Nigeria News Analysis: Buhari’s Sallah Message Continues To Generate Fuss
President Muhammadu Buhari’s eid-el-fitr message to Nigeria, from London, as put by Nigeria News, has continued to generate a lot of discordant voices among Nigerians.
The president’s media handler, Mallam Garba Shehu had released the audio message of Buhari’s interview on BBC Hausa News to the public as Sallah message but the president’s choice of language had called for concern.
Buhari spoke in Hausa, but to many Nigerians, the choice is not good enough because the country is a multi-lingua nation with English as its official language.
The audio message in Hausa Language received massive condemnation from various interest groups including the Pan-Yoruba Social-Political Group, Afenifere and its Igbo counterpart Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
On Tuesday, some prominent members of the National Assembly joined the debate as they also condemned the president’s choice of language.
Though very diplomatic about it, the Majority Leader, Federal House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila faulted the president’s media assistant for releasing such audio in Hausa Language.
To Gbajabiamila, the president had spoken on BBC Hausa programme and could not have spoken English but the media handler ought to have released the message in the country’s official language.
However, Gbajabiamila said that the most important thing was that the president’s voice was heard and would not want to answer question for the media handler who goofed.
Gbajabiamila stated that the criticism was expected because the president had always used English in all his messages since it is the official language and not everybody in the country could speak Hausa.
“Yes, at this critical time and with all that is unfolding, it would have been better to speak in the official language.
In his argument, the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguruwa was of the opinion that the decision was an oversight by the President’s spokesman, Shehu.
He urged Nigerians not to trivialize the issue but instead pray for the quick recovery of the president who is currently receiving treatment abroad.
However, the Minority Leader of the House Mr. Leo Ogor, condemned the president’s audio outright, saying the choice of Hausa was enough to divide Muslim brothers.
He said that not all Muslims speak Hausa and for a president to have conveyed his message in Hausa is not good enough.
“Our lingua franca in Nigeria is not purely Hausa,” Hon. Leo Ogor added.
It is 52 days now that Buhari has travelled for medical treatment in London but not the first time he had sent message to felicitate with Nigerians.
During Easter festivity, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Mr. Femi Adesina released a statement wishing Christians and Nigerians well.
The message was conveyed in English Language. The argument of many social media commentators was that there were Muslims in the Southwest, South-south and Southeastern parts of the country that cannot speak Hausa and would have loved to hear the president message during the Sallah period.