By Timothy Hembaor,
For a man who is a Presidential spokesperson, it is alarming that Garba Shehu has carved an infamous niche for himself for obfuscation. It is appalling and disgusting that this man would rather refuse to react to the issues raised against the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari would rather go into issues that have no bearing in the interest of the nation.
And it is disgusting too that the president will have such an incompetent person to be his spokesperson. The only attraction may be their Fulani heritage. Garba Shehu has always entered the room with mud on his feet on every occasion there arises the need to defend the president in the public space.
This man, Garba Shehu is the last man to question the capacity of a governor who has won elections serially and is on his last leg of a two term gubernatorial regime. Garba Shehu suffers from a malaise of serial failures. As Managing Director Kano State owned Triumph Newspapers, he ran the newspaper to its obliteration and Triumph is no more in its original concept. He is one of the top management staff from the north that ran aground ALSCON, the Aluminum Smelter Company, Ikot Abasi. He also failed to manage the media of Atiku Abubakar. That may be the reason Atiku threw him to the dogs and he ended up with Muhammadu Buhari as his media aide. One would think he would have a glimmer of a metamorphosis but he has remained an embarrassment to himself and albeit, the failed Presidency.
It would seem preposterous for me to leave the issues raised by gov. Ortom on the leadership failure shown by President Buhari over the years and resort to the incompetence of Garba Shehu and his affliction with the almajiri syndrome that beclouds his reasoning.
The payment of salaries or not has nothing to do with the facts Ortom raised as a form of state of affairs and candid advice to Mr President. Delving into other issues would be obfuscation, an attempt to distract from the issues raised. If he is worth his salt, he should stick to the issues raised. But that would be a tall order for him.
The presidency is defined by the need of the people and it is their duty to call out the commander in chief. It is the height of infamy for the minder of the president to pander salary defects in a state and even boast about the solvency of the federal government in paying salaries as at when due.
It is a fact that states like Benue that are supposedly opposed to the nepotic government are being armtwisted in strategic development financing by the federal government. That is why the federal government could give Kogi State its balance of the bailout funds on the eve of an election but has continued to deny Benue such luxury.
The fact is that money is concentrated there at the expense of local development. And the demand of local needs and services forms the fulcrum of government needs in the local setup. The challenge in payment of salaries in Benue state like in most states, including the federal government is not new. Former governor Apollos Aper Aku who is adjudeged to be a standard bearer in Benue suffered the bug of salaries crisis. It is truly nauseating that Garbage Shehu will taunt Benue State that has been exposed to the trauma of Fulani invasion led by the federal government.
There are media advisers and quasi media advisers. Shehu fits into the later. The categories are not restricted to political leaders. Some media advisers are afflicted by a servile attitude implanted by an almajiri culture that prevents an active sense of service delivery. This man, Garbage and garbled Shehu thinks that a permanent presence in the court of Muhammadu Buhari assures him of survival and he would rather remain docile than appear to appreciate the issues raised by the people who deserve attention by the federal government. What a travesty.
Please, Governor Samuel Ortom is owing salaries like most other governments and this is sustained by a vampirism sustained by an overbearing federal government that asphyxitiates states to rely on the benevolence of the federal government.
The fact remains that the government at the centre is not superior to any level of government so there is no need for a holier-than-thou attitude.
The fact also is that other people have been press minders for other presidents and they have done well for themselves with a look to the future. It is a shame that Garbage Shehu would be held down and hostage to his fawning culture of shielding his principal from the reality of the demand of democracy; that leaders must be held accountable and Buhari must be held to account by the blatant refusal of his government to come to the rescue of Benue State.
If Shehu will not exercise the reticence of his colleague, Femi Adesina, let him keep quiet and make his money for the rainy day because he is not worth the office. He needs it for his kind are defined by what flows down from the table. And we may be over rating Garba Shehu. We know him as a simple Fulani man who is more interested in leisure tinged with a bacchic indulgence.
And if the political longevity of Samuel Ortom has to be decided, it is not Garbage Shehu nor President Buhari who will decide for the people of Benue . It has to be acknowledged that Samuel Ortom has proved his eligibility beyond the crystal ball permutations of Garbage Shehu. Governor Samuel Ortom won elections on two platforms that were sanctioned by prominent players, authenticated by the popular vote in all the spheres of Benue State. And he has improved on these platforms and the best from these divides will make a decision on the way forward and Benue chooses wisely and freely. The political longevity of Samuel Ortom is dependent on the people of Benue State who are ready to reciprocate the sacrifices he has expended on the Benue people. This will further come out in future elections and definitely not from the jungles of northern political novices like Shehu.
Timothy Hembaor is President General, Tiv Youth Organization (TYO).