The wife of the President is sure having a good time in the United Kingdom where she had gone to pay a courtesy visit to her hailing husband, Muhammadu Buhari. Of course, it is a courtesy visit since no one has been allowed to see the president since May 2017 that he’s gone on this current medical leave. No word, no picture from the nation’s number one citizen; unlike the previous time where he allowed visitors.
Even his deputy (until last night when he was invited to visit the President in UK) and the party he represented (APC) cannot boldly tell Nigerians the true state of health of Mr. President. Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s message this time (through her Facebook post) isn’t that the President is recuperating, like she said when she returned from the first visit (although we were made to know later that she didn’t even get to see her husband then). Her message this time was that of a Lion King who is coming back to take over the kingdom, and ‘the Hyenas’ and ‘the jackals’ that will be sent out on the return of the Lion King.
Whatever allegory she was painting is not my concern here, but that Aisha Buhari failed in her fundamental role as the mother of the nation to put soothing relief in the hearts of many Nigerians who are not happy about the fact that Mr. President had gone for over 60 days with no word from him. Is it that Nigerians don’t have the right to know how their president is faring?
What we can glean from her Lion king story is simply the fact that politicians don’t care about us. When elections are approaching, you see them with all manner of promises, about how they will make Nigeria heaven on earth if voted into power. The moment they assume office, you see those promises dissipated into thin air. Millions of Nigerians gave Buhari this mandate over two years ago, on the grounds that corruption will be a thing of the past, infrastructure would improve, and that lives would be better under this administration. Two years on, the president is even nowhere to be found. Aisha Buhari should have known better. The best time to step into her true office as the mother of the nation is now, but what have you; it is tales by moon light!
If there is any power play in Buhari’s administration as a result of his ailment, Asha Buhari should deal with it (if she can). Perhaps she needs to learn from Dame Patience Jonathan or Turai Yar’adua. These two first ladies displayed their political prowess while in office. Their roles were not being reduced to the kitchen and ‘da other room’ by their husbands. But painting Nigeria as a kingdom is not acceptable. What we practice is a constitutional democracy, where people are elected into office through elections and not a monarchy. Muhammadu Buhari didn’t inherit power from his fore-fathers; it was duly given him by the people through the ballot.
Just as the Lion king story was ravaging, another beautiful drama surfaced. It was the newly elected Senator Ademola Adeleke’s dance moves all over the internet. He had just won the Osun-west senatorial district elections, the constituency his late brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke who died April this year was representing in the Nigerian senate before his demise. Well, as usual; Nigerians reacted to it differently. No one is saying the Senator elect shouldn’t dance, but I think some decorum is needed from a public servant. But of course, this is Nigeria, and we are a nation of happy people.
And this is the point other nations have to respect us. Happiness is something you can’t take away from us as a people. The legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti once sang about it. He called it ‘suffering and smiling’. It is this trait and resilience that makes us strong people, and can survive in any weather and under any climate – be it in Nigeria, or somewhere else around the globe. We joke about everything, we make ourselves happy. Whether politicians are performing or not, whether it is the flood in Lekki, Victoria Island or Suleja, and properties worth millions are being damaged, Nigerians still joke about it. Whether schools are functioning or not, whether we have a health care system that works or not.
Nigerians are happy people. But the elites understand this, and they continue to use it against us. This is why they will come during elections, distribute stipends and then we give them our votes. They know once you give bags of rice and oil and ‘small change’, all shall be well. And because of this fact, we keep recycling politicians, sending the wrong people into the national assembly to represent us, electing people who do not care about us as governors and presidents. The politicians know we won’t be angry. They know we won’t shut down the national assembly in protests until we demand equal opportunities, rights and justice for all. They know we won’t protest until LAUTECH is re-opened, and our hospitals equipped with modern technologies.
The elite politicians know that the rest of us will not do anything about the few of them. Until we realize that power resides with the rest of us, and that ultimate power belongs to the people, then we will chart a new course for this nation and maybe, we would make progress as a people, and as a nation.