By Petra Akinti Onyegbule

I heard the President has changed his mind and decided to honor the country he rules with his imperial presence on our TV and his voice over our radio in a national broadcast today.

What I don’t understand is why his supporters who shouted down those who asked him to speak are also speaking the announcement. Why did they not tell him it was useless and unnecessary to speak? Why didn’t they tell him America’s incidence rate would have been lower were Trump not speaking and giving updates?

These supporters amplify Mr. President’s inadequacies with their foolish and zombic tendencies.

When people were asking the President to speak and you felt the need to make excuses for him (which is not in your place to by the way), you could have admitted first that the right thing to do was make a broadcast but maybe he had genuine reasons not to have made it at the time. Not contemptuously tell Nigerians their President didn’t need to speak to them afterall the Minister of Health had been giving briefing. Oho, so why is he now going to address us? Has the Minister stopped working and briefing us?

Now that you have made a volte face from your earlier position of disdain and sharing the announcement of a broadcast slated for later let me do you this advisory free of charge and hope you will understand it enough to draw some sense from it for later:

1. Many people are no longer interested in what Mr. President has to say. They may decide to not say a word about the broadcast, good or bad. Don’t taunt them with those inane lines of “everyday they asked him to speak now he has and they are not praising him”. If you taunt them they will go look for mistakes in the speech to taunt you back with. They are always brutal.

2. The President’s speech will have points for hailing and mockery. Baba is an equal opportunity provider. When anyone decides to focus on mistakes to mock him (sadly, this will happen), rather than help trend the mockery, amplify the good points in his speech.

Hailers, you always always lose the plot here. People mocked PMB with ‘Covik one nine virus’. You joined in making it more popular than it would have been by berating them and repeating the same line. You didn’t even share anything of note in the short speech for instance the fact that he praised health workers for their sacrifices. Or didn’t he? Why focus on the focus of critics?

3. What you guys call it hatred for Mr. President is misplaced. People only vent their disappointment in his leadership style or a lack of leadership at critical times. Whether they voted him or not is immaterial. Afterall not all you praise singers voted, for one reason or the other. If you can praise so can those who didn’t vote him criticize or even condemn. It’s a democracy! Resist the temptation to lash out at people only for this broadcast.

4. This broadcast is long overdue. Mr. President’s speech writers have a task of ensuring the speech is rich in understanding of the issues, where we are at in readiness to combat it and what citizens must do; it must also be empathetic; its tone must be of a country united to fight a global scourge; it should have answers to questions people have been asking;etc. If he covers all bases and inspires hope in us with his speech then only a few people would give prominence to his accent.

5. Your duty, dear supporters and praise singers shouldn’t be to excoriate citizens on however they decide to react to a late broadcast. Your duty is to identify and amplify everything that will be presidential about that broadcast. And try to do so with sense and class.

Ire o!

Petra Akinti Onyegbule (c) 2020