Chidi Obineche

Brushing aside strident criticisms on his alleged tardy handling of the herders/farmers crises in Benue, Taraba and Zamfara, President Muhammadu Buhari last Monday took the bull by the horns by visiting Taraba state, one of the acclaimed epi- centers of the horrendous bloodletting.

It was a visit obviously designed to spike his adversaries and permanently put a seal on their mouths.

A master of John Wayne’s immortal counsel of “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much, ”Buhari  understands the dynamics of pacing, the indomitability of slow progress and the suasion of stumbling when you run fast. He is saying in quick breath that busy must not be glorified and that there is more to life and governance than throttling down the runway. Packed to the hilt within is a rare show of strength and character, even if slow in the hand of time.

To many of his fans, he has gotten on the road and will stay on the road to herald the beginning of a new journey of hope. They will chant in high decibels that slow progress is better than no progress, that what is meant to happen will happen, at the right time, with the right person, for the best reason. They will rationalize that men do not have wings to soar, but have feet to march, scale and climb by slow degrees. In an uncanny way, the president styled the visit to reveal his innermost conviction that some people don’t like you just because your strength reminds them of their weaknesses. And that the hate must never slow you down.

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In a loud, crowded, crazy world, exceptions to the golden rule of the fast lane often get dirtied. But from the leash, he lets out a subdued message that it’s good for the soul to live life better by living slower; by leading the Slow revolution as an alternative to our obsession with speed. From all approaches, in all colours of perception, the echoes ring loud with a certain stillness that also reverberates with the fecund impresario of Euripides in “Slow but sure moves the might of the gods”. Steely, resolved, the visit shows the president does not follow the crowd or pander to fancies.

Sensationally, there is a sizzling pulsation in the visit that depicts the need for mankind to be mocked from time to time. If it lets out streams of snare and mockery of his traducers, it is to comprehend big spirits. It is a smokescreen of laughter where life becomes a mockery when you pretend to be someone else. The precept of an encourager, of offering a shoulder to lean on in times of despair and bereavement easily bears moral reproof. It’s a great new leaf that will be told plaintively in the days ahead 2019. It is a symphony that plays with the voice of Vladimir llyich Lenin when he said “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”. This is a high in his capacity to do more of what makes him happy regardless of criticisms because as they say, anything forced is not beautiful.

If a leader is sending mixed signals, he is actually sending clear signals and playing your game. Though embedded in delayed cadences it doused rising flames, it poured cold water on skeptic souls.  He has enkindled fires to warm the souls that are cold to him. He is stepping out of the shadows of his past, the history that has held him hostage, and perhaps stepping into a new story, a fresh pathway that will etch permanently on the souls of the beleaguered people of the Benue basin and beyond. He repudiates finally that bloodletting is among the ingredients of political medicine. In all that matters, the message is strong that our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.

He was born on December 17, 1942 in Daura , Katsina state. He has been in office as president of Nigeria since May 29, 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation’s head of state from December 31, 1983 to July 29, 1985. He contested for the seat on four different occasions. He is married with children to Aisha.