President Muhammadu Buhari
He is awesome. He is God. His awesomeness flows from an amazing simplicity, which created Man – the ultimate mammal – from mere clay and breath, after forging the universe and everything thereof with the ‘Let-there-be’ phrase. The beauty of creation laid in its simplicity and sophistication until Man murdered simplicity to worship eternally at the altar of complication.
Though simple in outlook, Nigerians loved and respected their President, on whom they showered enormous goodwill. But complication soon set in and the hue of governance changed from light to darkness.
President Muhammadu Buhari is dead. He died since early last year. He’s cloned. A certain body double and Sudanese Fulani prisoner, Jubril, is bestriding Aso Rock, the nation’s seat of power in Buhari’s stead. The rumour mill is busy. However, conspiracy and whispering, the two ancient companions of gossiping, are missing in the Buhari-is-dead rumour-mongering. These rumour- mongers don’t beat silent gongs; they have modern mass communication gadgets. They don’t whisper to the ears, conspiratorially; they roar on rooftops, defiantly. They belong to the political elite that have been feeding fat on the ignorance, illiteracy and vulnerability of the masses – long before Lord Frederick Lugard lowered the Union Jack in Nigeria on October 1, 1960. These mongers are bold and daring. Buhari has joined his ancestors, they insisted, quoting the time, the date and the circumstances of the death. Prominent among the rumour-mongers is a pro-Biafra misfit leader, whose name isn’t worth dignifying with a mention. Another is a former minister, a lawyer and backscratcher from the South-West, who has a penchant for speaking before thinking. Both are self-seeking hustlers who daily crave for media attention, which I’m not ready to oblige here.
While the former is attired in a self-imposed, oversized pro-ethnic garment atop a pair of outsized shoes, the latter, a rabble-rouser, is just an opportunist on the trail of the whiff of money. Going by his recent misguided messages online, the so-called charlatan spiritual leader, who spoke from a foreign land recently, is eminently unarmed for the great task which Igbo self-determinism entails. This jester from the land of the rising sun and the hoaxer from the land of the setting sun are only exploiting the self-inflicted woes President Muhammadu Buhari brought upon himself, his All Progressives Congress and the country, in general.
They said the real Buhari died a long time ago for the fake Buhari to germinate on the Rock of Aso. No. But by being deceitful, ineffective, insincere, unfeeling, non-proactive and distant to the masses, Buhari provided the pseudo pro-Igbo activist, the Yoruba braggart and their numerous co-travellers sufficient paint to write, “Rest in Peace, President Muhammadu Buhari: (1942-2016),” on a cheap coffin purchased in the nation’s political arena, where commonsense is absent.
For me, the real Buhari is not dead. The real Buhari surfaced on the nation’s political terrain on the last day of 1983 when he led a gang of military boys to overthrow the prodigal Shehu Shagari civilian administration. The real Buhari started the War against Indiscipline and brought back sanity to a corrupt nation, though some of his policies backfired, resulting in inflation and concomitant gnashing of teeth among the citizenry. The real Buhari was rigid and tough. He commanded respect and fear within the military and across the country. The real Buhari was the no-nonsense, low-profile Daura cattle owner, whose military pedigree Nigerians chose at the poll in 2015 over the corrupt, unimaginative and small-minded Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Though a creation of the political elite, the masses believe in the existence of the fake Buhari because their hope for a better tomorrow through the real Buhari they voted for in March 2015 has been wickedly dashed. The prevarication in Buhari’s popular line, “I am for everybody. I’m for nobody,” cemented the insincerity and confusion of his government, as it let out a sign of weakness which political hounds exploited. Nigerians voted for security; they got blood on their streets. They voted for prosperity, but poverty stalks the land, increasing suicide rate. They voted for unity; they got clannishness. They voted for justice, they got selective justice.
They voted for the uprooting of Boko Haram; Boko Haram flourished and gave birth to killer herdsmen. They voted for compassion; they got cold-bloodedness with the President condoling with Rivers people over the fatal collapse of a seven-story building in Port Harcourt, seven days after the incident! But governance stood still immediately Yusuf, his son, had an okada accident in Abuja last December as top medical consultants speedily attended to him before he was flown to Germany for further treatment. Nigerian masses are disappointed: this can’t be the firebrand Buhari they overwhelmingly voted for in 2015. This must be a fake.
I know the dead Buhari. He is the creation of the aggressively greedy opposition bent on returning to power in 2019 through all means inglorious. They’ve since discovered that the bleating lion of Daura is crippled, after all. Now, they’re closing in on the old beast with cudgels, spears and daggers as the feverish lion battles to rise up. They want him out of the villa: dead or alive, or both!
It was his beautiful wife, Aisha, who, in October 2016, noticed the fire dying out in the old Buhari, and she screamed on the top of her voice, alerting the nation that her once-upon-a-time tough-talking soldier-husband had been hijacked by a cabal and turned into a dripping sponge. Aisha lamented, “I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again, and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again. The President does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed, and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife for 27 years. I may not back him at the next election unless he shakes up his government.”
Aisha saw the stranger her husband had become, she saw the roaring fire smouldering into ashes and she raised the alarm, but the cabal pinned down the old soja, hijacked power and ensured that the last glow of the Buhari blaze petered out. They extinguished the fire over two years ago.
Depending on their level of reasoning, enlightenment, political affiliation or ignorance, Nigerians from all walks of life have chosen to identify with any of the real, the fake or the dead Buhari. A country with an adult literacy population of about 59.6% in 2015, Nigeria cannot be expected to be as enlightened as Russia, the country with the highest literacy rate in the world with over 95% of the population having higher secondary education. It is, however, laughable and sad that some Nigerians would believe that Buhari would die in a London hospital, and would be flown to Saudi Arabia for burial, without the press knowing. And Aisha, her children and all extended family members would keep quiet? Nothing can be more stupid.
One fellow even said that a minute silence was observed for the repose of Buhari’s soul when African leaders met recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, even as there was an imaginary letter ostensibly from the Queen of England, condoling with Nigeria over the passing of Buhari. The pictures of Buhari writing with his left and right hands are no-brainers for any eight-year-old who can manipulate a simple camera.
From Abuja to London and Riyadh, echoes of Buhari’s body double and political decoy reverberate. But most African leaders, including Cameroon’s 85-year-old Paul Biya, are sit-tight despots; they prefer to die in power than vacate.
Buhari is not dead; he is only not real, and unfit to be President, like Atiku Abubakar.