A Short Speech with Long Claws

A Short Speech with Long Claws

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Almost everything is wrong with the recorded speech President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria delivered on the morning of August 21. Placed under the klieg lights of Communication Clinic, the speech contained one too many faults, and is a minus for an administration most Nigerians have rated well below average.

Communication errors in the 449-word address are so many that comments have been placed in PARENTHESES below:

 My dear citizens: [REALLY? SO WHO IS NOT A CITIZEN? YOU?]
I am very grateful to God and to all Nigerians for their prayers. I am pleased to be back on home soil among my brothers and sisters.
[WHERE DID YOU GO, AND WHY?]
In the course of my stay in the United Kingdom [YOU HAVE THE PRIDE AND AUDACITY TO SAY THIS?], I have been kept in daily touch [BAD GRAMMAR!] with events at home. Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs, but I was [HAVE BEEN, NOT ‘WAS’] distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media, have crossed our national red lines [CROSSED THE RED LINE] by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step [TAKEN] too far.

In 2003 after I joined partisan politics, the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown Daura. Over two days we discussed in great depth till late into the night [ON THE FIRST OR SECOND DAY OR BOTH DAYS?] and analyzed the problems of Nigeria. We both came to the conclusion that the country must [MUST? WHO GAVE YOU AND OJUKWU THE MANDATE TO DECIDE FOR THEM?] remain one and united.
Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable.
[WILD CLAIM! ONLY GOD SHOULD SAY THIS!] We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood.
Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance.
I believe the very vast majority of Nigerians share this view.
This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation
[IS THIS A FEDERATION IN REALITY?] is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence [WHO WILL WORK IT OUT, SINCE YOU SAID UNITY IS NON-NEGOTIABLE?].
The National Assembly and the
[UNELECTED] National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse [UNTRUE PLEASE! NOT IN A DEMOCRACY. SEE THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE US CONSTITUTION: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances].
The national consensus is that it is better to live together than to live apart.
[ALLOW A REFERENDUM TO TEST THAT CLAIM]
Furthermore, I am charging the security agencies not to let the successes achieved in the last 18 months [AND NO SUCCESS WAS ACHIEVED DURING THE FIRST NINE MONTHS?] be a sign [WRONG WORD] to relax.
Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly
[UNCOUTH LANGUAGE FROM ONE SEEKING PEACE] so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety.
Therefore we are going to reinforce and reinvigorate
[THE TWO WORDS ARE SYNONYMS] the fight not only against elements of Boko Haram which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets, [BUT ALSO] kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes,  in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers. We shall tackle them all. [YOU MEAN YOUR DEPUTY DID NOTHING DURING YOUR ABSENCE?]
Finally, dear Nigerians, our collective interest now is to eschew petty differences and come together to face common challenges of economic security
[THAT’S THE MOST CRITICAL CHALLENGE YOU SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED IN YOUR VERY FIRST SENTENCE], political evolution and integration as well as lasting peace among all Nigerians.
I remain resolutely committed to ensuring that these goals are achieved and maintained.
[STILL IN PRE-ELECTION MOOD OR MODE; YOU HAVE 18 MONTHS LEFT!]
I am so
[REDUNDANT WORD] glad to be home. [NO MENTION OF THE SICKNESS OR WHAT ITS TREATMENT HAS COST THE TAXPAYERS YET?]
Thank you and may God bless our dear nation.

On the social media, many commentators have been criticizing the speech and Buhari’s speech writers.

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