President Muhammadu Buhari: he is in the centre of a storm
So Buhari is back? Is he well enough to return to the seat he promised to use in turning Nigeria's fortunes around? Will he return to London for further treatment? What, indeed, is he suffering from? Is he about to throw in the towel and allow a fitter person to carry on for him? Or does he prefer to die in office? These are some of the questions many Nigerians have been asking and will continue to ask for the length of time the man called Muhammadu Buhari remains in the rat-infested Aso Rock Villa as their president.
To say that Buhari has proved the antithesis of all he preached and promised is to say that the 25th of December this year will be Christmas. Yes, just as December 25 is a sure thing, Buhari's failure to keep his words equally is. But many are afraid to ''dare him'' by asking him why. Many of those who should be speaking and who have tried doing that are yet to be freed from the claws of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, an agency that has since been turned to Buhari's attack dogs.
When the late President Shehu Musa Yar'Adua was ailing as Buhari is ailing now, everything was hushed up the way it is happening now by a cabal who thought they owned Nigeria. Even Buhari joined in the fray, calling on the then president to resign since he was virtually incapacitated. Buhari also queried the rationale behind Yar'Adua wasting the nation's resources by going abroad for treatment, saying that it was an indication of the then government's failure to address the country's health sector.
What that meant was that if Buhari became president, he would not go abroad for medical check-up or treatment as our hospitals would be centres of excellence. Today, however, we know better.
Buhari has not only refused to give way because of health worries, he has made history as the president of the country that stayed the longest abroad for medical treatment. What has happened to his famous assurances of equipping our hospitals? Why has he refused to resign as he urged Yar'Adua to do? This is just one of the many points against Buhari's APC-led government.
When Buhari returned, there was this talk of the next Monday following his return being declared a public holiday to celebrate his return. I was shocked. Shocked because that would be a new demonstration of tom foolery by Nigeria at a period many countries are cutting down the number of their holidays because of the economic drain they cause.
I saw the rumoured declaration of a public holiday as utterly nonsensical, uncalled and callous. I wondered what we would be actually celebrating. Was it the fact that Buhari spent our resources abroad in the name of medical treatment when he could have equipped our hospitals? Was it the fact that he was much loved by us? (Far from it). So why were we celebrating him? I asked myself. I cringed in shame when I imagined how such a celebration by a nation would sound in the ears of the rest of the world. But thankfully, that holiday declaration never materialised and someone saved Nigeria blushes.
Then Buhari spoke. The speech was much hyped as though it would drag Nigeria out of the man-made economic morass she had found herself in. But when it did come, it turned out to be so banal that some people must have yawned and slept off. He never addressed burning issues the way a leader committed to saving his nation would. He merely glossed over matters and while refusing to call a spade by its name on issues that required such, he used what we call a Monday Hammer to descend on the agitations for self-actualization.
While I'm not a great fan of separation, I thought that a good leader would always want to know why his people, or some of them, are crying and gnashing their teeth. Is it enough to threaten to deal with those calling for a separate state or to listen to them to find out if their agitations are genuine? Why was it convenient for Buhari to gloss over the menace of his Fulani brothers who use their cattle, guns and knives to make life uncomfortable for their hosts across the country? Are those calling for self-rule more dangerous than the Fulani killers? The way Buhari dwelt on the agitators for a separate nation, you would think they had just executed a coup to oust him.
At the end of the day, there was nothing significant coming from him, except, perhaps, his claim that he used his personal resources to treat himself, the same way he claimed that he did not pay for his nomination form.
To some people, it is better that Buhari remained in London, seeing that in his absence, apart from the Boko Haram continued menace, the Fulani killer herdsmen seemed to have beaten retreat, albeit temporarily. Were they unsure of what response of the then acting president would be if they had continued their bloody mission? Were they thus waiting for their brother to return before they continued? Don't ask me.
But we know that things moved a bit better during Buhari's sojourn abroad. Even the naira seemed to breathe easier, even though it is still asthmatic.
The group which protested many days against Buhari's absence known as #ourmumudondo, led by popular musician, Charly Boy, did their protest without stopping police or army bullets. That was something those that agitated for Biafra couldn't achieve as they stopped bullets. Perhaps they could not have done that had Bubu been around.
But he wasn't spared of such protest in London as a small group of angry Nigerians pitched their tents in front of his London home for some days, asking him to return. Shortly after that, he did return, even though it was a bit in the manner of a rat smoked out of its hole.
Talking about rats, they were waiting for him in his Aso Rock Villa. In his absence, they had gathered forces, even calling on their distant relatives, to mount a formidable assault on the villa such that when Buhari returned, he realized that his territory had been taken over by the fearless rats.
It wasn't as if the rats had not been staying there any way. One of my colleagues recalled how she thought she saw a rat come out from the front of the villa one day she was watching someone being interviewed there. According to her, she couldn't believe what her eyes were telling her because the thing that looked like a rat moved so fast that she thought her eyes were playing pranks. But after the story of the takeover of the villa by the rats became official, she was forced to believe her eyes. Isn't it only in Nigeria that rats will compete for spaces with a president in his house? It only shows the depth to which our country has sunk. A government which cannot rid its premises of rodents isn't likely to rid the country of her problems.
It was one incident that provided a comic relief to the long suffering Nigerians at a time laughter was becoming a scarce commodity owing to the biting economy which the APC-led federal government has only succeeded in worsening. Even the world media carried the report of the rat invasion, thus once more making a mockery of our sick and dying country.
But of more serious concern is the game being played by the cabal around Buhari. These are people who are once more believing that they own the country. Everything about Mr President is hushed up and hidden from us, while a select few are obliged with piecemeal information. They forget that Nigerians have every right to know the state of affairs in their country, including what ailment is worrying their president.
Sometimes I wonder what these people see when they visit developed countries where things are done the right way. Do they only copy the bad things there? Did they not see how the people of the United Kingdom were daily fed with news updates on the Queen Mother when she was taken to hospital?
But here, every time they asked Nigerians to pray for Buhari even when they did not disclose his ailment. So if Nigerians were expected to pray, what would they tell Baba God in their prayer point?
But of course, we all knew that the cabal was more concerned with protecting the Northern presidency than in advancing the interests of the nation. They feared that they could lose the power they so much cherished if for one moment we thought that Buhari was becoming incapable of ruling. But they needn't have worried. Where would we have got the powers to challenge them?
But let them not think we are foolish enough not to know their little games. They can plot, manipulate and scheme, but one day the ''fools'' will awake from their slumber and what will happen next can only be revealed by God. Nigeria, I hail thee!