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President Buhari’s Independence Day Speech: Reading Between The Lines

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President Muhammadu Buhari

When the country listened to President Buhari’s speech on Independence day, no one expected him to be outrightly direct, he would surely play the President’s role and attempt to make everything clear and that leads to ambiguity. “Ambiguity is something I really respond to, I like the complexities”. These are words said by Robert Redford and although I’m not Redford, I borrowed his words because they sufficed my personal opinions when I listened to the speech of .

Some of the highlights of the President’s speech would be reacted upon and some reading between the lines would be done to illuminate the ‘real’ messages being passed.

On Boko-Haram Menance

Although the presidents’ point as regards the security situation in the North eastern part of the country is quite ambiguous, one direct message passed is that the current administration has improved on the last administration’s struggle against the insurgency.

It is said that silence speaks when words can not and the President’s silence on the case of speaks a lot. One might feel that the silence is a pointer that the president is less concerned about the young girl’s plight. Maybe that is an heresy of some sort but the thought of ’s captivity coupled with the President’s silence brings gory pictures.

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It is obvious that the president is doing his utmost to put the armed forces at an advantage in the fight against the insurgency. With his words, he solidarises with the military and boosts their morale. A good move by the president.

On Diversifying the Country’s economy

The president has always reiterated his intentions to diversify the economy especially when the price of oil dropped below $40 before leaping to $60 and thereafter $74 per barrel. The president words reflect the improvements in areas such as Information and Communication Technology, (ICT), Entertainment and Financial services. On the other hand however, the progress in Agriculture and Solid Minerals extraction have not been really obvious. The unsaid reasons for this are the poor and unstable , bad roads and a very high cost of Funds.

On Fulani-Herdsmen

The president was emphatic in blaming the Fulani-Herdsmen menace on those “seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity among our people”. The president is of the opinion that the herdsmen crisis have political undertones and are simply being used by his enemies (perhaps, the Nigerian enemies) to disrupt his administration.

On Corruption

As Nigerians under the , we are not alien to the lexeme “corruption”. The president, as always, is determined to bring those who have looted public funds to book. His messages on corruption are always unambiguous and direct. Through the unvoiced words, hopefully it will cut-across all spheres of the political society.

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On the Youth

Listening to the president’s speech, no one would believe that a statement was credited to him saying Nigeria’s youth are lazy. Although, he glorified himself on the not too young to run bill, the President uncommunicatively said the youths should not contest for the next elections. In between the lines, President Buhari surreptitiously restated his earlier stance that the ‘not too young to run bill’ will not be achievable during the 2019 polls.

Arguably the greatest threat to the president based on inferences from his words. The use of words like “never”, “must” and “need” while addressing the social media issue have strong implications. The presidency is clearly tired of the criticisms on the social media. To further show his worry, the president hide under the umbrella of democracy and implied that the social media would break down our hard-earned democracy.


This is one critical aspect that all those who drafted the president’s speech did a wonderful job. Whether you read the lines or between them, the message you are meant to get is simple and direct. INEC will be INDEPENDENT. You can as well choose to fault that based on the recent happenings. But remember inec WILL BE independent is the message passed across.

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International Level

One idea audible in the president’s speech is that Nigeria’s image to the outside world is one and the president’s image is another. The president is a corrupt-free person whereas the country is corrupt. What we should ponder is who the real “We” is when the president said “we remain a responsible and respected member of the international community, playing active positive roles within ECOWAS, the African Union and the as well as all other regional and international organisations and institutions of which we are members.”. Anyhow you view it, there are ‘two wes’ for Nigeria at the international scene.

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