We have just read the reaction of the Federal Government to the press statement by the Christian Association of Nigeria on the killing of CAN Chairman, Michika local government, Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi through the special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
We are surprised that Mr Adesina who is supposed to be a Christian could take up the gauntlet to villify his brothers and fathers in the Lord just to please his master on an issue that should have made him sober over the plight of his brethren. For Adesina, what matters is the happiness of his master not the interest of his brethren. We can’t imagine that people like Adesina cannot play Nehemiah, but continually play Sanballat over the destiny of their brethren.
However, we understand that this is the tragedy of a man hired to market a bad product. Mr Adesina’s response is a fine prose that will pass any public relations examination as a good public relations stunt. Herein lies the dilemma of the public relations practitioner. He is cut in the delimma of saying and doing what he does not believe is right . It is the dilemma of the Adesinas that make some people wary in taking up image making as a job not minding how juicy.
Those that read Femi Adesina in his heydays as a journalist can attest to the fact that he is not the same person known to speak truth to power. What an unfortunate price to pay for accepting to package and maintain a product that is not only bacterial,fungal as well as virulent, but irredeemably putrefied.
If this puerile defense is coming from another government spokesman like Mallam Garuba Shehu, we would not have bothered to reply, but would have dismissed it as one from those who don’t understand the pains the church leadership is passing through having its members being systematically decimated on daily basis without those in authority responding adequately to the change. But to come from one who ought to know the truth and say the truth is worrisome. We are further worried that when it comes to insulting the church leadership by government it is always through those that are said to be Christians in the corridors of power. If it is not Femi Adesina it must be Lauretta Onochie just to please their master. Only last week in the interfaith meeting in Abuja, the Sultan boldly accused governments of cowing religious leaders and traditional rulers in the country preventing them from playing their role. Garuba did not pick on the Sultan. If it was CAN president either Adesina or Lauretta would have hushed him. What a show of disrespect to men of God.
Now to vitrolics from Adesina on matters complained about in the CAN’s press conference, but before that may we observe the deception on Adesina”s so called “feelings of humanity ” over the death of Rev. Adinmi. Quoting the 16th century classical poet, John Donne, he said “I am not mourning Rev. Adinmi because he is a Christian, but because any man”s death diminishes because I am involved in mankind”. That sounds human on the face value, but Adesina’s response to the Christian communities who are being killed and dispossessed of their ancestral lands is for them to surrender their inheritance for their life. This is a feeling of humanity without sense of justice. For Adesina the dictum: your land or your life is a philosophy that agrees with his humanity. But this is ungodly.
On the argument that President Buhari sympathized and sympathises with bereaved families, should it not be a worry to the president’s image maker that theirs have become a government of condolence. Can he count how many of such condolence messages he has released in the last four years over avoidable calamities if government is serious. CAN said that Rev. Adinmi stayed two weeks with his captors and called on government to come to his aid. Does it not worry Adesina that rather than take step to rescue the preacher, government was quick to send condolence message to the family. Which is more important? To rescue the victim or sympathize with the family.
I am sure the President is waiting to see the video of the beheading of another Christian that Adesina would be instructed to issue condolence statement and condemn the killers. Of course, that is cheaper than paying ransome.
We are wary of pontification by likes of Adesina on the conduct of men of God as if the responsibility to be truthful is the sole prerogative of the clergy. Every man, including those in political position are enjoined to speak truth always. But to dish out half truths and sometimes blatant lies or wilful denial of facts by government and it’s agencies and turn around to accuse the clergy of promoting lies is height of hypocrisy which is common with this administration.
One would have expected that Adesina would have soberly reflected over the concerns of CAN and advise his boss appropriately rather than engage on insults to the Association.
Perhaps, he does not know that sincere advice to the boss is part of the image making program. We think government image makers should go on refresher course to understand the need to advise the boss rather than always wanting to do the biddings of the boss.
On the issue that CAN is insinuating that Buhari is “antichristian”, is Adesina blind or is he wilfully choosing not to hear or see what everybody is seeing or saying. From the opposition parties to a section of those in government down to civil society groups and sociocultural groups in the country, is it not a common refrain that the president is running a sectional and sectarian agenda? .
Oh, Adesina would have preferred CAN keeping quiet over obvious truth. Has not even the international community made the same observation. Was it not why the same Adesina reacting to the position of Britain on a national issue retorted that Nigeria cannot take orders from Britain.
Come to think of it why can’t the image makers advise Mr President to look into the national complain of the need to review his security management policy with the view to changing his team in order to rejig the system. Why is Mr President giving himself out as one who does not listen to public opinion? . What is special about his service chiefs that he cannot disengage them if not that they are serving his selfish interest?
It is unfortunate that president’s spokesmen do not understand the power of public opinion, but are well schooled in the opposite which is propaganda. Mr Adesina should know that propaganda does not sustain any system for too long.
Finally, on the general security situation in the country, does it not occur to Adesina that he is deluded to believe that their government is winning the war against insurgency? He is not seeing that whatever seem to be the magic and gains of 2015 has been reversed in 2019. Yes, there are no incessant bomb explosions, but number of Nigerians killed by bokoharam and fulani herdsmen between 2018-2019 are far higher than 2009-2014. Can Adesina check available records both within and outside the country?.
Well, selective perception is a common feature with government.
May we at this juncture appreciate Adesina for accepting that the government he is defending is incapacitated in defending its citizens and acknowledged the place of divine intervention with his reference to Peter in prison for which he supported CAN”s call for prayers and fasting. We urge the Nigeria church to take the matter of divine intervention serious. It will be encouraging to hear miraculous deliverance in this season more than the beheadings.
God bless Nigeria.
Prof Charles Adisa
Nigeria Christian Graduate fellowship.
Mr Onyenachi Nwaegeruo