A former intelligence officer of the Nigerian Navy, Lieutenant Commodore John Danjuma, believes the President has missed a good opportunity after he failed to appear before members of the House of Representatives.
Danjuma, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show on Friday, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari could have used the opportunity to show how committed he was to the safety of Nigerians.
“For God’s sake, this is about national security; you (Buhari) placed your hand on the Quran, and you promised the Nigerian people that you were going to do everything all within your powers as the President to preserve them, and here is a situation where you would have shined,” he said during his appearance on Sunrise Daily.
The retired military officer added, “It is an opportunity for you to shine, to tell the people what you already know that they don’t know that this is the situation.
“It is in your own interest, it is a plus for you but by cutting them off (the lawmakers) … we are not handling this situation well at all because lives are lost, people are hurting, and it is time to console them and make them know they are part of the system.”
Speaking from the perspective of a security expert, Danjuma stressed that only ongoing and planned operations needed to be shrouded in secrecy and not things that have already happened.
He stated that he was not disappointed that the President refused to honour the invite of the lawmakers to address them over the security challenges in the country.
“It is in his character to do that,” said the intelligence officer who claimed that a similar occurrence was recorded when President Buhari was invited in 1999 by the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission led by a late justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa.
He said a Minister of Defence was also invited by the Senate In 1999 but he refused to go, stressing that it was in the character of some people not to realise that they needed to show examples that institutions must be respected.
“It is consistent with the nature and behaviour of our people and they need to realise that if you break the law, then you have no moral authority to bring other people below you who break the law too to justice because you are now sending negative signals into the society telling them that you are above the law; it is inconsistent with the democratic norms,” the security expert averred.
He advised the President not to rely solely on the recommendations of his appointees and allies but should consider the opinions of critics when making decisions.
According to Danjuma, President Buhari travelled across the country to canvass for support and shake hands with people at the grassroots in the build-up to the elections that brought him into office.
He warned against giving the people the wrong notion that he has gotten what he wanted and has no business with the ordinary Nigerians.
The former intelligence officer also appealed to the President to show the people that he was aware of their plights.
He said, “For me, the real issue is that does Mr President care about how he is perceived by the Nigerian people? Most people now, if you really ask them, feel that he is unconcerned about the feeling of the people.
“Times like this when people are hurting is when you as a leader should show empathy, should even visit the families. There is nothing wrong in the President going to the National Assembly and even regurgitating if that is what it will take.
“Afterall, they say repetition makes for impression; it will further impress that he truly cares about the Nigerian people … and there is still time for Mr President to have a change of heart and listen to the voice of reason and to want to please people,” Danjuma advised.
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