By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) President Muhammadu Buhari recently received an award of leadership and anti- corruption from a group said to be associated with the legendary American civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In what the President and his cabinet will assume to be a validation for their government and its policies, the State House officials, including Bashir Ahmed, a media aide to the president, have touted the award as being given by the late civil rights activist’s nephew.
For a government that is constantly seeking popularity amid its tragedy of colossal failure, the supposed award was going to be used as another baseless excuse to sway the people and appeal for continuation. The story would have been effortless: If a prestigious American Centre confirms legitimacy on President Buhari, then Nigerians should be willing to do so too. But that will certainly not be the case anymore.
Following a deluge of requests from Nigerians on Wednesday, The King Centre, which is a memorial of the late preacher, distanced itself from the award. The Centre has not conferred any leadership and anti-corruption award on President Muhammadu Buhari.
The award was said to be part of the King’s family activities marking the Black History Month and the nephew, identified as Isaac Newton-Farris also reportedly urged Nigerians to allow Mr. Buhari continue as Nigerian President because of his tremendous achievement.
In a tweet, the centre denied any knowledge of the award. “The award giving to President Buhari of Nigeria was not given by the King Centre, at the request of the King Centre or the children of #MLK and #CorettaScottKing,” read the tweet.
Even until this latest twist, one will naturally wonder why President Buhari who doesn’t represent anything Martin Luther King Jr. stood for would be considered for such award. President Buhari, even since his supposed transformation from being a military man, and his second coming as a civilian President has behaved in ways that are unfamiliar with civilian practice.
The award tweets have now been deleted from the Presidency handles that published them, but the episode is not an isolated event for a presidency that has been desperate for validation.
In spite its claim of fighting corruption, President Buhari’s government has been smeared in corruption itself, and no decisive action has been taken to reassure the people of the President’s well taunted integrity and fight against corruption. Also under President Buhari’s watch there has been massacre of unarmed Shiite Muslims and Biafran protesters seeking a peaceful seccesionist agenda.
Ironically, the clear intention of the entire scam was to associate the integrity and legacy of the late civil rights activist with the Nigerian President, but what is even worse is the embarrassment this scam has brought Nigeria and its financial cost. It has been confirmed that the award cost as much as $3 million of tax payers money.
Of what use is a Presidency that will soil a nation’s integrity, and waste its resources just to look good before the world? The Presidency didn’t carry out any due diligence before accepting the award and parting with the money because of how desperate they are to jump at any chance with the slightest integrity that can help their reelection bid. It was too good to be turned down.
The national disgrace will last a lifetime, and Nigerians will want the Presidency to only commit its remaining time in office to carrying out its constitutional responsibilities rather than seeking for validation, even when it is a scam.