying. As a constitutional duty, this newspaper is obliged to say it as it is on behalf of citizens whose innocent blood has been shed on the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015 and the unlucky about to fall fresh victims in on-going bloodbaths nationwide which the seemingly desensitized Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu continue to downplay in a shocking hero worship of the President.

 In all fairness, there is no concrete evidence indicating that President Buhari has demanded such tasteless adoration from his aides and government functionaries like the infamous infamies of the late Mobutu Sese Seko or Emperor Bokassa. Only fawning itinerants in the corridors of power therefore, assail the nation with such insensitive tomfoolery in a bid to either obtain or retain privileges associated with being the President’s men.   

  We are obliged to observe that Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu are daring to cross the line of decency in the core of their expressed thoughts about the criminal, extra-judicial killings going on in the country attributed to “bandits, “Fulani herdsmen”, “insurgents”, “kidnappers” and “terrorists” as clearly shown in just two quotes from a plethora of media comments attributed to them, which none of them has neither denied nor apologized for.

 They need to watch it. 

  While they might have interpreted their brief to be a personality cult of adulation, this, in our well-considered view, is a misnomer. The job of a presidential spokesman in a modern democracy and a civilized nation is a veritable two-way conduit trough through which the Presidency gauges the public pulse, chiefly by presenting its vision, policies, programmes, accomplishments, etc, to the governed and receiving invaluable feedback from them. Suffices to add that competence fit for the job includes humility, empathy and dignified forbearance, among other fine, time-tested humanistic mannerism. Crass garrulity, crude bravura and base circumlocution have no dignifying role to play in this crucial national assignment in a civilized country.

Let Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu therefore, note that the public image they have cultivated for their principal in the last six years is ghastly, and that is in large part traceable to the insensitive statements they have made within the period.

 Regrettably, their tenure as presidential spokespersons has only served to erode whatever was still there in 2015 in genuine trust and real respect – as opposed to simulated genuflections – for the Presidency in the hearts of millions of vested and non-partisan Nigerians appalled by their galling aggrandizement in the guise of image-making for President Muhammadu Buhari. 

  While their jobs may be safe till 2023 since the President seems unaware of his battered image and is not given to a quick change of his personnel anyway despite any public opprobrium, we fear that Mr. Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu risk going down into the history book as presidential spokesmen who started out as humanists but ended up as sociopaths.

What tragic metamorphoses that would be for the once-upon-a-time beatified!

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