President Muhammadu Buhari’s Sallah greetings was released Sunday by the Presidency, the first time Nigerians will hear their president in 50 days he departed for medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
However the audio recording, meant to bring Eid-el-Fitr tidings to his fellow Nigerians has generated controversies on Buhari’s state of health and the ‘presidency’ bearly 24 hours of its release.
Whereas the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the audio message was released to clear doubts of Nigerians that Buhari is not suffering from speech impairment.
If the saying of NAN is anything to go by, then the purpose of releasing the audio recording is defeated already as the tension about the wellness of Buhari among Nigerians has further been aggravated.
Another controversy around the voice message was the Hausa language Buhari’s voice was recorded.
FELLOW PRESS understands that the message contained in the voice recording, aired by BBC on Sunday, is the audio version of statement released by Buhari’s spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, was to greet Nigerians on Eid-el-Fitr and also admonish on spreading “reckless statement”.
The message reads:
I am immensely grateful to God for his mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadan. My greetings to all Nigerian Muslims and our brother Christians on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr:
May the lessons of Ramadan, namely piety, self-denial, prayers and generosity to the poor and the needy, be with us for all time.
“I, again, appeal to all Nigerians to avoid reckless statements or actions against our fellow countrymen. We should all resolve to live in peace and unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less-endowed nations.”
Reacting to the message, Nigerians has called the audio propaganda.
Dr. Junaid Mohammed, the Second Republic House of Representative member was struck as to what the intention of those president’s handlers are for recording and releasing such message.
His words: “Aside propaganda, I am still wondering what they (president’s handlers) trying to achieve with the audio recording at this crucial moment. What he need is our prayer and we won’t stop doing that so that he will recover quickly.
Yinka Odunkamin, leader of the Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba group, said the voice message failed to address pressing issue in the country.
Calling the statment flat, Mr. Odumakin said his expectation was to hear President Buhari check the Arewa Youths for issuing quit notice on Igbo, but he rather meander around the issue.
“The message lacks content as it did not address particular issues on the ground. Nigeria is going through something the president should address with assertions. Methinks he would have appealed to those sending ultimatum to other tribes resident in the territories, to stop such act but he did not.
“What does reakless speech he (Buhari) talked about mean? He should have been more direct, to iron out distress that is capable of tearing apart the.”
He also criticised President Buhari for speaking in Hausa to address Nigerians, saying its “not good enough” since there are many non-Hausa Muslims in Nigeria.
“It is just like Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, addressing Nigerians in Yoruba, all because he is a Yoruba decent.
For President to be speaking to the nation in Hausa does not bring inclusiveness. I totally disagree with the idea President greeting a multi-ethnic country with a language spoken by his tribe.
Reno Omokri, a former Special Assistant to the former President, Goodluck Jonathan has also reacted to the Hausa voice tape, calling Buhari a divisive leader and that there was difference between him and Nnamdi Kanu, the Pro-Biafra leader agitating for secession.
Writing on his Facebook profile, Omokri said: “For President Buhari to have broadcast his Sallah message in Hausa in country like Nigeria that has English as its official language, is very divisive. How would President Trump of U.S., who originated from Germany, address America in German?
“What of other Nigerians who don’t understand Hausa?
“Proper language the President should have used is English first; and perhaps if he so desire might interpret it in Hausa later on.
“Addressing Nigeria in Hausa give a perception that he is only concerned about the 97 per cent who voted for him and the remaining 5 per cent can take a long-walk.”
“If President Goodluck had issue Christmas message in Ogbia or President Obasanjo had addressed Nigeria speaking Yoruba, how would the rest of Nigeria feel?
He further queried how a national leader address the country using sectional language. I don’t think Nigeria has even had a leader as divisive a this one. “In fact, there is no difference between him and Nnamdi Kanu.
“Buhari is not a president to Hausa people but of the whole multi-ethnic Nigeria.
“Even when late President Yar’Adua spoke on BBC News, being a Fulani man, he address Nigerians in English to all of us.”