#SagaCity | Someone please tell Lauretta Onochie that Nigerians are citizens not subordinates

  • Why is it that people demand for respect forgetting that it is earned?
  • So because our government refuses to invest in our education system, they have automatically assumed that they are talking to idiots?
  • Is Nigeria under a dictatorship rule, where what the dictator and his cohorts say goes and the citizens do not have a voice?
  • So Buhari is now the Emir of the Federal Republic of Nigeria therefore he can do as he pleases and owes no one any explanation?
  • What job is going to allow me be absent indefinitely without finding my replacement even if I have a deputy?

I have a 90 billion questions but not enough time.


A few weeks ago the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Alahasan, met with political party leaders to suggest the introduction of a gender quota system as a means of guaranteeing more participation of women in politics and governance. I am sorry to say this being a campaigner for equality and all, but what is the point if this is what we are going to get? It seems your gender doesn’t matter when you enter the system and begin to benefit from it. You all become one and the same. If you can’t beat them or beat the corruption out of them, you will join them to sing the same ridiculous tune. To paraphrase Kofi Annan, one time head of the United Nations, gender equality is more than just a goal. It is supposed to meet the challenges of poverty reduction, sustainable development and good governance. Without good governance achieving the other two will always prove futile. 

Now to Madam Lauretta Onochie who is clearly a graduate from the Kellyanne Conway School of Political Spin and Alternative Facts. Kellyanne Conway is the woman who “candidly” said that she has a senior role in the White House because sometimes the media focuses too much on Donald Trump’s words and not “what’s in his heart.” How in the world are we supposed to know what is in his heart if he cannot use his words to express him… Never-mind. Let me stick with the matter at hand. Lauretta Onochie confidently stated that: “In the UK where I came from nobody would release anybody’s health record to another…” Yes there are various codes of ethics put in place to protect citizens in the developed world. The Data Protection Act and Patient Confidentiality Law are just a couple. If I wanted to digress I would ask what code of ethics are currently in place in Nigeria to protect its citizens but instead pray tell me Madam Onochie, do you honestly think that a UK prime minister will be out of his office, calling in sick for over 90 days with no explanation to the people, no formal statements or updates and no resignation? That right there is the difference between developed and developing.

There has been so much speculation over what is going on with your boss. It is a joke. No real PR strategy was put in place to handle this mess. You are clearly not very good at your job and very unprofessional. The above interview with Politics Today didn’t have to go down this sour route that has resulted in you becoming a trending topic in the notorious and ridiculous, not popular sense. If you had a plan and you kept people informed, perhaps we won’t be here. The main issue I have with your stance is not the president refusing to disclose the details of his ailment. That is a bone that we will have to pick with him. It is your gross lack of regard for citizens and the contemptuous manner in which you conducted yourself during this interview. This is the same sort of attitude exhibited by Lai Mohammed and others. I find it insulting and completely misdirected. 

Let me go back to the land of Kellyanne Conway – and you brought these comparisons with the developed world on yourself when you referenced the UK. In 2016, both candidates for the seat of the 45th President of the United States of America released their medical records to show that they were fit for office as Hillary Clinton was accused of trying to hide serious health issues from the American people. Did she hold a press conference to explain that she is a private citizen and therefore her health is no-one’s business? No. Did she dismiss the concerns of her voters and her opponent as being disrespectful? No. She complied because she knew that she owed it to the people who she was banking on to elect her. She knew that the people were not her subjects or subordinates. They were her electorate.

The difference is that over in the US and the UK where you came from, politicians still have some integrity hence they are quick to resign as soon as there is an ALLEGATION of a scandal. They do so because they know it is important for the work to carry on and they do not want to become a distraction. They don’t demand respect. They respect their office and therefore respect is inadvertently granted to them. Here in Nigeria you have to coax or force government officials out of office, even if said allegation is proven to be true.

In the UK, government officials also know that they were elected by the people, to SERVE the people and are therefore answerable to the people. Why else do you think David Cameron took the risk of a Brexit referendum? Because he promised it on his campaign trail and was voted in on that basis and therefore even though he knew the difficulties he would face, he did as he promised and knowing that he wasn’t the best person to lead the UK out of the European Union, he resigned! The day that our so called leaders in Nigeria learn that they are elected to serve and not to rule, our country will be better. Now instead of people actually being sympathetic to whatever Buhari’s plight is, we are left in a position where he, a whole president, has become the distraction. 

So Madam Onochie, for the life of me I cannot understand how you can come on national television and make such frivolous statements without flinching. I am not even trying to jump on the #ResumeorResign bandwagon. I am just sick and tired of the disdain that government officials continue to show to well meaning citizens. Next time, please spare a thought for those of us who know different. Some of us are well travelled. Others have lived in the UK where you are coming from. This country is supposed to be a democracy.

a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

Buhari is an elected representative of the people! He is NOT a King ruling over subordinates. We are not his loyal subjects. Us asking for the details of his absence is not insubordination. It is not disrespectful. It is not intrusive. It is absolutely normal. He has a responsibility to the people who voted for him. Our arms cannot be twisted to believe the fallacy of what you say governance is meant to be. Please believe that if it is his choice to disclose whether or not he is fit to continue his tenure as the President of Nigeria, then as a citizen, it is also my choice to denounce his choices (yourself and Lai Mohammed included), and reclaim my vote.

Welcome to SagaCity. A social commentary column by @wurathepenwarrior, for 9jaBreed. Sound off below with your thoughts.


the quality of being sagacious.
synonyms: wisdom · insight · intelligence · understanding · sense · sharpness · depth  · erudition · learning · deep knowledge
antonyms: stupidity

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