Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement, says President Muhammadu Buhari is “void of emotional intelligence”.
Ezekwesili said this on Wednesday in a series of tweets to appraise the President’s comment that Nigerian soldiers were “constrained to show a lot of restraint” on Biafrans during the Civil War.
“I remember with nostalgia the performance of the commander-in-chief, General Yakubu Gowon. Every commander was given a copy of the commander-in-chief’s instructions that we were not fighting enemies but that we were fighting our brothers. And thus, people were constrained to show a lot of restraint,” Buhari had said on Tuesday at his investiture as Grand Patron of the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) at the presidential villa in Abuja.
“The international observer teams were allowed to go as far as possible within and outside the front and I think this was generous and very considerate of General Gowon. He is a highly committed Nigerian.”
Ezekwesili found the comment unkind, and went on Twitter to criticize the President.
“A leader of a country who every time he speaks, evokes division among his people only diminishes himself. Leaders unite their people. A true leader does not pawn on his people’s differences for his own benefit. #BasicLeadership,” she tweeted.
“In a bid to offer unearned praise to his former colleague, [email protected] @MBuhari disdains the painful memory of millions of his citizens who lost millions of their families in the #BiafraWar. What kind of unkindness is that? The President is void of Emotional Intelligence!!
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Earlier president upset his citizens when his best response to the deaths in Benue was to compare it with the scale of the ones in Zamfara! What is that? Just one death of a citizen and the pain it leaves should matter to him.
“This ingrained habit of [email protected] @MBuhari to play one segment of his people against the other or one citizen against another is condemnable. Please just STOP IT. Be a leader for all your people and not for only those who supply you with adulation. Be a true leader.”
Biafrans recorded the far heavier casualty toll of the Civil War, fought between 1967 and 1970.
Till date, one of the talking points of the war is the propriety or otherwise of the Federal Government’s decision to block civilian access to food and water, consequently resulting in the death of millions not from bullets or explosives but from starvation.