By Ayodele Oluwafemi
Abdullahi Ganduje, the Kano State Governor, has suspended his Special Adviser on Media, Salihu Yakasai over a series of tweets criticising President Muhammadu Buhari.
Yakasai, on Saturday, in a series of tweets blasted Buhari for “zero empathy” to Nigerian youths protesting for an end to the brutality suffered in the hands of operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
Amidst the #EndSars protest, the media aide argued that Buhari refused to address the nation, even for five minutes, the people the president begged for votes across the 36 states in 2015 and 2019.
In the now-deleted tweet, Yakasai tweeted, “I have never seen a government with zero empathy like that of President Muhammadu Buhari, so many times when his people are going through a difficult time and expect some sort of tap on shoulder to reassure them that he is in charge, but he failed to do so.
“The ‘I don’t care attitude’ is on another level, to speak to your own people over issues that are bedevilling them has become something like a favour you are doing to them.
“Over and over again, you cannot spare five minutes to address the nation to calm them down, the same people you went to the 36 states to beg for their votes, it is heartbreaking.”
On Sunday, Ganduje, in a statement, by the State Commissioner for Information, Muhammed Garba, on Sunday, announced the suspension of Yakasai for making “unguarded utterances” about Buhari.
The governor also warned political appointees of making statement that will stir controversy and heat the polity.
Part of the statement reads, “Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has suspended his Special Adviser on Media, Salihu Tanko Yakasai over some unguarded utterances on the person of President Muhammadu Buhari on the social media platform.
“The state Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, who conveyed the governor’s directive in a statement this afternoon, said the suspension is with immediate effect.
“He said that though the media aide has own up the indiscreet comment as his personal opinion, but that as a public figure, it will be difficult to differentiate between personal opinion and official stand on matters of public concern.
“The governor, therefore, warned political appointees and public servants to guard against making statements capable of drawing unnecessary controversy and heating up the polity.”
The letter, read in part: “The ongoing events in Nigeria demonstrate the authorities’ determination to suppress all forms of peaceful dissent and freedom of expression of the Nigerian people. There are well-founded fears that the human rights situation in Nigeria will deteriorate even further if urgent action is not taken to address it.”
“These protests are taking place against a backdrop of the failure by the Nigerian government to address persistent concerns around police brutality and impunity, corruption, lack of respect for economic and social rights of the people, and disregard for the rule of law. The result has been a crisis of daily electricity outages, a struggling public education and health system, lack of access to clean water, and widespread youth unemployment.”
“Lack of transparency and accountability, and the absence of the rule of law in Nigeria have resulted in a growing level of protest activity, and an unprecedented brutal crackdown on human rights by the authorities.”