IN Africa, when an elderly person has been away for a long time, he is expected to return with the fruits of his sojourn. Children are expectant of the goodies of the trip. The older people would await lessons from the trip to tweak their wisdom.
THE longer the waiting, the more the anxiety, the more the expectations and the higher the quality of tales the sojourner is bound to tell, coming from lands that most of his compatriots would never visit. He would oblige them, even exceed the bars set for him.
WHERE the journey is on account of a malady, the interests are keener. People want to know if the patient recovered. They are interested in his woes and wails while he conquered the invisible snares of illness. Expectations are given. They are often met.
ULULATIONS would fill the air as they rented the surroundings of the NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport, Abuja, where President MuhammaduBuhari landed on Saturday. The President had been away for 103 days, almost one-third of a year, in London, on medical vacation. Crowds surged on the presidential entourage, trying to touch the vehicle, since they could not reach the man.
THE most important thing was that he had returned. He had defied speculations about his collapsing health to step out of the plane, unassisted, inspected the guard of honour, and completed the airport ceremonies flawlessly. The applause for the President resounded through the streets of Abuja, and beyond.
MANY are high on the promises the President has been making about a better Nigeria. We do not know how they have imbibed the message with the additional belief that only President Buhari could actualise that better Nigeria.
EXPECTATIONS about President Buhari are given. His failure to deliver on his campaign promises is seen as Nigerians disappointing the President by not joining him to execute promises that he made, though many told him that they were not realisable.
TO criticise the President approximates to affinity with corruption. His legions of avid supporters, and those who have been hounded into silence, have learnt to adore him. Images of him as a military Head of State, with powers of life and death, which he did not fail to use, are not really distant memories.
WHAT could have informed the President’s three-minute broadcast that halted some of the consensuses the country was reaching in his absence? He had recorded that broadcast before forwarding any letter to the National Assembly that he had resumed as President. How do we in 2017, 103 years after the amalgamation that birthed Nigeria, decide by presidential convenience that we cannot discuss, interrogate, investigate, determine whether there are ways of improving our circumstances as Nigerians?
IS there anything that is not negotiable in life? How would we survive as a country if we cannot negotiate our issues? He drew IkembaNnewi, Dim ChukwuemekaOdumegwu-Ojukwu, who died six years ago, to support his position, based on a conversation that purportedly took place 14 years earlier. And the President remembered it very clearly.
“IN 2003 after I joined partisan politics, the late Chief EmekaOjukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown Daura. Over two days we discussed in great depth till late into the night and analyzed the problems of Nigeria. We both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united,” the President said. What politics permitted the duo to decide on a national question and seal it? Is it an assessment of the comatose state of Nigeria that a decision two men reached, without any legal or political grounding should seal the fate of Nigeria 14 years on?
THE President has proven his deftness in divisiveness. Did he think of the feelings of millions of other Nigerians, who are not Igbo or Fulani, assuming that whatever he discussed with Ojukwu covered the interests of their people?
NIGERIANS have the most unapologetically divisive President in our history, yet he insists that he had decided how we could live. What does it say about him that he has no living person with whom he had this great discussion about Nigeria? The absurdity of the narrative as a counter to the agitations about making Nigeria workable is simply morbid.
LAST year, he hosted NYSC members from the South East, in Daura, the disclosed setting of his meeting with Ojukwu, and warned them against joining the agitations in the South East. At that time, other parts of Nigeria had agitations over other issues. He picked on the South East, as he has done again.
THE President places his personal understanding of issues over personal constitutional liberties Nigerians have, including the rights to express themselves. “I was distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step too far,” he said. What are those lines? Who drew them? Why can we not question our collective existence as a nation? Which law forbids the proffering of that question?
PRESIDENT Buhari’s penchant for talking down on Nigerians, being dismissive of grave national issues, and abridging the spaces for ventilating national issues is becoming legendary. The facility with which he discards opportunities to mould Nigeria into a national entity is exhibited in the manner of Monday’s broadcast.
HOPEFULLY, there would be an opportunity soon for him to heal the new wounds he has inflicted on a people in need of balms.