By Tonnie Iredia
The now popularly described ‘resume or resign’ group has since made its point that Nigeria is not the same without Buhari. And whether those against the group like it or not, arguing against the point is nothing more than arguing for the sake of argument. Of course a-90-day absence is long enough for people to become apprehensive over the subject more so as a number of basic things are still begging to be done. It is true that in line with the dictates of our constitution, the President did the needful when he transmitted a letter to the National Assembly to enable the Vice President act as President in his absence. But it is also true that half way through the tenure of the present administration, several boards of agencies are yet to be constituted. It took long to fill some vacant ministerial slots and when new ministers were sworn-in, government could not assign them with portfolios. Didn’t Osinbajo think through the subject before handling it? If he did, why didn’t he conclude the matter? Could it be that Osinbajo is acting without confidence or can he not act on certain subjects?
At the beginning of this administration the nation saw within a few weeks that the fear of Buhari was the beginning of wisdom. Today, discipline, a watch-word by which Buhari is identified is missing here and there. In the ruling party, everyone now does as he likes to the extent that chieftains are complaining. The other week, Senate President Bukola Saraki confirmed loudly that that”there is no APC member that will tell you he is happy with the state of affairs of the party.” So whether in government or the ruling party there is a vacuum which if not filled, will adversely affect the polity. This is probably why all eyes are pointing to London for redress even though it is not Buhari’s fault that he is away. But then is it fair to pressurize the president to leave hospital against medical advice? The response to this question is not as simple as it appears because Nigerian politics can make everything that looks wrong to also look right. For instance, there is a conspiracy theory that Buhari has since been well enough to return. If so, why he is still there? Perhaps this is a question that can only be answered by questions
Who says the President is well enough? On this, there are at least four sources that Nigerians cannot ignore. First, Aisha Buhari, the President’s wife confidently symbolized how soon her husband would be returning to drive away the hyenas and the jackals scheming to take over power from him. Aisha not being a dramatist like her predecessor is credible; hence many have since she spoke looked forward with eagerness to the return of the people’s President. The President’s wife would not have been that categorical if Buhari’s health was still very poor. Second, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo who is understandably too busy to visit the President suddenly did and came back with cheering news. The President in Osinbajo’s words “is in very good spirits and recuperating very quickly.” Third, some APC governors and their national chairman, Chief John Oyegun were the next to visit the President. They too claimed to have met the President in good shape. As Governor Rochas Okorocha explained “by our visit to London today, the merchants of lies have been put out of business and Nigerians will not buy the garbage they have been selling.”
As if some sooth-sayers had told our governors that their visit was like a set of drugs, another delegation this time from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum went to London to be counted among Buhari’s visitors. They too had a good story to tell. In their own case they got a photograph of the visit taken which went beyond that of a president who retained his sense of humour to one that laughed heartily. This and other stories of how much our President has recovered are enough to raise all hopes that he is almost here. If so, why is Buhari’s coming still are so shrouded in secrecy? Anyone who is conversant with what in Nigeria is known as the corridors of power should know why. This is probably a good junction to recall how stories are always started and concluded around the seat of federal power in Nigeria. It was so during the government led Obasanjo, Yar’ Adua and Jonathan. It is still so till today because it is a culture transmitted from generation to generation. How is it done?
Hangers-on are always available to make it hard for government to appropriately gauge the feelings of the people. The strategy is to observe the President’s mood, then manufacture what appears suitable to it and deliver it as a divine message. There were some big politicians who authored the third term agenda and told anyone who cared to hear that after Obasanjo, Nigeria would cease to exist because no one except Obasanjo could govern our difficult nation. The same people were seen arguing during Jonathan’s administration that GEJ had become so loved by the North that no one there was opposed to his reelection, PDP’s zoning policy notwithstanding. I hope none of them has been to London of recent; otherwise President Buhari must have been told too many things by now that may persuade him to remain in London till the end of the year.
The hangers-on have been the ones who instigated the release of a one minute three seconds audio clip in Hausa language on June 25, 2017, to greet Muslims on the occasion of the Eid el-Fitr that angered non-Hausa speaking Nigerians.. They may have told the President by now that since August 4, 2017 when Nigerians watched the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby which showed how greatly Buhari had recovered, they have been rejoicing without end on the roads adding that it is only one or two disgruntled elements that are protesting the continued stay of the President in London. If as we hear, all what is keeping Buhari abroad is to rest and regain weight, our President should come back home now.