Obinna Edeh ©
Nigeria’s print and electronic media are currently awash with the news of another leaked presidential memo. The gist is that a couple of days ago, the President directed the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to respond to a query explaining the circumstances in which the sacked pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina was reinstated into the civil service. The query further instructed the Head of Service to send in a reply through the office of the Chief of Staff before the close of work.
However, few days after the query and response was dispatched, Nigerians woke up to see the leaked version of the letter to the President awash in the dailies. The news paper (that broke the news) explained that her correspondent sighted the letter and since it was a hot gist, they actually rushed to publish without due diligence.
This is a dangerous precedent in its entirety. It is dangerous for the national security of a nation to have confidential communications with the president ‘sighted’ by reporters and splattered on the papers of national newspapers. More worrisome is that this has become a pattern in Nigerian even since the last administration. A few weeks ago, Nigerians feasted their eyes to what was supposed to be an official communication from the junior minister of Nigeria’s oil ministry to the President. The letter said to have been written in August was leaked to the press in the month of October. Again, a confidential memo written to the President by a serving Governor from the North west region of the country was also leaked to the press by some unknown persons. In the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan, a top-secret memo sent to him by the then Governor of the Central Bank was leaked to the press by yet to be identified individuals.
One would believe that the communications system of the Presidential villa should be fool-proof and involvement is on a need to know basis. The further disturbing part is that at the end of all, no investigation is launched, and no one is punished for such breach. Again, one wonders why it is only the letters written to the President that leaks to the press. Nigerians have never heard that a memo addressed to the Vice President or the National Security Adviser gets leaked to the press.
Therefore, it is time for President Buhari and his top aides to do a proper house cleaning within the President’ wing at the villa. The president is the embodiment of Nigeria’s national security and sovereignty. In other words, the office of the president is the worst place to have a mole or condone carelessness among administrative staff.
Obinna Edeh is a Lawyer and Research Consultant with interest in the Economics of Governance, Medical Rights and Divinity. You can follow him on Facebook and twitter @obilexie