Those Presidential Pictures
Even as one of the most cosmopolitan and broad minded Nigerians today, it was most appalling to view pictures from President Buhari’s hosting of traditional rulers at the Presidential Villa. While I have nothing but love for the event itself, the pictures emanating therefrom tell a different story.
In the sitting protocol, the President was flanked on the right and left sides by the Ooni of Ife and the Sultan of Sokoto respectively. Immediately after the Sultan was the Obi of Onitsha. Fair Enough. What however rankles is that even the pictures taken in standing poses suggest exactly the same sequence. Whatever happened to alternating the pictorial arrangements to vitiate any untoward connotation? Something even pedestrian wedding photographers are conversant with. It is rudimentary photography ethos to realize the import of the maxim that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. While I do not expect the traditional rulers to stand on themselves, sustaining that order even while standing in its ordinary nuance implies something hierarchical and anyone suggesting otherwise is either naive or mischievous. What message is the State House Protocol Unit sending out to Nigerians, especially Ndigbo? Is that the real or contrived position of Ndigbo on the nation’s perking order?
This, coming at a time of profound ethnic tension, speaks to the utter insensitivity or incapacity of certain players in this administration who are bent on making an already arduous task even steeper for Mr President. Or did the President himself inadvertently give fillip to such conduct by his utterances and appointments profile? Gaffes like this, if indeed they are, make positions of those of us who claim Pan-Nigerian status almost tenuous when juxtaposed with those of Biafra protagonists. It is bad enough that these images emanated from the Presidency, it is altogether an aberration of taboo proportions when Nigeria’s leading blogger, who is incidentally of Igbo extraction, decides to tow the nauseating narrative.
Linda Ikeji posted these words on her blog; “President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the Ooni of Ife, the Sultan of Sokoto and other traditional rulers….” Could she have suffered such acute visual impairment that precluded her from observing and recognising the majestic and charismatic presence of the Obi of Onitsha? Or did she simply ignore the impropriety and ignominy inherent in her expression? No serious blogger of Yoruba or Hausa/Fulani descent will ever engage in such literary “harakiri” as to reference the foremost traditional ruler of her people as “others”. I am one who ordinarily refuses to whip up tribal sentiments and is indeed most riled by the practice of ethnic irredentism. Regardless, this situation is unacceptable and must be deprecated by all patroits.
Okey Joe Emenike
Web Developer and Administrator at HN Initiative