SOC Okenwa: A President Demystified

On November 4, 2017 0 Comment

By SOC Okenwa

Perhaps it is not unnecessary to declare from the very outset that this commentator is a Buharist! The fact has never been hidden of his strong belief in Buharism dating back years. Buharism, for those who do not know, could be defined simply as a convincing belief in the Buhari persona and ideology in governance. Presidentially speaking we believe that the Daura-born retired general had what it takes to take Nigeria out of the doldrums she was found prior to his second coming. Nigerians were desperate for a change in leadership and they found in Buhari a good pair of hands capable of cleaning the Augean stable.

Our pro-Buhari position was based on our firm conviction about his integrity and character dating back to the early 80’s when he became a national figure by overthrowing a corrupt democratic government headed by the then ineffective Shehu Shagari. So even before winning the presidential poll of 2015 we had campaigned vigorously for the Buhari brand arguing uncompromisingly that, given his pedigree, he could knock back sense into the then senseless politico-social situation. Today, two and half years in the power saddle, we never regretted our stance but there had been instances of discouragement and moments of disappointment.

It takes more than just an action, omission or commission, for a President to be demystified. A President can be demystified by corruption — active and passive. Nepotism, favoritism, or cronyism could demystify a President. A President with philandering instincts could expose himself to certain demystification. Lack of will or procrastination or indecision could lead to the demystification of a Head of State. Ditto lack pf feeling for or solidarity with the suffering population.

President Buhari was first demystified, as it were, while still in the opposition years back. Some years ago, it would be recalled, he had stunned Nigerians (at home and abroad) and the international community, when he declared irresponsibly that the late General Sani Abacha never stole a kobo or Naira from Nigeria! The bewildered nation never understood why and how the otherwise disciplined frugal lanky former dictator could have chosen to defend the indefensible by saying what he controversially said. Many Nigerians knew that Abacha stole billions of Dollars and hid same in some offshore bank accounts. The “Abacha loot” remains till this day a study in an organized kleptocracy.

By declaring overtly that he could not afford to treat those who gave him the majority of votes the same way as those who voted for him in the minority (that is, the northerners against the southerners) the President demonstrated a vindictive political mindset that never helped his statesmanship posture. He somewhat demystified himself by so declaring and comporting.

Again he had himself demystified when he took ill and conveniently hid his health profile from Nigerians. He spent months in London taking care of an ailment only himself and few cabal members in Aso Rock knew anything about.

And still, on that London medical tourism, only Allah knew how much of our national treasury was ‘taxed’ in order for the President to be able to bounce back to his feet! No one in their right senses could claim that the London specialist doctors that attended to him never asked for any professional fee before, during and after the intensive treatment involving the complicated sophisticated medical intervention of world-class status.

And flowing from the foregoing a President whose wife was lamenting, the other day, about the nasty state of the Aso Rock Clinic cannot claim not to have been demystified by this ubiquitous neglect of our health institutions across the federation. If the Aso Rock (executive) Clinic could be left to ‘rot’ away whereas millions and billions were budgeted for its medical equipment and rehabilitation then Nigerians have to be worried indeed about where their country was headed! Charity must begin at home!

Last year President Buhari committed a huge gaffe in far away Germany, on a state visit. When the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, granted a controversial interview to the Hausa service of the BBC she alleged that there existed a powerful cabal in the Villa manipulating her husband and his government. She had declared that if things remained as they were then her support for Buhari’s re-election come 2019 could not be guaranteed. Buhari when asked by the German journalists for his reaction simply declared that his wife’s place in his presidency was in the kitchen, the bedroom “and the other room” –whatever that means! The President demystified himself by such declaration that was far from honorable or statesmanly.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Oriental Times

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