“Responsible, grown-up men waiting at the airport since morning just to wave. What did they tell their wives and children were their itinerary for today?“—Elvis Boniface.
Having rode to power on the platform of change, clinging infectiously to the anti-corruption sigil to wrestle power from the hands of Goodluck Jonathan—a creature who by sane standards epitomizes high-wired graft and bulimic tendencies—President Buhari, along with the coterie of his supporters and sergeants at arms wallow deludingly, in the notion that the Nigerian state had by implication assumed a two dimensional space wherein words, reflexes, actions and inactions of stakeholders occupy strictly opposite poles of right or wrong, good or evil, perfect or imperfect, or, to mirror their puerile mindsets, corrupt or incorrupt.
A middle ground exists only within the confines of the enemy!
With this worldview, any Nigerian who dare deploy his thought processes to engage the government in civic undertones—either by outright dismissal of some of its actions or the provision of alternatives—is automatically brandished as a member of the “corruption fights back brigade”. This nauseating thought assumes that a nation populated by men of brawn and women of brain think and act in a pedestrian fashion, with every thoughtful citizen forced to accommodate the excesses and treacherous inclinations of this government all in the name of not wanting to be inducted into the evil assemblage of the men who have—and continue to—run the country aground.
These foot soldiers have become more daring since the junket of the president on health grounds. The genuineness of the protesters’ request for a complete disclosure of what ails their employee, their frustrations at been regaled with photos conjured by politically exposed persons on expensive transits, the surreal nature of Yemi Osinbajo’s acting presidency, the nuances in the mood of protesters, not to mention the fact that the right to peaceful protest on anything and everything forms an integral component of democracy were not enough to spur these men to ponder on the legitimacy of the struggle.
Every grumbler wants the president dead, they retort!
The sight of a president ditching the state house clinic where he has allocated over a billion naira in two years, and the several federal university teaching hospitals where he walks so magisterially as visitor to seek refuge in a foreign facility created, owed, and managed by mortals like him was not enough to elicit sorrow in them.
Unknown to President Buhari, integrity transcends vituperations. Actions resonate amongst the serious than the glib voices of men. Repetition of a lie over a lifetime does little to transform it to truthfulness; for, as the Quran says, truth stands out from falsehood.
While the Buharists keep blowing the trumpet—falling on one another to query the patriotism of fellow countrymen who see absurdity where they see correctness, immorality where they see expediency—Charles Oputa (Charlie Boy) of #OurMumuDonDo, Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters (I can vouch for those two) who, alongside other comrades left their chores to tend to this act of national disgrace are the nation’s very best in any way, shape or form; for they chose to toe a seemingly unpopular path to expose, what Henry Boyo called ‘the oppressive contradictions’ in having a president spit on the hospital beds his fellow countrymen live and die in!
Just as it relates to medical tourism, President Buhari’s often vaunted integrity fails in education as it is an open secret that he has absolutely no faith in our schools. The tragedy in all of these is that a country whose leadership cadre is populated by men who spurn national institutions is doomed to fail. For, development is an exclusive preserve of nations who have as leaders, men who see themselves as equal to their fellow countrymen.
While we continue to celebrate aberrations, praying and fasting over what ordinarily have solutions within our confines, serious-minded nations have since assumed a realistic posture to see fatalism as nothing but an exclusive preserve of Palaeolithic thinkers.
The protesters who see nothing worth celebrating in the return of President Buhari have nothing personal against him. For some, their grouse stems from Buhari’s refrain from abiding by the counsel he gave Umaru Yar’adua when the late president suffered impairment a few years ago; to others, it is the high level of disrespect presidential aides accord the Nigerian people.
Even if I wanted to join the frenzy, the similitude of Nigeria to the Orwellian republic would not allow. In January, I was at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) where for over an hour, i underwent a dental surgery wherein the dentists, sweating profusely, had no choice order than to illuminate my buccal cavity with the torchlight of a phone! That the president does not want to catch the same hell Nigerians take for granted is nothing but the existence of a stain on his reputation.
The argument of the #ResumeOrResign activists rests on the premise that until we have leaders who would rather have their children remain as ‘half-baked’ graduates of Unilag, ABU, DELSU, LASU, etc. rather than ‘over-baked’ products of the London School of Economics, receive care from the same doctors who tend to other nationals, then the claim to progress is but a figment of our collective imaginations.
The BBC’s label of our president as ‘first among equals’ amongst four other African heads—Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Jose Eduardo dos Santos (Angola) and Patrice Talon (Benin)—who have ‘apparent lack of faith in the health systems at home’ is a grim reality into the deceitful nature of the president’s claim to revamping our ailing institutions.
President Buhari does not have faith in the health sector because he has done little to remove it from the ditch his predecessors intentionally put it. Unfortunately, the same facility he enjoys thousands of miles away could be replicated here should he decide to remove himself from the parochial stricture he and his party confined themselves in, one that disallows them from advancing lofty ideas that are in conformance with reality.
Modiu Olaguro writes from the University of Lagos.
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