By Tunde Odesola
As a herdsman, ‘yowwa’ is the likeliest gratifying word to escape from the tight-lipped Nigerian President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), if his cows nuzzle their muzzles against him as they eat hay from his outstretched hands during a random visit to his herd.
And as a devout Muslim, ‘Auzubillahi!’ is the likeliest word the President would utter, if a stray dog mistakenly snuggles up against his ankle; Islam forbids human-dog embrace.
Aside from the religious injunction, however, the 78-year-old Northern leader is unlikely to prefer the dog to the cow. Quite unlike the slow, witless and clumsy cow, the dog is a very intelligent, friendly, sensitive and witty creature. Universally, the dog is seen as man’s best friend, not the cow. Notwithstanding all these attributes, President Buhari’s preference will still be for the cow, not the dog, any day, anytime – for ancestral reasons.
The age-long ‘yes-sir!’ military mentality that upholds loyalty to superiors over patriotism to Nigeria, predisposes Buhari, a veteran soldier, to choosing the pliant cow over the witty dog.
Surely, the flunkey ‘yes-sir’ mentality is the reason why the Nigerian military, police, DSS and other security agencies put Buhari far above the country and the Constitution, and would shoot at innocent youths at Lekki tollgate, even when such an order is in clear breach of the rules of engagement and the Constitution.
Indeed, the distinction between sycophancy and patriotism was what saved the US when subversive forces rose against its democracy on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol, as the judiciary, the legislature, the military and all other institutions of government stood in defence of the American Constitution over the shenanigans of former President Donald Trump and his cohorts.
The understanding of the distinction between racism and patriotism is what is currently playing out in the trial of the white police officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on the neck of African-American George Floyd, on May 25, 2020, sending him to an early grave in Minneapolis city of Minnesota, USA.
Chauvin’s ongoing public trial, which commenced on March 29, 2021, displays the unquestionable ability of the American nation to reinvent itself when faced with challenges.
For the average Nigerian like me, it beggars belief to think that serving and retired Nigerian police officers would enter the witness box and vehemently condemn one of their own as it’s being done in the trial of Chauvin, who faces up to 40 years in prison, if the second degree murder charge, which presupposes that he didn’t intentionally kill Floyd, is upheld.
Since public hearings on police killings and brutality opened in various states of the Nigerian federation, following the nationwide #EndSARS protests last year, no former security officer or serving security officer has come out to condemn army-police extrajudicial killings.
Public officials’ arrogant misuse of state power against the citizenry is one of the reasons for the overwhelming call for the restructuring of the country.
The monumental failure of the Buhari-led regime in tackling insecurity, corruption, nepotism, poverty, ethnicity and government insensitivity is the fuel to the agitation for the break-up of the federation.
Arrogant, insensitive and utterly reckless, the All Progressives Congress-led Presidency, in 2019, released the picture of Buhari picking his teeth, probably after drinking some (nunu) milk from his cows – while the citizenry groaned under the weight of unemployment, lack and dejection. Only our I-don’t-care President would pick his teeth after drinking milk.
Commenting on the tooth-picking picture, presidential aide on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, displayed the characteristic arrogance and insensitivity of the Buhari regime, when he said in a tweet, “It’s hard to understand why some people are genuinely angry because of this innocent pic. When I innocently snapped it on February 27 and posted (it) on my Snapchat, it didn’t occur to me that it’s going to give wailers that strong hit…”
As Nigerians have been gnashing their teeth since the beginning in 2015, so shall it be till the end in 2023. Nothing will stop the plunge. Buhari is on an eight-year vacation.
Displaying his nonchalance to public outcry for the umpteenth time, Buhari, on March 30, 2021, embarked upon a two-week medical check-up in London, despite the nationwide strike by medical doctors in public hospitals back home.
Without a word on the plight of millions of sick Nigerians condemned to attend public hospitals nationwide, the President hopped on a plane and zoomed off to England, probably with two toothpicks in his mouth after a meal of tuwo and isi ewu.
Defending Buhari’s shameless medical trips, the most meritless of Buhari’s media aides, Lauretta Onochie, tweeted on April 7, 2021, “NEXT YEAR. PRES. @MBuhari WILL GO FOR A ROUTINE CHECKUP.
1. We have been here since 2016. Its been the same wailing. So the response will also be the same. At least, once a year, people across the world see their personal doctors, especially one they have seen for about 40 years.”
It’s not hard to distinguish the noise of an empty barrel. So, Buhari, Onochie and the wastrels that make up the Presidency see nothing wrong in wasting Nigeria’s hard currency abroad in the last 40 years?
That Buhari cannot give Nigeria just one hospital he can attend, despite ruling Nigeria for eight years now, summarises his failure as a leader. It’s scandalous that Buhari didn’t feel ashamed about going to England still – for treatment – when he’s in an opportune position, in the last six year, to turn around Nigeria’s health sector.
The latest trip makes it Buhari’s 12th time to run off to London for medical treatment, despite his country having 72,000 registered medical doctors with over 50,000 of them, shamefully, out of the shores of the country, due to lack of facilities and adequate welfare packages.
Buhari’s insensitivity doesn’t stop at the medical sector alone, where nurses, physiotherapists, health technologists etc are leaving the country in droves, the lethargy of his regime permeates every fabric of our national life, and holds the country down to slow death.
Even his wife, Aisha, left her matrimonial home, and took off to Dubai for six long months. It’s unheard of anywhere in the world that the wife of the president of a country, which isn’t at war, would go on vacation abroad for six months! Or, could it be that oga madam went on antenatal vacation ni?
Henceforth, I’ll be on the lookout for a bulge in the mid region of the beautiful Aisha. If Aisha gets pregnant penren? Eeeehhh!! Nigerians will put Buhari to the sword online. I bet you, trolls against the Buhari family will burn down the internet!
But seriously speaking, President Buhari won’t touch the dog. I’m sure he won’t touch the pig, either, because he’s a very pious Muslim. However, Buhari is the chichidodo, a bird that passionately hates feces but loves to eat the maggots in feces.
Buhari hates corruption, but corruption has been the signpost of his administration with millions of dollars yearly disappearing into non-working refineries and his former EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, enmeshed in financial scandals.
Buhari promised to stop medical tourism when campaigning to be President, but he and his family have made England, France, Germany, Canada, Dubai and the US their second homes.
Buhari promised to revamp the education sector, but his children never graduated from a Nigerian university.
Buhari, in 1983, promised to build infrastructure when he seized power in a military coup, but he cancelled the lofty Lagos metro line project, initiated by the late Lateef Jakande administration, throwing the traffic of the lagoon city into eternal chaos. He came back in March 2019 to inaugurate a bus-stop in Lagos, though. Chai!
The alarming picture just keeps flashing in my head: Nigerian President on the bed of a random London hospital in an age when microchips can be implanted to monitor and control patients. Unmh!
Buhari rests peacefully in London, while peace has fled his own country, Nigeria. Terrible.
•Odesola writes from the United States and can be reached at: Email: email@example.com; Facebook: @tunde odesola; and Twitter: @tunde_odesola