I had intended to publish the concluding part of last week’s article on President Muhammadu Buhari’s May 29 broadcast, which I consider to have hugely fallen below expectation, having failed to name and shame the looters of our national treasury and opting, instead, to regurgitate old APC tales, with which they have long fatigued our ears. And in this season of ear infections, everyone knows that we should not overburden our ears!
Secondly, the full article has since been published online on the website of The Sun, www.sunnewsonline.com.
But, most importantly, so much has happened since PMB’s disappointing Democracy Day speech that May 29, 2016 now appears to be several years ago. In fact, returning to that speech now would amount to perpetually living in the past – especially in a Nigeria where iniquity (masqueraded as governance) runs like a non-stop stage-play. A Nigeria where you’d have so much catching-up to do, if you dare blink for a split second.
For instance, while some people were still putting their thoughts together on the presidential broadcast, independent marketers of petroleum products announced that they were crashing the price of petrol, after Ibe Kachikwu had ‘modulated’ it upward to N145 per litre. But before we could say Allahamdulilai, the thing jumped to N156 per litre. And the diesel, which was not ‘modulated’ by Kachikwu, jumped up to N185 per litre – and remained there. Niger Delta Avengers (only God knows whatever or whoever they’re avenging) have literally chased oil companies out of the creeks. Soldiers are humiliating monarchs and villagers and school children in Delta and Bayelsa states, all in the name of looking for Avengers. Government is daily closing down IDP camps and sending hapless North Easterners back to villages that we cannot honestly say we have taken full control of from Boko Haram. And as if that was not enough, the Kano State government and security operatives are pretending to be helpless as blood-thirsty messengers beheaded yet another Igbo woman. And several days after the photos of the villains, parading the streets with the bodiless head went viral, we got an even more insulting denial: That the woman was not actually beheaded, but merely beaten to death – as if to make the murder more acceptable!
At the end, nobody gets arrested. If anybody is arrested, he’s clandestinely released from detention a few days later. Case closed!
Yet, we are all alleged to be equal before the law. Yet we dubiously claim that no life is more sacrosanct than the other. Yet, it is alleged, the government is for all of us, reportedly protecting all of us. I love this country!
But, like I said earlier, today’s piece is just an apology to our dear President Muhammadu Buhari.
All along, I’d thought that the man just did not give a care in the world about our sufferings in the country, especially the cry of oppression, marginalisation and outright neglect by Ndigbo. Nor the silent grumble in the South West that they are gradually becoming inconsequential outsiders in a government they helped to hoist. Nor the murmuring from sections of the North and South-South. The president simply carried on, as if none of these mattered.
However, I now know better: The man did not hear a word of what we were saying all along. He has an ear infection. His ears were not serving him well. And it was not a case of Selective Perception, as the psychologists would say. The man just wasn’t hearing anybody.
That is why he had continued to act only with those things he heard; the last time his ears served him well. And that dates to, maybe, as far back as 1985, or even further back, to 1967, ’68, ‘69’ ’70 etc. So, for whatever has gone wrong so far, PMB is discharged and acquitted, as they say in the court. We also apologise for wrongly accusing him.
It reminds me of all those old men in my village, who either went to war in Burma or went to work in the cocoa plantations of old Equatorial Guinea, as well as those engaged in the Artillery division, during the civil war. While many of the former group went to their graves never believing that the war had ended (nor that there was no longer any country called ‘Fernandapo’, the latter group always operated on a wavelength totally different from those of normal human beings. Reason? The booms of canon fire had impaired their hearing. To make conversation, they just watched your lips move, and then gave you whatever reply came into their heads. Of course, the reply did not have to be related to whatever you’d said. And to top it all, they were always angry with everybody, and went about with very fiery tempers.
Of course, they were always misunderstood. And that made them even angrier! They often resorted to violence, as the only way of making their points. If you ever had a misunderstanding with a deaf and dumb, or engaged in verbal argument with a stammerer (especially the not-too-educated ones), then you’ll get my drift.
Or better still; watch the National Assembly whenever there is some roforofo. You’ll notice that the first lawmakers to start throwing punches and chairs and mace are those who are highly deficient in convincingly articulating their positions in English language.
Now, President Buhari is none of all these. But I’m just happy that he’s finally decided to get treatment, so that he can clearly hear our cries of hunger and hardship. He can also hear our grouse with his pattern of appointments and of the curiouser and curiouser slant of the anti-graft war. PMB will also hear that the unarmed IPOB agitators are not nearly as dangerous as gun-totting neo-herdsmen. That it was not everybody in Gbaramatu, who benefited from Tompolo’s multi-billion naira contracts. That members of the Niger Delta Avengers are not hiding among the underage school children that soldiers are dipping into brackish water. That just as Emirs cannot be held responsible for their subjects joining Boko Haram, Niger Delta monarchs (many of whom are not as revered by their subjects, as the emirs are respected by their own subjects) cannot be punished for not reining in their youth.
I am also happy that the presidency has realised the futility of projecting the president as a superhuman. Like the rest of us, Buhari can indeed fall sick. We must never go back to those Yar”Adua years when we made so much fetish of the ailing president’s health (as if any of us wished him dead), while some people quietly stuffed their pockets.
At 74 years of age (or even 78 or 80, depending on which of PMB’s mates one is listening to), every Nigerian knew what we were getting into. In fact, we should thank the Almighty that PMB has turned out healthier and fitter than many of us, who are 30 and 40 years younger than he. I guess it also has to do with his lifestyle and that he did not indulge in the many vices the rest of us abuse. He has already lived longer than many of us can ever hope to live.
As you readers will bear be witness, I have refused to say anything about Meniere Disease, because I don’t know anything about it. And because, if I delve into it, I might then be compelled to talk about this ‘balancing’ aspect of the hearing problem. And then, somebody would start asking if it has to do with physical balance or mental balance. So, I’m making do with what the Presidency told us PMB has: Ear infection. Shikena!
Meanwhile, as we used to say in my old village school, I wish the president ‘soonest recover’.