Opinion: Buhari: The return of the Diaspora ‘king’
By Oludayo TADE
From Nigeria House in the United Kingdom to ‘Home office’ in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari returned after 104 days in the Diaspora last Saturday. Even those afflicted with socio-economic quagmire were mobilised to the streets to welcome the Daura-born “Messiah”. Sai Baba who was described by his media aide, Femi Adesina, as ‘king’ in a piece he wrote after Buhari returned from the UK attests to the royal treatment coupled with several homage visitations to the President by state officials who utilised taxpayers’ money for their visitations. Kudos must go to all (Ayodele Fayose, the “OurMumuDonDo” group led by Charly Boy and the protesters in London) those who deviated from the norm of culturalising/spiritualising the ill-health of the President.
At his return, so much was expected but the opening did not show that the President brought back any lessons from his health tourism. Buhari and those sympathetic to him should know that several Nigerians have died of the same health condition that made the President find solace in the UK owing to his refusal to replicate what he enjoyed in the UK at home. The President has broken his promise to stop health tourism by leading health tourists outside the country while our health system begs for attention. This pathetic situation was not even touched in that watery Monday morning national broadcast which implicates a disconnection of the ‘king’ to social realities. Next time Nigerians should beware of a naked man offering them a shirt.
Since being in the Diaspora is associated with abundance, “the return of the ‘king”’ ought to feature unpacking the luggage of goods bought for sharing to the expectant men and women. When a responsible parent has been away from home, the children anticipate the ‘significant’ return because of the succour it brings to their livelihood. On the flip side, children pray for delayed return of a parent whose presence threatens their survival or brings no such thing as hope. The “weak animals” had thought that the return of the “Lion King” will not only send the Hyenas and Jackals away but rekindle hope and better their conditions. However, nothing came to them other than threats that they have no right to discuss what affects them. His position was predicated on a discussion he had (with the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu) that Nigeria must remain one and united; but is it without satisfying the yearnings of those living? What moral ground does the ‘king’ who has failed to grow the economy, ‘settle’ the army of unemployed, and check kidnapping and terrorism but govern on comatose education (which is why university lecturers are on strike) and health systems ask the people to shut up? The dead cannot discuss for the living their terms and conditions for staying together. The “king” ought to know that the kingdom’s existence is threatened with an implosion and the emergence of insurgent citizenships. Only the people, not the saggy legislators or the Sai Baba group in the Federal Executive Council can discuss what the common man suffers since they never have such experience.
Using the marriage analogy may be useful because divorce is on the rise in the country too. All the trappings (infidelity, mistrust, misunderstanding, financial problems, adultery, infidelity, lack of care, denial of sex) birthing and turning holy to unholy matrimony characterise contemporary experiences in Nigeria. Infidelity which is cheating characterise modern agitations. People feel the execution of the contract in the unity of Nigeria is biased in favour of certain ethnic group. Irresponsibility, another factor that makes divorce possible, needs no elucidation as it is apparent that the leadership of the country has been irresponsible and irresponsive to the needs of her peoples. Denial (of sex) remains a fertile tool for divorce. Till date, the ‘king’ denies the need to engage the people. He believes only he and a few ‘classmates’ must dictate the path to follow. Denial of rights (security of lives and property, freedom of association, freedom of speech, subversion of rule of law, inequality before the law) constitute unpleasant daily experiences of Nigerians.
Although love is claimed to bring two persons together in a holy matrimony, marriage is however an eye-opener where people stop acting and negotiate on a daily basis conditions of living together.
Domestic violence is a common factor for marital breakdown and dissolution. When the husband violates the wife constantly and we plead with her to stay because of her children, when she dies owing to the same factor, the children become internally displaced with an uncertain future. This is why the rational women or men experiencing violence in their relationships opt for separation or divorce. We are all experiencing violence which is threatening our collective existence with no action taken by the ruling ‘king’.
In the Monday address, Buhari said, “This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence”. Why will you then not allow people to negotiate their collective living when herdsmen attacks threaten our food security? They have killed several people but the king’s noble men have framed them as ‘outsiders’ yet they allowed ‘soft targets or weaker animals’ to be killed. And they are expected to continue without asking questions? I say such a relationship “Kolewerk” (It cannot work) as ‘ourmumudondo’ to use Charly Boy’s group name.
Nigerians have not crossed any red lines yet in their show of discontent with current happenings. Nigerians want their future to be greater than today no matter what they are facing at the moment. They want the converted democrat they voted for and not an autocrat who does not listen. They want a king whose eyes are not blind to the cries of the people and whose ears are not deaf to their agitations. Had Vice President Yemi Osinbajo not gone to negotiate the unity of Nigeria with those bombing oil installations, would we have anything left for the ‘king’ to preside over? Nigerians are experiencing varying internal displacement and wants empathy from President to chart a desirable future. Funny enough, rodents invaded the palace of our ‘king’ before his return and now the ‘king’ is internally displaced to the ‘inner chambers’ to attend to kingdom’s affairs. If rodents will take three months to chase away, then weaker animals should wait even longer because the “Lion King” is praying for restoration. But let the ‘king’ know that only those agitating want the country together while those in his cabinet opposing it are the enemies of unity (Micah 7:6). Punch
Dr Tade, a criminologist, wrote in from Ibadan via [email protected]